If hormones can sway what a woman thinks of a man and whether he is a good mate, what might oral contraceptives do? Well, a study of 2,519 women finds that those using birth control pills when they met their match were less sexually satisfied or attracted to their partners, but more content with other aspects of the relationship and, therefore, less likely to separate.
Why? Women who did not take the pill tended to gravitate toward good-looking guys who could make them happy in bed, but those relationships did not offer enough attributes to last as long. Which attributes? Guys who are good providers. "Women’s preferences subconsciously change over time so that during non-fertile stages of the menstrual cycle, they are more attracted to men who appear more caring and reliable – good dads," says study author and psychologist Craig Roberts of the University of Stirling in Scotland in a statement.
As MSNBC writes, previous research has shown that hormonal variations during menstrual cycles can affect how women view men as suitable matches, and that some studies have shown women prefer more masculine men during ovulation. You know, the primal instinct takes over and a macho guy is likely to light the reproductive fires.
And so the study, which was published yesterday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that women who took the pill scored lower on measures of sexual satisfaction and partner attraction, experienced increasing sexual dissatisfaction during the relationship, and were more likely to be the one to initiate an eventual separation if it occurred.
For those wondering how long the relationships lasted, the study found that women who met their partner while on the pill stuck around, on average, an additional two years. The study also found that women who took the pill at the time they found their partners rated the guy's body lower in attractiveness compared with women who did not take the pill (here is the study).
The upshot? If the pill can sway one's perception, Roberts suggests that women use something other than birth control pills for awhile before getting married. This "might be one way for a woman to check or reassure herself that she’s still attracted to her partner," he says.
pic thx to stevendepolo on flickr