Straight Talk Advice

The Pill attracts women to the “wrong” guy

Mar 31, 2015

Is there a unique sign or feeling for true love?

Dear Straight Talk: I'm 18, a high school graduate and my boyfriend is 20. I want to commit to the man I love. My mother thinks it's a bad idea. She says don't rush, if it's real love it won't go away, it will grow. Is 18 too young to get married? I'm on the pill, I'm not pregnant, we both have jobs. Is there a sign or unique feeling that signifies true love? —“Helen” in West Virginia

Collin 17, San Diego, Calif. Ask me a question

People can change dramatically. My parents are both twice-divorced over unpredictable changes in their partner. Everyone feels like their boyfriend or girlfriend is “the one” at first. There's not necessarily any difference in feeling between true love and temporary love. Only get married if you've weathered a big change together.

Karlee 17, Bentleyville, Penn, Ask me a question

Eighteen isn't too young if you're self-supporting. But be solidly into careers before considering children. Signs: Are you mostly smiling? Are there calls and texts even while seeing each other daily? If someone encroaches, do you feel jealous? When you see a future, do you for one second see anyone else? Are you comfortable without makeup or shaved legs? True love forgives the small stuff and accepts the flaws. It never relinquishes self-respect, ideals, family or morals. It does not forgive cheating, a sign of weak love.

Justin 17, Brentwood, Calif. Ask me a question

Listen to your mom. The relationships in high school and soon afterward are pretty hopeless. Focus on school, self-development, and being successful. Don't sell yourself short with a 1960's “MRS” degree.

Lisa 23, Eugene, Ore. Ask me a question

True love has, along with physical and emotional passion, that best-friend, close-family feeling of immense comfort where you are completely yourself without fear of judgment. There's also a two-way willingness to sacrifice and place the other first. I abhor society's invalidation of young love and believe your love is real. That said, I'm a completely different person today than when I was 18. Don't rush.

Elle 19, Mifflintown, Penn. Ask me a question

Chemically, when we're “in love,” endorphins are released making it hard to imagine ever being unhappy. Endorphins can take 2-3 years to wear off. People often say, “you'll know,” but my approach will incorporate prayer and seeking God's will regarding that big decision.  Faith aside, think “big picture.” Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Eighteen is definitely young. Travel. Have some solo adventures. Personal development will bring that much more to your future marriage.

Molly 22, Oakland, Calif, Ask me a question

Unfortunately, there is no trustworthy sign. Absolutely don't rush. I've never met anyone who regretted not getting married sooner. Promise rings can signify your commitment.

Colin 21, Sacramento, Calif. Ask me a question

Don't get married. Seriously, ever. Firstly, weddings have been totally commoditized costing a king's ransom. Secondly, if love is a drug, breakups are withdrawal and modern divorce makes breakups look like sand play. The thoroughly-sickening process of two people, once in love, systematically devoted to ruining each other emotionally and financially makes one yearn for human extinction. If you must marry, get a pre-nup.

Samantha 23, Toledo, Ohio Ask me a question

As a teen, I was often “in love.” The guy would tell me he loved me, and I'd repeat it back out of insecurity. Because I attracted abusive men, this created an extremely distorted picture of love. Fortunately, I got help and I'm now with a man who puts my needs and wants ahead of his own every single day. I know he loves me because he'll go without before I run out. And I know I love him because his happiness makes me happier than my own, so I work to make him comfortable.

Dear Helen: I support love and commitment over hookup culture any day. Go girl! That said, do it with promise rings and an IUD. Our 50-percent divorce rate is because of marriages before age 25. After 25, when the adult brain kicks in, divorce rates plummet. Don't even think about babies till then. Little-known Pill hazard: Women naturally like the smell of men who are good genetic matches. The Pill draws women to poor genetic matches — whom they often dislike smelling once off it. My recommendation: Switch to a non-hormonal IUD and wait till 25 before marrying.

Editor's Note:  I have talked about the Pill's rotten little problem in our column from SEP 5, 2012, titled "Does college couple need pill and condom both?" Below is my adapted Editor's Note from that column. 

