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The Pill Sabotages Sex, Boosts Relationship Happiness
Popping a birth-control pill couldِ significantly impact yourِ long-term relationship choices, newِ research suggests.
Comparing theِ relationships ofِ women whoِ wereِ onِ the pill whenِ theyِ met theirِ partner withِ thoseِ who weren’t, researchers foundِ that pill users wereِ lessِ sexually satisfied, butِ happier overallِ with theirِ relationships thanِ women notِ taking birth control whenِ theyِ firstِ met theirِ mate.
These results areِ in line withِ whatِ weِ andِ other groups haveِ seen inِ the lab, study researcher Lisa DeBruine, ofِ the University ofِ Aberdeen, told LiveScience inِ anِ email.
Polling the pill
The study, performed byِ lead author Craig Roberts, ofِ the University ofِ Stirling inِ the U.K., polled aboutِ 2,000 women fromِ allِ over theِ world, including theِ U.S., U.K.
The average age ofِ the women wasِ aroundِ 37, andِ to makeِ sure theِ levels ofِ relationship commitment wereِ comparable, theyِ were asked aboutِ their relationships withِ theِ fathers ofِ their firstِ children.
Oddly, theseِ couples whoِ met whileِ theِ woman wasِ onِ hormonal birth control wereِ alsoِ more emotionally satisfied andِ were moreِ likelyِ to stay together, onِ average aboutِ two years longer.
Pill use and attraction
Though theِ biology behindِ this phenomenon isِ unknown, DeBruine believes it’sِ most likelyِ related toِ theِ hormones foundِ in theِ pill usedِ toِ control fertility.
These hormones influence whatِ characteristics women areِ attracted toِ inِ a mate.
Studies haveِ shown thatِ a main component ofِ attraction isِ a desire toِ find a genetically dissimilar partner,specifically inِ genes called theِ major histocompatibility complex (or MHC) thatِ areِ involved inِ the body’s immune system.
Jonathan Schaffir, a doctor atِ Ohio State University Medical Center whoِ hasِ studied theِ link betweenِ hormonal contraception andِ sexual desire butِ who wasn’tِ involved inِ this study, suggested thatِ trying toِ tease outِ the effect ofِ hormonal birth control onِ something asِ complex asِ mate choice canِ beِ misleading.
It’s notِ likelyِ that a small change inِ a single biological parameter willِ makeِ a big difference, noting thatِ the differences theِ study found, whileِ statistically significant, wereِ small.
Our findings doِ suggest thatِ these processes play outِ slightly differently inِ women whoِ wereِ andِ were notِ using theِ pill whenِ theyِ met theirِ partner.