Can contraceptives make women less attractive?

However good-looking you are, taking birth control drugs could make you less attractractive to the opposite sex

The Pill
The Pill

However good-looking you are, taking birth control drugs could make you less attractractive to the opposite sex

She may look like Claudia Schiffer or Elle MacPherson, but new studies reveal that if she is using contraceptives most men may be put off.

It is thought that contraceptives, in particular those administered by injection, could affect women’s scent to such a degree that potential sexual partners could be turned off.

The findings come after tests were conducted on twelve female ring-tailed lemurs in Madagascar.

The animals were administered with monthly shots of one of the top selling contraceptive injections, known commercially as Depo-Provera.

During this time, results show that the lemurs emitted different scent molecules and were then subsequently rejected by the males in their group.

Study author Prof Christine Drea is now considering whether human mate choice could be affected in the same way as these primates.

British health campaign group Wellbeing of Women agreed that scent could play an integral part in human interaction. ‘The impact of pheromones on humans cannot be underestimated,’ a spokeswoman said.

However, she also added that while the animal study is interesting, ‘research is required in human subjects to test the hypothesis.’

British experts last night called for more research to be carried out, but urged women in the meantime to take care when contemplating hormonal contraception.

Wellbeing of Women also urged women ‘to discuss the risks, benefits and range of options with their GPs.’


Natalia Lubomirski
Natalia is a health journalist with 14 years experience in the publishing industry. She has worked for a number of well known magazines and websites including Marie Claire, Woman&Home, Top Sante, Boots and The Telegraph.  She likes to think she practices what she preaches when it comes to health and fitness. Her athletic prowess began early. A keen fencer for 13 years, she wielded an epée for Olympic Team GB during her teenage years. She likes to think she made sword-fighting cool before Game of Thrones came along! While working on her sporting performance with the team, she also participated in a lot of nutrition and psychology training, When it comes to time off, you’ll most likely find her up a mountain somewhere. It seems holidays have become a time for climbing several thousand feet, rather than chilling out. She’s now hiked eight of the major mountain ranges across four continents – including the Appalachians, the Smokies, the Sierra Nevadas (she spent her honeymoon hiking to the top of Half Dome), as well as hitting the summits of Snowdon, Pen-Y-Fan (Brecon Beacons), Table Mountain in South Africa, the Blue Mountains in Australia and the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. She’s also passionate about all things health, particularly vaccinations, and will happily jump on her soap box at any given opportunity to talk about their benefits to anyone who will listen!