TIME Sex

How Changing Your Birth Control Can Make Sex Worse

Birth control pills
Getty Images

A new study published in Psychological Science finds that women who go on or off the pill after starting a relationship were less satisfied sexually than those who kept the same birth control regimen after meeting a new partner

If sex with your boyfriend got worse after you changed your birth control regimen, it wasn’t a fluke. Women’s sexual satisfaction in long-term, heterosexual relationships may be influenced by the pill, a new study published in Psychological Science shows.

Researchers at the University of Stirling surveyed 365 couples, asking them about both their sexual and non-sexual satisfaction with their relationships. They found that women who met their partner while taking the pill and were still currently taking the pill reported greater sexual satisfaction in their relationships than those women who either began taking the pill or stopped taking the pill sometime during their relationship.

Women who had never used the pill at any point were also happier sexually with their relationship than those who either started or stopped using oral contraception. The researchers also found no difference in non-sexual satisfaction among the groups.

The takeaway? If you switch your birth control, you risk sabotaging your sex life.

The new research supports previous findings that hormonal contraceptives can alter a woman’s ideal partner preferences. Women who are on the pill when they meet their boyfriend may find him less attractive after going off the pill.

“Our new results support these earlier findings but, crucially, they also point to the impact a change in hormonal contraceptive use during a relationship — either starting or stopping — can have on a woman’s sexual satisfaction with her partner,” lead researcher Craig Roberts said in the study. “We hope our results will help women understand why they might feel the way they do about their partner when they change use.”

 

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser