Entries in ovulation (9)


Music to Her Ears: Female Fertility and the Sounds of Music

What is the point of music? Psychologist Stephen Pinker likens it to “auditory cheesecake,” a confection intended to tickle our neural pleasure circuits1 -- a jolt of enjoyment rather than a necessity for human survival. But 140 years ago, Charles Darwin was tinkering with another theory: that music’s true purpose is to impress the opposite sex.2 He recognised that birds don’t sing for pure joy, but to attract a mate or challenge rivals. Could music serve a similar function in humans?

Quite possibly. The lyrics of most pop songs are about relationships, with love at first sight, jealousy, and breakups being common themes. And it’s also plain that music stirs fierce emotions, from the screaming adulation that provided a second soundtrack to Beatlemania, to the Beliebers and Directioners of today whose online worshipping of their idols knows no bounds. But until recently, there’s been little hard evidence for Darwin’s theory that music is a method of sexual seduction.

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Pretty, and Fertile, in Pink

Ovulating women report increased sexual desire and preference for wearing sexy clothing compared to non-ovulating women.1,2 But does ovulation impact the color of clothing she chooses? A survey of “regularly ovulating” women (i.e., not on birth control pills, pregnant, etc.) reported their menstrual cycle’s timing and noted the color of the shirt they were currently wearing.3 Those ovulating and at their most fertile (6-14 days following the start of her last period) were more likely to wear red or pink compared to other colors, and of those wearing red or pink, nearly 80% were ovulating.

Read more about wearing red herefertility here, and behaviors related to ovulation here.

1Haselton, M. G., & Gangestad, S. W. (2006). Conditional expression of women’s desires and men’s mate guarding across the ovulatory cycle. Hormones and Behavior, 49, 509–518.

2Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., & Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women’s choice of dress across the ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task–based evidence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1451–1460.

3Beall, A. T., & Tracy, J. L. (in press). Women more likely to wear red or pink at peak fertility. Psychological Science.


Ovulation Makes Guys' Bling "Blingier"

In a recent study, researchers examined whether women pay more attention to men’s status cues when women are most fertile. Naturally cycling women (i.e., non-pill users) paid more attention to status symbols (e.g., sports cars, mansions) when they were ovulating compared to other times of their cycles. Also, ovulating non-pill users paid more attention to status than did pill users. Finally, pill users’ eye for status did not vary across the menstrual cycle.

Read more about status cues and conspicuous consumption here and here, and about the interesting effects of birth control pill use here and here.

Lens, I., Driesmans, K., Pandelaere, M., & Janssens, K. (2012). Would male conspicuous consumption capture the female eye? Menstrual cycle effects on women’s attention to status products. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 346-349.


Do Birth Control Pills Make Exotic Dancers Less “Titillating?”

In a recent article, I discussed how birth control pills alter the type of men that women find attractive, not to mention the quality of women’s sex lives. However, the sexual side effects of oral contraceptives don’t stop there. In fact, being on the pill even seems to impact the amount of money women can earn from a night of exotic dancing! Yes, you read that right.

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Do Birth Control Pills Really Lead to Bad Sex?

Most women know all too well that being on birth control means having to put up with a few side effects, including potential weight gain, nausea, and mood changes. However, fewer women are probably aware of the fact that the pill might also be affecting their sex lives. For instance, research suggests that the pill may alter the types of guys women find attractive. Perhaps even more important, some recent media reports have claimed that women on the pill are doomed to a lifetime of bad sex. Could this really be true? Is the pill putting a damper on women’s sexual fulfillment?

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Dude, You Stink So Good

Please note that the t-shirts purchasable in our Swag Shop do not come with pheromones. You must supply your own (or ask your partner to loan you some).

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“Do you wanna smell my sweaty t-shirt?” That doesn’t sound like a very good pickup line for a guy to use, does it? Well, turns out it might be, depending on how attractive he is.

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Ovulation and “Gaydar” Accuracy

Although we may not like to admit it, we form impressions about others based on physical appearance, especially when it comes to identifying potential mates. But what factors make those impressions more accurate? It turns out that women’s impressions of men's sexual orientation are affected by where they are in their menstrual cycles. 

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NPR interview with Dr. John Maner and Dr. Martie Haselton

If you enjoyed last week's post on John Tierney's write-up about Saul Miller and Jon Maner's work, you might be interested in the new interview on NPR's On Point with Dr. Maner (Florida State University) and Dr. Martie Haselton (UCLA). Click here to check it out at the NPR site.


Ovulating Women: Hot or Not?

We're big fans of John Tierney at the New York Times, and in a recent post he discusses new research by Saul Miller and Jon Maner at Florida State University.1 Their work indicates that single men are more attracted to women who are ovulating, but that men in committed relationships are actually less attracted to those same ovulating women. In short, it's adaptive for males to want to mate with fertile females, but the motivation to protect one's current long-term relationship can counteract this effect as committed men downplay the attractiveness of others as a means of protecting their current relationship.2

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