Sexual Acceptability’s Role in Women’s Contraceptive Preference and Behavior



Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Grant Number

R01 HD095661-02

Principal Investigator

Jenny Higgins | University of Wisconsin–Madison | Department of Gender and Women’s Studies


High rates of contraceptive dissatisfaction, switching, and discontinuation in the US demand new approaches to contraceptive acceptability and promotion. Behavioral models of contraceptive use have failed to address sexuality, even though contraception is designed for sexual activity. By following new contraceptive users across 12 months, this study will 1) document sexual acceptability for a variety of contraceptive methods, 2) determine associations between sexual acceptability and continuation over time, and 3) set the stage for the creation of new, more valid sexuality measures to be used in future reproductive health research and interventions.

The proposal catalyzes a patient-centered approach to contraception that has the potential to improve women’s experiences with their methods. Research from this program could ultimately be used to help match women with the method(s) they will find the most sexually acceptable— methods they will like and use—thereby helping women fully realize the social, economic, and health benefits of contraception. RELEVANCE (See instructions): Many effective contraceptives are available today, but half of women discontinue use within a year due to dissatisfaction with available methods. Women have requested oral contraception to be used immediately in advance of infrequent intercourse. This proposed “On Demand” Contraceptive Center is focused on the development of effective, safe, acceptable contraceptives for women which block ovulation to prevent pregnancy.