Something fishy about the Pill: For women, the smell of a man is the main attractor in intimacy. And the men who smell best to a particular woman make the healthiest babies. Sweaty-T-shirt-sniffing experiments show that women naturally sniff out men who are good genetic matches. But on birth control pills, they actually sniff out the "wrong" men. What happens is that birth control pills simulate pregnancy which attracts women to the smell of men with similar genetic properties (more like family). Once she's off the Pill, she goes back to her natural attraction to men with genetic properties not only different than hers, but likely to create healthy offspring.

In other words, being on the Pill is not a good way to meet the guy you will be attracted to for the long haul. Marriage counselors say that the top complaint by women no longer interested in their husbands sexually is that they can no longer stand his smell. How many young women are on the Pill when they meet the guy they end up marrying and/or having children with? Millions. This could be a huge factor in why the divorce rate has skyrocketed since the 1960s when the Pill was introduced to the masses. 

Another good reason to use a non-hormonal IUD instead of the Pill. The IUD is the most effective birth control available, it does not involve constant flooding of your system with synthetic hormones, you do not have to remember to take it, it is inexpensive, and best of all, you are more likely to end up with Mr. Right. Mr. Right not only keeps smelling attractive to you throughout life, but he and you will make healthier babies when the time is right.

The book, "Scent of Desire," by Rachel Herz, Ph.D., is full of this and other astounding information about our sense of smell. For more on what stinks about the Pill, sniff out your own research or check out this article in Scientific American. —Lauren

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  1. By Susie, age 17, from Riverside, California on 03/31/2015

    I’ve had several friends who thought they had found “true love” as teenagers and it never turned out that way.  Six months was about the longest I ever saw it last.  I really think that the teenage years are far too soon to decide that a guy is the “one” with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.

    The latest is my 16 year old sister.  She truly believes that she and her boyfriend were meant for each other and has no doubt that they are going to get married and spend the rest of their lives together living happily ever after.  I’m no expert and I can’t say for sure, but lately when I’ve seen her naked in our room or when we’re sharing the bathroom in the morning, I’ve seen what look like may be early signs of pregnancy.  If she is pregnant, it won’t be long until I’ll be able to tell for sure and I’ll know before our mom since she doesn’t see my sister naked every day like I do, but it won’t be much longer before she will also be able to tell.  If she is pregnant at her age, I know that it will totally screw up her life.  However, she doesn’t seem concerned about it and at least at the moment she is happily and madly in love, but I’m concerned about her future.


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  2. By C.R., age 40, from Carmichael, CA on 04/01/2015

    I have similar concerns about my 16 year old daughter.  She has her first serious boyfriend, who is 18, is madly in love with him and is certain that they are going to get married.  I also have concerns that she could be pregnant, but I don’t know for certain.  I also have an 18 year old daughter and the girls share a room.  We have an all-female household and the girls have always been very casual around the house, going to the shower without wearing a bathrobe and often walking around in their underwear and not always closing the door to their room when they were undressing.  However, lately, my younger daughter has become much more modest around me and closes and locks the door when she is undressing and has started wearing a bathrobe when she goes to take a shower.  However, she still has no problem undressing with her sister in the room and even continues to share our only bathroom with her in the morning when using the shower and toilet.  I therefore feel she is hiding something from me, and I fear it may be pregnancy since even with clothes on I have noticed lately that she is gaining weight.  I have considered asking my older daughter if she is starting to appear pregnant since she still sees her nude, but it would put her in a difficult position to have to tell on her sister.  If she is pregnant, she won’t be able to hide it very long, so I decided that it was better to wait rather than grill her sister.  However, if her sudden modesty is for other reasons I have read about, like cutting, I would not know.  Since she is gaining weight, it obviously is not something such as anorexia.  If it turns out that she is pregnant, I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with it.  Also, her boyfriend is 18 and therefore legally an adult while my daughter is still under age, so I don’t know if I should take legal action if I find out that they are having sex.  I am afraid that if I did so, my daughter would hate me forever and I certainly don’t want that.



