Belfast Telegraph

Study shows women on Pill are 'less sexually attracted' to partners

By John von Radowitz

Women who have a strong libido should stay off the Pill when choosing a partner, according to a study. On the other hand, the contraceptive could benefit those preferring cosiness to passion, the research claimed.

Scientists discovered there were pros and cons to starting a relationship while on the Pill.

Pill users turned out to be less attracted to their partners and less sexually satisfied.

But they were more likely to be happy with "non-sexual" elements of their relationship, such as support shown by their partner.

On balance, partnerships that began when the woman was on the Pill stood a better chance of lasting.

Study leader 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."

The findings, published in the journal 'Proceedings of the Royal Society B', are based on a study of 2,519 women.

Just over half were using the Pill when they met their partner. A scoring system was used to gauge the quality of their relationships.

Previous research by Dr Roberts found that using the contraceptive Pill altered women's preference for the way men smell.

Male scent signals, or pheromones, are known to act as markers for immune system genes.

Without the Pill, women tend to be attracted to men whose pheromones indicate they have genes different from their own. This helps to ensure that any resulting offspring have a wide range of protective immune system genes.

When they are taking the Pill, women's preference switches to men who "smell" genetically similar.

"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."

He added: "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."

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