Birth control may affect long-term relationships
April 5th, 2012
07:34 AM ET

Birth control may affect long-term relationships

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

A recent study shows that women with lower testosterone levels - typically caused by the use of hormone-based oral contraceptives like the pill - are more attracted to men who also have low testosterone levels.

Previous studies have shown that the less testosterone a man has, the less likely he is to cheat, the more supportive he is, and the better he is at providing for his family. Sounds good, right?

Not quite. Previous studies have also shown that most women are historically more sexually attracted to higher testosterone levels. And the mothers in the study who eventually went off birth control post-wedding reported less sexual contentment than other women; they found their husbands less attractive and less sexually exciting once they went off the pill.

Dr. Craig Roberts of Stirling University questioned more than 2,500 women from around the world for his research. Did their taste in men shift? Or did their birth control have a “love-potion” type of effect?

When a woman uses hormonal birth control containing estrogen, she decreases her levels of available testosterone. And while women have much less testosterone in their systems than men - women’s bodies contain about 10% the amount of testosterone men do - what they do have helps fuel sexual desire, fantasy and the ability to become naturally lubricated in response to arousal.

So it makes sense that when a woman’s testosterone levels are diminished even further by something like the pill, she might be left feeling blasé about sex: hence her potential attraction to a low-testosterone male.

So it may not be as much the issue of going off birth control as it going on it in the first place. Sexual health expert Dr. Madeleine Castellanos cautions women to think carefully about their choice of contraceptive: "Some of these side effects are so serious that I now urge young women to consider just using condoms and leaving the birth control pills behind."

In addition to libido-shifts, some women who go on hormonal birth control experience pain during intercourse due to irritation of the tissues surrounding the opening of the vagina. In many cases, this is because she is unable to become physically aroused. And those who don’t deal with the issue may actually go on to develop vestibulodynia - a chronic and significant pain surrounding the opening of the vagina and the area of the perineum.

But for those who don’t want to give up the pill, there are women who find that triphasic birth control pills (different amounts of hormones every week) have less of an impact on their sex drive than monophasic pills (same amount of hormones each dose). Of course, hormones affect every woman differently, and there’s no guarantee that a triphasic pill will make much of a difference for you.

So it’s important for a woman to do her due diligence and weigh the pros and cons of various birth control options before settling on one. And know that the changes to a woman’s testosterone level (potentially diminished when she goes on, and then increased when she goes off) could alter her libido and create gaps with that of her partner’s.

Dr. Roberts says women who met their partner while taking hormonal birth control should consider switching to another method several months in advance of tying the knot in order to assess whether their feelings for their partner will change or stay the same.

But before you or your partner do anything of the sort, just make sure you have alternative contraception in place - there’s nothing like a sudden unintended pregnancy to put a damper on one’s sex life.

And for those women who do choose to stay on the pill, the study offers a silver lining: the women on the pill were happier overall in their relationships and more likely to stay together than their non-pill-taking counterparts. The benefits of the non-sexual aspects of the relationship outweighed any sexual downsides.

So perhaps it’s better to be evenly matched at the low-testosterone end of the spectrum (with a man who is more likely to be faithful) than potentially mismatched.

soundoff (1,015 Responses)
  1. GvdbCrulk

    tadalafil for erectile dysfunction http://boxtadafil.com/ otc tadalafil

    April 22, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. LrbsEncox

    levitra vs cialis vs viagra reviews http://uslevitraanna.com/ levitra 30 day free trial

    April 23, 2021 at 05:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. JbsdEncox

    vardenafil panacea pharmacy Macrobid

    April 23, 2021 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. BbdfMile

    does viagra increase blood pressure https://gensitecil.com/ – viagra from mexico is it safe walmart viagra

    April 23, 2021 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. JbsdEncox

    canadian king pharmacy http://onlinecanda21.com/ arthritis

    April 23, 2021 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RfvbZisse

    where to buy generic cialis https://cileve.com/ cialis 10 mg tablet

    April 23, 2021 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Hakeem Kae-Kazim


    April 23, 2021 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. GvdbCrulk

    tadalafil onset https://boxtadafil.com/ – cialis tadalafil 10mg tadalafil com

    April 24, 2021 at 02:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Camera Riverside


    April 24, 2021 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. homes for sale wallace


    April 24, 2021 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Forklift Parts Near Me

    Very good post. I'm experiencing a few of these issues as well..


    April 24, 2021 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. LhdvZisse

    cialis super active experiences http://asciled.com/ generic cialis online purchase

    April 24, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. BbdfMile

    does viagra help with premature ejaculation http://gensitecil.com/ – viagra doses 200 mg what milligrams does viagra come in

    April 25, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Wraps Orange County

    Right here is the perfect webpage for anybody who wants to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject which has been discussed for a long time. Great stuff, just excellent!


