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Women's sexual satisfaction is influenced by hormonal contraceptives

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An analysis of what is most significant for a woman's sexual satisfaction is often very perplexing. Researchers have found that relationship satisfaction for a woman is linked with changing use of contraception reported the Association for Psychological Science on May 14, 2014. Research from the University of Stirling has showed changes in hormonal contraceptive use may influence a woman's sexual satisfaction in long-term heterosexual relationships.

This study was done by researchers from the universities of Stirling, Glasgow, Newcastle, Northumbria and Charles University in Prague. The researchers studied 365 couples and investigated how satisfaction levels dealing with both sexual and non-sexual aspects of long-term relationships were influenced by women’s current and previous use of hormonal contraception. Lead researcher Craig Roberts from Stirling’s Division of Psychology said the findings showed women who had met their partner while they were taking the pill and were still currently taking it and those women who had never used the pill reported greater sexual satisfaction than those women who had begun or ceased using the pill during the course of the relationship.

What this showed was the congruence of women’s pill use during the course of the relationship had a more significant influence on sexual satisfaction levels than either just being on the pill or not being on the pill. The researchers observed there was no difference in the non-sexual aspects of relationship satisfaction between the two groups of women. Furthermore, a women’s history of pill use was also found not to make a difference to their male partners’ relationship satisfaction in both sexual and non-sexual contexts.

Roberts says the pill has been a tremendously positive social force by empowering women and giving them much greater control over their lives. However, there has also been a lot of controversy dealing with the question of whether hormonal contraceptives alter women’s libido and sexual satisfaction. What appears to be significant is whether a woman’s current use of the pill matches her use when she began the relationship with her partner.

This study has been published in the journal Psychological Science. It has been observed that hormonal fluctuation across the menstrual cycle can explain temporal variations in women’s judgment in regard to the attractiveness of men. Therefore, use of hormonal contraceptives could influence both initial choice of a partner and, if contraceptive use subsequently changes, the dynamics of a couple.

It has been concluded the associations which are found between hormonal contraceptive use and relationship satisfaction may therefore be best understood with a consideration of whether current pill use is congruent with use when relationships formed, instead of by considering current use alone. This research supports the congruency hypothesis which suggests a women’s sexual satisfaction is influenced by changes in partner preference which is associated with changes in hormonal contraceptive use. We are therefore discovering that sexual attraction and love often appear to have a scientific explanation.

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