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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Johns Hopkins: Better Access to Contraceptives Means More Sex for Married Couples

Married couples in low- and middle-income countries around the world that use contraception are having more frequent sexual intercourse than those that do not, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests.

In findings being presented at the International Conference on Family Planning in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health say that women of childbearing age in marriages or unions who use contraception are three times more likely to be having regular sexual intercourse than similar women who do not use contraception.

“We want women to have better, healthier, safer sex lives by separating sex from pregnancy and childbearing. Contraception does that,” says study leader Ms. Suzanne Bell, a doctoral student at the Bloomberg School. “Knowing how often women have sex – and what role contraception plays in that – can give us a better understanding of how meeting our family planning goals of improving access and meeting demand might impact people’s lives beyond decreasing lifetime fertility.”

For their study, Bell and her co-author Dr. David Bishai, a professor at the Bloomberg School, analyzed Demographic and Health Survey questionnaires completed since 2005 by more than 210,000 sexually active women of childbearing age in 47 countries. All women were married or in cohabiting relationships. Among other questions, the women were asked whether they had engaged in sexual intercourse during the previous four weeks and whether they were currently using contraception.

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