Birth control may affect long-term relationships
April 5th, 2012
07:34 AM ET

Birth control may affect long-term relationships

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

A recent study shows that women with lower testosterone levels - typically caused by the use of hormone-based oral contraceptives like the pill - are more attracted to men who also have low testosterone levels.

Previous studies have shown that the less testosterone a man has, the less likely he is to cheat, the more supportive he is, and the better he is at providing for his family. Sounds good, right?

Not quite. Previous studies have also shown that most women are historically more sexually attracted to higher testosterone levels. And the mothers in the study who eventually went off birth control post-wedding reported less sexual contentment than other women; they found their husbands less attractive and less sexually exciting once they went off the pill.

Dr. Craig Roberts of Stirling University questioned more than 2,500 women from around the world for his research. Did their taste in men shift? Or did their birth control have a “love-potion” type of effect?

When a woman uses hormonal birth control containing estrogen, she decreases her levels of available testosterone. And while women have much less testosterone in their systems than men - women’s bodies contain about 10% the amount of testosterone men do - what they do have helps fuel sexual desire, fantasy and the ability to become naturally lubricated in response to arousal.

So it makes sense that when a woman’s testosterone levels are diminished even further by something like the pill, she might be left feeling blasé about sex: hence her potential attraction to a low-testosterone male.

So it may not be as much the issue of going off birth control as it going on it in the first place. Sexual health expert Dr. Madeleine Castellanos cautions women to think carefully about their choice of contraceptive: "Some of these side effects are so serious that I now urge young women to consider just using condoms and leaving the birth control pills behind."

In addition to libido-shifts, some women who go on hormonal birth control experience pain during intercourse due to irritation of the tissues surrounding the opening of the vagina. In many cases, this is because she is unable to become physically aroused. And those who don’t deal with the issue may actually go on to develop vestibulodynia - a chronic and significant pain surrounding the opening of the vagina and the area of the perineum.

But for those who don’t want to give up the pill, there are women who find that triphasic birth control pills (different amounts of hormones every week) have less of an impact on their sex drive than monophasic pills (same amount of hormones each dose). Of course, hormones affect every woman differently, and there’s no guarantee that a triphasic pill will make much of a difference for you.

So it’s important for a woman to do her due diligence and weigh the pros and cons of various birth control options before settling on one. And know that the changes to a woman’s testosterone level (potentially diminished when she goes on, and then increased when she goes off) could alter her libido and create gaps with that of her partner’s.

Dr. Roberts says women who met their partner while taking hormonal birth control should consider switching to another method several months in advance of tying the knot in order to assess whether their feelings for their partner will change or stay the same.

But before you or your partner do anything of the sort, just make sure you have alternative contraception in place - there’s nothing like a sudden unintended pregnancy to put a damper on one’s sex life.

And for those women who do choose to stay on the pill, the study offers a silver lining: the women on the pill were happier overall in their relationships and more likely to stay together than their non-pill-taking counterparts. The benefits of the non-sexual aspects of the relationship outweighed any sexual downsides.

So perhaps it’s better to be evenly matched at the low-testosterone end of the spectrum (with a man who is more likely to be faithful) than potentially mismatched.

soundoff (1,015 Responses)
  1. KC

    I met my ex while I was on the pill. Far from being "less likely to cheat" as the article claims, I found out afterward that he'd been cheating on me even before we got married. His way of coping with low testosterone was to make himself feel more manly by having multiple women fawning over him.

    April 5, 2012 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      My uncle drove drunk his entire life, never got in an accident and lived an active life until he died at the age of 85 – true story. There are always exceptions and just because you find one doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things.

      April 5, 2012 at 09:02 | Report abuse |
    • TL

      KC****My Ex also had low-testosterone and he cheated and I also learned he was cheating before we were married. I met him when I was on the pill and after we were married I got off the pill and after a few months of being off the pill I realized I wasn’t as interested or attracted to him. Due to his low-testosterone he appeared weak and pathetic – of course those perceptions could have also been triggered when I discovered his infidelity.

      Bob**** You do not know what you are talking about, and your comparison is irrelevant to the topic.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      TL – how have you determined that I don't know what I am talking about? You don't know who my uncle was or his habits. Also, the is a problem in this country in that people are unaware of how scientific studies are done. When the data is plotted there are often measurements that fall way outside of the norm. These are expected. The examples you and KC site are examples of this and they have no bearing as to the validity of the conclusions made in doing the study. So, yes, my example is relevant to the comment made by KC. In reality, TL, you don't know what you are talking about, despite the fact that a majority of Americans think the same way that you do. Further, it is you comment that is irrelevant because it is an example of an outlier that researchers seldom pay attention to.

