Ovulating Women Are Better Flirts, Says Science

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Man and Woman Having a Conversation

Can’t stop making eyes at the scruffy drifter across the bar? Blame your cycle. According to a new study published this month in Psychological Science, women who are ovulating are more aggressive flirts than women who aren’t — as long as the man is charismatic, socially dominant, and suitably confident.

There’s nothing new about the idea that a woman’s ovulatory cycle has social consequences: Anyone who follows this stuff/reads Cosmo knows that men are more attracted to women when the women are at their most fertile. The question is why — if men are picking something up, then women have got to be putting it down. And according to researchers, they are. Previous studies have already shown that ovulating women have sexier walks, sexier outfits, sexier voices, and sexier faces. This study goes one step further, positing that ovulation actually changes the way women flirt — and which dudes they choose to flirt with.

The researchers told 25 undergraduate women they were participating in a study investigating how “identical twins communicate and interact with potential relationship partners.” Then, they had each subject “video chat” with pre-recorded male actors twice during her cycles: once at peak fertility, and once during a lower-fertility phase. Each time, the subjects talked to a “sexy cad” and a “good dad” — the former scripted to sound alpha and unreliable, the latter designed to come off as nice and dependable. The women talked to the same men in both sessions, but with the men’s roles reversed: the good dad became his identical twin, the sexy cad, and the sexy cad was recast as the good dad.

During their low-fertility phases, the women responded pretty similarly to both the sexy cads and the good dads. When they were ovulating, though, they overwhelmingly went for the sexy cads — at least, as short-term partners. Ovulation didn’t influence the women’s assessment of either man’s long-term potential, but for a quick fling, the cads have it.

From an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense. From a personal perspective, consider this one more reason to use protection.

Image via Veer