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Types of Contraceptives May Influence Sexual Desire

Types of Contraceptives May Influence Sexual Desire

Birth control methods vary widely and work in different ways. Some, such as birth control pills and vaginal rings, involve hormones to prevent pregnancy. Others, like condoms and diaphragms, form a barrier so that sperm cannot travel past the cervix.

All approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. When considering hormonal contraceptives, some women worry about sexual side effects, like low desire and problems with arousal.

In a recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study, American researchers took a closer look at how hormonal contraceptives affect sexual desire.

They conducted two separate studies. The first included 349 women and 160 men whose partners used contraceptives. The second involved 203 couples and focused on contraceptives, desire, and long-term relationships.

The researchers found that contraceptive type did play a role in women’s desire for both solo and partnered sex. Women who used non-hormonal contraceptives felt more desire for solo sex. Women who took birth control pills felt more desire for partnered sex when compared to those who used non-hormonal methods. Contraceptive type did not seem to affect sexual desire in the men.

When considering long-term relationships, the scientists discovered that couples had sex less frequently and felt less desire as they got older and as their relationship length increased, no matter what kind of birth control they used.  

More research is needed, however. Many other factors, including health status and relationship issues can also lower libido.

If you or your partner have questions about contraception or low desire, be sure to talk to a doctor. He or she can help determine which method of birth control is right for you.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Mark, Kristen P., PhD, MPH, et al.

“Impact of Contraceptive Type on Sexual Desire of Women and of Men Partnered to Contraceptive Users”

(Full-text. Published online: July 22, 2016)