I’VE BEEN ON and off (mostly on) birth control pills since I was 18. Preventing unwanted pregnancy, although important, was not the main reason I started taking them. I had cramps that felt like the baby alien from Species was trying to crawl out of my stomach. As an added bonus to preventing pregnancy and regulating your cycle, the Pill also controls the pain felt by cramps. But the most important reason I take birth control is to control acne. Without the Pill, my skin breaks out at the same exact time each month. I would gladly suffer the side effects of the Pill in order to keep my skin clear. That may sound vain or whatever, but YOU try dealing with acne for over half your life. It f**king sucks.
I recently switched from Loestrin to Ortho Tri-Cyclen because I needed an option containing more estrogen to help with my acne. So far it’s working, but my mood swings have been a little… nuts, lately. I’m sure it’s just my body getting used to the new pills, so I’m not going to bail on them just yet. But stranger (and perhaps more worrisome) than my pendulum-like emotions is that I’ve noticed my attraction towards men has changed. I’m still attracted to dudes — just not the same type I usually am. The funny thing is, I don’t think I’m the only person this has happened to. A guy told me he had a girlfriend who started taking the Pill and broke up with him a month later. My first thought was, “She cheated on you and wanted to bang dudes without rubbers,” but that wasn’t the case. He said she stopped being affectionate a month after she started the Pill, and then eventually broke up with him. She said specifically that she wanted to see other guys, which is a bold thing to say during a breakup. Usually it’s like, “Well, I just want to focus on myself…” or some bullsh*t like that.
Recently, a study was done to observe women’s attraction to different types of men while on and off the Pill. The results were very strange, and a little disturbing. Here’s how basic attraction works, according to the article:
Women prefer the scent of a man whose genes differ from their own. It’s an evolutionary preference that helps offspring survive. Couples with different genes are most likely not related to each other, meaning their offspring will have varied genes and therefore more robust immune systems.
Women on the Pill, however, seem to experience a shift in preference toward men with less masculine-looking faces. Researchers had fifty-five heterosexual women look at images of men and decide which faces were the most attractive. Eighteen of the women took birth control pills, and thirty-seven did not. After three months, they performed the facial-attractiveness test again, and the women who were taking the pill were not attracted to guys with masculine faces (determined by such features as angular features, cheekbone prominence, strong jawline, and face width/height).
Scientists hypothesize that evolution has a lot to do with this. Super-masculine men are seen as stronger, but not as nice (meathead douchebags is what they really meant to say). When women are searching for long-term partners, they want a guy who is caring, sweet, and loving — who will be there for the long-run. Men with more feminine attributes tend to be that way. Since birth control tricks our body into thinking we’re pregnant, that means we’re searching for a less-aggressive, more stable partner.
Maybe women just want to find a guy who enjoys shopping for baby clothes? Ever think of that, scientists?
The results of this study are disturbing, though. I wouldn’t want to stop being attracted to a boyfriend because I got on or off the Pill. Buuuuut, I also don’t want acne and severe cramps. So, what’s more important? How f*cked up would it be if I met a guy, fell in love, decided we want children, then got off the Pill and was no longer attracted to him? Sorry babe, it was just this magical pill making me think I needed a doll-faced guy with pretty blue eyes who decorated our home nicely. What I really want is a taller, more muscular man with Angelina Jolie cheekbones to protect me from burglars or whatever, who also knows how to build things.
Either way, I’m not getting off the Pill. It has made being a woman bearable during PMS, and I no longer have giant red bumps on my face making me look like a really old teenager.
You can have my birth control when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.