Hormonal Birth Control May Affect Women's Sexual Arousal & Pleasure
A recent Indiana University study collected data from 1,100 sexually active women, half of whom used hormonal birth control (the pill, patch, ring, or shot) and half of whom used non-hormonal birth control (condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, or withdrawal).
Though the women of the two groups reported similar levels of sexual satisfaction (which was established on grounds of intimacy and romance), the women using hormonal birth control methods experienced less sexual arousal and fewer orgasms, decreased lubrication and pleasure, and ultimately, had sex less frequently. On a positive note, we can just whip out this study instead of having to use the ole “I have a headache” response.
Lead researcher Nicole Smith said that women “need to know that there are options, such as lubricants or other sexual enhancement products that may help to alleviate some of the negative effects they are experiencing.” (There’s also the option of “try harder, dude,” for our more vocal contingency.) Women should also be well informed about other, non-hormonal birth control methods, so that they can find the solution that’s right for them if they are experiencing negative side-effects.
While an enormous effort has been made to make condoms more pleasurable for men, “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," Smith says. (Apparently we’re still paying for that whole making them eat the apple/snake thing.)
Very few studies have looked closer at this problematic medical phenomenon that at once encourages females’ sexual freedom and limits it; Smith’s study is among the first since the 1980s in the U.S. to study the relationship between hormonal contraception and sexual functioning in women.
No woman deserves getting stuck with a sub-par sex life. So if you think hormonal birth control may be negatively affecting you, talk to your health care provider about alternate options. Or, become a scientist who finds a good male birth control method. Someone needs to take it for the team.
Source: Indiana University (2011). Not your mother's birth control, same troubles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031082056.htm
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