Despite its known benefits and convenience, newer forms of hormonal contraception could hamper arousal, orgasms and frequency of sex in women, driving joy out of act for them.
“Contraception in general is a wonderful way for women to plan their families,” said Nicole Smith, study co-author and project coordinator at Indiana University’s Centre for Sexual Health Promotion (CSHP).
“It’s something women are often on for as many as 30 years or more; it plays a huge part in their life. If they’re experiencing these negative effects, they might stop using contraception correctly or altogether,” said Smith, according to an Indiana release.
“Women should also be counselled on the many highly effective forms of birth control currently available; switching to another method might work better for them,” she said.
The study involved 1,101 sexually active women split almost evenly between those using a hormonal form of contraception such as the pill, patch, ring or shot, and those women using a non-hormonal form, such as a condom, diaphragm, cervical cap or withdrawal.
The study, based on data collected by the Kinsey Institute’s Women’s Wellbeing study, found that women from both the groups reported similar levels of sexual satisfaction which included things such as intimacy and romance.
But women using hormonal contraception experienced less arousal, fewer orgasms, difficulties with lubrication, decreased pleasure and less frequent sex.
“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.”
Researchers have examined the relationship between hormonal forms of contraception and sexual functioning but, Smith said, few studies have been conducted since the 1980s.
Smith’s study, conducted with colleagues from CSHP and the Kinsey Institute, provides updated findings and also important information for clinicians to use when helping women with their birth control needs.