I am working on a project about some of the lesser-known effects of the birth control pill on a woman’s psychological, relational, and behavioral well being. I came across some fascinating, high-quality research I thought I’d share a bit of what I found so far.
Although the psychological and behavioral impact of hormonal contraceptives has been a largely understudied area until recently, a review of scholarly research-to-date in the journal, Evolutionary Psychology, found significant cause for concern. The author states, “Women who use HCs report higher rates of depression, reduced sexual functioning, and higher interest in short-term sexual relationships compared to their naturally-cycling counterparts. Also, HC use may alter women’s ability to attract a mate, as well as the mate retention behaviors in both users and their romantic partners. Some evidence even suggests that HC use alters mate choice and may negatively affect sexual satisfaction in parous women, with potential effects on future offspring” (Welling, 2013, p. 718).
Regarding the issue of mate attraction and retention, a subsequent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences supported Welling’s (2013) earlier observations, finding that women are attracted to different types of men depending upon whether they are on or off hormonal contraceptives and that marital stability can be negatively impacted when a woman who was on HC’s at the beginning of their relationship subsequently discontinues HC use (Russell, McNulty, Baker, 2014).
For more about the truth about God’s plan for sexuality, check out Holy Sex! The Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving.
Russel, V.M., McNulty, J., Baker, L. et al. (2014). The association between discontinuing hormonal contraceptives and wives’ marital satisfaction depends on husbands’ facial attractiveness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. vol. 111 no. 48. 17081–17086 Retrieved September 11, 2016 at http://www.pnas.org/content/111/48/17081.full
Welling, L. (2013). Psychobehavioral effects of hormonal contraceptive use. Evolutionary Psychology, 11(3): 718-742