You may be familiar with some of the side effects of hormonal birth control, like depression, blood clots, and weight gain. You might also know that birth control pills, which are often prescribed for things other than contraception—like irregular periods or acne—aren’t the best solution for managing symptoms. In fact, the pill ultimately makes symptoms like acne worse.
But hormonal birth control has other, more far-reaching consequences. Specifically, taking the pill can wreak havoc on your love life.
I know that probably sounds far out or completely made up, but the idea that hormonal birth control has real consequences for your love life comes directly from the scientific research, which I outline in detail below.
And when you think about it closely, it makes a lot of sense. The pill messes with hormone production and balance by introducing a stream of synthetic hormones to our systems—and because hormones impact how we perceive other people and how they perceive us, it stands to reason that our interactions with everyone—and specifically romantic partners— would be tipped sideways by a steady stream of synthetic hormones.
In other words, hormones help us interact with the world. When we introduce a whole new set of hormones to our delicate bodies, it can shift our desires and perceptions on a fundamental biochemical level and have far-reaching romantic consequences.
How the Pill Ruins Love
Here are 5 of the ways that the pill might be messing with your love life:
You like the smell of guys or girls who are wrong for you romantically. When our hormones are balanced and healthy and when (biochemically speaking) we’re on the hunt for a baby daddy (which means you! It doesn’t matter if you never want kids or if you aren’t attracted to men. If you’re ovulating, your body goes through the biochemical hunt for a good reproductive partner every month), we are primed to be attracted to men to whom we are genetically dissimilar, which lowers the chance of miscarriage and increases the likelihood of having a healthy baby. It also tends to make for more satisfying sex and happier relationships.
Studies show that if you are on the pill, you are more likely to gravitate toward men who smell like you (possibly because the pill simulates pregnancy and pregnant women are drawn toward nurturing and supportive biological relatives, or folks who smell like them). In this way, the pill acts like an anti-cupid, steering you away from your ideal romantic match.
You become less attractive to the opposite or same sex. Pheromones are chemical messengers released by the body—and research shows that women’s pheromones can, quite literally, cast a spell over men and women when it comes to romance. Pheromones act as a sort of ‘love potion’ when they are released, increasing a person’s attraction to a women.
But studies show that the pill stops production of these attraction-enhancing pheromones, and that might have negative consequences for your romantic and sexual life.
It might make your attraction to your current partner disappear (gasp!). If you start a relationship when you’re on the pill then you may find, if and when you come off, that you’re no longer attracted to your partner. One study found that unless your mate is considered conventionally good-looking by evolutionary standards, you may then find them unattractive after you quit taking hormonal birth control. Here is what study author Michelle Russell told Time magazine in 2014:
“Women who choose a partner when they’re on hormonal contraceptives and then stop taking them will prioritize their husband’s attractiveness more than they would if they were still on it. The effect that it would have on her marital satisfaction would carry more weight.”
It can suppress your sex drive. A woman’s sex drive should peak around ovulation, but the pill prevents this from happening. Not only that, but the synthetic hormones in hormonal birth control deplete your testosterone reserves, which, along with balanced hormones, is a key to your sexual desire and enjoyment. Research has linked oral contraceptives with female sexual dysfunction, including less frequent sexual activity, arousal, pleasure, and orgasm, and difficulty with lubrication. Oral contraceptives have also been linked with recurrent yeast infections—and there’s nothing like a yeast infection to sink one’s sex drive.
It can lower your mood (which decreases your chances of getting in the mood). The pill has been linked to depression and anxiety, particularly in those women who may have a history of mental health issues. And many women are put on the pill for what’s actually a bad case of PMS—which can be addressed naturally—only to find that it makes their mood swings worse.
For some, these mood changes manifest themselves as a bad case of the “blahs,” or just kinda feeling “meh” about everything (otherwise known as anhedonia). Women are supposed to feel a range of emotions throughout their natural cycle, and being in touch with the ebbs and flows of your feelings can actually enhance your relationship. Feeling so-so about everything all the time doesn’t lend itself to romance. When you’re feeling blah, you’d just as rather watch TV than make-out with your sweetheart.
If the pill’s deleterious effects on dating are making you question the use of oral contraceptives for contraception or as a medical treatment, follow my protocol to transition off the pill. If you’re going to stay on the pill a little while longer, you can start this protocol now to ensure the switch is smooth and that you avoid seeing the return of any prior symptoms.
If you are on the pill for contraception, don’t forget about non-hormonal contraception choices. And if you want to learn more about potential side effects of hormonal birth control, including cancer risk, check out my special FREE Birth Control Rehab report.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
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