Study Examines Effect of Hormonal Contraception on Sexual Desire

Oral contraceptive pill use was not associated with lack of interest in sex.
Oral contraceptive pill use was not associated with lack of interest in sex.

(HealthDay News) — Almost one-quarter of women report lacking interest in sex at six months after initiating a new contraceptive method, according to a study published in the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Amanda Boozalis, from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues examined the effect of hormonal contraception on sexual desire in a cross-sectional analysis of 1,938 participants enrolled in the Contraceptive CHOICE Project. Participants completed telephone surveys at baseline and six months.

The researchers found that 23.9 percent of participants reported a lack of interest in sex at six months after initiating a new contraceptive method; 18.3 percent of copper intrauterine device (IUD) users (reference group) reported a lack of interest in sex. Lack of interest in sex was more prevalent among young women (younger than 18 years, adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.04), black women (aOR, 1.78), and those married or living with a partner (aOR, 1.82). Participants using depot medroxyprogesterone, the vaginal ring, and the implant more commonly reported lack of interest in sex, compared with copper IUD users (aORs, 2.61, 2.53, and 1.60, respectively). Hormonal IUD, oral contraceptive pill, and patch use were not associated with lack of interest in sex.

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"Clinicians should be reassured that most women do not experience a reduced sex drive with the use of most contraceptive methods," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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