Still getting back in touch with my sexuality at the moment.
To catch everyone up to speed, I’ve been on birth control since 2010 to control pre-menstrual symptoms.
I always had rough periods, even as a teenager. The kind which necessitate curling up with a heating pad and blanket on the couch and taking copious pain meds.
Then, in college, things got worse. I would be in so much pain I couldn’t stand up straight. I was too nauseous to eat, so if I tried to do much that involved not lying in bed, there was a decent chance I might faint. And if I did try to eat anyway, there was a good chance it would make me sick.
I went on birth control before I started graduate school because I knew I couldn’t miss two days of class every month.
When I moved to Austin, difficulty scheduling my annual appointment meant I was going to have to wait a month to start my new birth control. My symptoms were almost gone by then, so with my partner’s support, I decided to see if I could stay off birth control without my symptoms returning.
I lasted seven or eight months.
In the spring, I made an appointment at Planned Parenthood, and decided to try the Nuva Ring since I’d always been terrible at taking the Pill at the same time daily.
Within three month, it had effectively tanked my sex drive, as well as increasing my depression and anxiety. At the time, I felt unsure whether it was life stress, but looking back, crying as much as I had been wasn’t normal, even for me.
I think about once a week I would just break down sobbing.
Now I’m on a different pill, which seems to at least make my symptoms mostly bearable if I can remember to freaking take it. Apparently I need to set multiple alarms for a while.
Though my libido has returned, my relationship to my sexuality isn’t quite the same as it used to be.
I didn’t always used to enjoy feeling horny. If I was in a relationship and had a date to look forward to, perhaps. But for the most part, it was an itch to scratch or a problem (which has too much of a negative connotation) to solve. If I had a lot of work to do that day, it could be a downright annoyance.
It wasn’t a feeling I wanted to sit with, anyway, most of the time. It was also a feeling I took for granted. Until I didn’t.
After not feeling that feeling for several months, and feeling numb from the belly button down in fact, I’m more interested in sitting with that feeling now.
Now that it isn’t something I can take for granted, I’m less inclined to want to make it go away.
I’m hoping my libido will eventually return to the level it was before I went on the Nuva Ring. Or at least continue to grow from the level it is now.
I have a sneaking suspicion that any birth control will dampen it slightly, and that I just might not have noticed the difference when I started the Pill originally since I was not in a relationship at that time.
What I had thought was an increase in libido from moving from a long distance to not long distance relationship could have actually been the difference in my libido on birth control and not on birth control.
Sometimes it’s nice to save up sexual energy for the next time I see my partner, but I don’t want it to always be that way.
I have a PCP now through the Healthcare Marketplace, so maybe once things settle down a little bit with work I’ll make an appointment to talk some of these issues out.
I’m not sure if there are non-hormonal options to manage my symptoms. I can’t handle that level of pain every month, and can’t afford to miss work since I don’t have sick days, but I’m not sure I want to feel I’m compromising my libido, either.
I’ve had a few women mention endometrial ablation as an option. I could also see if anyone will give me a hysterectomy. But I’m not sure what that does to one’s sex drive, either.
There aren’t any easy answers, but I’m trying to find my way back to myself. And at least this medicine hasn’t shut me down completely.