No evidence that women using oral contraceptives have weaker preferences for masculine characteristics in men's faces

Urszula M. Marcinkowska, Amanda C. Hahn, Anthony C. Little, Lisa M. DeBruine, Benedict C. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research has suggested that women using oral contraceptives show weaker preferences for masculine men than do women not using oral contraceptives. Such research would be consistent with the hypothesis that steroid hormones influence women’s preferences for masculine men. Recent large-scale longitudinal studies, however, have found limited evidence linking steroid hormones to masculinity preferences. Given the relatively small samples used in previous studies investigating putative associations between masculinity preferences and oral contraceptive use, we compared the facial masculinity preferences of women using oral contraceptives and women not using oral contraceptives in a large online sample of 6482 heterosexual women. We found no evidence that women using oral contraceptives had weaker preferences for male facial masculinity than did women not using oral contraceptives. These findings add to a growing literature suggesting that links between reproductive hormones and preferences are more limited than previously proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0210162
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2019


  • mate preference
  • oral contraceptives
  • masculinity

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