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Contraception. 2012 May;85(5):470-9. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2011.10.007. Epub 2011 Nov 30.

Relation of androgen receptor sensitivity and mood to sexual desire in hormonal contraception users.

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Department of Sexology and Gender Problems, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, Ghent, Belgium.



Since very little research in this field is available, this study aims to assess the role of psychosexual, relationship, hormonal and genetic measures in the sexual desire of users of three hormonal contraceptive products [low-dose combined oral contraceptive (20 mcg ethinylestradiol/150 mcg desogestrel), progestin-only pill (75 mcg desogestrel) and vaginal ring (daily dose of 15 mcg ethinylestradiol/120 mcg etonogestrel)].


Fifty-five couples were randomized over three groups in which the women consecutively used each product during 3 months. Both partners repeatedly filled out questionnaires on solitary and dyadic sexual desire (desire to behave sexually by oneself or towards a partner). Total and free testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin and a genetic marker of androgen receptor sensitivity [cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) repeat length] were assessed on blood samples of the female partners.


Sexual desire was higher in women with either short or long CAG repeats (solitary, p=.004; dyadic, p=.008). Desire levels were higher during vaginal ring use (solitary, p=.018; dyadic, p=.007). The woman's mood was found to impact her dyadic sexual desire (p<.001); this scale was also strongly associated with the male partner's dyadic sexual desire (p<.001).


The current study found evidence for a role of androgen receptor sensitivity and mood in the sexual desire of hormonal contraceptive users.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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