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Birth Control Pill can Change Your Perception of Attractiveness

Update Date: Nov 21, 2014 12:03 PM EST
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When women stop taking their birth control pills, their perception of who is attractive can change, a new study reported.

For this study, the team recruited 118 couples that started a relationship after the women were already on hormonal birth control. The researchers examined any changes in the women's perception of attractiveness after some of them stopped taking their birth control pills

"Hormonal contraceptives (HCs) are believed to suppress biological processes associated with women's preferences for cues of partner genetic fitness, cues that may be summarized by men's facial attractiveness," the authors explained.

Women who went off of the pill were more likely to base their mate's level of physical attraction on evolutionary standards. Evolutionary traits indicate genetic fitness. After stopping a birth control regimen, women with partners who were not conventionally attractive were more likely to report feeling less attracted to their partners. Women with conventionally good-looking partners, however, did not report a decrease.

"Women who choose a partner when they're on hormonal contraceptives and then stop taking them will prioritize their husband's attractiveness more than they would if they were still on it," stated Michelle Russell, the Florida State graduate student who is the lead author on the study, reported by TIME. "The effect that it would have on her marital satisfaction would carry more weight."

Even though the team did not analyze why women's attraction toward their partners changed, the researchers reasoned that the change could be due to a shift in their levels of hormones.

The study, "The association between discontinuing hormonal contraceptives and wives' marital satisfaction depends on husbands' facial attractiveness," was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

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