Women do a lot of things differently during ovulation, as it turns out. The same department at UCLA responsible for this new study produced some rather more provocative data earlier this year.

Data that tends to undermine the mystical importance of confidence:

New research from UCLA and the University of New Mexico suggests that members of “the gentler sex” may have evolved to cheat on their mates during the most fertile part of their cycle — but only when those mates are less sexually attractive than other men…

“When women were mated to men with low sexual versus investment attractiveness, they were particularly likely to experience increased attraction to men other than their partners at mid‑cycle,” Haselton said.

The mates of these women, meanwhile, appeared to appreciate unconsciously what they were up against. Their wives and girlfriends reported many more acts of mate-guarding behavior than women who considered their mates to be fling-worthy…

Only one group of men diverged from this pattern: They were the ones whose wives and girlfriends were the most physically attractive.

“These guys used mate-guarding tactics all the time — whether the woman was ovulating or not,” Gangestad said.

As Thomas Jefferson almost said: eternal vigilance is the price of dating Bethany.


“In the reproductive arena, women want men to contribute both quality care and good genes,” Haselton said. “The problem is that there aren’t many potential mates who are high in both. So many women are forced to make trade-offs.”…

“According to the traditional evolution story, men value attractiveness in a mate, whereas women value resources and status,” Haselton said. “But the story appears to be much more nuanced. Physical attractiveness is very important to women, but to see this you have to catch women during the narrow window of fertility within the cycle.”

And what characteristics constitute “physical attractiveness”? Is it confidence, confidence, and more confidence?

According to the University of Liverpool: no, it is not.

[Researcher Rob Burriss] said during the fertile stage of their menstrual cycle [women] are more likely to be attracted to, and have an affair with, a masculine-looking man.

“Earlier research has shown that women are more interested in men who have a high testosterone face type – a jaw line like Arnold Schwarzenegger for example – for a short term relationship…

He said: “Groups of animals, such as chimpanzees, can live quite happily together, but when a female is ready to mate the two dominant males within the group become rivals and fight for her attention.

“Similarly in humans, rated dominance increases when the female is most fertile.”

I don’t know what the suicide rate is for nice guys vis-a-vis alpha males, but I figure it can’t be more than, oh, about fifty thousand to one.

Speaking of chimps, AmSpec has a fun evo-bio piece today about the genealogy of monogamy arguing that civilization rests upon the Y-chromsome. This corroborates the Burgundy theory of evolution, which, as you’ll recall, postulates that men built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn and that women’s brains are, in fact, a third the size of ours.

It’s science.


Tags: New Mexico