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Women on birth control date bedroom "duds," study suggests

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(CBS) Birth control pills have been tied to several side effects, including nausea, vomiting, cramps, and even hair growth. But a new study suggests another possible side effect women might experience while taking the pill:

Picking men who are duds in the bedroom.

New research out of the U.K. says women who met their partners while on the pill are less sexually satisfied.

For the study - published in the Oct. 12 issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B - researchers surveyed 2,500 heterosexual women with one child. The researchers asked the women about their relationship with their child's biological father. About 1,000 of the women were taking the pill, while 1500 used no form of hormonal contraception.

The study found that women who took the pill were less sexually satisfied, found their partners less attractive, and were more likely to be the one to initiate an eventual separation.

But these guys aren't total duds. The same women said they were more satisfied with their men's paternal traits - like being caring and reliable - and the study found these women had relationships on average two years longer than women who weren't on the pill.

"Our results show some positive and negative consequences of using the pill when a woman meets her partner," study author Dr. Craig Roberts, professor of psychology at the University of Stirling in Scotland, said in a written statement." Such women may, on average, be less satisfied with the sexual aspects of their relationship, but more so with non-sexual aspects."

Why? The researchers themselves aren't sure, but suspect an evolutionary reason might explain the trend.

Preferences in mates shift over the menstrual cycle, according to Roberts. When women are ovulating they might be more interested in someone they find sexually attractive, and when women aren't ovulating they are more interested in men who possess fatherly traits.

"It's part of the subconscious 'chemistry' of attraction between men and women," Roberts told The Guardian.

But women taking the pill don't experience these shifts, and that might explain why they are more likely to be attracted to the caring "duds."

What should women do if they're looking for their prospective partner?

Roberts said in the statement that perhaps women should opt for another kind of birth control:

"Choosing a non-hormonal barrier method of contraception for a few months before getting married might be one way for a woman to check or reassure herself that she's still attracted to her partner," he said.

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