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Vaginal Ring and Sex Drive: What Are the Effects?

Photo of Dr Katherine Hertlein
Reviewed by Dr Katherine Hertlein,
created by Blueheart
created by Josh Green
created by Sophie Browness
Photo of Dr Katherine Hertlein
Reviewed by Dr Laura Vowels,
created by Blueheart
created by Josh Green
created by Sophie Browness

When was the last time you felt like having sex? Has it been a while? It's alright! You think this may be affecting your love life? Whether you have a partner or not, you may be feeling like sex is the least of your priorities right now.

You may be having a low sex drive, and guess what? It's quite common! You're not alone.

You may be looking to understand what is going on and whether or not you can change it. The simple answer is, of course, you can! But first, it's important to figure out what is causing the low sex drive.

It can be due to different factors like if you have been stressed lately or feeling anxiety, fatigue, or depression; it also depends on the kind of contraception you're using, any medical issues like arthritis or hormonal changes, if you feel pain during sex, and much more.

We offer numerous articles regarding libido problems, relationships, and talking to your doctor about sex. But now, specifically, we want to talk about the vaginal ring and how it can affect your sex drive.

Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking of getting a vaginal ring as contraception.

The vaginal ring

First and foremost, what is a vaginal ring? Basically, it is a small and soft latex-free plastic ring that you place inside your vagina for three weeks at a time. It is basically birth control.

Releasing the estrogen and progesterone hormones into your body and preventing pregnancy. It stops ovulation by changing the fluid in your cervix and making it thicker, limiting the ability for the sperm to enter the womb.

Cool right? A vaginal ring is an option for contraception as it is very effective and reliable.

Vaginal rings, when used correctly, prevent pregnancies 96%-99% of the time, meaning that only one to four women out of a hundred would get pregnant when using them.  

However, it's important to keep in mind its side effects. Besides vaginal dryness and discharge, womb cramps, and enlarged breasts, vaginal rings can reduce sex drive.

In fact, 60% of people who use it stated that it lowered their sex drive. So, why do some people choose the vaginal ring?

Their benefits

The truth is, almost every type of hormonal contraception affects the libido, decreasing sex drive. This is why vaginal rings are climbing to the top as one of the best kinds of contraception.

Even though it decreases sex drive (like every other kind of contraception), it is still much more convenient than pills, for example.

It releases the same hormones, but you don't have to remember to change it every day, the same way you would have to take your pills every day. With the vaginal right, you have to remember to replace it with a new one monthly.

You don't even notice the ring is inside of you. But, it's there, protecting you from any unwanted pregnancies. Very different from a male condom, though.

Not only that, but some people claim that their periods become lighter! Only with this feature may you think that the vaginal ring truly works wonders. Periods can become regular and less painful too.

Just like the pill, the vaginal ring does not affect fertility in the future. They both are known for helping with acne and symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Some disadvantages

Besides decreasing sex drive, as previously mentioned, the vaginal ring can't be used by women who had breast cancer, liver disease, migraines, unexplained vaginal bleeding, heart attacks, a stroke, or blood clots.

It is not recommended for smokers over 35 years old and, or to those who are overweight, have diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. And, additionally, those who are breastfeeding can't use it as the estrogen hormone can affect the mother's milk.

It is only available on prescription in both the U.S. and the U.K., as well as in Canada and India; and it is very expensive compared to other types of contraception.

Please make sure to speak with your doctor to figure out which kind of contraception fits best for you!

All in all, it's an option for contraception, but it's always necessary to evaluate everything first and see if it's the greatest fit for you.

Why is sex drive important?

Well, believe it or not, the amount of sexual desire you have can tell your overall state of mental and physical health. And, of course, you should be the healthiest version of yourself you can be so you can be happy.

But, what is the normal amount of sex drive? And how do you know if you're close to that?

The truth is, normal is subjective, and it is very specific to each individual. First, you should figure out what your "normal" is and if you're satisfied with it. If you are and you're happy, go you! If you're not, then it's time to seek help. Makes sense?