      April 5, 2012 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
    • TL

      Bob wrong again. KC and I are the main focus of this article (study) we are considered the Independent Variable. We both met our low-testosterone ex’s while on the pill and the union did not last. As the article is pointing out. However, the confounding variable identified in the article was but a mere statement that “low-testosterone males are less likely to cheat”, the article said “less likely” not that they wouldn’t. KC and I both would have been part of the results because we fit the variables of the research/study.
      I do not see how a person who drives drunk all the time and lives a full life has anything to do with birth control specifically the pill. If you were trying to point out how it was relevant to scientific studies you did not communicate the connection between the two very well in your original post. (please note I am not attacking you personally or your deceased uncle, I am merely pointing out how I did not see your comment as relevant to the topic due to lack of well communicated comparison by you.)

      April 5, 2012 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Ladies: the drunk uncle thing is an example; no one is arguing that driving drunk has anything to do with your cheating husbands...it's just...he's...oh screw it.

      Good luck explaining this one Bob; I've given up. I had a professor once who was fond of saying, "the pleural of 'anecdote' is not 'data.'" I thought it was a pretty great line. I'm sure you, like I am, are consistently dismayed to find how few people get it.

      April 5, 2012 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
    • SusanQ

      Hell hath no furry like a woman who failed 8th grade science class, Bob. I'm with you, but I doubt you're gonna get anywhere with these two.

      April 5, 2012 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • CRM

      KC – You are trying to apply the results of a large aggregate study to a pair of individuals. This is what we researchers call the ecological fallacy. Even in this study that was able to show a statistical relationship, there was a large amount of variation in the subjects. You cannot apply the results to all individuals.

      April 5, 2012 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      @SusanQ: Hell is "furry"? I had no idea! Seriously, if the purpose of your post is to snidely suggest someone's lack of education, you really should double-check for typos. Y'know, glass houses and all that.

      April 5, 2012 at 18:54 | Report abuse |
    • Wastrel

      @SusanQ: "Hell hath no furry like a woman" is my favorite quote of the day!

      April 5, 2012 at 19:40 | Report abuse |
    • Mei

      KC and TL do have a point and do have the right to share their personal experience since it is relevant to the article. Personally, I find articles/studies lacking sufficient evidence in many areas to make a proper judgment. For example, at the very end it states that those women on the pill were more happier than their non-pill counterparts. I've read many articles to the contrary on that note (usually related to couples who use NFP, basically the woman monitors her reproductive cycle and so is in sync with her body and knows when to avoid ovulation days), so to me the article was lacking balance in terms of truth.

      April 5, 2012 at 21:30 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Mei, let me give you an example of why your thinking is dangerous and destructive. There are a lot of people over the years who have used examples of outliers as proof of scientific studies as being unreliable and not worth considering. Let me give you a few examples I have witnessed over the years. "It is safer to not wear seat belts because my friend was thrown from his car during the crash and survived with non-life threatening injuries – however he would have certainly died with a seat belt because the crash led to the car exploding." "I knew a guy that smoked two packs a day and lived to be 90 – if he can do it I can do it." "Wearing motorcycle helmets increase the risk of death." "Faith can cure cancer because we prayed and prayed for George and he lived." It goes on and on. I bring up the last example because if someone died from cancer you can argue that it was because you didn't pray for him – I don't want that burden.

      We have too many people not heeding warnings because they claim the studies are meaningless – then they die or do something that leads to the death of someone else. People like you really need to quit talking about things you know nothing about because your ignorant opinions really are hurting people.

      April 5, 2012 at 22:51 | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      I find that I can't take this article serious. As a woman who was already taking my birth control pills befroe I met the love of my life I can honestly say this article is crap! I took borth control before I met my husband and was attached to him, stopped taking it for years after I met and married him for our conception and am still married to him later after all of these years of differect birth control and non-birth conrol. Honestly, can't they waste our money on anything less unless? Can't they find a way to find the homeless homes instead of wasting my tax dollars while they research away MY tax dollars?

      April 6, 2012 at 03:19 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      A lot of my friends over the years have driven while totally drunk yet have never been in an accident. Therefore, all of the studies that say drunk driving is dangerous are just wrong. Can any of you clearly state what is wrong with my first two sentences? (Clue – the first sentence is absolutely true). You people claiming that the above article is wrong are using the exact same reasoning (or non-reasoning as the case may be). I use the drunk driving example to show you how ridiculous your logic is.

      April 6, 2012 at 09:24 | Report abuse |
    • ensense

      Why do women use chemicals which tamper with the natural cycle i don't understand. there are more natural and cheaper long term methods like IUD etc. What I have seen is the drug industry wants to get you on some billing cycle where they can keep milking you over and over again.

