Women should ‘come off Pill’ to check they still fancy partner – contraceptive alters way users feel about love and sex
Pill prolongs relationships by up to two years – but makes users find sex less satisfying
Can cause users to stay in relationships when ‘spark’ has gone
Scientists advise users to take ‘holiday’ from Pill
By Ted Thornhill
PUBLISHED: 08:05, 28 March 2012 | UPDATED: 13:07, 28 March 2012
The birth control pill alters the way women feel about sex and marriage – and can cause women to stay in relationships where the ‘spark’ has gone.
Scientists have advised women to come off the Pill in the run-up to marriage to check their feelings remain the same.
Women on the pill stay in relationships longer – by up to two years – but find sex less satisfying.
Scientists have advised women to try some time off the Pill before marriage in order to see that their feelings remain the same – the Pill alters body chemistry so women enjoy sex less, but stay in relationships longer
Dr Roberts concluded: ‘Choosing a non-hormonal barrier method of contraception for a few months before getting married might be one way for a woman to check or reassure herself that she’s still attracted to her partner.’
One the one hand using them can make a relationship last longer, but on the other sex won’t seem as good.
Lead author Dr Craig Roberts from the University of Stirling said: ‘Our results show some positive and negative consequences of using the pill when a woman meets her partner. Such women may, on average, be less satisfied with the sexual aspects of their relationship, but more so with non-sexual aspects.
‘Overall, women who met their partner on the pill had longer relationships – by two years on average – and were less likely to separate. So there is both good news and bad news for women who meet while on the pill. One effect seems to compensate for the other.’
Previous research by Dr Roberts found that pill use alters women’s preference for men’s body odour.
Instead of preferring genetically different men, when women go on the pill their preference switches towards the odour of more genetically similar men.
This might mean that women using the pill choose different men than they would otherwise choose.
‘Women tend to find genetically dissimilar men attractive because resulting babies will more likely be healthy,’ said Dr Roberts. ‘It’s part of the subconscious “chemistry” of attraction between men and women.
‘Similarly, 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.
‘The hormonal levels of women using the pill don’t alter much across a month and most closely reflect those typical of the non-fertile phases of the menstrual cycle. It seems that our preferences are shaped by these hormonal levels, so preferences of women on the pill don’t change around ovulation in the way seen in normally-cycling women.’
The results were published on October 12 in the Royal Society journal Proceedings Of The Royal Society B.