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The pill and women's sexuality

The pill and women's sexuality
The pill and women's sexuality
Sexual side effects have been neglected for far too long

Oral contraceptives remain the most popular contraceptive method in the United Kingdom, particularly among younger women.1 Yet discontinuation rates are high, and side effects are one of the main reasons why women discontinue the pill.2 Research has focused on side effects such as breakthrough bleeding and breast tenderness.3 Although an association between pill use and impaired sexual functioning has been considered since the pill was first introduced,34 remarkably little research has investigated this possible link.

Why have possible pill related adverse sexual effects in women been neglected? Sexual side effects have been deemed “extremely difficult to assess” and described in the literature as “trivial” or a “nuisance.”5 The lack of attention might also reflect a sex bias. Sexuality related side effects have been high on the agenda of research into the development of a hormonal male contraceptive.3 As early as in 1982, the World Health Organization funded a six country study on acceptability of new male contraceptives that evaluated more than 20 aspects of male sexuality.6
0959-8146
1-2
Graham, Cynthia A.
ac400331-f231-4449-a69b-ec9a477224c8
Graham, Cynthia A.
ac400331-f231-4449-a69b-ec9a477224c8

Graham, Cynthia A. (2019) The pill and women's sexuality. BMJ (Online), 364, 1-2, [l335]. (doi:10.1136/bmj.l335).

Record type: Editorial

Abstract

Sexual side effects have been neglected for far too long

Oral contraceptives remain the most popular contraceptive method in the United Kingdom, particularly among younger women.1 Yet discontinuation rates are high, and side effects are one of the main reasons why women discontinue the pill.2 Research has focused on side effects such as breakthrough bleeding and breast tenderness.3 Although an association between pill use and impaired sexual functioning has been considered since the pill was first introduced,34 remarkably little research has investigated this possible link.

Why have possible pill related adverse sexual effects in women been neglected? Sexual side effects have been deemed “extremely difficult to assess” and described in the literature as “trivial” or a “nuisance.”5 The lack of attention might also reflect a sex bias. Sexuality related side effects have been high on the agenda of research into the development of a hormonal male contraceptive.3 As early as in 1982, the World Health Organization funded a six country study on acceptability of new male contraceptives that evaluated more than 20 aspects of male sexuality.6

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e-pub ahead of print date: 25 January 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 427958
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/427958
ISSN: 0959-8146
PURE UUID: d6dc3ee5-1342-445e-9cf5-fab017988083
ORCID for Cynthia A. Graham: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7884-599X

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Date deposited: 06 Feb 2019 17:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 02:00

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