      April 6, 2012 at 10:20 | Report abuse |
    • Johan S

      Bob is 100% correct here. Unfortunately most people will foolishly side with KC and TL since they shared a personal experience it appeals to the emotional side of things - the side that's easiest to be tricked. KC presents an assertion that her ex cheated because of low testorone .. did she do anything to validate it? I mean people cheat for a whole list of reasons, often having nothing whatsoever to do with testosterone. Humans are driven by various things .. you can't just assume it was his low testosterone. KC and TL are associating cause & effect based purely on speculation and assumptions. Outliers are more likely to tout their experience, since in their minds it contradicts what they think the study is saying. The study didn't claim ALL low testosterone men have a certain behavior .. if that was the claim .. then yes you can disprove it by touting your own experience. However the claims of the study had to do with probability. The only way to disprove that is to do a scientific study of your own. But I'm guessing both TL and KC are clueless on how to do such a thing.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
    • Johan S

      Lisa, just because your case is different doesn't mean the study is crap. If your child gets a fever for a week and you dont take him to a doctor and he recovers does that mean that it's stupid to take a sick child to a doctor? No, because there are some cases where when a kid is sick for a week it's something serious. You can't use your own experience to judge whether a study is "crap". Not unless you have evidence of a flaw in their logic, honesty, or assumption (unlikely if it's a peer reviewed publication) or if you have another study that conflicts with the conclusion. Not every person who gets chest pain is having a heart attack (for example if they have a condition called Angina) .. but some people who get chest pains ARE having a heart attack. So if you get a chest pain and it turns out to be nothing .. you shouldn't tell people "chest pains should be ignored, cause I got a chest pain and it turned out to be nothing .. don't listen to doctors who tell you to get help if you get a chest pain". However, you can say "there are at least some situations where chest pains are nothing".

      April 6, 2012 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
    • Elspeth

      @Bob. You blast Mei for referencing other SCIENTIFIC ARTICLES that she has read, and which you clearly mistook as anecdotal tales of friends, as engaging in "dangerous and destructive" behavior because someone might, for example, get killed if they don't wear a seat belt by following her advice, while at the same time YOURSELF using anecdotes of all the people you know who have engaged in the ILLEGAL behavior of drinking and driving and being fine, thereby implying that drinking and driving is a good thing to do and that statistics that drinking and driving kill and maim are incorrect.

      You Bob, are the one engaging in the "dangerous and damaging" behavior and your comments demonstrate that you (1) do not know the difference between data and anecdote since you blast people for using anecdote and then do so yourself over and over, and (2) encourage people to break the law by your juvenile and asinine anecdotes about how safe drinking and driving is because all these people you know do it just fine.

      The original poster made a valid comment, on topic, the other, TL, was also on topic. The arguments about scientific mumbo gumbo are b.s. The study itself – go look it up – doesn't meet true scientific theory standards AS NONE OF "SCIENCE" CONDUCTED ANY MORE DOES. The scientific standards of unbiased testing of a hypothesis have not regularly been conducted in this country or any other in over 50 years...heck they don't even teach it in school any more.

      So Bob, you are a troll for posting off topic comments to annoy. If you do this in Arizona shortly, or aim them at a person in Arizona, soon you will go to jail because that is what the Arizona legislature is working on. Maybe your antics would be better served trolling on the CNN articles about that topic (http://bit.ly/HWpozz) instead. Allowing for ON TOPIC discussion on this one.

      April 6, 2012 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Elspeth, please explain how I have said it was o.k. to drink and drive? I have stated facts. I have known many people who have driven s.faced drunk and have gotten home safely. It happens. Does that make it a wise thing to do? No. And I never said that it is. Also, what studies did Mei reference? She did not reference any. She said she read some. Were they from the Watch Tower? How should I know – she didn't site any articles. What I am tire of is people like you who go around saying science is garbage and then go around trying to convince people of the same. People die from the advice you give. You and your kind are doing a great disservice to us all.

      April 6, 2012 at 15:52 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      For your benefit, Elspeth, I am re-posting my previous my comment from above. This time read it slowly so you understand it:

      A lot of my friends over the years have driven while totally drunk yet have never been in an accident. Therefore, all of the studies that say drunk driving is dangerous are just wrong. Can any of you clearly state what is wrong with my first two sentences? (Clue – the first sentence is absolutely true). You people claiming that the above article is wrong are using the exact same reasoning (or non-reasoning as the case may be). I use the drunk driving example to show you how ridiculous your logic is.

      Now tell me how this condones drunk driving? If you think the above condones drunk driving you either never finished junior high or you have a brain tumor that needs medical attention.

      April 6, 2012 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
  2. coco

    As a woman, I wonder what men think when they read articles like this (?) Do they start wondering if their partners are truly attracted to them? Does it worry them? Or does it not seem to matter? I have been on the pill for about 7 years and the two serious relationships I have had with men have been during this time. Part of me wonders how I would feel towards them had I not been on the pill as this article suggests, but it seems thinking of that is time not worth spending. I guess I would rather remember the pleasant aspects of those relationships and just focus on the present.

    April 5, 2012 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aaron

      I think you're evidencing men are generally less nuerotic than women. That wasn't my thought, at all, in other words.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:56 | Report abuse |
  3. jayleigh

    I am a good provider, supporter, and loyal to my wife. Does that mean I have low testosterone? Now I am getting worried, I thought that was weird. I am gonna go and get checked out real quick.

    April 5, 2012 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • WhatNow

      Don't bother, your testosterone is probably normal. You might have a brain that prevents you from behaving like a distant ancestor. Good for you for being able to use that learning devise that we all have in our skulls.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
    • AliP

      The research does not indicate that there is cause and effect relationship between low testosterone and being supportive, faithful etc. Those things can be learned regardless of testosterone levels. In my opinion, behavior is not so deterministic, we all have choices.

