In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, I talk with Sarah E. Hill, Ph.D., who leads research in the rapidly expanding field of evolutionary psychology. She’s currently a professor and research psychologist at Texas Christian University studying the effects of hormonal birth control on women.
She’s also the author of the book: “This is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences.” It’s an enlightening read that verifies what millions of women have always suspected, but no one confirmed for them until now: The pill changes women.
“Is the best way to prevent pregnancy to totally rewrite everything that creates the experience of being a who a woman is?” Sarah asks.
With more than 50 scientific publications and multiple prestigious research grants to her credit, Sarah has become an authority on the application of evolutionary ideas to human behavior and psychology. She’s been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Scientific American and The Economist.
“Our sex hormones are part of the signaling architecture that our brain using to create the experience of being the person that we are,” Sarah says. “When we change women’s sex hormones—which is what we do with the birth control pill—it’s going to change all sorts of activities in terms of psychological functioning.”
In our interview, Dr. Hill shares her incredible research findings that has uncovered the many ways that the pill changes women’s brains, bodies and lives.
Enjoy the show!
Photo credit @EEphotography
Follow Along with the Transcript
- Did Sarah take a lot of flak for her work? 00:04:00
- What are the unintended consequences of birth control? 00:06:15
- If the pill isn’t right, what is? 00:09:50
- Changing what makes a woman who she is 00:10:30
- What is a woman most likely to do when she is most fertile? 00:13:55
- Men notice when a woman is ovulating 00:14:40
- Men change in response to suppressing cycles 00:17:45
- Relationship changes when contraception methods change 00:20:55
- Are men’s hormones also reacting to the pill? 00:23:00
- A guy could not write this book 00:30:10
- The patriarchal history of fertility 00:31:00
- The importance of pheromones 00:32:30
- What MHC genes are and what they do 00:35:45
- When choosing a partner, go off the pill 00:40:45
- Is the pill another way for men to control women? 00:45:00
- A study about Mate Guarding 00:47:45
- Pill taking women don’t get a rise in cortisol in response to stress 00:52:10
- How the pill affects anxiety and depression 00:58:20
- IUDs supply hormones to the entire body – not just locally 01:00:00
- Brain development in adolescence is dependant on sex hormones 01:02:30
- The pill gives a woman the ability to plan and achieve 01:05:30
- It’s all about picking your poison 01:10:40
- About 85% of women will be on birth control 01:12:00
- We are taught that “being human is problematic” 01:15:25
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