The Pill: it brought women sexual liberation, and now research finds it also brings us sexual dissatisfaction.
The news isn't all bad: women on the pill tend to choose men who are more reliable and great fathers. And we stay married to them an average of two-years longer than women who met their mate while not on the pill.
But that's not because of the great sex. When women meet men on the pill, our hormonal radar for sexual chemistry is turned off, so we tend to pick someone who seems reliable rather than a firecracker in the sack.
Researchers at the University of Stirling in Scotland submitted questionnaires to 2,519 women asking about their relationships. They all had at least one child and half of the women were on the pill when they met their partners. They published their results on Wednesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
The women who were on the pill when they met their men were more satisfied with their men as domestic partners, but less satisfied in the bedroom.
The scientists say this might be because the birth control pill regulates the hormones that would normally be making us randy. They're the same hormones that interact with our "major histocompatibility genes," which guide us to finding mates who are genetically dissimilar to us, since such unions are more likely to produce healthy babies. We're usually more turned on by genetically different dudes (evolution is nice to us that way), but while taking the pill, that sensor is thrown off.
So, do you want a short marriage and great sex, or a long marriage and bad sex, and possibly a genetically mutated child? The former sounds like the better choice, until you consider the fact that it might also come with an unplanned pregnancy. Perhaps condoms are the answer. [The Guardian; Image: Shutterstock/Lana K]
You can keep up with our Science Editor, Kristen Philipkoski, on Twitter, Facebook, and occasionally Google+