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Contraceptives affect women's sexual pleasure, satisfaction
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December 10, 2008

A new study has shown that contraceptive methods can have a significant impact on women's sexual pleasure and satisfaction.

The researchers from The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University have found that many women think condoms decrease sexual pleasure.

On the other hand, those who use both hormonal contraception and condoms report higher overall sexual satisfaction.

"The public health community has paid little attention to women's sexual experiences with contraceptive methods, especially condoms," said Stephaine Sanders, associate director of The Kinsey Institute and a co-author of the study.

"If women think condoms detract from sexual pleasure, they may be less inclined to use them consistently," she added.

During the study, women admitted condoms make sex less pleasurable, while those who used only hormonal methods -- such as the birth control pills -- were unlikely to associate their method with decreased sexual pleasure.

When asked about the effect of contraceptives on sexual enjoyment, women who used condoms either alone or with hormonal methods reported decreased sexual pleasure.

However, while considering overall sexual satisfaction, which goes beyond the immediate sexual moment and includes factors such as sexual self-esteem and relationship satisfaction, women who used both condoms and hormonal methods reported the highest levels of sexual satisfaction.

The findings revealed that only 4 percent of women who relied on hormonal methods of contraception reported decreased pleasure, but hormonal users reported the lowest overall sexual satisfaction scores.

While 23 percent of women who used both condoms and hormonal methods reported decreased pleasure, they had the highest sexual satisfaction scores.

Women who used condoms alone or along with a hormonal method were six to seven times more likely to report decreased sexual enjoyment compared to those who used hormonal methods only.

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