Contrary to popular belief, taking the Pill will not kill your sex drive.

Scientists said any drop in libido on the Pill was better explained by the fact older women, who have been in relationships for longer, tend to lose interest in sex.

Women who took a contraceptive containing hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone desired their partners more than those on non-hormonal methods, a study found.

Lead author Dr Kristen Mark said: "The message that hormonal pills decrease desire is really prevalent. Our findings are clear - the Pill doesn't kill desire."

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The study by the Universities of Kentucky and Indiana measured the libidos of more than 200 women.

Dr Mark added: "By continuing to unravel the mysteries behind the inaccurate anecdotes out there, I hope we can help women understand - and address - changes in their sexual desire."

The US researchers said the evidence until now was mixed on how much the Pill affects women's sexual desire. They looked at how three types of contraceptive affected married couples and those in relationships of varying lengths, measuring their libido and how much they wanted to have sex with their partner.

The findings showed women on non-hormonal contraceptives reported higher desire on their own and women on hormonal contraceptives reported higher desire with their partner. However, when the researchers adjusted the results to take into account relationship length and age, the scientists said that the differences were no longer significant.

This suggested it was the context rather than the contraceptive type that was having the biggest impact on desire.

The study stated that the findings were "consistent with the general sexual desire literature indicating that sexual frequency and desire decrease as age and relationship length increase, regardless of contraceptive method".

"It's who you're married to that does..."