October 13, 2009

Can Birth Control Make You Attracted to a Different Type of Male?

The other day I was at my friend Nicole's watching TV when a teaser for the news came on. The reporter asked, "Can a certain type of birth control make women attracted to a certain type of male?" It's like, look - why are you asking us this question? Obviously the answer, based on some bullshit scientific research, is going to be "yes." Otherwise, it wouldn't be news - right? You're not going to introduce the story asking that question, followed by a "Nope, no it can't -- here's Storm Field with the 10-day forecast."

Ya feel me?

Just in case you didn't see the segment, but are curious to know (I didn't see it; am curious) - here's the reporting found in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution biologists Alexandra Alvergne and Virpi Lummaa at the University of Sheffield in England:

"Female and male mate choice preferences in humans both vary according to the menstrual cycle. Women prefer more masculine, symmetrical and genetically unrelated men during ovulation compared with other phases of their cycle, and recent evidence suggests that men prefer ovulating women to others. Such monthly shifts in mate preference have been suggested to bring evolutionary benefits in terms of reproductive success. New evidence is now emerging that taking the oral contraceptive pill might significantly alter both female and male mate choice by removing the mid-cycle change in preferences. Here, we review support for such conclusions and speculate on the consequences of pill-induced choice of otherwise less-preferred partners for relationship satisfaction, durability and, ultimately, reproductive outcomes."