The following is  a guest post by Margaret Polaneczky, MD, FACOG  a board certified obstetrician-gynecologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. It was originally posted on her blog The Blog That Ate Manhattan.

In an article filled with speculation, misinformation and broad sweeping generalizations, the Wall Street Journal does its damned best to make the birth control pill seem to be the worst thing to have happened to modern civilization, implying that by interfering with ovulation, the pill impairs our natural ability to choose a mate, causes women to choose less masculine partners and then stray from them, and makes us pick genetically similar rather than dissimilar mates.

Women on the pill no longer experience a greater desire for traditionally masculine men during ovulation…Researchers speculate that women with less-masculine partners may become less interested in their partner when they come off birth control, contributing to relationship dissatisfaction…That could prompt some women to stray, research suggests. Psychologist Steven Gangestad and his team at the University of New Mexico showed in a 2010 study that women with less-masculine partners reported an increased attraction for other men during their fertile phase.

“Less masculine” men. What the heck does that mean? Less hairy? Less into sports? Less violent? Not into Nascar or big trucks?

How about more likely to engage in conversation? More likely to care about their partner’s satisfaction in bed than their own? More likely to accept a woman having a career?

One could use the data to argue that the pill may be the best thing that ever happened to relationships as far as the female partner is concerned.

And where is the data from real life human relationships supporting these laboratory results? Are women on the pill actually making bad partner choices or straying more? Are men actually choosing non-pill users as their partners over pill users ?

Sorry, no data.  Just speculation and innuendo.

Oh, yeah, and the big new study. A study on lemurs.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences this year, showed that the injection of Depo-Provera, a long-lasting contraceptive that is approved for use in humans, dramatically altered the chemicals that female lemurs give off to indicate their identity and how genetically healthy they are.

Lemurs, in case you didn’t know, are the only primates who have female dominant societies, so I guess we should just extrapolate this data to humans, who as far as I can see have a male dominant society.  A  common social construct among lemurs is for the women to live with the kids and the males to migrate without them, so much for the nuclear family, huh? Oh, and one more thing - Lemurs have very poor vision, so without their sense of smell telling them a female is receptive, the males would miss their one shot a year to procreate, since female lemurs are only sexually receptive one day a year, another common trait with humans…

So, yeah, we should just extrapolate that lemur data to human societies and relationships. And while we’re at it, lets use it to frighten women and men away from the hormonal birth control.

Nice reporting job, WSJ. Can I send you the women who stop their hormonal birth control and have an unplanned pregnancy after reading your article so you can explain it further to them?

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