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What Virgins Should Know About The Pill

January 15th, 2012 by



Contraception performs wonders for married couples. It allows married couples to pursue career goals, solidify financial stability, and enjoy sexual intimacy, all while preventing pregnancy. However, no contraceptive is without its unique set of advantages or disadvantages. Virgins may get preoccupied with fantasies of sexual fulfillment, and be predisposed to naivety concerning birth control, engaging in little to no research even when the wedding night is on the horizon.

The possible side-effects of “the pill”, and other forms of hormonal contraception,  side-effects which are sometimes downplayed by health care professionals, should be of particular interest to virgin men and women.

Sex Drive and Sexual Functioning

Previous research has been performed concerning hormonal contraception and sexual functioning, but many of those studies were performed in the 1980’s and were not only limited but also inconclusive. Finally, recent studies have confirmed what so many women and men have shared via anecdotal evidence: hormonal contraception can ruin sex lives.

An Indiana University study, released Oct. 2011, analyzed the responses of 1,101 women who completed online questionnaires.  The amount  of women who used hormonal forms of contraception (e.g., pill, patch, shot), and non-hormonal forms of contraception (e.g., condom, withdrawal), was split almost evenly. The women indicated similar levels of romance and intimacy, but women who used hormonal contraception reported less arousal, fewer orgasms, decreased pleasure, and less frequent sex.

Another study found that women taking hormonal contraception were at the highest risk for Female Sexual Dysfunction. This study was conducted by the University of Heidelburg in Germany and published in the May 2010 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Researchers evaluated the responses of 1,046 women in an effort to address which lifestyle functions, including but not limited to  contraception, contributed to FSD. The women were divided the women into 4 groups:

1. oral (hormonal) contraception (OC)

2. non-oral hormonal contraception (NOHC)

3. Non-hormonal contraception (NHC)

4. No contraception (NC)

Research found that 32.4% of the participants were at risk for FSD.  Participants in the NOHC and OC groups were at the highest risks for FSD, respectively. Methods of contraception and smoking were significant factors in determining sexual function while age, prior pregnancy, desire for children, and partnership status proved insignificant. Women who were not in stable relationships had higher desire but lower orgasm scores.

A Word About Testosterone

Many might be surprised to find out that testosterone is significant in a female’s sexual health. Oral contraceptives increase the amount of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) in a woman’s system. This SHBG binds itself to sex hormones, including testosterone, and causes a drop in the amount of “unbound” testosterone in a woman’s body; lower levels of unbound testosterone can lead to a variety of sexual problems for women.


For a considerable period of time, it was thought the negative sexual side-effects of the pill were temporary and would be reversed relatively quickly after use. However, research indicates that these effects may be long lasting, and there is reason to suspect that these harmful side-effects may be permanent.

Researchers conducted a study comparing  SHBG levels between women who were on oral contraception, off oral contraception, and had never used oral contraception. The study examined 124 premenopausal women with sexual health complaints for more than 6 months. The research article, entitled “Impact of Oral Contraceptives on Sex Hormone Binding Globulin and Androgen Levels: A Retrospective Study in Women with Sexual Dysfunction”, was published in the January 2006 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

The results showed that SHBG levels in “Oral Contraceptive Continued-Users” (women who were currently on the pill) were 4x higher than “Never-Users of Oral Contraceptives”.  Regarding women who stopped using the pill, there was a decrease in SHBG after discontinuation but  SHBG levels in these women  were still higher in comparison to “Never-Users of Oral Contraceptives”. This lead to speculation that prolonged usage of oral contraception leads to genetic alterations which fuel SHBG production.

Sexual Attraction

There is also evidence which suggests that oral contraception alters men’s and women’s choices in a mate. Studies have shown that partner preferences for both men and women are dependent on hormonal variations over a woman’s menstrual cycle. Because the pill interferes with these hormonal variations, both men and women’s selection decisions may be altered. A paper published in the Oct. 2009 issue of Trends in Ecology and Evolution reviews numerous studies concerning this issue of sexual attraction.

Dr. Alverne and Dr. Virpi Lumma  were the reviewers of these studies. They took particular interest in the fact that women who took the pill did not exhibit the normal attraction to genetically dissimilar patterns. The doctors also speculated that women who were on the pill reduced their attractiveness to men and were at a disadvantage when competing with normally cycling women.

How About Non-Oral Hormonal Contraception?

