STUDY: Birth Control Pills Can Change Your Attraction Preferences

2 months ago

TikTok video garnered nearly 10 million views as a woman unveiled the scientific revelation that hormonal birth control has the potential to change your attraction preferences. The comments section became a space where numerous women shared personal stories about how birth control influenced their relationships, sometimes even leading to breakups. And this is actually confirmed by a study.

How pills change your attraction preferences

In the viral video the host asks, “Is it true?” Her guest explains that, according to a study, men picked by such women have less masculine faces compared to men chosen by naturally cycling women. Millions of women rely on hormonal contraception, and recent studies suggest that the pill could impact partner preferences. A new investigation reveals a shift in women’s attraction toward less masculine male faces when on the pill, while their assessments of female faces remain unaffected.

Interestingly, couples formed when the woman was on the pill exhibited men with less masculine features compared to those who met when the woman was not on contraceptive medication. If substantiated, these findings may have significant implications for understanding the dynamics of relationship formation.

The research involved a comparison of romantic preferences among heterosexual women aged 18 to 24 who were either on oral contraception or not. Participants were presented with composite images of young male and female faces, manipulated to appear more or less masculine based on features like cheekbone prominence, jaw height, and face width. Participants were then instructed to modify the male faces to be most attractive for either short- or long-term relationships, while adjusting female faces to maximize attractiveness.

The study was conducted in two phases: first, when none of the participants were on the pill, and then again three months after some participants began using the pill.

Results showed that, when on the pill, women exhibited a preference for less masculine male faces (characterized by narrower jawbones and more rounded faces) compared to their preferences before commencing birth control. Interestingly, the pill had no impact on the preference for masculinity in female faces.

How pills influence women’s choices of partners

ANGELA WEISS/AFP/East News, Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/East News

Subsequently, the researchers delved into the impact of contraceptive pill usage on women’s partner preferences. A comparison was made between 85 couples who reported using the pill when they initially met and 85 couples who reported not using it. To assess the influence, the researchers captured photographs of the men’s faces in each couple, and volunteers were tasked with judging the perceived masculinity of each face. Additionally, the volunteers rated computer-altered versions of the images, emphasizing differences in masculinity, such as accentuating a wide lower jawline.

The findings revealed that volunteers consistently rated the partners of women who were not on the pill at the beginning of their relationships as more masculine than those of women who were on the pill. This pattern was mirrored in the assessments of the computer-manipulated images. The association between pill usage and facial traits was further validated through a mathematical formula.

Before you go, check out the article that discusses another study revealing that women who date younger men are happier in their relationships.

Preview photo credit Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/East News, ANGELA WEISS/AFP/East News


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