Women view masculine men as more fertile

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It’s an old stereotype: women are attracted to the big hunky guy while the poor scrawny guy gets sand kicked in his face. Now a new study shows that. while there may be some truth to the tale, it’s only for a few days during ovulation.

Blame the genes… and the nose

According to researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) led by Kelly Gildersleeve, the desire for masculine characteristics during ovulation may be the result of genetic evolution. By studying 50 published and unpublished studies, they were able to make some conclusions about this 20-year old discussion. They confirmed that women demonstrate a significant “shift” in mate preference during their menstrual cycle. They also found that women may determine preferred mate through the man’s scent.

Symmetry and smelly T-shirts

Researchers reviewed studies which asked women to smell a selection of T-shirts which had been worn by a variety of men. During ovulation, women preferred the odors of men who were more symmetrical. Past research has shown that symmetry is linked to better health, larger bodies and sexual characteristics. It could be a sign of genetic quality.

Evolutionary adaptation

As humans started to increase population, they needed healthy mates to protect them and healthy children to survive. “Ancestral 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,” explained Prof. Martie Haselton of UCLA and senior author of the study. “Women could have had the best of both worlds – securing paternal investment form 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.”

“If women understand the logic behind these shifts,” said Prof. Haselton, “it might better inform their sexual decision making so that if they notice suddenly that they’re attracted to the guy in the next cubicle at work, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have a great long-term partner. They’re just experiencing a fleeting echo from the past.”
Source: Psychological Bulletin, MedicalNewsToday


 
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