      April 5, 2012 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      Wow, your post just made you look reallllly boring, you should maybe get that checked. Lol j/k

      April 6, 2012 at 09:47 | Report abuse |
    • ensense

      When a man does what a woman expects him to do he is boring. when he cheat's on a woman he is exciting and interesting.

      April 6, 2012 at 10:29 | Report abuse |
  4. recentlyengaged

    Keep in mind that everything in a relationship is about compromise and how willing we are to leave our comfort zones to meet our partners halfway. I would keep in mind that when my fiancee goes off the pill she may want a partner more "macho/aggressive/dominating" and mix it up in bed with restraints and positions that put her in the submissive role more. When they go back on the pill you can return to your more normal sexual behavior of being equals while alternating roles.

    April 5, 2012 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Marc

    So high-testoserone jerks are attracted to high-testosterone jerks. This is news to whom, precisely? While I love scinece, I find it interesting that the more we discoverm the more we realize that humans can be classified (and seemingly excused) because most act on their most base instincts. We might as well be mayflys – with the majority of the human population unable to do more than act in accordance to physiology (apparently), we are all subject to manipulation.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aaron

      Science may explain how my body is working, but my spirituality defines who I am and how I chose to react. This is why I think spiruality is more 'progressive' than biological truths.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
    • Mei

      Great answer Aaron! Not to mention our intellect (and free will) separate us from animal behavior (which is instinctual).

      April 5, 2012 at 21:34 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Sorry to break it to you, Mei, but we are animals and my dog has just as much free will as you do.

      April 6, 2012 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
    • TL

      ****Bob, LOL! Completely agree.

      April 6, 2012 at 10:29 | Report abuse |
  6. VinoBianco

    i plan on being on the pill until menopause so i'm not too worried.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abcdxyz

      Unless Rick Santorum is elected president, in which case no one will be on the pill!

      April 5, 2012 at 10:29 | Report abuse |
    • Mei

      If ONLY we could have Rick Santorum for president! Wow, to finally have a president who respects life and religious freedom! That would be shocking after Obama.

      April 5, 2012 at 21:36 | Report abuse |
    • PlayCracktheSky

      Maybe that was sarcasm, but incase it wasn't explain to me how no longer being able to be on birth control because Santorum is a Catholic would be religious freedom? I'm not Catholic but I have to follow their beliefs about birth control. Hmm, interesting concept of freedom.

      April 5, 2012 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
    • pdxmum

      Vino, I'm with you there...I'll be on it until menopause as well. I'm completely miserable when I go off the pill, and I take it non-stop (I skip the dud pills and go to the next pack of active ones right away). Not going to end up with a hysterectomy like so many other women in my family because of horrible 'female problems'.

      April 6, 2012 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
  7. Hikerstud

    I believe we have a very complex chemical makeup. All prescription tv commercials have millions of warnings of side effects. Feel good hormones like endorphines and dopamine are already in our body and opiate drugs release them in large amounts. We need to follow the owners manual. The designers manual. That is why it is best to follow your heavenly Father's instructions in all of life because He loves us the most. He tells us the best ways to live life for our own happiness and fulfillment. If this sounds strange and alien to you then you need to open your mind and the new testament.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ariel

      This coming from a man that refers to himself as Hikerstud? Hmmm, very New Testament.

      This is just more support for men to have vasectomies.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Ariel, I think your comment is somewhat assanine.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
    • Mei

      God doesn't believe in any artificial birth control. He is the author of Life and knows what He is talking about. In the Bible there is the sin of Onan which explains how God looks at those who sterilize the act. The better option is NFP which can be found at Couple to Couple League online.

      April 5, 2012 at 21:42 | Report abuse |
    • Elspeth

      I love the commercials for the "lifestyle" druges (and yes, I consider Etanercept a "lifestyle" drug because even rehumatoid arthritis doesn't kill you it just hurts and makes you less mobil – when it gest to your internal organs this drug CANNOT help you its to prevent joint loss only and psoriasis is just an ugly skin disorder that has NO ability to harm anything but your self esteem) that will make you feel more confortable but will give you awful diseases like cancer as a sideeffect. A SIDE EFFECT? Isn't the FDA supposed to keep drugs off the market that kill people as a side effect? How the heck is CANCER a side effect?

      This is part of the the black box warning
      Using etanercept injection may decrease your ability to fight infection and increase the risk that you will get a serious infection, including severe viral, bacterial, or fungal infections that spread throughout the body. These infections may need to be treated in a hospital and may cause death. Tell your doctor if you often get any type of infection or if you think you may have any type of infection now. This includes minor infections (such as open cuts or sores), infections that come and go (such as cold sores) and chronic infections that do not go away. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) , acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), or any other condition that affects your immune system. You should also tell your doctor if you live or have ever lived in areas such as the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys where severe fungal infections are more common. Ask your doctor if you do not know if these infections are common in your area. Also tell your doctor if you are taking medications that decrease the activity of the immune system such as the following: abatacept (Orencia); anakinra (Kineret); azathioprine (Imuran); steroids including dexamethasone, methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisolone (Prelone) and prednisone; or methotrexate (Rheumatrex).

