Roberts SC, Cobey KD, Klapilova K & Havlicek J (2014) Oral contraception and romantic relationships - from the lab to the real world. Human Ethology Bulletin, 29 (3), pp. 4-13. http://media.anthro.univie.ac.at/ishe_journal/index.php/heb/article/view/103
We review recent evidence that suggests that oral contraceptives may influence the dynamics of sexual relationships and the human pair-bond. Hormonal birth control likely has positive effects on cementing the pair-bond by decoupling sex from conception. However, changes in women's evolved mate preferences associated with initiation or discontinuation of hormonal contraception may alter attraction to her partner, with potentially negative consequences for sexual satisfaction. We describe the evidence for such changes produced by laboratory studies, including prospective experimental designs, and how the consequences of such changes are being explored beyond the laboratory. In view of the growing prevalence of modern hormonal contraceptive methods across the globe, further study of such effects is urgently required.
mate choice; the pill; attractiveness; sexual desire; libido; relationship satisfaction
Human Ethology Bulletin: Volume 29, Issue 3