In a Frenzy
Dear Patrick: I went on birth control pills two months ago because my husband went back on a promise to have a vasectomy. We started a family when we were very young. Now all of our kids are out of the house, but I haven't gone through menopause yet, and I don't want any surprises to ruin our plans for retirement.
My question is kind of embarrassing for a woman in her late forties, but have you ever heard of “the pill” behaving as an aphrodisiac? I can't seem to stop thinking about sex. My poor husband is happy but kind of sore, and he did say once that it's a good thing he doesn't have any stitches in his family jewels.
I can't remember ever feeling so physical about sex. I always liked making love with him. He was patient in bed and never put his own gratification ahead of mine. It took a while for us to hit a good rhythm together, but once we got synchronized, I looked forward to the evenings when he didn't have to wake up early the next morning. Then we could stay up a bit late and have a party under the sheets.
The feeling I have now is nothing like that. Instead of being 80% emotional and 20% physical, my sex drive is 90% physical. If I wasn't married, I would be out looking for somebody to drag home. The only thing that has changed is taking birth control. I gained 20 pounds over the years, and I haven't lost any weight or changed my diet or any other medications. What is wrong with me?
What's wrong with you? What's right with you! You have a real gift here. Don't toss away a chance to have a second honeymoon with your husband. I'm sure he will be delighted to feel so much heat next to him in bed. It's truly wonderful when a committed couple has a renaissance of desire. So don't waste any time trying to diagnose this as if it were a problem. Accept it as a wonderful opportunity to reconnect and have some new experiences. Don't feel that all of your gratification has to come from your husband, either. This is a great chance to have five-star fantasies and masturbation experiences.
It would be interesting to know if your sex drive increased when you were pregnant. Many experts compare the birth control pill hormones to pregnancy. Do you see a connection there?
It is also possible that you are feeling more sexual because you know you can't get pregnant. This can be such an overriding concern for many women that it just becomes part of the background noise, a source of stress that is barely noticed. Now that this limiting concern is gone, you may realize how much you limited your sexuality because you did not want a larger family. As feminist Carole S. Vance noted in a book of the same name, female sexuality is often about both “Pleasure and Danger.”
Would it help to know that you are not alone? Other women have reported a sharp upturn in desire when they went on The Pill. Since all of its other side effects are pretty yucky, I'm glad you get to enjoy being protected and lusty as well. Go for it, girl, go for it!