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Body Talks: How do Hormones Affect Your Sex Drive?


Whenever you get a sudden craving for food, or burst out crying from watching a dog in a PetSmart commercial, chances are you blame it on our hormones. As menstruating humans, we’ll say things like, “It must be the beginning of my period,” or, “My hormones are all out of whack.” But what exactly are hormones? What is it that women put into their bodies in the form of a pill or an IUD? The thing that makes us uncontrollably hungry, causes breakdowns on the subway, or makes us want to pounce on any person you make eye contact with across the room?

Hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted into the bloodstream through endocrine glands. These endocrine glands can be found in the thyroid, pancreas, testicals and ovaries (news-medical.net). Ovaries secrete estrogen, testosterone and progesterone – the female sex hormones. For people born with a uterus, estrogen is the main sex hormone. It causes puberty, prepares the body and uterus for pregnancy, and regulates the menstrual cycle. Once in the bloodstream, hormones travel to organs and tissues to help them function. There are many types of hormones that affect different bodily processes. These can include things such as: development and growth, sexual function and reproductive health, cognitive function and mood, and metabolism of food (hormone.org).

Most birth control pills contain man-made forms of estrogen and progestin. Both of these hormones are naturally made in the ovaries. Estrogen and progestin prevent ovaries from releasing an egg during a menstrual cycle, which occurs during ovulation. This is done by altering the levels of natural hormones the body makes. Progestin also makes a thick and sticky mucus around the cervix, which helps prevent sperm from entering the uterus (medlineplus.org).

As said earlier, the female sex hormones are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These hormones are what affect women’s sexual desire and functioning. Although often seen as a male hormone, when it comes to sexual desire, testosterone is the most influential one. Menstruation, birth control, pregnancy, nursing, perimenopause/ menopause, and adrenal/ovary removal can all affect hormones, and therefore sexual desire. During your menstrual cycle, a peak of sexual desire happens before and around ovulation, and the lowest level of libido often occurs before menstruation. Birth control can affect people differently, causing a heightened or lessened sexual desire depending on the person (ourbodiesourselves.org).

Know your cycle and know what hormones are in your birth control to best figure out where your body is at. Most importantly, don’t fight against the feelings your hormones are giving you. If you want to cry, cry! If you want to finish a giant bag of chips, then do it! Female desire and emotions are often criticized, but they are what make women the magical creatures we are.

Nina
Recent New School Grad
WIYB Subscriber, Ambassador & Contributing Writer
@ninnalunna
@whatsinyourbox_

 

SOURCES

http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Hormones.aspx

http://www.hormone.org/hormones-and-health/what-do-hormones-do

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007460.htm

http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/hormones-affecting-sexual-desire/

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