It is a statement on the evolution of society’s attitudes toward sex when you compare the concerns that were raised about the birth control pill 50 years ago — when it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration — with those of today.
In the 1960s, there was much hue and cry that the Pill would turn women into sex fiends and put marriages in peril. But in recent decades, medical concerns about hormonal birth control have shifted to the other end of the spectrum, with doctors maintaining that it may actually lower women’s libido and in some cases lead to sexual dysfunction.(Watch a TIME video on the Pill’s importance.)
Now a new study of female sexual function, published in the May 4 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, adds evidence to the argument. Using questionnaires to assess sexual function in more than 1,000 female medical students in Germany, researchers found that women who used a hormonal method of birth control — mostly oral contraceptives — had lower levels of sexual desire and arousal than women who used nonhormonal methods like condoms or no contraception at all.