Birth Control Pills May Weaken Your Sense Of Smell

birth control

Let me begin this by saying that I absolutely love the pill. I have never experienced negative side effects from it, and I like how I am definitely not pregnant right now. Jesus Christ, do I ever love the pill. Loestrin, It’s terrific. Be on it immediately.

However, it’s also probably destroying my sense of smell. Our friends over at Refinery 29 studied the sie effects of birth control pills, and found :

A University of Catania study found that women who did not take the pill had the most sensitive sense of smell around the time of ovulation. But, after just three months of going on the pill, women showed no increased sense of smell at the time they were most fertile. This may seem inconsequential at first (if not a good thing for those who live with the environmental stink of urban, industrial, and agricultural areas).

Yes. This is what I thought. I absolutely do no care that I cannot stop and smell the roses provided I am always pretty sure that I am not pregnant. If I had a child, I’d have no time to stop and smell the roses anyway. But it’s not just that.

But, when we think about how smell is tied in with sexual desire, the effects are alarming. Jill Blakeway, a renowned New York-based acupuncturist and author of Sex Again: Recharging Your Libido, says that this could potentially lead us to pick the wrong mate. Indeed, another study by the University of New Mexico showed that when women were on the pill and most fertile, they showed no particular preference of the smell of men with symmetrical features vs. asymmetrical features, while those not on the pill clearly chose the scent of men with symmetrical features.

I kind of feel like this is good news for men with asymmetrical faces. I mean, it seems like those guys have it pretty rough to begin with (except for Mick Jagger), and they probably have nice hearts and things, so maybe it’s not the worst news in the entire world.

Picture via Getty 

Share This Post:
    • Tania

      My sense of smell is too strong as is, I don’t really think I’m going to worry about it not getting stronger.

      Also, that would explain why I seemed to get so many migraines around ovulation pre-Pill. I am very sensitive to smells as is.

      • Emily

        I feel you! I’m super sensitive to smells, too–ESPECIALLY synthetic fragrances, car exhaust, wood fires, etc. (my friends call me the bomb sniffing human). It’s oppressive and horrible in many ways, although sometimes helpful (I’ve avoided potentially dangerous/polluted environments because of my great sense of smell).

        I’m going to ramble, but it’s because I’m excited to finally talk about this :D I think females generally experience a heightened sense of smell and also greater risk of chemical sensitivity once they reach reproductive age. I do wonder if it’s an evolutionary adaptation–for one thing, I suppose an intense sense of smell in a mother is helpful in protecting a developing fetus from environmental toxins, among other things.

        I wish modern society would take into account women’s intense sense of smell and sensitivity to chemicals…I’m tired of feeling like crap constantly (cologne and air freshener are the WORST).

      • Tania

        Oh god, cologne. It makes me feel actually sick. There are few things worse than that guy who thinks the cologne smell will cover up his just-went-to-the-gym-and-didn’t-shower smell.