Though the Indiana and FSD studies encompassed all forms of hormonal contraception, you may have noticed that the “Sexual Attraction” and “Permanent?” sections focused solely on oral hormonal contraception. This is primarily due to the limited and emerging nature of this research. Much more research needs to be done.  However, anecdotal evidence (e.g., Google searches) will reveal that women using non-oral forms of hormonal contraception also suffer sexual side-effects as well.

Quotes Regarding The Various Studies

Nicole Smith, project coordinator of Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion:

A great effort has been made to make condoms more pleasurable for men. But you don’t hear about this same effort going toward reducing the negative impact of contraception on women’s sexual functioning. It’s just not part of the discussion.

Dr. Irwin Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, regarding the FSD study:

There are hundreds of millions of women, in particular young women at the beginning of their sexual lives, who regularly use hormonal contraception for many years. The irony is that these women are provided a medication that enables freedom from reproductive worries but these same women are not provided information that there are significant adverse sexual effects that may ensue.

Dr. Harald Seeger, researcher on the FSD study:

We would also urge some caution in interpretation of our present results and would like to highlight that this type of study cannot demonstrate causality but rather association and there might exist a multitude of factors that have an impact on female sexual function.

Dr. Irwin Goldstein on the SHBG study:

This work is the culmination of 7 years of observational research in which we noted in our practice many women with sexual dysfunction who had used the oral contraceptive but whose sexual and hormonal problems persisted despite stopping the birth control pill.

Dr. Irwin Goldstein on the SHBG study, again:

There are approximately 100 million women worldwide who currently use oral contraceptives, so it is obvious that more extensive research investigations are needed. The oral contraceptive has been around for over 40 years, but no one had previously looked at the long-term effects of SHBG in these women. The larger problem is that there have been limited research efforts in women’s sexual health problems in contrast to investigatory efforts in other areas of women’s health or even in male sexual dysfunction.

Dr. Claudia Panzer, lead author of the study on SHBG:

It is important for physicians prescribing oral contraceptives to point out to their patients potential sexual side effects, such as decreased desire, arousal, decreased lubrication and increased sexual pain. Also if women present with these complaints, it is crucial to recognize the link between sexual dysfunction and the oral contraceptive and not to attribute these complaints solely to psychological causes.

Dr. Panzer, once more:

An interesting observation was that the use of oral contraceptives led to changes in the synthesis of SHBG which were not completely reversible in our time frame of observation. This can lead to lower levels of ‘unbound’ testosterone, which is thought to play a major role in female sexual health. It would be important to conduct long-term studies to see if these increased SHBG changes are permanent.

Dr. Andre Guay, co-author of the study on SHBG:

We know that the birth control pill suppresses both ovulation and also the male hormones that the ovaries make in larger amounts during the middle third of the menstrual cycle. SHBG binds the testosterone, therefore, these pills decrease a woman’s male hormone availability by two separate mechanisms. No wonder so many women have had symptoms.

Dr. Lumma on Sexual Attraction:

The ultimate outstanding evolutionary question concerns whether the use of oral contraceptives when making mating decisions can have long-term consequences on the ability of couples to reproduce


This is not to condemn hormonal contraception. After all, hormonal contraception provides married couples with high effectiveness and the opportunity for spontaneous and natural love-making. There are also tons of success stories relating to hormonal contraception. Furthermore, this article is not to say that contraception is evil. On the contrary, it is a blessing and – for many married couples – a necessity.

Rather, this is a call for cautious decision-making. There is much to think about, including the non-sexual risks of hormonal contraception, risks which are not covered in this article. Virgins and waiters put a high premium on physical, mental, and spiritual health by delaying sex until marriage. This very premium should also be maintained when sexual activity is imminent, and this maintenance can be accomplished through careful, cautious, research and open discussion when chosing a form of contraception, whether hormonal or non-hormonal.


Author: Olivier

Olivier writes many of the site's articles, some articles requiring many hours of research; he also helps with site strategy/focus. He has a Bachelors in Accounting, Masters in Theology, and is currently an accounting manager for a teleconferencing solutions company. In his spare time he enjoys reading, writing, NFL, and movies.

40 Responses to “What Virgins Should Know About The Pill”

  1. Sally says:

    Wow!!! Thanks TG!!! I dont plan on ever using “the pill” even when married. I dont wanna mess with my hormoned and emotions. The studies you talked sbout are great evidence for my decisuon. I woukd use any form of non hormonal contraception. Trust me, as a woman, when things are going good month to month or arent too bad, i dont wanns mess with it lol.

