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Contraception. 2004 Mar;69(3):237-40.

Sexual behavior of women taking low-dose oral contraceptive containing 15 microg ethinylestradiol/60 microg gestodene.

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Department of Microbiological Science and Gynaecological Science, and Research Group for Sexology, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.


The objective of this prospective study was to assess the effects of a low-dose oral contraceptive (OC) containing 15 microg ethinylestradiol and 60 microg gestodene on sexuality. Forty-eight healthy volunteers (age range, 18-35 years), having regular menstrual cycles with ovulation, participated in the study. Sexual behavior was assessed using the self-administered Personal Experience Questionnaire, at baseline, and at 3, 6 and 9 months of pill use. Women reported decreased sexual desire (p < 0.005) and sexual activity (p < 0.05) at the 9th month of pill use, and diminished sexual arousal at the 3rd month of pill intake (p < 0.05), with respect to baseline. The frequency of orgasm did not change during OC use (p = NS). Moreover, sexual enjoyment was worse at the 3rd, 6th and 9th month with respect to baseline (p < 0.001). The low dose of ethinylestradiol could cause decreased vaginal lubrication, and diminished sexual arousal could be due to hypoandrogenism. Women may expect increased sexual performance when they take the pill, as compared to before starting contraception. Consequently, they could have an unexpected effect with pill use, though sexuality may remain the same.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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