Birth Control Pills, Jealousy and Girly Men

birth control pills
These are some powerful pills.

If you are one of the millions of women who take birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, you are probably aware of all the potential side effects – breakthrough bleeding, weight gain and nausea, just to name a few.  But did you know that the same pill that inhibits your fertility might have an undesirable emotional side effect as well?

We aren’t talking general moodiness, but a specific emotion that could potentially damage your relationship with your partner.

According to a study out of Stirling University in the UK, those little pills that are preventing you from getting pregnant might also be preventing you from trusting your mate.

The study, which was conducted with the assistance of Dutch psychologists,  involved 275 women between the ages of 17 and 35 who had been taking various brands of  birth control pills that contained synthetic versions of both estrogen and progesterone for at least three months. The women were asked a series of questions related to feelings of jealousy and possessiveness to gauge how much they trusted their partners.

What they found was that the women whose birth control brands had higher doses of estrogen were more likely to experience feelings of jealousy.  Progesterone, however, seemed to have no impact on the their feelings toward their mates.

While these findings indicate a need for doctors to pay close attention to which birth control brands are being prescribed, the researchers are looking at the results in the larger context of the impact of birth control on mate choice and relationship dynamics.

Past studies have found that birth control pills may alter a woman’s sense of smell, impairing her ability to sniff out a good partner.  And other studies have found that birth control pills may suppress a woman’s interest in masculine men.

These effects, researchers theorize, may be why what we find attractive in a man has changed since the pill was introduced.  Where we used to go for macho touch guys like Sean Connery, today’s male sex symbols tend to be more androgynous like Zac Efron.

So, to sum up:  While birth control pills may be preventing us from having babies when we don’t want them, they might also be impacting who we have chosen not to have those babies with and how we get along with him.  Fascinating.

Image: starbooze/Flickr

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