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Newer birth control pills can put a damper on a woman’s sex life

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Newer birth controls pills can interfere with sexual arousal and orgasm.

Birth control pills have fewer side effects than in the past, but researchers say they can put a damper on a woman’s sex life by interfering with arousal, lubrication, orgasm and sexual desire.

Researcher Nicole Smith, Indiana University’s project coordinator at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion Smith says, "Contraception in general is a wonderful way for women to plan their families. It's something women are often on for as many as 30 years or more; it plays a huge part in their life."
Woman's study shows birth control pills could disrupt healthy sexy life

But she says newer birth control pills seem can have negative side effects that might mean switching to another form of contraception. Side effects contraceptive pills could mean women would stop taking them altogether.

But Smith also notes some women may want to explore other methods for birth control. She says in her own practice, many women report negative side effects from taking birth control pills.

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"A great effort has been made to make condoms more pleasurable for men," Smith said. "But you don't hear about this same effort going toward reducing the negative impact of contraception on women's sexual functioning. It's just not part of the discussion."

In the study, researchers analyzed data from 1,101 sexually active women, taken from the Kinsey Institute's Women's Well-being study.

The women were almost equally divided in birth control methods that include birth control pills, patch, ring or injections, and women using other methods such as condoms, diaphragm, cervical cap or withdrawal.

Smith says few studies have been done since the 1980’s that target women’s sexual function that use hormonal contraception. The study shows birth control pills can interfere with a woman’s sex life.

She adds there are many choices for contraception, and women “should also be counseled on the many highly effective forms of birth control currently available; switching to another method might work better for them," she said. Newer birth control pills can interfere with arousal, lubrication and orgasm, found in the analysis.

Image credit: Morguefile