Hormonal birth control has been available to American women since the early 1960s with the introduction of "the pill." Since then, birth control via hormones can also be accomplished with injections, patches, implants and rings, although pills remain the most popular method and the most studied. All hormonal methods are meant to maintain high levels of estrogen and progesterone, which prevent women from ovulating. Controversy exists over what side effects occur with long-term use of birth control pills.
Although women usually take birth control pills to enhance their sexual experience, there is evidence that with long-term use, it may actually make it less enjoyable for many. In 2006, a study was published in the "Journal of Sexual Medicine" that concluded long-term use of birth control pills can lead to sexual dysfunction. Specifically, the researches commonly found decreased sexual desire, sexual arousal and vaginal secretions/lubrication in the 124 women on birth control pills who were studied. The women also reported reduced sexual satisfaction and an increase in sex-related pain because of the reduced lubrication.
The same research team also took blood samples from the women and realized they had elevated globulin levels, which was chronically suppressing their testosterone levels. The researchers concluded that the synthetic estrogens in birth control pills may cause permanent changes in the way genes function, resulting in a long-lasting reduction in testosterone available to the body.