Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Mate Selection and Attraction - Post #2

Reading the PowerPoint slides about reproduction and mate selection really sparked my interest and I decided to look more into this topic. Something related that I found interesting was that birth control may actually alter who women are attracted to. Certain female hormones become activated and begin to take over while women are on the birth control pill, and this change in the body causes sexual/mate preference to be altered. Women on the pill have a higher and more consistent level of the hormone progesterone, and   this causes the body not to ovulate or have a need to be fertile, just like when a woman is pregnant. There is evidence that heterosexual women on the pill are more attracted to things like intelligence, kindness, and financial stability rather than a more muscular and physically attractive male. In addition, according to research done by Birnbaum et al., published in Evolutionary Psychological Science, women who are on the pill when the meet their partners and then stop taking the pill far along into the relationship, are more likely to fall out of love with their partner and suddenly find things like sex appeal and risky behavior more attractive (2019). They are also more prone to divorce. They go from being attracted to the nice intellectual guy with financial stability to the bad boy with less dependability, once they come off the pill. Due to this, these women who stop the pill during their long term relationship may be more likely to cheat on their partner. While more research on this subject still needs to be done, it is definitely interesting to think about in terms of what motivates mate selection!  

Interesting article in Psychology Today!: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/intimately-connected/201901/do-contraceptive-pills-affect-attraction


 Birnbaum, G. E., Zholtack, K., Mizrahi, M., & Ein-Dor, T. (2019). The Bitter Pill: Cessation of Oral Contraceptives Enhances the Appeal of Alternative Mates. Evolutionary Psychological Science, 5(3), 276–285. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40806-018-00186-6


  1. This was very interesting to read about! I too have heard that a woman's attraction to men can change when on and off the birth control pill but I did not know it was to that extent. It's crazy to think how such a common form of birth control can actually have so many effects on women. It is known that being on the birth control pill changes your hormones, but crazy to think that those hormones being effected actually alter who you are physically and sexually attracted to.

  2. Hi Gabrielle,
    This is really interesting that birth control has such an effect on women’s bodies and emotions. While I think birth control is general good for people who are sexually active but do not want to have kids, this proves that it’s not without its consequences. The idea that stopping the pill can potentially make someone fall out of love with their partner is crazy. I wonder if there was a male version of hormonal birth control if it would produce similar side effects. Nice Post!