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A 2008 Scientific American article researching the effects of birth control on relationships asked the question: Could contraception be leading to higher divorce rates?
Titled "Birth Control Pills Affect Women's Taste in Men: How synthetic hormones change desire in women—and their choice in a mate," the research showed that, because contraception tricks the woman's body into thinking it's pregnant and alters the hormones, it affects the type of man to whom the woman is attracted:
Although no one knows why the pill affects attraction, some scientists believe that pregnancy — or in this case, the hormonal changes that mimic pregnancy — draws women toward nurturing relatives.
Women who start or stop taking the pill, then, may be in for some relationship problems.
The study showed that women not on the pill were more attracted to masculine men who exude strength and virility, while women on the pill were more drawn to effeminate, non-threatening men.
Men, too, are affected by the pill in that men's testosterone levels and attraction fluctuate based on a woman's fertility; the higher the fertility, the greater the attraction and the higher the levels of testosterone; the lower the fertility, then the lower the attraction and testosterone.
Women on the pill choose a particular type of partner to marry, and when they go off the pill during marriage, suddenly find themselves no longer attracted to their partner, potentially leading to arguments, infidelity and divorce. The converse can also be true; women not on contraception choose a mate attractive to them, marry, and then start contraception, only to find they have lost all desire for him — again, leading to marital problems and break-ups.
More women than ever in the history of the world are on the pill, and recent studies show men's testosterone levels are lower than ever. An article published in late July reveals that sperm counts in men have plunged 60 percent over just 40 years. Although scientists are attributing it to various environmental factors, there's reason to believe the decline in testosterone is linked to the fact that nearly 70 million women in the West are taking hormonal contraceptives, interfering with their body's natural fertility, with its resultant negative effects on male-female relationships.
Watch today's panel discuss the harms of birth control in The Download—Revisiting Humanae Vitae?