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    1. By Julia, age 17, from Modesto, CA on 04/02/2015

      It sure sounds like she’s hiding something from you if she was always casual about nudity in front of you and is suddenly hiding her body from you, and a girl shouldn’t have any valid reason to hide her body from her own mother anyway.  There is another possibility that you should consider besides pregnancy and cutting:  physical abuse, which unfortunately is not uncommon these days.  My sister thought she had met her true love.  But then I noticed bruises on her body when she was nude in our room that we share.  At first she denied that he had done it, but I know her well enough that I can tell when she’s lying and she admitted it when I pressed her.  She said he got drunk at a party and thought she was “too friendly” toward another guy and they got in a fight afterwards.  She said that he apologized and promised never to do it again and that she forgave him since he was her “true love.”  She begged me not to tell our mom and said she would be careful that she didn’t see her undressed which wouldn’t be that difficult since she hardly ever sees us undressed anyway, but we see each other nude everyday in our room and sharing the bathroom in the morning, so she can’t hide things from me.  Against my better judgment, I agreed not to tell our mom.  You can probably guess what happened.  He dumped her and went on to somebody else.  Afterwards she confided to me that they’d also been having sex, but that he had used a condom.  But she’s very, very sorry to have lost her virginity to an ###hole like him!


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    2. By LAUREN, from on 04/07/2015

      Dear C.R.: If your daughter is pregnant and already “showing” you need to have a talk with her. She is very likely past the first trimester and needs prenatal care to bring the baby safely to term. She needs an ally and you are her only viable candidate. And if she isn’t pregnant, it’s your job as a mother to know what she is hiding from you. It may be something unexpected. Stress can cause weight gain, too, and she could be hiding bruises, as Julie points out is a possibility—or is cutting. You need to get to the bottom of it. Since she is locking her door, you need to call a heart-to-heart talk with her and tell her in no uncertain terms that you love her, are worried, are there to help… and you need to see her in her bra and underwear. Period. Be the authority and make it happen.

      If she is pregnant, be there for her and help her decide what to do, including the part about telling the boy and his parents (if he is still in high school—many 18 year olds are) and, if she is keeping the child, arranging for child support. I do not recommend legal action against a boyfriend she is madly in love with who is only just 18 and she is over 16. That said, should these be bruises, I do (or if you can’t stomach that route, an immediate breakup). Let us know what happens.—Love, Lauren

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  3. By Cathy, age 17, from Santa Ana, California, United States on 04/01/2015

    I (very stupidly) thought I had found true love when I was only 15 with a 17 year old boyfriend who told me that he loved me too.  I now realize that I was way too young to find “true love” but I sincerely believed it at the time.  He pressured me to “prove my love” by having sex which I did.  He used condoms, but one time it broke.  After the novelty of having sex with me wore off, he dumped me and moved on to someone else and I was devastated.  Right after that, my period was late and I was scared to death that I was pregnant due to the broken condom incident.  I was so paranoid that I was pregnant that I was sure that my sister would be able to tell when I was nude, so I started hiding my body from her which isn’t easy when your sharing a room.  We’d always shared a room and had never been the least bit shy about our nudity with each other like I imagine it is with most sisters, so she knew that I must be hiding something.  I now realize that it would have been too soon for her to tell anyway, but I was really worried about it at the time.  Finally, my period came, so I wasn’t pregnant.  However, having sex at such a young age, the devastation of having my “true love” dump me like that, and the pregnancy scare messed my head up royally and I still haven’t totally recovered.  I know that I should get counseling, but if I told my mom she would want to know why, and there’s no way that I could tell her that I was having sex when I was only 15.


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    1. By LAUREN, from on 04/07/2015

      Dear Cathy—I’m sorry for what you have been through and I encourage you to ask your mom to see a counselor anyway. You will be surprised at how many parents won’t pry at all if you just say, “Mom, I’m okay, I just need to talk to someone. I’m not in any kind of trouble, I just need to work through some basic teenage things.” All true. Please do it, or talk to the counselor at school. You deserve it. Let me know how it goes.—Love, Lauren

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  4. By C., age 17, from Somewhere in California on 04/02/2015

    I don’t think there is a specific sign or feeling that you can describe to know if you have true love.  It’s something that you know in your heart, and if you’re not sure, then you probably don’t have true love yet.  But it doesn’t mean that it can’t develop into true love with this person as it can take time, as it did with me and my true love.

    I am gay and my girlfriend and I know that we have true love and want to be together the rest of our lives and are very thankful that gay marriage is finally legal in California, although it was far too long in coming.  However, we must hide our love from everyone for the reasons that have been written about many times in Straight Talk, including from our own families.  We have to pretend that we are just very close BFFs to explain why we are together so much.  We make love to each other which bonds us even further.  We have to do it at her house since I share a room with my sister and we obviously can’t do it with her in the room.  But she has her own room with a full size bed and a door with a lock, so it’s easy at her house.  I know many girls who are worried about the gay “undressing” issue who have undressed in front of me many times with no problem and have no idea.  Even my own sister has made comments about this and has no idea that she’s undressing in front of someone who is gay every day in our room!  LOL!

