Your Daily Dose Of Pill-Hysteria-Based Pseudoscience
Posted by Clem Bastow on August 13, 2008
Attention ladies on the contraceptive pill: you might be missing out on meeting Mr Right because you can’t smell him! That’s right, this corker of a “study” has popped up (where else) in the Daily Mail. (The countdown to Samantha Brett waxing lyrical on the topic starts now.) Here are the “findings“:
Women are said to have an inbuilt ability to pick up the scent of a partner who differs genetically. Falling for this type of man helps ensure that the couple’s children will have broad immunity against disease, so the theory goes.
But researchers found that the Pill disrupts a woman’s power to recognise the aroma of a suitable partner.
Saddled with the wrong man – someone who in scientific terms has similar genes – she may find it hard to become pregnant and any children she does have may have a lower resistance to infection. What is more, when she stops taking the Pill and her sense of smell returns to normal, she’s more likely to fall out of love, the Liverpool and Newcastle universities research suggests. It is thought that women subconsciously use the smell of a man’s sweat as a guide to the genetic make-up of his immune system.
But this research shows that the Pill sends the rules of attraction into meltdown by making women set their sights on men similar to themselves.
To measure its effect, scientists asked a group of men to sleep in T-shirts and steer clear of deodorants and other fragranced products. The T-shirts were frozen until needed, then defrosted and placed in glass jars with ‘nose holes’ in the lids.
Almost 100 women then sniffed the shirts and gave their opinions on the ‘pleasantness’ and ‘ desirability’ of the odour twice over a three-month period. Many started taking the Pill during the experiment – and their opinions of the smell of the T-shirts changed, the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B reports.
Mmm, the Proceedings of the Royal Society B! Isn’t that a hit Off-Off-Broadway cabaret? Is anyone else mildly amused at the thought of 100 women huffing on thawed-out t-shirts? Not to mention the bit about the Pill keeping women in some Stepford-esque state of permanent loviness until they stop taking it and then go off their partner.
Do you take the Pill? Have you sniffed out a suitable husband?