  2. TinyDancer says:

    Great job, TG! The article is informative and pragmatic (which I love!) and provides a lot of food for thought. Thanks for all the hard work you put into your articles!

  3. ThatGuy says:

    Sally – thnx! The feedback is greatly appreciated.

    TD – Thanks. Lots of work went into this; what you have is 4 revealing studies packaged into one article. My goal was to provide food for thought and I’m glad that’s what I did.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great article TG! As a guy I’ve never really thought about “the pill” at least not in this regard but it was very informative for sure! Alot of effects that I would have never thought about…

  5. dodgedude says:

    Haha that comment above was by me I forgot to put my name! 😉

  6. ThatGuy says:

    thnx dd!

  7. Sophie says:

    I’m on the pill because of irregular periods, PMS, and acne, so I’m not doing this for birth control (obviously.) But I have noticed that my sex drive has decreased a LOT. Not saying I was ever a complete perv but I have been feeling pretty asexual these past two months (I just started them.) I’m not getting off them any time soon, but I’m thinking that when I do become sexually active, it would be best for me to go off the pill because at this rate, I will barely want to have sex with my own husband. Otherwise, they really have helped with irregular periods and they really lessen the blood flow (sorry: gross, I know.)

  8. ThatGuy says:

    Hi Sophie,

    Thnx for sharing! That wasn’t gross at all :-). Out of curiosity, were the side effects of the pill explained to you by your doctor?

  9. Sophie says:

    None of these side effects. But it is all in the information pamphlet that is in every packet of birth control. The doctor warned me that I may start getting rashes or swelling, and that if I do I should immediately get off the pill. But that’s about it. The information in the box (I am taking Alesse) says everything. I was very clear with her that I was only going on it for my period and acne, so that’s why she never told me anything about the effects it can have on my libido and sex life.

  10. Amanda says:

    Sophie.. I’m taking them for the same thing, and I’ve been on them for 3 years. I’ve experienced similar side effects, but since I generally feel better overall, its something I can deal with.

    My problem is that I’ve now turned 21, and the doctor will not renew my prescription without having a pap smear, which is ridiculous, because cervical cancer is nearly always caused by HPV, an STD. The doctor simply doesn’t believe that anyone my age would still be waiting. I’m so thankful that this site proves I’m not the only one. I’m just so uncomfortable with the whole idea of the test that I’m thinking of going off of the pills just so I can avoid it.

  11. ThatGuy says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Thnx 4 sharing! If you haven’t already, please join the forums. We’d be happy to have you 🙂

  12. waitn4my prince says:

    WOW, this is an awesome, educational article. Thank you so much for posting this, I have often thought about going on the pill but after this, I am pretty sure I will just avoid it all together. I have heard of stories from couples who have hard times getting pregnant because the woman was on birth control for such a long time. Thank you so much for posting this, I TRULY appreciate it.

  13. Sophie says:

    Amanda: A pap smear, really? Yikes, I don’t want one of those. >.< Does every girl at the age of 21 need it in order to get birth control pills?

  14. ThatGuy says:


    you have no idea how gratifying it is to see that this article is appreciated. 🙂

    I tried really hard to construct a fair, educational article on a topic which should be of special interest to waiters. What you have here is 4 current studies, neatly rolled into one, on a “hot topic”.

    Thnx for taking the time to provide feedback.

  15. Dk-babe says:

    thanks a lot for this article. its a great eye opener for me. my fiance and i were actually thinking of this as a form of birth control after our wedding. now i know better

  16. Good Read says:

    It’s your body and your practioner can’t force a procedure on you , and yes cervical cancer is most commonly linked with those who are sexually active , but being a virgin does not make you immune to cancer. Female waiters have developed and died from Better safe than sorry.

  17. ThatGuy says:

    Hi Good Read,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the read.

    I’m unsure what you meant from female waiters having “died from better safe than sorry”?

    Thanks for your time.

  18. Rachel says:

    I was on the BC 8yrs to treat endometriosis, a common route. If I could go back I would not have ever taken one birth control pill, its extremely rare, but lucky me one in 125K of women on the pill 2 1/2yrs.get a hepatic adenoma or more. Birth Control almost killed me, the liver never forgets, and I got a liver resection and the biggest of three, two are still in, the size of a canteloup was removed Aug. 2010. I almost died, so close to it rupturing and bleeding to death before an ambulance could get me to the hospital. The surgery it self was very dangerous, Dr. J looked point blank at my Dad and said I could very well bleed out on the Operating Room table. I know those prayers all of them counted. I am a tough cookie, I am now divorced to the husband I had then, he broke alot of vows and abandoned me. I am 31 and dating again.

