TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – Women find that unattractive men look better to them when they are taking birth control pills, a new study finds.
Researchers found that women who start or stop hormonal contraception during a relationship tend to experience a drop in sexual satisfaction.
They also found that older women who met their husband while taking birth control and later stopped using it became less satisfied with their marriage. This was only the case if the husband was below average-looking; if the husband was good-looking then the women became even more satisfied.
“Given that women tend to prioritize attractiveness differently when they are on versus off hormonal contraceptives, I thought that going on or off hormonal contraceptives should affect how happy they are with their partner,” Michelle Russell, a graduate student in psychology at Florida State University, and the lead author on this study, told Live Science.
According to the study, the birth control pill may affect women because the progesterone and estrogen they contain affects a women’s fertility and as follows, what they are looking for in a mate.
The researchers found that birth control played a role in their partner’s satisfaction.
These findings suggest that women who are having natural menstrual cycles are more intrigued by good looks, and therefore are still satisfied after they stop taking the pill if their husband is good-looking.
The researchers followed 48 couples through four years of marriage and 70 couples for a period of one year.
The couples were asked questions pertaining to their marital and sexual satisfaction. The women were asked to rate their husband’s looks based on photographs.
“In particular, we were able to control for several other factors that might affect wives’ marital satisfactions, such as whether or not she was pregnant, whether or not she was trying to get pregnant, and her husband’s marital satisfaction,” Russell told Live Science.
Russell and her team were surprised that stopping birth control mid-relationship did not affect satisfaction.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 17 percent of women ages 15 to 44 were on the birth control pill as of 2010.
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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