Breaking News: The Pill Does Not Cause Loss of Libido (But Other Things Do!)

If you’ve blamed the pill for a lack of libido a new study suggests you may have wrongly pointed the finger. You might need to look at your guy – or yourself…

Newly released data busts the myth that oral contraceptives curb sexual desire. Other factors such as age and length of relationship are actually more important, say researchers.

It’s a regular conversation amongst women that using the contraceptive pill has impacted their sexual appetite. The irony of going on the pill to enhance your sex life and then finding yourself without a whisper of ‘want’ is not lost on any of us. This study however suggests it’s not the pill, it’s you!

Published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, the study indicates that taking the pill, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t actually lower your sexual desire. The authors of the research, from the University of Kentucky and Indiana University say the evidence explaining what affects women’s sexual desire is actually mixed.

Dr. Kristen Mark describes their two studies which explore the impact of using different contraceptives on the sexual desire between women and men in relationships. The study of over 900, evaluated the impacts of three different contraceptive types (oral hormonal contraceptives, other hormonal contraceptives and non-hormonal contraceptives) on the desire of couples in heterosexual relationships of varying lengths.

The top line results? Women on the contraceptive pill were still the group with the highest desire towards their partners. So, why is this group having less sex? And why do we blame the pill for it?

Dr Mark said; “We wanted to understand the link between desire and contraceptive choice, especially in the context of longer-term relationships. 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.”

The data considers both the contraceptive method used, the length of the relationship and the woman’s age and actually reveals that it’s the context rather than the contraceptive type that has the biggest impact on desire.

So, what does this actually mean? The data suggests external factors are more at play than the pill for why people in long term relationships are doing it less. However, if you’re looking to blame something variable the pill is the obvious choice.

The truth more likely is that you’ve ‘lost those loving feelings’ because you’re fallen off that ‘new relationship lust curve’ (you know the early years where you are non-stop-at-it-like-rabbits), you’re older and your body is changing or you’re just physically and practically less into / able to get it on than you were earlier. Pretty much the relationship lifecycle is more to blame than the pill.

“Sometimes women are looking for something to explain changes in their sexual desire, which is not fixed throughout her life,” Dr. Mark said. “The message that hormonal pills decrease desire is really prevalent… (You often hear people say) …the pill makes you not want sex, “so what’s the point?” 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.”
Journal Reference: Kristen P. Mark, Christine E. Leistner, Justin R. Garcia. Impact of Contraceptive Type on Sexual Desire of Women and of Men Partnered to Contraceptive UsersThe Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2016; 13 (9): 1359 DOI: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.06.011

Avatar of Mum Central

We're passionate about connecting mums of all ages across our online network. From parenting articles to educational stories, recipes, giveaways and more, don't be shy, you're all welcome! We are also on the lookout for regular contributors or readers wishing to share their real life stories so contact us today!


  1. Avatar of Nat M

    What a load of BS.. I was happy and wanting and on top of life till they put implanon in my arm. Within 6 months I was ready to cut it out myself and even threatened the doctor. They put me on the pill and I feel like crap daily just not as bad as implanon. I exercise, eat very well, get loads of fruit and veg and make the most of every day but still have that crap feeling ever since that first dose.

Write A Comment