Birth control can lead one into bad marriage

March 16, 2012 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated March 15, 2012 at 10:16 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

What if you married the wrong person? According to a study done at Macalester College's Behavioral Neuroscience class, if you are on the birth control pill, you might choose the wrong person.

"Research done on human females shows that they prefer men whose MHC (major histocompatibility complex) genes are the least similar to their own (Richardson 1996). In an experiment, men were given an unscented T-shirt and were asked to wear it for two nights in a row. During this time they were not to use deodorants or scented soaps. Women were then presented with six shirts - three from men with similar MHC genes, and three from men with different MHC genes from their own. The results showed that the women preferred the scents of men whose MHC genes were different from their own. The scent of men with similar MHC genes often remind the women of a relative's odor, such as a brother or father, while the smells of MHC dissimilar men would often remind them of a past or current boyfriend. This suggests that body odor might have influenced past and current decisions about whom to date.

It was also found that women who were taking birth control pills would often choose the T-shirts of men with similar MHC genes as smelling better. A possible explanation for this is that birth control pills trick the body into thinking it's pregnant, and women on the pill often report that they prefer smells that remind them of home and relatives. Since natural preferences are changed, a woman might then be attracted to men she normally wouldn't be - namely men with similar MHC genes (Furlow 1996).

Just another good reason not to take contraception but to use natural family planning.

Laszlo Nemes, Victoria



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