The amount you are having only becomes a problem when it is an issue for you and, or your partner.

Take a look at your lifestyle as well. Are you sleeping enough? Are you exercising at least once on a regular day? And, if you are in a relationship, is it a priority for you?

These can affect your sex drive more than you think! You should be well-rested, and if you have issues with sleep, exercise is the perfect way to induce relaxation that will put you to sleep right away.

The good thing is that almost every factor affecting your sex drive positively or negatively can be modified! Modifying whatever is affecting your libido is exactly what you would need to finally experience a fulfilling sex drive and sex life.

However, if you ever feel stuck, you can always reach out to professionals and see what they have to say about your situation specifically! They may recommend lifestyle changes, mindfulness, medicine, and, or therapy.

Lifestyle changes

Perhaps adding exercise to your daily routine or committing to dietary changes. A great way to decrease or eliminate any accumulated stress or anxiety is by exercising.

Any kind of exercise, as long as you are releasing sweat, can increase your sex drive. The ideal scenario is one where you've integrated exercise into your daily schedule, which will ultimately improve your sexual satisfaction in general.

But, baby steps are key. It's okay if you are slowly adding exercise into your life! Just remember, if you're feeling like your sex drive is once again crawling back, you may need a yoga session or a gym session to boost it.

Another imperative factor is the food you're eating! Reducing the amount of red meat, cutting back on high quantities of salt in your plates, and replacing white carbs with whole-grain versions, will boost your overall health.

And, in the long haul, your sex drive too! The secret is to try to reduce your insulin and cholesterol levels.

It is only a matter of figuring out what you enjoy doing and balancing those hormones and your mental health. Do you prefer dancing over yoga? Or the contrary?

Maybe you used to swim when you were a kid. Would it be a bad idea to re-start that habit right before bed? Or perhaps after you've just woken up?

Have fun in the process, don't be too hard on yourself! Who knows? Maybe you find your passion on the way.

If you have questions, we offer insightful studies on our website, where you'll find all the science!

Mindfulness

If you include exercise in your everyday routine, you are one step closer to your goal. By the reduction of stress and increase of libido that exercise is known to aid with, you may want to pair up mindfulness meditation exercises with physical exercise to get even better results.

The purpose of doing meditation exercises is to ground you in the present, preventing your mind from slipping away into the worries of the future or any other discomfort in general.

Mindfulness helps you stay in the moment, focusing solely on what you feel the instant you are practicing your meditation. The goal is to help you begin to pay attention to your body, to your breathing, instead of leaving your mind to wander.

This is a great introduction, but if you're looking for a technique that's specifically targeted at libido problems, and based on decades of scientific research in the sex therapy field you might like to try Sensate Focus.

Quality time

Another thing to keep in mind is finding time for activities with nothing to do with sexual intimacy. It may sound weird to certain partners, or it may just sound weird in general. But it really isn't!

Everyone should be spending time with their partner in non-sexual activities like hiking, painting, or reading. There is literally no limit to what you can do, and the greatest part is that you don't have to figure it out by yourself!

Take the time to reconnect with each other. It might just help boost that sex drive right up again.

And, if you are not in a relationship but occasionally have sex, it's a good idea to spend time with yourself the same way you would with a partner. Try some self-care or activities you enjoy.

Try therapy

Talking with someone is always a good idea. Why don't you try it? We offer digital sex therapy for couples with libido issues. It is as easy as a click away, you've already taken the first step. If you're not sure what sex therapy means exactly, we've got you covered with our guide on: Everything you need to know about sex therapy.

If you are using a vaginal ring and find that your sex drive is at its lowest, you can always talk to your doctor and see if you should switch to another kind of contraception. If it's been causing you distress then don't worry, Blueheart is here. We can help you manage and overcome your libido issues whatever contraception you're using. Of course, it's possible that your low libido is caused by something else. Have a look at our comprehensive guide on low libido causes, if you suspect there's something else keeping you away from sexual desire.

What are you waiting for? Get on the train of a joyful life filled with satisfying and healthy sexual intercourse! Download our app!

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