  19. Olivier says:

    Hi Rachel,

    (I am “ThatGuy”). Thanks for sharing that powerful story. I admire your strength and courage to not only pull through the surgery and divorce but to also share that story. Any time you feel like stopping by again, feel free to do so 🙂

  20. Sally says:

    Thanks for sharing Rachel!! Even if it it only 1 in 125,000 chance–women should still be made aware of that CHANCE for a life threatening condition like you had.

  21. virgin bride says:

    Thanks for the piece, so enlightening. I was actually considering using pills, but now i wont. My question still remains though, what do i use the first 3 days after the wedding? I wouldn’t want to use a condom the first time.

  22. virgin bride says:

    Is it just the pills, or can i do injections?

  23. Olivier says:

    Hi Virgin Bride–

    This was more of an FYI article. I’m not against the pill and the pill works wonderfully for plenty of people out there.

    I’m not a health care professional, so I don’t wanna tell you what to do, but don’t let this article make you write off the pill. Speak to a doctor. I wouldn’t want my first time to be with a condom either, and I’m sure your hubby would appreciate it 😛

  24. Britney says:

    This article is really interesting to me. I’m 25 years old and still waiting for marriage. I haven’t taken any pills or anything. I have considered using them a few months prior to getting married, if and when that happens. I didn’t realize how much they chemically effect the body until I read this article. The technolody and research has really come a long way. By the way, I’ve had a pap smear done when I was about 17, not by choice. As scary as it is, it can benefit yourself in the long run, as well as your future mate. I wasn’t sexually active at all, but I did have a medical problem that doctors could not solve. I was in a lot of pain with few options left, so I had no choice but to go along with the procedure. Fortunately, nothing was wrong, yet it was very relieving, in a weird way, to know everything was fine.

  25. Olivier says:

    Hi Britney,

    Thnx for your response. Virgins tend to be very naive about this kinda stuff which is why I wanted to write this as kind of a “heads up” although I wouldn’t say I’m against the pill. Thanks again for the comment!

    Also, if you’re interested, feel free to join the forums (if you haven’t already). There are some super cool people here 🙂

  26. Sash says:

    I am on the pill 2 weeks now and I am so moody and have consistent headaches. I am getting married July 14 2012, when I will have sex for the first time, by then I will know it the pill affects my sex drive. But the headaches are horrible hope it stops.

  27. Elizabeth says:

    Hey… I’ve been on the pill for 7 years, I went on it because I had skin problems. When I was 20 I stopped taking it because I was worried that it would affect my reproductive health etc. But I went to the doctor and the gynecologist to make an informed decision and to see what was best for ME. I understand that there are many statistics that can go either way, but ultimately you’re an individual and everyone is different. In my personal case, the pill is a wonderful thing! I experience no side effects, and I’m totally totally healthy. I’ve been for full medical examinations and everything. Also, when I went off it for a year, my boyfriend an I were still attracted to each other 😉
    I suggest you take all the facts into consideration, but go speak to a doctor or gynecologist you can trust. It also depends on what pill you take, remember there are thousands of brands! Don’t be so quick to write it off (’cause this article was quite scary)… just go find out what’s best for you. There is a lot of good in taking the RIGHT pill for YOU. You may decide you’ll never go on it NOW… but you might get to a point in your life where not taking it might be the thing that causes more harm. Just be smart about it.

  28. tracie says:

    I got on the pill because i would have very bad cramps and get very sick when i started my period. it was also unregular (it would start every 3 weeks). I don’t want to be on the pill forever but i also don’t know what other alternatives there would be for me to use for the extreme pain i feel when i start my period. Over the counter drugs did not work for the pain…

  29. Jenn says:

    I’ve used the pill consistently for over 5 years to control my acne. I have honestly never experienced a dip in sex drive due to the pill. I have experienced a lower sex drive as part of being extremely overweight but have found that after dropping a significant amount of weight (54 pounds and counting), my sex drive has come back with a vengeance. Try to take this article with a grain of salt.

  30. Courtney says:

    What if you use the pill to help treat endometriosis? The pill to me is a godsend since I’m no longer in pain and it stops scar tissue from forming that inhibits my ability to have children of my own in the future

    Even though my sex drive lowered, I find that more of a benefit since I’m more even keel and not obsessing over sex, which isn’t a big deal since the lower sex drive is actually beneficial to my goals of staying chaste.

