New research to be published in the American Psychological
Association’s Psychological Bulletin suggests that most women are only
attracted to dominant men with a masculine body type for a few days a month –
during ovulation – and don’t necessarily desire them as long-term partners.
you're having your menstrual period, that shy, sensitive
guy may make your heart flutter, but the burly man with the deep voice looks
inexplicably irresistible when you're ovulating.
There's a biological reason for
that, new research suggests.
It's likely that this shift in
sexual preferences during ovulation is an evolutionary holdover for humans,
In the past
In the past, highly masculine
characteristics in men likely indicated high genetic quality, and mating with
them increased women's odds of having children who would survive and reproduce.
Prof Martie Haselton, senior author of the study and a professor of psychology at the
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), explains:
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."
Read: Private passions: An in-depth look
at sexual preferences, fetishism and paraphilias
could have had the best of both worlds – securing paternal investment from a
long-term mate and high-genetic quality from affair partners – but only if
those affairs were timed at a point of high fertility within the cycle, and
probably only if their affairs remained undiscovered.
Women experience preference shifts
"Women sometimes get a bad rap
for being fickle, but the changes they experience are not arbitrary. Women
experience intricately patterned preference shifts even though they might not
serve any function in the present," Haselton, said.
Sexual preferences increase
offspring's chance of survival
The researchers noted that female
mammals have shifting sexual preferences and behaviours meant to improve their
offspring's chances of survival.
"Until the past decade, we all
accepted this notion that human female sexuality was radically different from
sexuality in all of these other animal species – that, unlike other species,
human female sexuality was somehow walled off from reproductive hormones,"
Haselton said. "Then a set of studies emerged that challenged conventional
prefer men with deep voices
with deep voices attract more women
preference for reproducing with younger women is actually what has led to
menopause in women
prefer women with feminine features when they want to have a fling