Being On Birth Control Might Have An Unexpected Effect On Women

Since 1960, the pill has been a boon to women who want to have sex without becoming pregnant — and without depending on a man to use a condom. Over the decades, it has proven to be convenient, highly effective, and widely used. According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 13 percent of women of child-bearing age in the United States use oral contraceptives.

But before you start popping the ever-popular Pill, did you know that it may have an effect on women's sexual desire that may cause a committed relationship to falter?

Research published in Evolutionary Psychological Science showed that women who had used the Pill when they met their current partner, and then stopped using it to become pregnant, were more likely to find other attractive men sexually appealing than were women who either never used the Pill or did not stop taking it (via Psychology Today). In other words, male hotties were noticed to a higher degree by such women. What's more, the researchers concluded, not only were these women more likely to desire attractive alternatives to their significant other, but after they stopped the Pill, they were disillusioned with their relationship and less motivated to work on it.

And what about just being on the Pill in the first place?

Most recent studies of women's preferences for a mate throughout their menstrual cycle have shown that during ovulation, women tend to seek men who show typical masculine features, such as broad shoulders, dominance, and high intelligence. Not so with women who are on an oral contraceptive.

Researchers had women 18 to 50 fill out a questionnaire called the Partner's Masculinity Index (PMI) to determine the degree of masculinity they preferred in short-term partners (via the Journal of Sexual Medicine). The women not taking the Pill had higher scores on the PMI during their fertile days, which is consistent with prior studies and shows that women prefer more masculine men when they're ovulating. The Pill-taking women scored much lower on the PMI, no matter where they were in their menstrual cycle.

In this study, just being on the Pill had an effect on sexual preferences, which is something women may not want to accept in addition to the Pill's pregnancy prevention. But while the results of such research can be unsettling for women on oral contraceptives, it's worth noting that in these studies, women did not actually meet those hyper-masculine men. It was all hypothetical, and emotions, trust, and commitment didn't play a part, as they would in the real world.