Thursday, 08 Oct, 2009 Science
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The Pill Changes Women's Tastes in Men, Researchers Say

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It is possible that since it was introduced in the 1960s, the Pill played an important role in changing women's taste in men, according to a study. Researchers consider that hormones found in the oral contraceptive restrain the interest of a woman in masculine men, which is why today more women are more attracted to boyish men. Being introduced over 40 years ago, the Pill could have had a great influence on women's tastes towards men.

This theory could bring light on why women's tastes shifted from masculine men to more boyish ones. According to Dr Alexandra Alvergne, from the University of Sheffield, the oral contraceptive could also change the way women choose their mates. In addition, she considers that the Pill can have certain psychological side-effects that researchers are stumbling upon only nowadays. The research was published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

Previous studies found that during the period when a woman is fertile (around the time of ovulation) she finds masculine, self-confident men more attractive. During the days when a woman is not fertile, her tastes shift to men with more feminine looks and more caring traits.

But when women administer the oral contraceptive, they do not have fertile days. This means that they do not have hormonal alteration, thus they are becoming more attractive to men with boyish looks. It is possible that the Pill could change women's views of male looks, the researcher said. However, she added that more research in the field is needed. It is worth mentioning that Dr Alvergne discovered from three other studies that the oral contraceptive could also influence the way women are viewed by men. One of the studies found that lap dancers gather bigger tips when they are around the time of ovulation.

Dr Alvergne's 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." Several studies found that the oral contraceptive can influence the way humans choose their mates and thus have an impact on their reproduction. If these studies are right, the oral contraceptive could have an impact on current and future generations. Researchers hope that more studies will be made in this field.

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