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Women More Attracted to Masculine Men During Ovulation

Last updated Sept. 9, 2015

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

A new study shows that heterosexual women may prefer masculine men during ovulation.

A new study from the University of California, Los Angeles, showed that heterosexual women may prefer masculine men. Never fear. This preference exists only when they are ovulating – a few days a month- and do not see them as suitable for long-term partners.

Published in the Psychological Bulletin, their research suggests that the desire for masculine features during ovulation may be a result of genetic evolution. Their research attempted to answer where heterosexual women change their preference in men during their most fertile point of their cycle. Fifty published and unpublished studies were reviewed to investigate this association.

From the 50 studies, they found that women demonstrate a significant "shift" in mate preference during their menstrual cycle. Also, they found that women may determine which mate, they prefer through a man's body scent.

In the few scent studies conducted so far, researchers asked women to whiff T-shirts that had been worn by men with varying degrees of body and facial symmetry. Previous animal studies have shown that body and facial symmetry are associated with larger body size and better health, suggesting that symmetry could be an indicator of genetic quality. The results revealed that women preferred the odors of men with more physical and facial symmetry during ovulation during the menstrual cycle.

The researchers hypothesize that the mate preference shift may demonstrate an "evolutionary adaptation." This was due to high child and infant mortality rates before modern medicine, sanitation, and nutrition. Our female ancestors were attracted to “stronger” men for the survival of the offspring.

Professor Martie Haselton, of UCLA and senior author of the study, says, “Ancestral women would have benefitted reproductively from selecting partners with characteristics indicating that they'd be good co-parents, such as being kind, as well as characteristics indicating that they possessed high genetic quality, such as having masculine faces and bodies."

This research can help women understand the logic of shifts in their preference of men, in order to make a more informed decision in mates. 

What do women want? It depends on the time of the month

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Feb. 17, 2014
Last updated: Sept. 9, 2015