Sexual Behavior and Oral Contraception: A Pilot Study


Cesare Battaglia, MD, PhD, Department of Gynecology and Pathophysiology of Human Reproduction, University of Bologna, Bologna 40138, Italy. Tel: +39-051-6364377; Fax: +39-051-6364377; E-mail:


Introduction.  Oral contraceptives (OCs) induce mood and libido changes.

Aim.  The aim of this study was to evaluate in young, eumenorrheic, healthy women the sexual behavior and the genital vascular effects of an OC containing 30 µg ethinylestradiol (EE) and 3 mg drospirenone (DRSP).

Main Outcome Measures.  The main outcome measures are McCoy Female Sexuality Questionnaire (MFSQ), the labia minora thickness and vaginal introitus area, the pulsatility index (PI) of clitoral and labia minora arteries, and hormonal and biochemical assays.

Methods.  Twenty-two adult, eumenorrheic, healthy women were administered the two-factor Italian MFSQ. The labia minora thickness was studied by two-dimensional ultrasonographic, and the clitoral and labia minora arteries were evaluated by color Doppler; three-dimensional static volumes of the vulvar area were calculated. Hormonal (estradiol, androstenedione, and testosterone) and biohumoral (sex hormone binding globulin) parameters were assayed. Subjects were studied in baseline conditions and after 3 months of therapy with an OC (Yasmin®, Bayer-Schering Italia, Milan, Italy; −30 µg EE + 3 mg DRSP).

Results.  After 3-month treatment, the labia minora thickness and the vaginal introitus area significantly decreased in comparison with the baseline values, whereas the PI of the dorsal clitoral artery and the posterior labial artery significantly increased. The OC use induced a significant decrease of the two-factor Italian MFSQ score, a reduction of the number of intercourse/week, and a reduction of the frequency of orgasm during intercourse. The item 18 (pain during intercourse) worsened after OC.

Conclusions.  The treatment with Yasmin® (Bayer-Schering Italia) is associated with increased pain during intercourse, with decreased libido and spontaneous arousability, and with diminished frequency of sexual intercourse and orgasm. Battaglia C, Battaglia B, Mancini F, Busacchi P, Paganotto MC, Morotti E, and Venturoli S. Sexual behavior and oral contraception: A pilot study. J Sex Med 2012;9:550–557.