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Does the Pill Kill Your Sex Drive?

By Sierra Black |

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?

Photo: Blmurch

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About Sierra Black


Sierra Black

Sierra Black lives, writes and raises her kids in the Boston area. She loves irreverence, hates housework and wants to be a writer and mom when she grows up. Read bio and latest posts → Read Sierra's latest posts →

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7 thoughts on “Does the Pill Kill Your Sex Drive?

  1. Mamabear says:

    The pill totally killed my sex drive. No just “oh, I am not interested today”, but “why would anyone bother to have sex?”

  2. David says:

    Comments I guess you could say the pill works, if you don’t have sex you won’t have kids!

  3. Maggie says:

    Can’t speak for the current versions. But back in 1965, when I first took Enovid-E (a much larger dose of estrogen than in current Pills), I was in a stable, longterm relationship … and our sex life changed fairly abruptly within the first six months on the pill. Both of us attributed the change to having moved in together, and the stress of planning the wedding my dad wanted for his only daughter. But in 1967 when we decided to have a baby and I stopped the Pill, suddenly sex was more interesting and much more delightful. After that child, I went back on a different Pill (Ortho-Novum?) and had a similar experience. Within a year I was using an IUD, and then eventually used a diaphragm. I found hormonal contraception worked chiefly by destroying my libido and making orgasm almost as difficult as Prozac did in the 1990s.

  4. my2cents says:

    Knowing I didn’t have to worry about a baby (until we wanted to) and not having to fool with condoms and being able to have sex pretty much whenever definitely improved our sex life.

  5. Mar says:

    TOTALLY have sex drive problems on every single hormonal birth control I’ve tried (pill, patch, nuvaring, you name it). I’m interested in my husband during the placebo week… except that that corresponds with my period, natch…and by the time that it’s gotten enough out of my system to be truly wild for him, it’s time to start taking it again. UGH. When I’m off the pill, I’m all over the hubs. It’s definitely the hormones.

    Going with a copper IUD from here on out.

  6. BioPHD says:

    When I got off the hormones, I was amazed at the difference in my sex drive. I felt like I had been missing out for the last 8 years of my marriage. I was angry, thinking something was wrong with me all that time because I wasn’t interested in sex. I didn’t look at ANYONE with any sexual interest, so it wasn’t just that I had been in a relationship too long that had lost its ‘spark’.

  7. Women Sex Pills says:

    tudies indicate that the pill changes a woman’s perception of male pheromones. If she started the pill after meeting someone, it is possible her attraction to him will be reduced after starting because the pheromone response in the original attraction is now altered. Likewise, if you are on the pill when you meet someone, and then stop.

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