Birth control pill users less attracted to masculine men
Hormonal birth control pills could affect what kind of facial features a woman finds attractive in a male partner. A new study published in the journal Psychneuroendocrinology found that women who used hormonal birth control – or ‘the Pill’ – were more likely to prefer men with less masculine facial features than women who did not use that form of birth control.
Here’s how the researchers came to that conclusion: They asked straight women, ages 18 to 24, to manipulate the composite image of a male and female face to their liking by controlling how masculine or feminine the face looked. The women were asked to do this twice; once when none of them were on the pill and once after some of the women had been on the pill for three months. The women who chose to go on the pill created a male face that had fewer masculine features – narrower jawbones and more rounded faces, for example – than they did only three months earlier when they were not taking the pill. Birth control use had no effect on any of the women’s preferences for female faces.
The researchers also compared the male faces of 85 couples that reported not using the pill when they met to 85 couples that reported using the pill. A separate group of volunteers who evaluated the male faces rated the partners of women who weren’t on the pill as more masculine than those of women who were on the pill.
The study proves only a correlation between pill use and facial feature preferences, but does suggests that hormonal birth control use could influence the way women choose romantic partners.