Some women fear asking their doctor about contraception as much as a visit to the dentist, a new report has suggested.
A tenth of women admit they find it equally nerve-racking, in the poll conducted by Bayer Healthcare.
The report shows almost a quarter of sexually active women have not spoken to their GPs about contraception at all.
Women spend less than 10 minutes a year talking to their doctor about contraception, the poll also revealed.
Dr Tina Peers, Consultant in Contraception and Sexual Health, said: "There is more choice than ever for women of all ages – there are actually 15 methods of contraception and as an example, there are over 20 different types of oral contraceptives available, but women in their 20s and 30s seem to be denying themselves the chance to make an informed choice. "
The reticence to speak about contraception with the doctor extends to women talking about it with people a little closer to home.
The research shows more than half of women (56%) say the person they're sleeping with is not the person they're most comfortable with discussing contraception.
But while British women are not comfortable talking about contraception, they appear relaxed enough to go home with a partner relatively early in their relationship. A total of 39% of sexually active women say they went to bed with their most recent partner by the third date.
"I find it very sad that such an important issue in a woman's life is given such a short time by a GP. In contraceptive health clinics time is spent with women discussing options ensuring that the best method for their lifestyle is available to them and offering at a minimum a basic sexual health advice, ladies please utilise this excellent service!!" - Name and address supplied
"Very pertinent re teenagers" - Una Duffy, Surrey
"Pts usually don't need to see the GP but instead can see the family planning practice nurses! From my experience we are very thorough, up to date and offer a big range" - Joy, Northampton