On the heels of Geraldine Seeley’s moving piece about losing her sex drive while on The Pill, Time reports on some data to back up her anecdote. A major study has finally asked whether or not hormonal contraception dampens women’s sex drive.
The answer, basically, is probably.
The research study included 1,000 female medical students who answered questions about what type of birth control they used and what their sex lives were like.The answers were clear: women on hormonal birth control like The Pill were having less sex, and enjoying it less.
There are weaknesses with the methodology. Women were asked to report on what they were already doing, not assigned to use a particular type of birth control. Maybe, critics suggest, there could be something different about women who choose the Pill. In other words the relationship between the Pill and a low sex drive could be correlation, not causation. The study doesn’t really show which.
Here’s one difference. Women who use the Pill are more likely to be in stable long-term relationships. As one researcher said:
“We know that long-term relationships increase the risk of female sexual dysfunction — a condition easily treated with a new partner, which is many times more effective than any drug or hormone,”
Maybe these women should consider a jaunt over to Ashley Madison “for health reasons”?
Or not. Critics of this study have also pointed out that in their rush to offer new treatments, drug companies and scientists sometimes invent new illnesses. Maybe “female sexual dysfunction” is being defined too broadly. A lot of women might simply not be that into sex, and be perfectly OK with that thank you very much.
What do you think? Have you noticed the Pill squashing your sex drive? Or, for that matter, your long-term relationship damping out those flames?