    Anyway, if you aren’t sure if you have true love, give it time and you will know one way or the other sooner or later.  But I know that I have found it despite those who may say that I’m too young.  They’re not me, so how do they know?


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    1. By Betsy, age 18, from Westminster, California on 04/02/2015

      I am also gay, and I believe that you have found true love, because I have too.  I also agree that when you are truly in love, you know it in your heart.  Fortunately, my partner and I are able to be openly gay and our families are supportive.

      What bugs me is that many people think that same sex relationships are all about sex and that we don’t truly love each other the way that straight couples do.  Well, in our case, we DO love each other just as much as any straight couple could!  There is also the stereotype that we are promiscuous and will have sex with anyone else who is gay which is also totally untrue.  So is the idea that we have a sexual interest in girls who are straight.  Another myth.  Like others I’ve read about in Straight Talk, I have also faced the issue of girls being openly uncomfortable when they are in situation when we are undressing together.  Well, they have nothing to worry about because I have no sexual interest in them.  My straight sisters who I share a room with and my straight friends who really know me know that I’m not interested in their bodies and have no problem when I see them nude, but many girls who don’t really even know me have a big problem with it.


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  5. By Jeanie, age 16, from Vacaville, CA on 04/03/2015

    It’s true that many people don’t believe that gays can have the same kind of love as staights and only care about sex not true love, but this is another stereotypical myth.  Our mom is gay and her partner lives with us.  They plan to get married now that it is legal, but have not set a date.  My sister and I can see that they are just as much in love as the straight parents of our friends.  More so than many and much more so than our mom and dad ever were when they were together until the marriage ended when our mom came out with her true sexual orientation.  We have no problem with it at all, and our mom’s partner is becomming like a second mom to us.  But our friends think that all they care about is having gay sex with each other and won’t come for sleepovers in our room anymore since they say they wouldn’t be comfortable with gay sex going on in the next room.  How stupid!  If I spend the night with a friend I don’t worry about what her parents are doing in the bedroom, and if they’re having sex behind closed doors, so what?  But for some reason people worry about it because our mom and her partner are gay.  We’re also just as comfortable with our mom and her partner when it comes to things like nudity as are any mothers and daughters.  In fact, I have some friends who are not comfortable in this way with their moms who are straight, but we’re comfortable with both our mom and her partner.  We’ve gone on trips many times where all four of us stay in a room with 2 Queen beds and my sister and I share one bed and they share the other bed.  We all undress in front of each other and see each other nude and it’s no problem whatsoever.  Why should it be?

    We’re very happy that our mom has found true love, as she never had it with our dad.


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  6. By Torrie, age 17, from Toledo, Ohio, USA on 04/04/2015

    I am gay and also face this stereotype that all my girlfriend and I care about is having sex with each other.  The fact is while are affectionate with each other, we do not have sex and are taking things slowly.  We don’t know if we have found “true love” with each other, and at our age we are in no hurry.  If a girl has a boyfriend everybody doesn’t just assume that they’re having sex, but if a girl has a girlfriend everybody just assumes this and makes cruel comments.  Even my mom who is accepting of the fact that I am gay falls for this stereotype.  I can no longer have sleepovers with my girlfriend, but my younger sister who is straight can still have sleepovers in our room with her girl friends, and I don’t think this is fair.  She also doesn’t want us to have sleepovers any more because she’s concerned about my sister having to undress in front of her.  She doesn’t have a problem with us still sharing a room and undressing in front of each other because she says she knows that I wouldn’t do anything with my own sister, but is “concerned” about my girlfriend.  However, she has nothing to worry about and my sister says she wouldn’t have a problem as she undressed in front of my girlfriend many times before we both came out as being gay and it never was a problem.  And even if we were having sex we certainly wouldn’t be doing it with my sister right there in the room.  Give me a break!


