Most of my friends had a totally different “type.” Two of my closest friends always seemed to fall for men who could really be well described by one word “effeminate.” I was baffled, but thankful that we never had the same crushes.
A new study reported in the Daily Mail claims to shed light on this trend. The article, titled “Taking the pill for past 40 years ‘has put women off masculine men’” was written by David Derbyshire.
The study says that the Pill does much more than simply give women control over their fertility (we already new that!). It may also have changed many women’s taste in men. Researchers believe that the Pill suppresses a woman’s interest in masculine men. Women who are on the Pill tend to be more attracted to boyish men.
This may explain, “the shifting in tastes from macho 1950s and 1960s stars such as Kirk Douglas and Sean Connery to the more wimpy, androgynous stars of today, such as Johnny Depp and Russell Brand.”
Dr. Alexandra Alvergne explained that the Pill could also change the way women pick their mates and that this change could have long term effects on societies where use of the Pill is common.
Dr. Alvergne also said, “There are many obvious benefits of the Pill for women, but there is also the possibility that the Pill has psychological side-effects that we are only just discovering, We need further studies to find out what these are.”
Here are some highlights from the article:
The links between the Pill and sexual preferences are highlighted in a paper in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
Scientists have long known that a woman's taste in men changes over her menstrual cycle.
Just one more way oral contraceptives have changed families and relationships around the world.
During the few days each month when women are fertile - around the time of ovulation - they tend to prefer masculine features and men who are more assertive.
On these fertile days, women are also more attracted to men who are 'genetically dissimilar', Dr Alvergne said. Picking a partner whose genetic make-up is unlike their own increases the chances of having a healthy child.
On days when women are not fertile, their tastes swing towards more feminine, boyish faces and more caring personalities, researchers have shown.
However, if women are taking the Pill they no longer have fertile days.
That means they no longer experience the hormonal changes that make them more attracted to masculine men and those with dissimilar genetic make-up.
Although the effect is subtle, Dr Alvergne said it could alter women's view of male attractiveness. 'It is a possibility - but there is no evidence of this yet,' she said. 'We need a lot more research in this area.' In her paper, Dr Alvergne reviewed seven studies showing how the Pill can change women's behaviour.
…Her co-author at Sheffield, Dr Virpi Lumma, said: 'The ultimate outstanding evolutionary question concerns whether the use of oral contraceptives when making mating decisions can have long-term consequences on the ability of couples to reproduce.' An increasing number of studies suggest that the Pill is likely to have an impact on human mating decisions and subsequent reproduction.
Read the entire article here.