      Some children and teenagers who received etanercept injection and similar medications developed severe or life-threatening cancers including lymphoma (cancer that begins in the cells that fight infection). If your child develops any of these symptoms during his treatment, call his doctor immediately: unexplained weight loss; swollen glands in the neck, underarms, or groin; or easy bruising or bleeding. Talk to your child's doctor about the risks of giving etanercept injection to your child.

      How do you give a child something that will kill him for a condition that is essentially COSMETIC? This is our government at work "protecting" us

      April 6, 2012 at 14:21 | Report abuse |
    • Elspeth

      @Mei – you simplfy the story of Onan too much. God did not smite Onan for just spilling his seed on the ground. God killed Onan for disobedience. Onan refused to preform his brotherly obligation to marry and procreate with his deceased older brother's wife, the heir of his father, in the Leverite custom. While Onan married his sister-in-law he did not wish her to have children because they would not be considered his children under the commandments of God, and therefore the law. They would be considered his brother's children. When his father died, the inheratance would pass to the oldest male child of his wife and not to Onan. So, he always withdrew before climax and spilled his seed on the ground. This angered God greatly for Onan was disobeying God's comand that younger brothers provide children for their older brother should he die before a child was conceived of his marriage (once a child was bron of the marriage – even a female child, the Leverite marriage was not preformed).

      So, God did not kill Onan for practicing "birth control" as you state above. God killed Onan for breaking God's law about continuing the family line by marrying your older brother's wife and giving her children if the brother died before a child of the marrige was born.

      The Bible speaks NOT AT ALL of preventing conception of a child as being against God's will and actually PERMITS for abortion "before the quickening" of the fetus – before a mother could feel the fetus move within her because rape by invaders was common.

      BTW, Leverite marriges are still preformed today, even in the US in Conservative and Orthadox Jewish communities

      April 6, 2012 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
  8. WhatNow

    Love and devotion are based on more than hormones, at least some of the time. Biologically, hormones play a big role in attraction. However, after a period of time, that attraction can wear off for many reasons. Spending more time getting to know the actual person prior to marriage might be a good piece of advice. Maybe a percentage of that "post wedding" shift in female opinion about sex came from the fact that they were married, the newness had worn off, and the planning for the big day was over. The fairy tale was over and real life began. Maybe it's not just about the type of birth control we use.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. GySgtG

    who cares.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rollseyes

    OH goodie, another guy barking about how birth control will riun my life. >_>

    April 5, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. open400

    Really? In 2012 we are debating contraception? Do you know there are more people than object to the sale of red meat than the sale of contraception? If we let the GOP in office, then this war against women and science will continue. How shall we advance as a nation with this reactionary thinking? Now they want to give even more money to the wealthy and less Pell grant to put kids through college. If the GOP has their own way, we shall become a Banana Republic

    April 5, 2012 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. str8st0ry

    Count me as another data point to support this theory – Met a guy while on the pill. We were together for 7 years. Then, I got off the pill (switched to IUD – which is great btw), and completely lost interest in him almost overnight. It was really difficult because I still loved him and we got along great, but all of a sudden I was physically repulsed by the thought of being intimate with him.
    Interestingly, I never wanted to marry him during the time we were together. But then after getting off the pill (and sadly breaking up), I met a man who I am insanely attracted to, and couldn't wait to marry him, and I'm actually much much happier now that I'm with the right match.
    Girls, be careful about marrying someone you met while on the pill!

    April 5, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Shmaesh

    The sample group was miniscule, guys.
    That's the real issue with this article. You need comprehensive data to draw a conclusion.

    April 5, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • just a human

      most samples for studies are miniscule. i work in a research lab. my advice based solely on my experience in science (but what do i know...i'm just one person): don't believe most studies you read about. not only is the sample size small, there are politics behind it and most have a study out that contradicts it.

      be your own study. find what works for you.

      April 5, 2012 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
    • Shmaesh

      Additionally, the extrapolation from what small data they did turn up is pretty damn ridiculous.
      Going so far as to not recommend the pill to your patients is simply malpractice.
      The whole article reeks of an agenda.

      April 5, 2012 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • Shmaesh

      Also, just a human, if I could show my 'like' for your comment, I would.
      So please read this as such.

      April 5, 2012 at 16:56 | Report abuse |
    • Elspeth

      Barvo "just a human" Bravo!!!! I agree whole heartedly. There is more politics in science that science, and what isn't politics is usually money

      April 6, 2012 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
  14. jj

    This sounds like a far right slam at birth control.

