Washington: Busting the popular myth that taking contraceptives curbs sexual desire, a new study reveals that taking the pill doesn't lower women's sexual desire, as other factors like age and length of relationship are more important.
The study was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Research from the University of Kentucky and Indiana University in the US said the evidence explaining what affects women's sexual desire is mixed and more research is needed.
Contraceptives are designed to prevent unwanted pregnancies and, for some, to protect people from sexually transmitted infections.
The team carried out to explore the impact of using different contraceptives on the sexual desire of women and men in relationships.
"We wanted to understand the link between desire and contraceptive choice, especially in the context of longer-term relationships," said study author Dr. Kristen Mark.
"Most research doesn't focus on partners or people in long-term relationships but many contraceptive users are in long-term monogamous relationships, so this is an important group to study," she added.
They looked at the impact of three different contraceptive types -- oral hormonal contraceptive, other hormonal contraceptive and non-hormonal contraceptive -- on the desire of couples in heterosexual relationships of varying lengths.
They measured solitary and dyadic sexual desire -- that is, libido alone or with a partner -- of more than 900 people using a tool called the Sexual Desire Inventory.
The findings revealed significant differences in the way contraceptives affected the desire of women alone and in their relationships: women on non-hormonal contraceptives reported higher
desire on their own and women on oral contraceptives reported higher desire with their partner.
However, when the researchers adjusted the results to take into account relationship length and age, the differences were no longer significant, suggesting that it's the context rather than the contraceptive type that has the biggest impact on desire.
"Our findings are clear: the pill doesn't kill desire. This research helps to bust those myths and hopefully eventually get rid of this common cultural script in our society," Mark noted.