Pill Users Choose 'Wrong' Sex Partners
Women on Birth Control Pill May Be Attracted to 'Wrong' Sex Partner
The result: After taking the pill, women shifted toward preferring genetically similar men. Women who did not take the pill slightly increased their preference for genetically different men.
Why? Roberts notes that when they become pregnant, female animals switch to preferring the scent of genetically similar males. This may allow them to seek out males that will help them protect and raise the baby. Claus Wedekind, PhD, who performed the original T-shirt-sniffing studies, has suggested that birth control pills somehow mimic this process.
The question, of course, is what happens when a woman taking birth control pills marries a man to whom she's attracted -- and then stops taking the pill.
Herz says marriage counselors who have never heard about these studies tell her that the No. 1 complaint among women no longer sexually interested in their husbands is that they can no longer stand how he smells.
"If you can't stand how someone smells, you cannot become intimate," Herz says.
Does this mean the birth control pill is a divorce pill? Herz says it's not that simple.
"A woman's response to a man's natural body odor will be colored by her feelings for him," she says. "So if you fell in love with a man online, it would be hard to be repelled by his smell."
Roberts and colleagues report their findings in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
(What do you think determined your choice of partner? Talk with others on WebMD's Couples Coping message board.)