    April 5, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Lauren

    I'm not on the Pill, but want to state for the record that while sex plays a role in marriage, a good partner does not freak out over a diminished sex drive, nor does a good partner shy away if a partner gets more eager. Pills may have long term consequenses such as the ones mentioned here... but condoms break. I think an unplanned pregnancy is more likely to impact a marriage than a sex drive issue.

    April 5, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • WhatNow

      Excellent response.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
  16. leonhl

    I can see it now-another excuse the GOP will use to ban birth control pills-because women will cheat on their husbands when they go off the pill!

    April 5, 2012 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Robert K. Wynn Jr.

    ah the pill.... must take the pill or the pharmaceutical companies will go bankrupt. There is NO other alternative must put more chemical in our bodies to keep drug companies happy 🙂

    April 5, 2012 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lex

      This coming from a guy who well never take a birth control pill.

      April 5, 2012 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
  18. Jen Richardson

    love the pharmaceutical companies! how can we live without them there is nothing know as natural cures that is a wife's tale, chemicals are a must!

    April 5, 2012 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Steven E. Lewis

    drug companies and pharmaceutical companies ROCK!!!!

    April 5, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Patrick o'connory

    yes to more drugs, yes to more chemicals oh boy time for a Advil i got a headache nothing in the world can cure it but Advil right?

    April 5, 2012 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Cathy Turner

    I just sneezed... i need to buy some chemicals 🙂

    April 5, 2012 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Ryan Holms

    I just passed gas ... need a prescription drug please...

    April 5, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. stuffhappens

    my left eye twitched ... need my amoxiltetrahydroflorocarboncrapzol ...

    April 5, 2012 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. troperchamp

    wow what if your right eye twitched?

    April 5, 2012 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. nickhasall

    for the right eye you need chloroflorohydrophenyl but make sure it is not a generic brand has to be a KNOWN brand!

    April 5, 2012 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. pocomusic

    guys – pls stop bashing drug/pharma companies...

    April 5, 2012 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. monosoundonly

    yeah I agree stop bashing drug/pharma lets start bashing oil companies instead?

    April 5, 2012 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Robyn Wakefield-Murphy

    The article mentions condoms as the alternative to the pill but makes no mention of other non-hormonal forms of birth control as an option. I have a Paragard IUD which is non hormonal and it is more effective than birth control pills and condoms. It also lasts ten years and there is no daily maintenance. It's approved for women who have not had children and for women that do. Do your research ladies before you consent to whatever form of contraceptive your doctor is pushing this year. I had to ASK my doctor who was pushing me to do Mirena, about the non-hormonal IUD and I am so glad I did.

    April 5, 2012 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • just a human

      and i had a paragard because i cannot take hormonal birth control in any way so i thought this was a fantastic route...and had a nightmare experience on it. i really wish it would have worked for me bc there has been a ton of positive feedback on paragard. instead, after a few months, i had (and i will say if you are eating...don't read on):

      – 14-17 day long periods (mine normally lasts 2-4)
      – a huge chest and a tire around my waist (i'm 5'5, 110-113 lbs normally (with a large chest for my body frame but not swollen and painful everyday), a vegan, a runner, etc...this was not my cup of tea nor my body
      – yellow discharge (no, not an STD...and you can find enough information and forums on this one...possibly to do with the copper)
      – fatigued
      – no sex drive (with the mentioned above, why would i...of course, it is a b.c. then w/ zero rate of failing)
      – felt like i had chronic pms

      i went off of it after 8 months...in three weeks, every symptom above was *poof* gone and i was back to "normal" (although i make zero claims in life that i'm normal).

      i wish i could take b.c. like most people. my body won't cooperate.

      April 5, 2012 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
    • Robyn Wakefield-Murphy

      I was not claiming that Paragard is for everyone, just as condoms are not for everyone, and the pill is not for everyone. I was merely pointing out the fact that there are other non-hormonal options that the article did not point out.

      BTW nothing grosses me out. I'm a forensic anthropologist. It is terrible that you experienced those side effects. Sounds like a copper allergy. Some of those side effects are the same as those for Depo-Provera. If you had been on that prior to the IUD it can take up to a year for the side effects to diminish. Could have been a coincidence.

      April 5, 2012 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
  29. Can U Read?

    I find it really interesting every time I read comments how many stupid people there are, the lack of comprehension skills is astounding. First of all this article is not about sex, it is about relationships. Regardless of how you want to look at it we are not that far from animals mating habits. Some species when they find their mate, mate for life, and then there are some species that do not do that at all. However, animals do not partake in manufactured birth control. The pill disrupts the females natural hormonal cycle and causes more issues than intimacy. Many women have experienced other side effects that affect their daily lives. When you start messing with your body’s chemistry you also mess with other things, your intimate relationships are affected on a physical, emotional, and intellectual level. With any manufactured drug there are side effects (pro’s and con’s). I am not saying birth control is bad, there is a lot of good that can come from it, but there are many methods to pick from and a women should choose one that best fits her. The pill does not affect all women in the same way, and in the case that this article is addressing is how it alters how a women chooses a mate (not just physical) but on all levels because it alters what she is attracted to and for any relationship to be successful the people involved need to be attracted to each other physically, mentally, and emotionally. Attraction on those levels encompasses the things we are compatible with the other person. Just like other medications have altered peoples personalities or emotional well being (some drugs have caused severe depression in otherwise healthy people). The pill may be affecting a woman in a way that is causing them to choose mates that are really not compatible with them on a mental, emotional, and physical basis – that is an issue and also could be tied to the divorce rate. Before birth control those who are in their 70’s and 80’s are still married they married before the pill was ever an option, you do not see that anymore among the 20-50 year olds, why because birth control (the pill) was available during those generations when they were young adults.

