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The Pill and Pheromones

The Pill's Effect on Mate Selection

I doubted blogger Rabbit Write's anecdotal evidence of women leaving men after going off birth-control pills, but there's actually a scientific explanation for it.

A 2008 study found the pill could screw up a woman's pheromone-sniffing ability — a deciding factor in the mate-selection process — and choose someone she otherwise wouldn't.

Typically, we're attracted to the people we're most compatible to have babies with — men with different MHC (major histocompatibility complex) levels. If birth-control pills prevent pheromones from doing their sniffing job, then we may end up with a less-than-compatible breeding partner or (worse, I'd say) wake up permanently turned off one morning.


Jena Pincott, a writer who specializes in the science of love and attraction, says we should classify this as good-to-know info but not gospel. "What women need to bear in mind when hearing these studies is that effects are statistically significant, but they are generalities.”

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Join The Conversation
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Anon, but you told Gaw that she does. It's not good to assume that, she might be the minority. "Think about all the cosmetic products you use - those are full of chemicals that mimic hormones." I do completely agree with what you're saying though. Hormones are everywhere and people should be aware if they're trying to avoid them. :) A lot of people don't realize how much is in food (mostly) and in products most people buy.
starbucks2 starbucks2 6 years
This is not a new study. When I went off the pill my mom actually asked me if I still like to smell my man ;) And yes, I do!!
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
There was an article about this in Women's Health a few months back. I believe it, it absolutely makes sense. Anon - Some people have serious side effects with The Pill. For me, my libido disappeared completely. I had other physical side effects and depression. I got off the Pill and within a few months, my body went (mostly) back to how it used to be. I tried numerous different pills over a 3 year span, it just wasn't for me. Also, not everyone uses cosmetics made of chemicals (I don't) and not everyone eats animal products full of hormones (I don't).
Pistil Pistil 6 years
I met my boyfriend pre-pill, so I'm safe? :oy:
Skeptic52 Skeptic52 6 years
I spent more of my life ON the pill than off of it. My mother had cystic acne (with deep scarring) and was convinced I would end up with it if I didn't go on the pill. She had convinced me of the same thing, so from when I hit my teens on, I was on SOME form of the pill. Doctors constantly saw side effects during exams, so they would take me off of one and put me on another every six months to a year. No matter what they said, though, I was convinced I HAD to be on it. By the time I was in college, I thought I'd get pregnant if I ever went off it, so I was even more adamant. Then I got married and we went away for a long time for our honeymoon. I forgot my pack, and I had to go off the pill for a long time. My whole body felt better and so did my mood. I also lost 20 pounds eating CRAP on the ship, just because I wasn't on the medication anymore. I never went back on it. I can definitely say that my life is MUCH better now. Thank goodness I was still attracted to my I was probably MORE attracted to him after I lost the pill, because I truly wanted sex for the first time ever in my life.
Gawjuslayd Gawjuslayd 6 years
I am not surprised to read this. I have never been on birth control, mainly because I can never remember to take the pill. Birth control messes with your hormones. That was not God's intentions. I feel like if you are going to have sex, there are many other alternatives to protection.
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