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    1. By Elaine, age 42, from Santa Rosa, CA on 04/05/2015

      Sorry, Torrie, but I think your mom is totally correct on the sleepover issue.  I faced the same issue with my daughter when she came out as being gay.  If she were straight, everyone would agree that she shouldn’t have sleepovers with her boyfriend, so since she is gay by the same reasoning, she should not be having sleepovers with her girlfriend.  She said that it was unfair and that I was “discriminating” against her because her sister is still allowed to have sleepovers in their room with her female friends.  I do not see this as unfair or discrimination since her sister is straight and I would not allow her to have sleepovers with a boyfriend, so I believe that they are being treated equally.  I had concerns as to whether her sister would continue to be comfortable sharing a room, but when I asked her she said “absolutely not.”  She said she was still totally comfortable sharing a room with her sister with whom she has always been closed and in fact was more comfortable with nudity in front of her than anyone else, including her best friend who is also straight, and even me her own (straight) mother.  I decided that their continuing to share a room and seeing each other nude should not be a problem, and it hasn’t been.  However, sleepovers with her girlfriend are still forbidden, and I still think I made the correct decision.  I realize that if they really want to have sex they will find a way, but I do not have to sanction it by allowing sleepovers in my own home.


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      1. By Joy, age 17, from Petaluma, California on 04/05/2015

        I must beg to differ, Elaine.  You are not treating your daughters equally.  I am gay and my mom has no problem with my continuing to have sleepovers with my girlfriend.  And my sister who I share a room with also has no problem and is just as comfortable undressing in front of my girlfriend as she is with her straight girl friends (who also have no problem undressing in front of me when they stay in our room).  We’re still all girls with the same bodies, so why should it be a problem? Comparing this to the idea of a girl who is straight having her boyfriend for a sleepover in a room she shares with her sister and everyone undressing in front of each other is absurd!  As Torrie says, her sister does not have problem with this, and neither would most girls.  I remember the gay/straight sleepover/undressing issue being written about at length in Straight Talk a few years ago and the vast majority saw no problem with this.  I also agree with the others who say that the love we have for each other is the same as it is with anyone else, and gay relationships are NOT just about having sex.


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        1. By LAUREN, from on 04/07/2015

          Dear Joy—Thanks for writing in and please see the column we did on this issue. The panel and I weighed in positively for undressing and sleepovers of friends, but nixed sleepovers for significant others. Gay and straight are treated equally in this accord.—Love, Lauren

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      2. By LAUREN, from on 04/07/2015

        Dear Elaine: You are doing things exactly as I would and the panelists agree. The undressing issue is one thing and I can see why your other daughter doesn’t care. We have also covered and supported sleepovers with same-sex FRIENDS (what Joy seems to be referring to… and we did do numerous columns on this), but the subject of sleeping over with one’s same-sex significant other is asking too much (Joy, you perhaps missed this column). Elaine, you are correct that this is best treated the same as one would a gay-straight significant other. Even if the couple argues that they are not sexually active with each other, you don’t put them in the same bed together! Thanks for weighing in.—Love, Lauren

        See our column on this (and its unique challenges) here:

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    2. By LAUREN, from on 04/07/2015

      Dear Torrie—You are asking too much of your mom. If you were straight and had a boyfriend she would not let you stay the night together even if you said you weren’t having sex. And especially with your little sister in the room! This has nothing to do with the gay-straight undressing issue which we have done MANY columns on, but we also did a column on this here and even the panel agreed that it while it is okay to have a sleepover with a same-sex friend if you are gay, it is quite another to have a sleepover with a same-sex significant other. In that column, it was acknowledged that this situation can be especially difficult because the gay child can withhold truthfulness about the relationship in order to sleep with her s.o. The whole thing puts parents in a real bind. Please check that column out and I hope you’ll be a little easier on your mom about this. She’s just doing her job.—Love, Lauren

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  7. By Betty, age 50+, from Auburn, CA on 04/06/2015

    I always enjoy your column & learn something.  This one with birth control pills & smell. . .

    I wish you’d added to the 18 year old girl:  will your job support you the rest of your life if something happens to your intended?  Please consider the future of your work life, not just your current job.  Plan to be able to financially take care of yourself (& maybe even a spouse & family) for the rest of your life.

    I had neighbors in their 20s with a baby.  Husband fell off roof & is forever a paraplegic.  You never know.  Boys don’t grow up thinking they’ll marry a woman who will support them.  Apparently this 18 year old girl still thinks that old fashioned female way.  To me this is the most important part of the answers to her.
    Thanks for listening,

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