Relationship satisfaction linked with changing use of contraception

Relationship satisfaction linked with changing use of contraception

Women's sexual satisfaction in long-term heterosexual relationships may be influenced by changes in hormonal contraceptive use, research from the University of Stirling shows.

The study, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, was carried out by researchers from the universities of Stirling, Glasgow, Newcastle, Northumbria and Charles University in Prague.

The team looked at a sample of 365 couples, and investigated how satisfaction levels – in both sexual and non-sexual aspects of long-term relationships – were influenced by women's current and historical use of hormonal contraception.

"Our findings showed women who had met their partner while taking the pill and were still currently taking it – as well as those who had never used the pill at any point – reported greater sexual satisfaction than those women who had begun or stopped using the pill during the course of the relationship," says lead researcher Craig Roberts from Stirling's Division of Psychology.

"In other words, the congruence of women's pill use throughout the relationship had a greater influence on sexual than either simply being on the pill or not being on the pill."

The team found there was no difference in the non-sexual aspects of between the groups of women. Additionally, women's history of pill use was also found to make no difference to their male partners' relationship satisfaction in both sexual and non-sexual contexts.

"Previous research has shown that hormonal contraceptives, such as the pill, subtly alter women's ideal partner preferences and that often women who are using the pill when they meet their partner find the same partner less physically attractive when they come off the pill," says Roberts.

"Our new results support these earlier findings but, crucially, they also point to the impact a change in use during a relationship – either starting or stopping – can have on a woman's sexual satisfaction with her partner."

According to Roberts, "The has been a tremendously positive social force, empowering women and giving them greater control over their lives, but there is also a lot of controversy surrounding the question of whether hormonal contraceptives alter women's libido and ."

"These results show that examining current use is not enough to answer this question. What seems to be important is whether a woman's current use matches her use when she began the with her partner. We hope our results will help understand why they might feel the way they do about their partner when they change use," Roberts concludes.

More information: pss.sagepub.com/content/early/… 97614532295.abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Women on Pill pick a dud in bed but a dude in the home

Oct 12, 2011

Women who take the Pill tend to choose as partners men who are less attractive and worse in bed but a sounder bet for a long-term relationship, according to an unusual study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B ...

Recommended for you

Intervention program helps prevent high-school dropouts

22 hours ago

New research findings from a team of prevention scientists at Arizona State University demonstrates that a family-focused intervention program for middle-school Mexican American children leads to fewer drop-out rates and ...

Bilingualism over the lifespan

23 hours ago

It's a scene that plays out every day in Montreal. On the bus, in schools, in the office and at home, conversations weave seamlessly back and forth between French and English, or one of the many other languages represented ...

User comments