    April 5, 2012 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shmaesh

      CNN won't let me post my thought out response, so here's my ad hominem response.
      It is absolutely ignorant to associate the pill with the divorce read.
      Google no fault divorce, guy.

      April 5, 2012 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • Shmaesh


      April 5, 2012 at 17:04 | Report abuse |
  30. Beth

    I don't care if a man has a low testosterone level or not, there's no excuse for cheating. The same thing goes towards women. Pertaining to this article, I've been on birth control before and haven't noticed anything when I came off of it. My man is loyal, trustworthy, supportive and excellent about providing for me and he DOES NOT have a low testosterone level. My biological dad did not have a low testosterone level and HE was a good supporter for my family; however, he cheated multiple times on my mother. I do not care what science says or what scietific studies conclude, we are each our own person. WE decide what we want to do with our lives and make the choices we do, whether they are for good or bad. Yes, I understand that testosterone has something to do with the neurlogical advances in our lives, but that does not define who we are, it's just a piece of our make-up.

    April 5, 2012 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Science Guy

      How do you know what their testosterone levels are? Are you just assuming that because they seem manly?

      April 5, 2012 at 18:32 | Report abuse |
  31. DSBsky

    Some people are cheating low lifes, some aren't.. No need for a big study..

    April 5, 2012 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Squeezebox

    I'm not sexually active. I don't want to be, either. I'm on the pill because I have an androgen imbalance caused by polycystic ovary syndrome. I have noticed that I have more impure thoughts off the pill than on. I like being on the pill better.

    April 5, 2012 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Victor

      You sound like a barrel of laughs...would you like to go out tonight?

      April 6, 2012 at 09:47 | Report abuse |
  33. Natasha

    I really have had it with thes so called expert. Unless you are a woman and have tested every woman in the world. This is a bunch of BS. Go get a real story to write about.

    April 5, 2012 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Katie

    Silly article.

    April 5, 2012 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Lois

    I love sports, I love my non cheating husband, and I love sex! I also love the fact that oral contraceptives work really well for some of us trying to enjoy ourselves and not contribute to the global population problem that does exist.

    April 5, 2012 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. H-Bomb

    When will you "science reporters" learn that correlation does not equal causation? I learned this in the very first science class I ever took.

    From the Scientific American article, "To investigate this issue in a real-world setting, psychologist S. Craig Roberts of the University of Stirling in Scotland and his collaborators gave online surveys to more than 2,500 women from various countries..."


    April 5, 2012 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shmaesh

      THANK YOU!
      I would also like to point out that correlation does not prove that failing to recommend adequate medication for your patients is a good idea!

      April 5, 2012 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
    • Science Guy

      And uhh, what exactly are you challenging here?

      That low testosterone guys are less likely to cheat?

      That women on birth control are more likely to prefer low testosterone guys?

      Because both are statistically true, whether or not there's a causation issue there.

      And since we KNOW that testosterone plays a significant role in one's sex drive, it's a completely logical step to think that there IS a causal relationship between low testosterone and fidelity. It's not like there's a connection being made out of thin air.

      April 5, 2012 at 18:35 | Report abuse |
  37. kris

    My boyfriend has low testosterone. I may be in the minority, but I love him (and I am in love with him) regardless of his physical appearance or strength.

    April 5, 2012 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. eroteme

    A recent study! Which also can be described as 'research'! We are truly blessed to receive notice of these 'recent studies' and/or 'researches'. I regret I have never had opportunity to meet one who performs 'recent studies' nor have I had opportunity to meet one of these 'researchers'. I have as yet not given up hope.

    April 5, 2012 at 19:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JJ

      Picky, choosy, selective, woman subject to hormonal impulsive whims. Big surprise.

      April 5, 2012 at 21:49 | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      I like how they are using our money for this research when they could be using this for so much more things. I don't care who is attracted to who. Can any major city solve a cime around here? Or can CNN.com print a story that has actual facts?

      April 6, 2012 at 03:29 | Report abuse |
  39. Robyn Wakefield-Murphy

    I have had a way more diminished sex drive on the pill than off of it. Now that I am no longer on it, my sex drive is pretty high and I find my husband more attractive. This article makes way too many sweeping generalizations. Very poor research.

    April 5, 2012 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply

    I am half squirrel and half ape!!!! I have estrogen. No pill for me.

