Sex Sex Sex

Dry Vagina, Bad Sex: Is it my birth control?


 

pill_topic_pages_above_navigation.jpg__500x375_q80_subsampling-2.jpgOften people ask, could it be that my birth control is making my vagina dry? 

The short answer is yes, oral contraceptive pills can in fact cause vaginal dryness. However, it should also be mentioned that birth control is not always the reason why vaginal dryness occurs, check out the vaginal dryness guide to assess!

The reason why birth control pills (and other birth control methods such as hormonal IUD’s, Nuvaring etc.) can cause vaginal dryness is because it alters your hormones that are required to maintain vaginal lubrication. When we alter the level of estrogen in our body, and often reduce the estrogen level, this also reduces the level of vaginal lubrication. Estrogen is the hormone that typically helps keep the vaginal walls lubricated and wet. The more wet you are, the less likely you are to tear or chafe, which leads to more comfortable sex!

Many birth control pills are made of a mix of synthetic estrogen and synthetic progesterone. This make up is created to thicken cervical mucus (which makes it hard for sperm to reach the egg) as well as stop ovulation from occurring.

If there is no egg, there will be nothing to fertilize. 

Sex without lubrication can make for a very uncomfortable experience. The vagina, including the vaginal walls, and the opening of the vagina can tear (with either big or tiny cuts), or become chafed leading to incredibly painful sexual activity (i.e. fingering/oral sex/penetration with sex toys/intercourse). These cuts also make you more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections.

So, now what do you do if your birth control is causing dryness?

  • Use Lube

    There is a big stigma about being under 40 and using or needing lubricant. Make a mental note: using or needing lubricant does not mean that you’re not satisfied. It is really unfortunate that many people do not know why lack of lubrication occurs, and often take it personally. Many times people assume that if they’re partner is not lubricated it means that they’re doing something wrong, are not able to pleasure their partner and automatically think that it’s something to do with them. People who have difficulty getting lubricated also think something is wrong with them. This thought process can lead to anxiety, which causes further dryness!

Vaginal dryness can be caused by many different things, and while it could, it most likely has nothing to do with your inability to pleasure your partner. 

  • Coconut oil

    If you and your partner have chosen to stop using condoms, coconut oil can be a great lubricant. It has anti-fungal properties and is also great for moisturizing. The downside to coconut oil is that it can break down condoms, decreasing their effectiveness and leaving you vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. If you are having consensual unprotected sex, and are not allergic to coconut or coconut oil (duh!) then this may be worth giving a try. It also has a little bit of a taste to it, so that’s something to be aware of if you’re going to use it before oral sex.

  • Oral Sex 

    Saliva is a natural lubricant that can be used during foreplay or intercourse. Giving oral sex to a female partner can be a way to lubricate the vagina with your saliva! Saliva is actually the oldest lubricant known! People have been using spit to lubricate vaginas for centuries, because while things may have changed, people have been getting it on forever. While “spitting” is a personal preference and something that many people do like, it is also mainly something people learn from porn videos. Like any other sexual activity, communicating about what turns you on, and what doesn’t is important! Note: you don’t need to actually “spit” to use your saliva as a lubricant.

Be aware that if you have an active cold sore, or feel like you’re getting one, you should not give oral sex or use your saliva as a lubricant, as you could give your partner genital herpes. 

  • Switch birth control

    This is not always the best answer because many different birth control options are going to affect and manipulate your hormones. It is this hormonal fluctuation, or reduction of estrogen that often leads to dryness. Make sure to discuss all options with your OBGYN or Nurse Practitioner to make sure that you’re assessing all options appropriately. There are many different side effects to birth control methods, and it’s important to take all into account when deciding to stay on one kind, or change from one to another.

 

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