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Friday, May 9, 2014

Loss of Sexual Desire and Lubrication

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I’m 18. I can no longer get attracted to sex like I used to. I am on birth control and my own natural vaginal lubrication is hard to accumulate, if I can get that to happen at all. I’m lost on looking for medications for this problem.

There are many things that can impact sexual desire and vaginal lubrication, and there really isn’t a magic pill that can increase desire, arousal or lubrication in women. Rather than looking for a medication to “fix” this issue, it’s better to look at what might be causing these changes and address those factors.

You mention that you’re on birth control. If you are taking hormonal contraceptives, like birth control pills, some potential side effects are changes in sexual desire and in vaginal lubrication. During my work as a sexuality educator, I’ve talked to lots of young women who find that once they begin using hormonal contraception, their interest in sex ironically decreases.

I suggest talking to your health care provider about switching the method of contraception that you’re using. There are many different types of hormonal contraceptives—more than 20 name-brand kinds of birth control pills alone, and that doesn’t count other hormonal methods like the intravaginal ring or the patch. Different hormonal contraceptives contain different doses, formulations and combinations of estrogen and/or progestin. If one type of pill causes undesirable side effects like loss of libido or decreased vaginal lubrication, another brand may not. One of my favorite websites for detailed information about contraception is bedsider.org; check out their breakdown of different types of birth control pills before making an appointment with your health care provider.

There’s also nothing wrong with using water-based or silicone lubricant to supplement your own vaginal lubrication. Most women experience some fluctuation in their level of vaginal lubrication and could benefit from using lube at least occasionally. For help selecting one that works for you, read one of my previous columns about what to look for in a good lube.

Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side. She has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than fifteen years. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXPress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.