Relationships between Contraceptive Method and Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction

Jenny Higgins, Princeton University
Susie Hoffman, Columbia University
Cynthia Graham, Oxford University
Stephanie Sanders, Indiana University, Bloomington

Little is known about how contraceptives influence women’s sexual enjoyment, which could potentially alter use patterns. We used data from an online survey of women’s sexual health to examine how three categories of contraceptive use--hormonal method only, male condoms primarily, and dual use--could predict decreased sexual pleasure and overall sexual satisfaction. In analyses controlling for age, relationship length, and other variables, condoms were most strongly associated with decreased pleasure--an attribute likely to influence sexual risk practices. Women who used hormonal methods alone were least likely to report decreased pleasure, but they also had significantly lower sexual satisfaction scores. Dual users reported the highest sexual satisfaction scores; they may have been able to enjoy sex more since they felt more fully protected against unwanted pregnancy. This preliminary study suggests that contraceptives affect various facets of sexuality differently, warranting further research into how these sexual dimensions influence contraceptive practices.

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Presented in Poster Session 1