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Sexualidad, Salud y Sociedad (Rio de Janeiro)

On-line version ISSN 1984-6487

Abstract

NUCCI, Marina. The birth control pill as a 'lifestyle drug': on the medicalization of sexuality. Sex., Salud Soc. (Rio J.) [online]. 2012, n.10, pp. 124-139. ISSN 1984-6487.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1984-64872012000400006.

This article discusses the process of medicalization of sexuality, by focusing on the hormonal birth control pill as a 'lifestyle drug,' i.e., medications that are used to improve people's quality of life, instead of treating illness. The birth control pill, released in the US in 1957, has been destined to everyday use by healthy women since its creation. It has revolutionized their lives and society as a whole, becoming an important cultural symbol. This article addresses the emergence of hormonal contraception and its transformations. The marketing of the pill by pharmaceutical companies has been focused less on birth control than on its desirable side-effects-such as acne reduction and the treatment of 'mood problems' related to menstruation- in a search of greater adequacy to a 'modern woman's' lifestyle.

Keywords : gender; sexuality; medicalization; lifestyle drugs; birth control pill.

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