Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size

The Truth About ‘The Pill’ and Your Sex Drive

By Mary Wood Littleton
WebMD Feature

Not in the mood lately? Wonder if your birth control pills are affecting your sex drive? It's possible, but not likely.

For most women, birth control pills don't affect their desire to have sex (libido). But if you've noticed a shift in your libido since you started taking "the pill," you can get your love life back on track.

Recommended Related to Birth Control

8 Questions for Your Doctor About Emergency Contraception

Your doctor or pharmacist can help you get answers about emergency contraception. You may want to ask them:

Read the 8 Questions for Your Doctor About Emergency Contraception article > >

Researchers looked at 33 years of studies that included more than 8,400 women taking birth control pills. Of those women, 22% reported a rise in their libido, 15% said they felt less desire, and 63% reported no change at all.

Gynecologist Lee Sharma, MD, of Auburn, AL, rarely hears from her patients that their libido dropped after taking birth control pills. "About 1 in 100 will report it," she says.

What's to Blame for My Dip in Interest?

It's very common for women to feel their desire shift over time. But it's hard to pinpoint the pill as the only cause.

Many other things affect a woman's sex drive, including her health, age, feelings about her relationship, and things like whether she's active, drinks too much, and whether she's under a lot of stress.

Most birth control pills combine lab-made versions of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. The amounts of the hormones in the pills vary.

Your reaction to the hormones in contraceptive pills depends on the chemistry in your body and the mixture of the hormones in the pills. Also, because combination pills prevent you from ovulating, you won’t have the subtle increase in libido that some women report during ovulation.

If You Notice a Change

Tell your doctor what you've noticed. She can give you a checkup to see if something else (like a medical condition or another prescription you have) might be causing your symptoms. She can also decide whether you can switch to another type of pill or a different method of birth control. Depending on what's going on with you, she might recommend that you also talk with a therapist or other experts.

Look at your relationship, and the rest of your life, too, for things that drag down your energy.

For instance, do you feel good about how things are going with your partner? If not, that will dim your desire fast. How's your diet? Are you stressed? Do you get enough rest? If you change the things that drain you, you might get back in the mood more often.

Reviewed on January 28, 2015

Today on WebMD

Here's what to expect.
man opening condom wrapper
Do you know the right way to use them?
birth control pills
Here's what to do next.
doctor and patient
His and her options.
Concerned teenage girl
hospital gown
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch
contraceptive pills
Young couple looking at each other, serious
woman reading pregnancy test result