Women and teenage girls who participate in free birth control programmes do not indulge in riskier sexual practices, contrary to fears within a section of the society, reveals a new study.
The participants were less likely to have sex with more than one partner after the programme began, the study says.
Though the participants did have sex a bit more often, they were no more likely to be diagnosed with sexually-transmitted diseases, revealed the study.
Also, nearly 46 percent girls who were virgins at the beginning of the study were still virgins at the end of the study -- despite their earlier intentions to start having sex.
"It is not as if getting birth control opened the floodgates on sexual activity," said Gina Secura, a researcher from the Washington University.
The study, involving 9,256 girls and women, showed that the free birth control programme dramatically reduced abortions and unintended pregnancies.
"The latest findings should dispel the idea that the only thing standing between women and promiscuity is a fear of pregnancy," Secura said.
The researchers, however, noted that 16 percent of participants did not take the follow-up surveys.
It is possible those women were from a higher-risk group than those who did take the surveys, said the study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynaecology.