Does Hormonal birth control affect orgasms?
I have been married for a little over a year and was on hormonal birth control for most of that time. I have not orgasmed. I know that there is lots to be advised on both these topics and other questions have addressed them, but specifically, here, I’m wondering whether people have found that hormonal birth control affected their ability to orgasm. I’ve mostly heard about HBC affecting sexual desire, which I thankfully haven’t had a problem with, but not much about ability or ease of orgasms.
More background: I recently went off HBC to see whether it would help, but I haven’t noticed an improvement, and in fact, it seems that my sexual desire has decreased at least for the “dry” parts of the month. It’s been a bit over 2 months – should I hold out for longer? Besides this issue, HBC worked well for my husband and I and was preferred to our current methods. I don’t want to be holding out on HBC if it’s not going to help anything as far as orgasms.
Also note, I was not sexually active before going on birth control and had never tried to orgasm or orgasmed accidentally, so I have no before after comparison.
Any hormonal changes can affect your sexual responsiveness and it can affect orgasms. But, I personally don’t know any science that I can link to specifically about HBC and orgasms. (They may be out there, I just don’t have any coming to mind.)
One thing to know is that it is fairly common for women to have trouble orgasming. There are several testimonies around here about that, and I will let them speak up when they can. Have you experimented with different ways of trying to orgasm and you still can’t? Have you just tried and expected for orgasm to happen via PIV? There may be more answers behind the orgasm thing than just the HBC.
Thanks for your response! I have experimented with different ways of trying to orgasm, my husband is generous and patient and we have a great sexual relationship otherwise, and I’ve done a fair bit of reading around the site and other resources on it. I know there are lots of factors to consider, but I was trying to keep the question concise by just focusing on this specific question that I hadn’t heard a lot on.
(It wouldn’t let me comment on your response, not sure how not to make this an “answer”
In our case, definitely. DW tried hormonal BC for about 6 months and it really dampened her desire. She had never been very keen on the idea anyway because of health concerns but after the experience she reached the conclusion that it wasn’t for her.
When she was off hormonal BC, she had a natural cycle, with the desire ups and downs, peaking mid-cycle and reaching the lowest point during her period. When she was on HBC, it was just flat. Lack of desire all the time. Also – it’s difficult to describe it – but I noticed that her vagina seemed to have narrowed and become dry and lost its scent (which I liked very much).
Thanks for sharing your experience @Tantalum! A couple follow up questions, if you don’t mind: obviously desire and orgasms are linked, but are you able to separate out whether you think Hormonal BC affected orgasms beyond desire for sex? Not sure if that makes sense.
Also, how long did it take after going off hormonal birth control before things returned to normal?
DW was on the pill for the first 17 years of our marriage. It took us 7 years to figure out how to bring her to O, which ultimately was with a vibrator. She never had much in the way of desire. After I got a vasectomy she went off the pill. It was about a year later when she suddenly was much more interested in sex, sometimes has spontaneous desire, and has experienced a much greater ability to be aroused and enjoy sex. She has more ups and downs in hormones due to her cycle not being artificially regulated, which has pros and cons, but we’re both glad that we’re done with HBC forever!
I’m not sure that this has been especially thoroughly researched, but it seems likely that hormonal birth control would affect a woman’s ability to orgasm, and that stopping hormones would enable things to return to normal, probably within a month or two (i.e one or two complete menstrual cycles).
It’s worth remembering that orgasm, and female orgasm in particular is not merely physiological but also has a significant psychological element. If you’ve only been married for a year then if you are anything like my wife and me you’re still exploring and learning how to have sex. Personally, I’d worry less about what form of birth control you use and try not to focus on having an orgasm and instead explore your sexuality and enjoy it. Ironically, the harder you try to have an orgasm the harder it actually is to have one and what you need to do is relax and let go.