Hard to Swallow
Does The Pill Lower Your Libido?
The Pill just celebrated its 50th Birthday, but this milestone comes with some not-so-stellar news about its affect on women's sex drives.
According to Time magazine, German researchers found that women who use hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills) have lower libido levels than women who use non-hormonal contraceptives (condoms or diaphragms) or no contraception at all. The findings were just published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, lending further evidence to doctors' theories that oral birth control may make women less interested in sex.
One of the study's authors, Alfred Mueck, who directs the Center of Women's Health at the University Hospital of Tübingen in Germany, told Time that stress and relationship status (which could definitely have a role in affecting sex drive) did not play a factor in their results: “The data showed that the association between lower libido and hormonal contraceptives was independent of other variables.”
This news comes on the heels of an April study about libido done by the International Society for the Study of Women's Health. ABC News reported that those researchers found that more young women ages 18-30 are reporting a loss of desire, and that these woman feel both guilt and distress over their sex lives. Researchers have also pinpointed antidepressant medication as a potential culprit for keeping desire levels low, with as many as half of women taking antidepressants (such as SSRIs) experiencing a decrease in their desire levels. This, of course, brings into question whether it's just the Pill reducing women's sex drives, or a variety of factors.
According to Planned Parenthood, nearly twenty percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 are on the Pill. We wonder if its reported health benefits, such as helping to prevent certain cancers and heart disease, and its convenience will outweigh these findings. So, is it really all bad news in the bedroom? We think not. It's actually exciting that these studies are happening at all, given that the exploration of female desire has historically taken a back seat to men's. And, then, this loss of libido of course begs the question: Will an FDA-approved female Viagra soon become a reality?
The Pill is considered one of the most important results of the sexual revolution.Shutterstock