Category: FAQs

Perhaps it is not perfectly precise to say that women choose jerks, but one source (Lionel Tiger’s The Decline of Males) says this about the effect of the pill:

Lionel Tiger's commentary on Claus Wedekind's study

“The German researcher Claus Wedekind suggested this in a 1995 report of differences in responses to men of women on and off the pill. Women ranked the desirability of an anonymous array of smells taken from male clothing. Remarkably, they preferred the scents of men socially regarded as desirable potential mates. If remarkable, this is also understandable. These desirable potential mates had It, the Buzz, appeal. However, women using oral contraceptives reversed their preferences and chose inappropriate partners.”

The Wedekind study is referring to partners that have a better biological compatibility rather than having characteristics that make a man “socially regarded as a potential mate”, so perhaps Tiger misrepresented the study and we did the same following his analysis. Nonetheless, there are other studies that suggest that the bonding that happens between sexual partners that are chosen largely for sexual compatibility may lead women and men to bond with those who won’t make good mates and not just biologically incompatible. You might also be interested in the effects of oxytocin and vasopressin that are known as “bonding hormones.” Men and women bond during sex, even if they are not compatible in other ways. See:

Another source for this comment was a video that seems hard if not impossible now to locate on the web. It is a video entitled “Can the Divorce Pill Wreck your relationship” published in Apr 2008 on the website.

Moreover, women seem to prefer different males when on the pill and when not using the pill: None of this, of course, means that women choose jerks when on the pill and good men when not using the pill, but the risks are greater, it seems. See: or

What we wanted to illustrate is that chemical contraceptives do change whom a woman is attracted to without her even realizing it.  To do this better we’re going to be making a new video that specifically focuses on that issue.  I hope that it will better clarify the study and the question of attraction.  In the meantime I recommend reading or listening to my presentation, Contraception: Why Not.  It is a much more thorough analysis of the problems with contraception.  Thank you for your thoughtful and polite response!