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Evolutionary Psychology - Fertile Females

Updated on February 23, 2011

Fertile Females and Men

Recently, an interesting experiment was done using a 21 year old female. She wore no perfume and was carefully trained not to flirt with any of a bunch of male subjects that came to visit her over the course of several months.

The men helped her to build a puzzle constructed of Lego blocks. After working together for a while, they were then asked to rate the attractiveness of the female. Their average ratings were then compared to her menstrual cycle.

Statistical analysis verified what previous tests had also demonstrated. Men, who were not in relationships, found her more attractive during her fertile period. Strangely enough, men in a relationship, found her less attractive during her fertile period.

This is all part of new research being done with human evolutionary psychology, which states that our behavior has evolved to maximize successful offspring. A fertile woman is more likely to bear a child if seduced by a man than a non-fertile woman. It would make sense for him to feel more attracted to her, even if at a sub-conscious level.

Men will rate the body odor of a fertile female higher than that of a non-fertile female and even respond with a rise in their testosterone levels. When a woman is fertile, her behavior changes, the tone of her voice is elevated and she gives out more cues of interest towards men. Lap dancers will get larger tips when they are fertile.

Fertile Females Just Want To Have Fun

When a woman is fertile, even if she is in a relationship with another man, she is more likely to flirt and play around with other potential partners. This effect is greater if her current partner is not very attractive. She may feel critical and disconnected from her partner during this time too.

The advantages of having a discrete affair are many. If she can get pregnant by a male with better genes than her mate, her own genes are more likely to survive. The danger, if she is caught though, is having to raise a child by herself. If caught cheating, her partner may even leave her to support his children alone too.

Married Men React Differently

Men in relationships would often rate fertile females as significantly less attractive than other females. Why would this be? One hypothesis is that he subconsciously recognizes her as a threat to his relationship. By telling himself that she is less desirable, he lowers the risk of cheating on his partner.

This hypothesis is supported by the fact that men in relationships will look away from an attractive female even faster than from an unattractive female. He is avoiding temptation by not gazing at her. It is kind of like a person on a diet avoiding the kitchen.

One last lesson though should warn of the dangers of jealousy and keeping a very close eye on your partner. Tests that made it difficult to see an attractive face resulted in more effort to see the face. Later on, questioning showed less satisfaction with their current partner as compared to a control group. This suggests that a partner's vigilance could make a forbidden fruit even more enticing.


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  • Pente profile image

    Pente 6 years ago from Planet Earth

    I recently read an article about research done at Florida State University. Try googling "The Threatening Scent of Fertile Women". Some of the information came from books I read like Carl Sagan's Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors.

  • KFlippin profile image

    KFlippin 6 years ago from Amazon

    I find this interesting, but am left wishing you had a list of reference sources for these studies cited! It is all presented as factual, and I am looking for the footnotes. Not doubting your words, just would actually like to be able to read the reference documents myself, to explore this topic further, it is an intriguing topic worth exploring further, as would be the flip side, attractiveness of the fertile (or not) male to the female based on horomones, scent, etc...

  • Pente profile image

    Pente 7 years ago from Planet Earth

    @Extinct Soul. I never heard that saying, but I can certainly empathize with it. I had a lot more trouble understanding people than most. Evolutionary psychology opened my eyes to understanding their behavior. I get along with people much better now, now that I am much more aware of their true motives.

  • Extinct Soul profile image

    Extinct Soul 7 years ago from 14°35'N 121°0'E

    :)) I love reading hubs like this...I'm a frustrated psychologist. There is a saying that there is no map for human behavior, it's a good thing that we have something like this, a compass so we won't loose our way..^_^

  • Pente profile image

    Pente 7 years ago from Planet Earth

    @Charlotte, thanx for reading. I find evolutionary psychology to be a great explanation for a lot of things.

  • Charlotte B Plum profile image

    Charlotte B Plum 7 years ago

    I enjoyed reading this! I too studied this and it is really amazing how things seem to work from an evolutionary psychology point of view.

  • Pente profile image

    Pente 7 years ago from Planet Earth

    Yea, I get the same reaction when I talk to people about these type of things.

  • profile image

    Fay Paxton 7 years ago

    Wow, Pente. None of this surprises me. I guess I've always instinctively believed most of this and have often had some heated discussions with people who said I was nuts. Now, I feel vindicated. up and useful