We've made it to Week 3 of going hormone-free! Do a celebratory sassy dance around your bedroom, you earned it! So, what're the third symptoms you need to keep an eye out for?
Libido and weight changes
Real talk: some people experience changes in libido or vaginal dryness when they come off hormonal contraception. And here at Team HANX, we're not afraid to take the rough with the smooth, so to speak. Let's talk... vaginal dryness.
There are so many factors that influence vaginal dryness, and it is a common misconception that the more aroused a woman is, the more natural lubricant she produces. Medically speaking, higher levels of arousal are not directly correlated to the amount of natural lubricant produced by the female body, which explains why so many women experience discomfort during sex. You do release natural vaginal lubrication on arousal however, this lubrication is affected by so many other things including hormones, age, certain medications, mental health, relationship factors, stress (hello lockdown), infections, and much more!
Using artificial lubricants can increase pleasurable sensations, ease penetrative sex, and reduce discomfort. Reducing this friction is healthier for the vaginal wall during sex and if you’re having penetrative sex, lubricant can avoid any tears or abrasions *involuntary wince*, which would increase your risk of being susceptible to infections.
When choosing your lube, look out for formulas that contain ingredients that can disrupt your vaginal flora. As a rule of thumb, it’s good to stay away from flavoured lube, as tantalising as it can sound because the sugar present in that bottle of 'Cherry Desire' can increase your risk of getting vaginal thrush. Above all, it’s essential to choose a lube that has a pH similar to that of the vagina (between 3.8 and 4.5). HANX lube has a pH of 4.5, so your vagina stays healthy and happy. Score! 🍒
Question: which ingredient commonly found in lube shares its name with a song by 90's rock band, Bush? Give it up for g-g-g-glycerin, which makes for a really catchy tune but can damage vaginal tissues in the long run. HANX lube does not contain glycerin. Ever. Not once.
Water-based lubricants like HANX’s are compatible with condoms, but oil-based lubes are not, as the oil can dissolve latex and break the condom. Equally, Vaseline or baby oil may increase your likelihood of getting vaginal infections, so be careful with these - best saved for taking off stubborn liquid eyeliner at the end of a wild night, Team HANX style.
Not an unusual problem, but mismatched libidos can be a real tricky one in a relationship.
You may have a low or a much higher libido than your partner. Each scenario isn’t ideal and brings with it challenges, but above all else, the best thing to do is talk about it and be honest with your partner about how you’re feeling. This can often be mutual! If you have a lower sex drive your self-esteem may suffer, and if your sex drive is higher than your partner's then you may feel under pressure and inadequate... and that's just not fair for either of you.
In an ideal world, you and your partner would have identical sex drives, but not only is this unrealistic, but it is also important to note that our sex drives fluctuate over time. So many things affect our libido, including stress, pregnancy/ childbirth, our physical and mental health, and many more.
Mis-matched libidos shouldn’t be a deal-breaker in a relationship, so if your (or your partners) libido has taken a hit, give it a boost using the tips below:
Check out our tips for managing stress, as stress and anxiety can negatively affect your libido.
Foreplay is a must. It takes us all different times to ‘get in the mood’ and to help this, foreplay is essential. You may decide not to progress to penetrative sex, and rather explore your erogenous areas, focus on touching, kissing, and play. Tell your partner what works, set the scene, whether it’s candles, sexy lingerie (whatever that means to you), the 'let's get it on' playlist… (and on that note, make sure you’re not going to be interrupted or have any distractions). This may progress into sex, or it may not, but either way, you’ll be developing a deeper bond with your partner.
Masturbation - It doesn’t need to be done solo. Mutual masturbation or pleasuring your partner when you’re not in the mood (or vice versa) is another solid option. Go, team! And get buy one, get one half price on HANX condoms and lube with code: PLUSONE before midnight on Sunday, May 31st. Wink.
General wellbeing helps with improving libido. So stay healthy, eat a nutritious diet, get those aphrodisiacs in (oysters on ice, you say) and make sure you get enough good quality sleep. Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Not only can this help your body confidence, but it will also help improve stamina, and muscle tone. On that note, do those Kegels if you can!
We’ve said it once and we'll say it again… Communicate with your partner. Be honest about how you’re feeling to them and to yourself. Often you’re both just as keen to get your libidos matching, and want to support each other. It may take some time, but in any relationship, you will go through ups and downs throughout your time together. However, if you need to improve your relationship, consider couples counselling or support. Sometimes the relationship you’re in can be the reason you’re libido is not on top form.
You can also consider seeing a sex therapist if things are not improving. They can be a neutral source of advice and support, and often uncover other underlying issues.
Whatever your situation, you’re not alone - chat more on HANX Life Hormone Harmony closed group now.