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 (1,013 Responses)
  1. boston market near me


    May 6, 2021 at 01:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Ophthalmologist Near Me

    Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.


    May 6, 2021 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. cargo van conversion

    After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service? Kudos!


    May 6, 2021 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. FmrfEncox

    cialis from canada https://cialisee.com/ price generic cialis

    May 6, 2021 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. garden center near me

    May I simply say what a comfort to uncover someone that really understands what they are talking about on the internet. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people really need to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you aren't more popular given that you surely have the gift.


    May 6, 2021 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. school bus paint job


    May 6, 2021 at 21:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Rose Wine Companies


    May 6, 2021 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Forklifts

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you need to publish more on this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people do not speak about these issues. To the next! Kind regards!!


    May 6, 2021 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RebfZisse

    cialis generic 20mg https://rcialisgl.com/ cialis mail order

    May 7, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. kroger near me

    This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


    May 7, 2021 at 07:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. AnooEncox

    viagra wedding beer https://llviagra.com/ russian salon viagra

    May 7, 2021 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. tv repair orange county


    May 7, 2021 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Forklift Maintenance Shop California


    May 7, 2021 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. winery near me


    May 7, 2021 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Content Marketing Programs


    May 7, 2021 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Content Marketing Mentor

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after looking at some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly delighted I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!


    May 8, 2021 at 03:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. movies stores near me

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after looking at many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!


    May 8, 2021 at 04:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. FmrfEncox

    buy cialis generic http://cialisee.com/ – buy cialis via pay pal cheap. generic cialisis

    May 8, 2021 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Digital Marketing Orange County

    Hello there, I do believe your website could possibly be having browser compatibility issues. When I take a look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, wonderful blog!


    May 8, 2021 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Google Marketing Engineer

    You should take part in a contest for one of the highest quality sites on the net. I'm going to recommend this site!


    May 8, 2021 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. AnooEncox

    cuanto vale el viagra en colombia http://llviagra.com/ – viagra torte backen viagra gold generics 800 mg

    May 8, 2021 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Social Media Marketing Help

    After looking at a number of the blog articles on your web site, I honestly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my website as well and let me know your opinion.


    May 8, 2021 at 19:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. LebnEncox

    Eskalith https://xlnpharmacy.com/ trust pharmacy

    May 8, 2021 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Video Marketing Consultant


    May 8, 2021 at 21:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. LbsoZisse

    cialis no perscrtion http://ucialisdas.com/ – black cialis overnight canadian pharmacy cialis

    May 9, 2021 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Beds California


    May 9, 2021 at 05:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Local Marketing Consultants


    May 9, 2021 at 06:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Digital Marketing Management


    May 9, 2021 at 06:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Beds California


    May 9, 2021 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Internet Marketing Mentor


    May 9, 2021 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Shower California

    You've made some good points there. I looked on the internet for more info about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.


    May 9, 2021 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Internet Marketing Quotes

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Thank you! Where are your contact details though?


    May 9, 2021 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Social Media Marketing California

    Everything is very open with a precise description of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 9, 2021 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. GtnbCrulk

    fake viagra https://jokviagra.com/ – viagra original use viagra online usa

    May 10, 2021 at 07:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Social Media Marketing Program

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your site is very useful. Thanks for sharing!


    May 10, 2021 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Internet Marketing Agencies


    May 10, 2021 at 19:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. George Nitti

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life websites and blogs


    May 10, 2021 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. LebnEncox

    mexico pharmacy order online walmart online pharmacy pharmacy coupons

    May 10, 2021 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Seo Marketing Service

    I'm more than happy to uncover this page. I want to to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to see new information on your website.


    May 10, 2021 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Local Marketing Companies

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this blog. I really hope to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own site now 😉


    May 10, 2021 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Internet Marketing Studio

    Hi, I do believe this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back yet again since I bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    May 10, 2021 at 23:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. JebgEncox

    canadian discount pharmacy https://pharmacylo.com/ online pharmacy in turkey

    May 10, 2021 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Social Media Marketing Jobs

    I blog quite often and I truly appreciate your content. This article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your RSS feed too.


    May 10, 2021 at 23:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Internet Marketing Companies


    May 11, 2021 at 01:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Internet Marketing Cypress

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and also the rest of the website is really good.


    May 11, 2021 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. BbshMile

    fildena vs viagra http://loxviagra.com/ viagra age limit

    May 11, 2021 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Local Marketing Jobs

    There's certainly a lot to find out about this subject. I like all the points you made.


    May 11, 2021 at 08:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Internet Marketing Near Me


    May 11, 2021 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Local Marketing Near Me


    May 11, 2021 at 09:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Internet Marketing Management

    Can I simply just say what a comfort to find somebody that genuinely knows what they're discussing on the internet. You definitely know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people must look at this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you are not more popular since you surely possess the gift.


    May 11, 2021 at 10:26 | 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 RV Repair Santa Ana


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.