    April 25, 2021 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RfvbZisse

    cialis, money order https://cileve.com/ – dapoxetine and generic cialis cialis for sale nz

    April 26, 2021 at 02:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Jamesifp

    online dating sites rrdeas to add the newbie

    when you've fed up with a nearby climate in your area, you must think of utilizing an online dating sites business. online dating sites will allow for to meet up with men or women right from everywhere around the world inside of your house. you'll be able to get connected to adults and possess a very full of energy societal found. look at online dating secrets to calm your online query.

    preliminary top is to preserve your own personal personal privacy. you must not product abnormal any data to result-oriented character. it is easy to continue to go to a friend or relative without having to allowing any complete label or probably street address. you obtain substantially more customized after you developed bit of coolness as well as union with a particular person. you may never possibly be excessively attentive.

    an additional very creative internet dating guideline typically ensure you sign on using a professional dating system. you will find online dating services websites for many individuals quality of life. make sure to look into whatever besides might generally dating sites products and services you are thinking about. this plus wise to evaluate which, as any kind, checking solution chnlove real or fake usually the specialist presents. several proficient experts great price,everybody should considerably more hypersensitive facts as compared to many others.

    via a basic google search you've got to be capable of getting hold of a sufficient amount of revealing specifics on a specific seeing assist. don't neglect to check out both cheerful furthermore disillusioned people additionally body mass work out as well as minuses to check if an specialist business suits the needs you have.

    clearly, the easier prefered recognized reputable companies to get simpler to check out. because you plan about utilizing the smaller instructions, You can definitely uncover this key fact more challenging to examine. you will find many small businesses today present you with a high quality products, really think. as a consequence be sure typically the bank is most suited to your needs.

    April 26, 2021 at 05:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. AbdgEncox

    Allegra https://canadianeve21.com/ canadian online pharmacy

    April 26, 2021 at 06:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. AbdgEncox

    Vasotec https://canadianeve21.com/ cialis pharmacy online

    April 27, 2021 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. FbsfEncox

    web medical information http://uspharmus.com/ Sinequan

    April 27, 2021 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. LrbsEncox

    levitra 20 mg o viagra http://uslevitraanna.com/ prices levitra

    April 27, 2021 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. LhdvZisse

    cialis vs viagra germany http://asciled.com/ – cialis with alcohol levitra vs cialis vs viagra

    April 27, 2021 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. homes for sale hauser id


    April 27, 2021 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. WilliamPeesy

    In any box, the standards of righteous news-casting haven't been ready of sooner than this valuable network index. Google actually thinks usually to the dash and meat of articles, uncommonly as a component of its XML. Major news-casting is tied in with being straightforward and as destroy headed as could be expected.

    For what judgement do you evaluate the Google XML sitemap creeps, lists, and distributes general area site subject-matter from CNN, BBC, Techcrunch, The Impediment Boulevard Journal and others in its list items?

    my blog


    April 30, 2021 at 03:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RfvbZisse

    cialis shop https://cileve.com/ – cialis australia how to cut 20mg. cialis

    April 30, 2021 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. LrbsEncox

    viagra vs cialis vs levitra prices levitra user reviews what are the side effects of levitra

    April 30, 2021 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. JbsdEncox

    Fertomid medical pharmacies canadian online pharmacies prescription drugs

    April 30, 2021 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. JbsdEncox

    pharmacy online http://onlinecanda21.com/ canadian viagra generic pharmacy

    May 1, 2021 at 03:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. LhdvZisse

    gdzie kupiД‡ cialis https://asciled.com/ – generic cialis online overnight buy cialis with paypal

    May 1, 2021 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. GvdbCrulk

    tadalafil side effects long term http://boxtadafil.com/ – mint pharmaceuticals tadalafil tadalafil 60mg

    May 2, 2021 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RfvbZisse

    where to get my prescription cialis filled http://cileve.com/ cialis sales canadian

    May 3, 2021 at 04:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. GtnbCrulk

    viagra dosage for 70 year old http://jokviagra.com/ – does the government pay for viagra viagra vs cialis reddit

    May 3, 2021 at 07:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. LebnEncox

    Arimidex http://xlnpharmacy.com/ erectile dysfunction causes

    May 3, 2021 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. BbshMile

    generic for viagra https://loxviagra.com/ – buy viagra connect usa does viagra work for women

    May 4, 2021 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. JebgEncox

    online med pharmacy http://pharmacylo.com/ no prescription pharmacy

    May 4, 2021 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. 상품권현금화

    Remarkable issues here. I'm very satisfied to peer your article.
    Thank you a lot and I'm looking forward to touch you.
    Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

    May 4, 2021 at 07:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. JebgEncox

    Asendin https://pharmacylo.com/ Allegra

    May 4, 2021 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Storage California


    May 4, 2021 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. GtnbCrulk

    herb viagra http://jokviagra.com/ pfizer viagra price

    May 4, 2021 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RebfZisse

    cheap cialis pills men https://rcialisgl.com/ – generic cialis ed. trusted medstore in cialis

    May 4, 2021 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. game aika online


    May 4, 2021 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. aitan arena aika private server

    When I originally commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. There has to be a means you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!


    May 4, 2021 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Free Contact Lens Exam

    That is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate info… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 5, 2021 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. aika online private server download


    May 5, 2021 at 07:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. aika online private server download

    When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there a means you can remove me from that service? Thanks!


    May 5, 2021 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. roadtrek camper van

    Great information. Lucky me I ran across your website by chance (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!


    May 5, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Windshield California

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It's the little changes which will make the greatest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    May 5, 2021 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. LbsoZisse

    cialis pill canada https://ucialisdas.com/ what is brand cialis

    May 5, 2021 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. truck electrical repair near me


    May 5, 2021 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Vision

    I seriously love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you develop this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my very own blog and would love to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Thanks!


    May 5, 2021 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Optometry Near Me

    Very good information. Lucky me I came across your site by accident (stumbleupon). I've saved it for later!


    May 5, 2021 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Leave a Reply to Farrah Toy


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.