    April 5, 2012 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Jeff

    Pill or no pill, the quality of the marriage relationship is heavily influenced by the level of marriage skills that each person has developed. The feelings of love come naturally but the skills of lasting love need to be learned. In our experience, that's the key factor as couples who get comprehensive marriage skills training with a marriage mentor have high levels of satisfaction and divorce rates <10% over a ten year period. Find out more at thesolutionformarriages dot com

    April 5, 2012 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. sherry

    2500 women were included in this study. Considering all of the possible variables, this does not seem like a large number to me. I wish the news wouldn't report studies that are so small and haven't been repeated or challenged.

    April 5, 2012 at 23:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lisa

      agreed. they tend to put studies on here that aren't true studies all the time

      April 6, 2012 at 03:24 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      If you were to take a graduate level statistics course covering research methods you may understand. As it is, you don't understand the math, you have no experience with it and should not even be commenting on it.

      April 6, 2012 at 08:28 | Report abuse |
  43. Lisa

    Hey, Gupta! Get a real job! We have you on the TV in our waiting room and it seems they pay less attention to you then they do the doctor the patients are actually going to see. Wonder why that is....maybe because they know a doctor from the one whi sold out when they see one?????

    April 6, 2012 at 03:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. anonymous

    What an incredibly loaded and one-sided article. Even if this were unquestionably true and uninfluenced by many other factors (which I doubt), what about all the other reasons women use birth control – for instance, due to debilitating menstrual pain? The author of this article, and possibly the authors of the study, are fear-mongering to get attention and reaction. Everyone panic – your partner doesn't really love you based on the one sliver of information that we have from a single limited study!

    April 6, 2012 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • emilyrunner

      I agree, I think the menstrual cycle is such a turn off, this needs to be "Fixed" so much pain someone goes through. just not fair

      April 6, 2012 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
  45. Victor

    THIS ARTICLE IS PRICELESS! Can you imagine the reaction of the girl who has been hopped up on the pill since she hit puberty waking up one morning with their live in metro-sexual boyfriend after she has stopped taking the pill living in some Brooklyn loft looking over at this guy in the morning sun and and saying "What did I see in you, you're not even a man"....so great! As one man that has testosterone to spare I find this study very very refrishing! It made my day! Excuse me but I need to go kill my breakfast.

    April 6, 2012 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LT

      I really like your post, made my Friday!

      April 6, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse |
  46. Fuyuko

    I found the pill to be a nightmare for me healthwise. Weight gain, and it caused varicose veins in my legs which were not there before. HRT does not work well for everyone.

    My opinion is this: There is no one-sized fits all works the same for everyone solution. The pill may work great, for one, be a disaster for another. I wish there was a better- non-doctor prescribed method for bc for women, because the current methods kind of stink!

    April 6, 2012 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      The Pill and HRT ARE NOT THE SAME THING!

      April 6, 2012 at 17:45 | Report abuse |
  47. LB

    Whatever happened to the MALE birth control pill? When are men going to start taking some responsibility?

    April 6, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. emilyrunner

    Not sure if my comments are making it here but I'll just say in the end I think more of a reason to cheat is the menstrual cycle. It is such a turn off to me makes me never want to do "it" again. It is the reason I went on pill to begin with. Fix that then we'll talk. So unfair for women to go through so much pain and grossness. UCK. Oh but it's natural you say? Being out of commission in every way possible for 7 days straight ever month does not seem natural to me.

    April 6, 2012 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tacc2

      I don't get it. Does it hurt to have sex during your period? If not, get over it, it's just a little blood. Maybe I'm a bit of a freak, but I actually find that kind of a turn on.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • emilyrunner

      tacc2 I am assuming you are a man read up on what a women goes through when she has her moonthly. It is not just a little blood

      April 7, 2012 at 22:37 | Report abuse |
  49. T

    Ok. the article says a recent study and if you click in the link you will be taken to Scientific American magazine. Women from around the world were given online surveys. What about language barriers? What about cultures that don't really discuss sex? What if the person did not understand the question? Who knows what kind of day the person had when they completed the survey? I wouldn't really call this a scientific study. There are too many variables for error. And there is not any concrete evidence to support this theory. The end result says that this effect might happen.

    I can think of many theories with results that may happen. Again, not very scientific.

    April 6, 2012 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Ok, you don't know much about science. The Scientific American article and this CNN article are summaries of an article that was published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. That means EXPERTS in the field vetted the material prior to publication in the primary journal. I don't care whether YOU would call it a scientific study or not. I care about what the people trained to actually DO science thought it worthy for publication. If I had a special interest in the topic, I would look up the journal and look at the methodology before I critiqued it.

      April 6, 2012 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
  50. mamatat

    So essentially, BCP's cause women to marry hipsters? Now there's well-spent reasearch funds. *headdesk*

    April 6, 2012 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tacc2

      We need to ban BCPs! Hipsters marrying hipsters gets you more hipsters. We need to stop this scourge before it gets out of hand. I don't know how many more scrawny, cigarette smoking, skinny jeans wearing, stupid tattoo having, iPhone toting, tall bike riders this world can handle.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
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