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PHS Monday Seminar: Jenny Higgins, PhD, MPH -Contraceptives’ Effects on Sexual Functioning, Satisfaction, and Well-Being: Takeaways for Public Health

November 16, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Contraception is one of the most commonly used public health goods in the U.S., and its use is associated with major health and social benefits. However, a significant proportion of users are dissatisfied with their birth control method and discontinue within several months of use. Although contraception is designed to prevent pregnancy during sexual activity, few large, longitudinal studies examine contraceptive methods’ effects on sexual functioning, satisfaction, and well-being over time—and how those sexual outcomes may shape contraceptive satisfaction continuation over time. In this presentation, I’ll describe our findings from analysis of data from the HER Salt Lake Contraceptive Initiative, a prospective cohort study providing no-cost contraceptives, in which about 3,500 participants completed a range of survey items—including sexuality items—at baseline and one, three, and six months.

Learning objectives:
At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify and explain the gendered “pleasure deficit” in relation to the majority of research and development related to contraception.
  2. Articulate aspects of “contraceptive sexual acceptability”—that is, ways in which contraceptives can affect people’s sexual lives.
  3. Understand a) how contraceptive methods shaped a variety of sexual outcomes among a large cohort of individuals starting new contraceptive methods of their choice, and b) how those sexual outcomes shaped continuation over time.
  4. Consider ways we might better promote sex-enhancing aspects of contraceptive methods.

Presenter bio:  At the age of 19, Dr. Jenny Higgins worked her first shift as a medical assistant at a reproductive health clinic. This experience inspired a graduate career in gender studies and public health, as well as a lifelong commitment to comprehensive and compassionate sexual and reproductive healthcare, education, and justice.

After receiving her PhD in women’s studies and MPH in global health from Emory University, Dr. Higgins completed postdoctoral fellowships in HIV/AIDS at Columbia University and contraceptive technology at Princeton University. She is currently Professor of both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also serves as the founder and director of the Collaborative for Reproductive Equity, or UW CORE.

Jenny Higgins CV


November 16, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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