Women who took the contraceptive pill when starting a relationship may no longer be attracted to their partner when they stop taking it, scientists have said.
Changes in hormones associated with the Pill alter the qualities that women find attractive in men, making them more likely to seek out men who can provide and commit to a relationship, scientists said.
In a study of 2,500 women, the team of researchers found women taking the Pill when they met their partner were less satisfied with their sexual lives and less likely to opt for “masculine” or “dominant” partners.
The research looked at the responses of women to the men who became the father of their first child.
While the women who used the pill when they chose their partner were more likely to look elsewhere for sexual satisfaction, they were also happier with the non-sexual aspects of their relationship.
Its findings imply women may not choose the best long-term mate while taking the Pill.
Co-author Dr Craig Roberts, of Stirling University, told the Daily Mail: “The implications of our study seem to be that by changing your hormone profile through using the Pill, you might shift your preference away from ‘cads’ in favour of ‘dads’.”
“Choosing a non-hormonal barrier method of contraception for a few months before getting married might be one way for a woman to reassure herself that she’s still attracted to her partner.”
The findings also showed women were more likely to end their relationship if they used the Pill when choosing a partner.
In a report published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal, the scientists said: “Our results indicate that a woman’s use of OC [oral contraceptive] at the time when she meets her partner has measurable downstream consequences for partnership outcome.”
The paper added: “Our data provide important evidence in support of the proposal that the use of OC during partner choice (and possibly beyond) has the potential to profoundly inﬂuence the outcome of long-term relationships.”