    Let’s face it, all drugs have side effects and I am well aware of them all, but the benefits seem to outweigh everything. For one thing, it makes my wishes of becoming a mother in the future more of a reality once I get off the pill since my reproductive system will have been damaged less.

  31. Yeah says:

    “At a disadvantage when COMPETING with normally cycling women.” Right.

  32. Stephanie says:

    There are natural ways of preventing pregnancy without the pill, or any use of hormonal contraceptives. A woman is only fertile for a small amount of time each month, and sperm doesn’t live forever, so preventing pregnancy is math, not magic… it’s just about figuring out when the woman is ovulating (the rhythm method counting days from the last cycle doesn’t work because cycles can be irregular). The Catholic Church has known about it for years (Natural Family Planning, or NFP) but I just recently saw an article from a secular university exploring the topic. It will be nice when women can understand their bodies and not have to rely on hormones to plan their families. 🙁

    The Birth Control Pill was labeled a Class 1 carcinogen (along with cigarette smoking and asbestos) by the World Health Organization in 2005. Some TV shows are promoting the Pill as “preventing cancer” but those same cancers that the pill “prevents” can also be prevented by having children… it’s the reason why centuries ago some nuns (who obviously never had children) got cancer.

  33. My Name says:

    Dear “virgin bride”,
    I just wanted to let you know about an amazing option for married couples which involves no contraceptive whatsoever but when used in the correct manner can be even more effective than any type of contraceptive. This is called “Natural Family Planning (N.F.P.)”. With research and development and an addition of the “Creighton Method” this allows you to respect your fertility but also not conceive any children before you are ready. Basically what you do is you chart your cycle (this also works with irregular cycles) and your body will naturally indicate what days of the month you are fertile and what days you are infertile, you are fertile for only about 8 days each month, so all you need to do is to abstain from sex for these particular 8 days that you are fertile and you won’t conceive. N.F.P. works with your body and with your fertility rather than against it. The word “contraceptive” actually means “against life”.
    I would advise you or anyone else interested in this to look up the Natural Family Planning website, there’s loads more information that you can find online and if planning to use this then I’d advise you to get an NFP practitioner involved to help you begin charting and tell you the ins and outs of everything.
    Hope this is of some help 🙂

  34. Jenny.. says:

    I went for a routine check-up and discovered via ultrasound that i have follicular ovarian cyst Again! first on my right ovary which resolved by itself,and now i have on my left ovary.. I met with the gynaecologist and she placed me on contraceptives for 3months… I’m really scared because i’m 26 and still waiting and i dont want to mess with my reproductive system but i guess if i dont use the contraceptives the cyst will persist. Any clue on what i should do? will the cyst resolve without the use of a contraceptive or will it keep coming?

  35. Anonymous says:

    Did any of you check the sources? This article is total junk!

  36. riot says:

    So when should my (off course) virgin girl start pills before marriage or after the wedding ??

  37. Alice says:

    I also want to say some words about NFP (Natural Family Planning) and fertility awareness methods. It’s better to use them and don’t use pills. I know many girls and women who destroyed their cycles due to syntetic hormons and now can’t conceive or don’t have regular ovulation (it may come 2 times in 9 months, for example). And now they are using symptothermal fertility awareness methods in order to re-establish and restore their cycle. Besides, in Europe there were many lawsuits against companies-producers of hormonl pills because that pills harmed women’s health and there were even death accidents because of taking hormons.

  38. Alice says:

    Jenny wrote: I’m really scared because i’m 26 and still waiting and i dont want to mess with my reproductive system but i guess if i dont use the contraceptives the cyst will persist. Any clue on what i should do? will the cyst resolve without the use of a contraceptive or will it keep coming?

    My answer may be late but nevertheless. It’s a myth that contraceptives help to resolve cyst. They can only make situation worse. And the cyst can resolve without the use of hormons. I consulted with a very experienced gynaecologist on this topic. It’s better to find NFP consultant and start to use this method. In Europe we use symptothermal fertility awareness method. It provides full information about one’s current state of reproductive health, the level of hormons during the cycle and helps in detection problems as soon as they arise.

  39. virgin says:

    I’m a virgin,yet I’m taking pills (diane35) for my acne for almost 3 months. A friend told me that it’d affect my reproductive capability. How true is it?

  40. notyetamother says:

    hi im 20 yrs old but when i was 19 im taking pills already to avoid pregnancy .i just stop last july .will it effect my baby when i get preggy?

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