05/20/2014 05:03 EDT | Updated 05/20/2014 05:59 EDT

Birth Control May Tell You What Women Want In A Partner, Study Finds

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The answer to the age-old question of what a woman wants may lie in her birth control.

A study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine indicated oscillating preferences depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle and variable preferences between pill-users and non-pill-users.

To determine what characteristics women find attractive, 395 female volunteers from Central Italy completed a questionnaire, the results of which were processed to create the indicator for PMI (Partner's Masculinity Index).

PMI was designed to measure masculinity, taking into account 20 physical, psychological and behavioral traits.

Both pill-users and non-pill-users prioritized traditionally masculine traits during the middle of the cycle, between the 11th and 21st day.

However, inconsistencies in preferences between the two groups led the Italian research team to conclude that synthetic hormones could influence how women assess masculine genetic fitness.

That the pill could affect women's preferences is hardly a new subject. A 2013 study, published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, concluded that pill-users preferred less masculine faces than their non-pill-using counterparts.

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