From your career to relationships: research shows exactly how the pill affects women’s behavior | Nina

More than a hundred million women take birth control pills every day. Hormonal contraception prevents a lot of things: irregular cycles, ovulation, acne and above all pregnancy. And now a new study confirms what many women have sensed for a long time: It also has a huge influence on our behavior. “They even show a lower drive to move up the professional ladder.”

Birth control pills, the first hormonal contraceptive approved in 1960, are now one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. Every day more than a hundred million women around the world squeeze their pill from their strip. The goal? Prevention of pregnancy. But the little round ball does much more to our body. Because the pill releases hormones into our blood, it also affects the behavior of those taking the contraceptive. We now also know to what extent and in which domains.

In the past, several studies have investigated the pill’s effect on women’s behavior. Although there was one red line missing in all those studies. A recent study by research platform The Conservation therefore took all studies together, about 46 to be exact, with a total of 16,290 participants, and listed all the results.

Road competition

This pool of studies showed that some hormones affected by birth control pills, including testosterone and progesterone, are associated with our competitive behavior. That competition doesn’t just point to winning a game, but creeps into every possible aspect of our lives. For example: struggle for money, friends, a partner, social status, …


If tasks at work require extra persistence, women taking birth control pills are more likely to hang their heads.

A general conclusion from the study was that hormonal contraception has an influence on women’s motivation to achieve a higher status professionally. Women who take birth control pills show a lower drive to move up the professional ladder. The pill also leads to less motivation to perform at work. If tasks at work require extra persistence, women on the pill are even more likely to hang their heads.

Gone sex-lust

The pill also has a lot to say about love. One of 46 studies found that women who do not take hormonal birth control feel more sexually attractive and desirable halfway through their cycle. Women take birth control pills? Not at all. This means that women who take birth control pills have less desire for sex at certain times in their cycle and also feel less attractive.


The Conservation study not only revealed certain effects of the pill on our behavior, it also highlighted a number of pitfalls. For example, some previous studies have not taken into account the age of participants who use or do not use hormonal contraception. And it is quite an important factor because a person’s age is quite decisive in the way someone behaves. It was also found that some studies contained a rather small sample size. It is therefore not appropriate to simply apply their results to a larger group of women.

The pill phenomenon therefore remains one with many questions. Although at least now we know exactly how much the little white ball is capable of.

Also read:

The male pill, a ‘glan patch’ or a nasal spray: this new contraceptive for men is on the rise (+)

Why men want sex more often in the morning. Prof: “Their hormonal cycle is different from women’s” (+)

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