Does The Pill Make Sex Terrible?

New research shows that The Pill reduces lubrication, arousal, and a woman’s ability to orgasm, thus lending credence to my theory that a lot of hormonal birth control “controls” whether or not you give “birth” by making you never want to have sex. We just can’t win with our ladyparts, can we?

The study, conducted at Indiana University, surveyed 1,101 sexually active women and found that hormonal contraception can make sex not-as-good, and that a lack of female enjoyment of sex led to those women who were on birth control having less sex than their hormone-free counterparts.

That’s no reason to eschew The Pill (or patch, or ring, or shot) altogether, say researchers. Rather, women experiencing birth control’s negative effects should consider adding lube or sex toys to the doing it repertoire, or, you know, watch more vintage porn or something. Women should also know that just because one form of hormonal birth control makes them suddenly get all Scandinavian in the sack doesn’t mean all of them will. Keep trying different kinds! Hooray! (What they fail to mention is that switching birth control can sometimes lead to weird hormone-induced emotional swings and the dreaded Eternal Period, which is what happened to a friend of mine when she switched from one pill to another.)

Researchers lamented what they say is a dearth in research into ways to make sex more pleasurable to women who choose hormonal contraception. Says Nicole Smith, project coordinator at IU’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion,

A great effort has been made to make condoms more pleasurable for men. 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.

On one hand, for many women, the peace of mind birth control affords is worth slightly diminished sexual enjoyment; having sex without spending the whole ordeal preoccupied with fear of getting pregnant is nice. It’s also nice to be in a monogamous relationship and not have to pause before sex to fiddle with a condom wrapper. It’s nice to banish the smell of latex from the bedroom.

On the other hand, this study may not have controlled for the fact that many men in Bloomington, Indiana smell so strongly of Axe Body Spray and hair gel that it’s nearly impossible to become aroused, birth control or not.

The Pill might not be helping your sex life [Toronto Sun]

Image via Jacob Kearns/Shutterstock

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