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August 14, 2008

The cause of family breakdown?

Now here's something that will get the PC Brigade up in arms I'm thinking. THE big revolution of the 1960's wasn't actually the Hippie movement or even the feminist movement, it was the introduction of The Pill. At last women had control over their reproductive cycles and could - ahem - 'enjoy' the same 'freedom' as men. But it seems that once again, modern medicine has messed up something without intending too. You see, according to the latest research into the field of human biological process, The Pill may be the reason so many men and women make bad choices when it comes to picking out their future husband or wife.

An paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of British Biological Sciences has revealed that our choice of 'mate' is governed by our noses which tell us who is and who is not genetically compatible with us. This is, apparently, especially the case with women, whose noses guide them to find a partner they can be compatible with. It seems that taking The Pill knocks out this built in Mate Sensor system and leads them astray! So, it seems that the contraceptive pill has freed us up in one sense, but has caused a possibly larger problem in another.

Could this be why so many marriages made since the 1960's have ended in divorce? One is forced to wonder, after all, modern medicine has caused an explosion of the human population around the world, directly exacerbating the strain on all manner of resources and increasing the chances of a major conflict in the not too distant future. It has also been suggested that this single development has done more to free women in our society from the biological constraints that have restricted their activities in a raft of occupations in the past, than any other. But now the question seems to be should we continue to mess around with our genetic programming in this way?

The trouble is that, like many other "wonder" inventions we have pulled from Pandora's Box - it cannot now be put back. The Pill is with us for the future - whatever the research says it is doing to birth rates, sexual orientation and a whole raft of social issues. Like the bomb, now we have it, no one wants to give it up.

PARIS (AFP) - Contraceptive pills taken by tens of millions of women around the world can disrupt the innate ability to sniff out a genetically compatible partner, a study released Wednesday has found.

Normally women are instinctively attracted, via their sense of smell, to men who have a dissimilar genetic makeup.

Overly similar gene profiles can result in difficulty trying to conceive a child, an increased risk of miscarriage and a weaker immune system, earlier research has shown.

A group of about 140 genes in an area called the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) -- which helps build proteins involved in the body's immune response -- also plays a key role in odour through interaction with skin bacteria.

How these genes are expressed can help determine which individuals, unknowingly following their nose, find us attractive.

A team led by Craig Roberts at the University of Newcastle, England, conducted an experiment to find out if taking the pill influences odour preferences.

One hundred women were asked to indicate which of six male body odour samples they found most attractive, both before and after starting to take the contraceptive.

The male scents were drawn from 97 volunteers.

"The results showed that the preferences of women who began using the contraceptive pill shifted toward men with genetically similar odours," said Roberts.

The research not only suggested that taking the pill could induce women to pick Mr. Wrong, but pointed to the potential to wreak havoc in couples.

"It could ultimately lead to the breakdown of relationships when women stop using the contraceptive pill, as odour perception plays a significant role in maintaining attraction to partners."

Oral contraceptives combine two hormones, oestrogen and progestogen, to inhibit normal female fertility.

The study was published in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Science.

Posted by The Gray Monk at August 14, 2008 10:02 AM

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I can believe that. I couldn't date some men because I found their smell repulsive. Yet, they were very good gentlemen. I love the smell of my hubby.

Posted by: vw bug at August 16, 2008 06:21 PM

Well if you think about it after a woman is pregent, she is no longer looking for a mate.

Posted by: skipjack at August 19, 2008 06:37 PM