Phew! Free birth control doesn't lead to riskier sex

Turns out the ladies can keep it in their pants, even when given their choice of free birth control.

Remember the Contraceptive CHOICE Project in St. Louis? You know, they’re the ones who offered over 9,000 women any method of birth control they wanted, free of charge, for up to three years. (Swoon.) Well, they have a new analysis based on the same study, and it’s following in previous analyses’ footsteps by making some waves.

The CHOICE folks wondered whether access to free birth control would change ladies’ sexual behavior, as critics of birth control access sometimes claim.

The short answer? No.

The researchers compared four aspects of sexual behavior before versus after the women in the study got free birth control. Here’s what they found:

  • there was no change in the number of sexual partners;

  • the number of women reporting multiple sexual partners actually went down from 5% to 3%;

  • the average number of times women had sex in a month went up from 7 to 9 during the study; but

  • there was no change in the diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) when they compared the women having more frequent sex to those having the same amount or less sex.

Shocking? It shouldn’t be.

Lots of countries provide free birth control to their residents, and we have yet to hear of any wild orgies in the streets. (We’ll be keeping an ear out, though—don’t you worry.)