The Divorce Diaries – “I stopped taking the pill and was no longer attracted to my husband”
This story was published on kapselnz.com
This week we hear about a woman who suddenly found her husband unattractive – and at the same time stopped taking birth control pills to get pregnant. Is that a thing? We delve into the science of their claims with some surprising results …
Hayley * and Pete felt like they’d seen it all during their 10-year relationship: surviving parent loss, layoff, buying a house, renovating a house together, and moving to the cities.
They’d met shortly after graduating from college and a year-long date, both had their jobs packed and gone to the UK together to do their OEs.
“I remember so many people telling us back then that it wouldn’t take because you really want to be single to do your OE, but it wasn’t like that for us,” she says.
* “I’m sick of women being responsible for contraception”
* Dear Ms. Salisbury: Has the birth control pill killed my libido?
* No, women don’t have to ‘take a break’ from the pill every few years
“It was probably the best year of our lives. We spent all the time in each other’s back pockets, exploring and having fun, and although we got into some dire situations, we never had a single argument. “
In fact, Hayley can’t remember ever really having a fight with her husband. “Apart from the fact that we didn’t agree about tiles and carpets and that sort of thing during the renovation, but it was never big.”
But then, after five years of marriage and ten years of being together, Hayley turned 32. It was the age at which they decided they would care for a baby. So Hayley dropped the contraceptive pill she had been taking since she was 17 and went to see her doctor to see what she should do to prepare her body for pregnancy.
She was doing prenatal and preparing (and Pete) for the fact that it might take her body a while to get used to things and be ready to get pregnant.
But something strange happened slowly.
“All of the things I was warned about were happening – I was getting really heavy periods and my skin was a little messy,” says Hayley.
“My doctor had also said that after stopping the pill, your libido can often increase, but I’ve felt the opposite.”
She wondered if it was just a short-term side effect or if it was the fact that her PMS (which was a big problem before she took the pill as a teenager) just made her grumpy and feel different.
But these feelings didn’t go away. In fact, everything Pete did was starting to piss her off.
“I felt awful when I finally admitted it to myself, but all of a sudden I didn’t feel anything for Pete,” she says. “I couldn’t find him attractive.”
And what made matters worse, she was starting to be attracted to other people.
“I had a crush on these guys at work and the guys in the cafe where I have coffee every morning.”
Things continued to deteriorate until Hayley and Pete were ultimately unable to get their relationship working and divorced two years later.
But, interestingly, Hayley’s report that she lost interest in her husband after stopping the birth control pill is not an isolated incident. And it seems like she didn’t imagine it, those two events – stopping the pill and breaking up their marriage – were most likely linked.
Several studies over the years have found that the pill can affect who you find attractive.
In 2008 a paper published in The procedures of the Royal Society B explores how the pill can affect female attraction. Essentially, the pill is tricking your body into thinking it’s pregnant – and being pregnant can change your preferences for a partner.
Women who took the pill were actually most attracted to the scent of men who were more genetically similar to them than women who did not take the pill. This makes sense – when you’re trying to get pregnant, you’re more likely to be attracted to men who are genetically different from you (to maximize immunity and reduce the likelihood of defective genes being passed on).
While pregnant, you are more likely to look for family members or those who are genetically similar to you in order to form a community that will gather around your small family. Yikes
A study from 2014, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science followed 118 couples who met while the woman was on hormonal contraception and watched what happened when she stopped taking the pill.
They discovered that taking the pill and then stopping the pill could affect how attractive they found their partner now – some suddenly found their partner significantly less attractive, while others actually felt more attracted to their spouse.
They suspected that a change in feelings seemed to depend on how objectively good-looking their partner was by evolutionary standards. So women whose partners were conventionally good-looking tended to find their partners just as attractive as before, or even more attractive.
Whereas those whose partners were conventionally not as attractive often saw a decline in their attraction.
Another study by researchers at Knox College in Illinois found, rather bizarre, that women currently taking an oral contraceptive were less interested in kissing.
Why is that so important? Well, when you contract, your body learns a lot about the partner you kiss and uses this as a key tactic in assessing whether you are genetically compatible. If you kiss less, you get less data.
Dr. Marguerite Duane, a professor at Georgetown University who specializes in women’s health and fertility, says the pill not only has less interest in kissing, it also tarnishes your judgment of who is best for you while you are taking it Receive information during a kiss.
When a woman takes the pill, “she tends to be attracted to a man who is more genetically similar to her, and they also tend to be attracted to men who are more stable,” she says.
“Whether it’s hormonal birth control pills, hormone injections, a hormone ring, or even a hormonal IUD – all of these can interfere with a woman’s ability to identify the partner who attracts her most and who best suits her.”
Hayley says she wished she had known YEARS ago, but when she was advised to take the pill at 17 to regulate her heavy periods and relieve her angry PMS, she was told very little about the effects could have this – besides the dangers of blood clots.
“That’s all I focused on – this fear of getting a blood clot because that’s all that was talked about,” she says. “Now I am warning all my single friends not to use contraception on their date so they don’t risk suffering what I did.”