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The Impact of The Contraceptive Implant on Your Sex Drive

Photo of Dr Katherine Hertlein
Reviewed by Dr Katherine Hertlein,
created by Blueheart
created by Josh Green
created by Sophie Browness
Date published:
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Photo of Dr Katherine Hertlein
Reviewed by Dr Laura Vowels,
created by Blueheart
created by Josh Green
created by Sophie Browness
Date published:
Last updated:

One common method of birth control that women use is the contraceptive implant. Unfortunately, sometimes people taking this type of contraception report a low sex drive. This can lead them to feel upset and frustrated with their sex life.

The trouble is, they're taking the contraception to have sex, but many hormonal contraceptions actually decrease or change their levels of sexual desire. What results is a catch—22!

If you're interested in learning more about implant contraception and sex drive, you're in the right place. Let's take a look at how this birth control affects your libido.

What is libido and how does it work?

To better understand how contraception affects your sex drive, let's talk about how libido works. Libido is a person's sexual desire or their interest in sexual activity.

Everyone has a different level of libido. A few factors that influence your libido include:

  • Your relationship
  • Any medications you're taking
  • Your mental health
  • Your physical well-being
  • Hormone levels
  • Pregnancy and menopause

While this isn't an exhaustive list, it can help you understand a few factors that may be causing your libido to be high or low. Both having high and low libido are issues that people struggle with. If you're interested in reasons to why your libido might be lower than you want it to be, or lower than it was before, check out our comprehensive guide on low libido causes, medically reviewed by Dr. Kat Hertlein.

What is Implanon / Nexplanon implant contraception?

Now that you understand libido, let's talk about implant contraception. The implant is a type of hormonal birth control. However, this birth control isn't taken orally.

Instead, the implant is placed underneath the skin in your arm. It's fitted by a doctor or a nurse and is put in place in a method similar to having an injection.

The implant works by slowly releasing progestogen into the bloodstream. This hormone is one of the main active ingredients found in oral birth control pills. It works by preventing your body from ovulating and thickening the cervical mucus to make it more difficult for sperm to travel through the womb.

Implants are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. They last for about four years, which means they're a good method of birth control for anyone needing long-term protection.

Advantages of the implant

Implant contraception provides users with several important benefits. For one, the implant lasts for three years without needing to be changed. In addition, it doesn't interrupt sex or cause any discomfort.

It's also a great option for women who aren't able to use other contraceptives that include estrogen because it only releases progestogen. What's more, as soon as it's removed, a woman's fertility returns, and she can get pregnant.

Disadvantages of the implant

While implant contraception may provide you with several benefits, it can also have some disadvantages. For one, you may experience breast tenderness, headaches, nausea, mood swings, and other side effects during the first few months of using this method of birth control.

On top of that, your periods may become irregular and therefore harder to predict, it might even stop all together but it will return once you come off the implant. You may also experience worsened acne or skin issues, which can be an issue for some women.

Finally, this method of birth control doesn't protect against sexually transmitted diseases. You'll need to use another form of protection to keep you safe from these.

Who can use the implant?

Most healthy women are good candidates for implant contraception. There are, however, a few instances in which a woman may not be able to use this type of birth control.

If you're happy with your periods as they are, the implant may not be best for you as it's likely they will change. If you think you may be pregnant you must not go on the implant, speak to your doctor about other options. There are a few other reasons why someone wouldn't be able to get the implant, if you:

  • Are allergic to any components of the implant
  • Have had serious blood clots, a heart attack or a stroke
  • Have liver tumors or liver disease
  • Have known or suspected breast cancer or a history of breast cancer
  • Have undiagnosed abnormal genital bleeding (if you have this, please see your doctor right away)

Certain medications may also make a woman ineligible for implant contraception. In these cases, it's best to speak with your general practitioner about whether or not the implant is a possibility.

How does implant contraception affect libido?

When it comes to birth control, people may experience varying changes in their libido. Many hormonal birth control methods can cause sex drive issues that can lead to relationship problems.

The implant and low libido

Implant contraception, which is commonly known as Implanon or Nexplanon, can sometimes cause low libido. Roughly one in every twenty people using the implant will experience low libido due to their implant contraceptive.

On top of that, when compared to other birth control methods, implant contraceptive users were more likely to report lowered libido. This is in comparison with a copper IUD method of birth control.

The implant and high libido

Not everyone who gets an implant contraceptive experiences low libido. Some people actually report having a higher sex drive than usual.

Typically, people reported having higher levels of satisfaction in the bedroom and better sexual functioning after six months of using the implant. Others reported that they had reduced menstrual cramps and reduced stress due to concerns of unplanned pregnancy.

The reduction in stress and period pain can make sex a more positive experience overall, enhancing sexual desire. This can cause disparities between a person's sex drive and their partners, which can lead to relational difficulties.

What can I do if I'm experiencing low libido?

If you have low libido, the good news is that there are at-home remedies you can use to help combat this issue. By making some small diet and lifestyle changes, you may be able to get your sexual desire back.

Drink less alcohol

One way to boost your libido is to cut back on alcoholic beverages. While people commonly associate wine with romance, too much of it can actually lead to lowered libido. If you're going to have wine, limit it to one glass, making sure not to overdo it, or you may not perform as well in bed.

Reduce stress

Stress is one of the biggest libido killers out there. What's worse, women's sex drives are more likely to be affected by stress than those of men. You can cut back on stress by exercising, practicing meditation, or finding other ways to relax and unwind.

Get more sleep

Not getting enough sleep leads to fatigue and tiredness. This, in turn, can affect your sex drive and make it difficult to get in the mood. Make sure you're getting at least eight hours of sleep a night to help kick your sex drive into gear.

Talk to your doctor

Sometimes, you might have underlying health concerns that could be affecting your libido. Speaking to your doctor can help rule any of these issues out and ensure that your libido issues aren't linked to any medical concerns.

Try sex therapy

Sex drive therapy might sound scary, but in reality, it's a great way to learn to communicate better with your partner. With sex drive therapy, you can learn to talk about sex with your partner and improve your relationship. Doing so can help you get your libido back.

What is sex therapy for libido and how does it work?

Therapy for libido is just what it sounds like—therapy to get your sex drive back in check. This type of therapy can be a great option for individuals or couples who are struggling with a reduced sex drive. We've written a complete guide on sex therapy, so be sure to check that out!

Typically, libido therapy works by fostering good communication with you and your partner. Your therapist will help the two of you to open up to each other and explain your frustrations.

This therapy can be extremely beneficial, because your partner may not understand what's going on. By having a space where you can be open and honest, the two of you can address your feelings surrounding your sex life.

On top of that, your therapist will work with you and your partner on activities and exercises that help improve the way you two connect. They may also give you suggestions and resources for boosting intimacy and lighting that fire again.

Digital sex therapy

Implant contraception can change your libido, but whether it's in a good way or a bad way depends on each person. Understanding how this birth control works and what effect it has on your body can help you take the steps needed to get your sexual desire back.

Whether you're thinking of changing your contraception or at the stage where you're feeling the effects and want to do something about it, hope is here. Using Sensate Focus, Blueheart can help you get in touch with sex again.

If you're looking for a solution for improving your libido, Blueheart is a great choice. Take the assessment and we'll put together a relevant plan for you in our app.

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