“Women’s reproductive fertility peaks for a few days in the middle of their cycle around ovulation. Because conception is most likely to occur inside this brief fertile window, evolutionary theories suggest that men possess adaptations designed to maximize their reproductive success by mating with women during their peak period of fertility. In this article, we provide evidence from 3 studies that subtle cues of fertility prime mating motivation in men, thus facilitating psychological and behavioral processes associated with the pursuit of a sexual partner. In Study 1, men exposed to the scent of a woman near peak levels of fertility displayed increased accessibility to sexual concepts.”
“One of the possible mechanisms for assessing menstrual cycle phase is through the sense of smell. In this study possible changes in odour across the menstrual cycle were investigated.“
“Scent communication plays a central role in the mating behavior of many nonhuman mammals but has often been overlooked in the study of human mating. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that men may perceive women’s high-fertility body scents (collected near ovulation) as more attractive than their lowfertility body scents. The present study provides a methodologically rigorous replication of this finding, while also examining several novel questions.”
“Olfactory Ability to Detect Ovulatory Cues: a Function of Biological Sex, Sexual Orientation, or Both?” “We asked women not using hormonal contraceptives to wear a T-shirt for three consecutive nights during their follicular (ovulatory) and luteal (non-ovulatory) phases. Male and female participants of differing sexual orientations then rated the T-shirts based on intensity, pleasantness, and sexiness. Heterosexual males were the only group to rate the follicular T-shirts as more pleasant and sexy than the luteal T-shirts.”
“Scent of a Woman” (Miller and Maner (2010)): “In line with this framework, the current studies examined the extent to which olfactory cues to female ovulation—scents of women at the peak of their reproductive fertility—influence endocrinological responses in men. Men in the current studies smelled T-shirts worn by women near ovulation or far from ovulation (Studies 1 and 2) or control T-shirts not worn by anyone (Study 2). Men exposed to the scent of an ovulating woman subsequently displayed higher levels of testosterone than did men exposed to the scent of a nonovulating woman or a control scent.”
“Recently, Miller and Maner (2010) reported that smelling T-shirts worn by women near ovulation can trigger testosterone responses in men; however, men were aware that they were smelling women’s scents. … In a crossover design, men who were not explicitly aware of the specific stimuli smelled the sweat samples in one session and water samples in a second session. There were no differences in testosterone responses across the experimental conditions. Our null findings suggest that the relevant chemical signal is not found in axillary sweat, and/or that knowledge of the stimulus source is necessary for hormone responses.
“Here we show that the MHC [major histocompatibility complex] influences both body odours and body odour preferences in humans, and that the women’s preferences depend on their hormonal status. … Each male student wore a T-shirt for two consecutive nights. The next day, each female student was asked to rate the odours of six T-shirts. They scored male body odours as more pleasant when they differed from the men in their MHC than when they were more similar.”
“Studies in house mice indicate that both males and females prefer MHC‐dissimilar mates, who they apparently recognize by odour cues. Studies in humans have also found MHC‐associated odour and mating preferences. … Several questions remain unanswered about how the MHC influences odour production and why MHC‐dependent mating preferences evolved.”
“Previous studies in animals and humans show that genes in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) influence individual odours and that females often prefer odour of MHC-dissimilar males, perhaps to increase offspring heterozygosity or reduce inbreeding. Women using oral hormonal contraceptives have been reported to have the opposite preference, raising the possibility that oral contraceptives alter female preference towards MHC similarity, with possible fertility costs. Here we test directly whether contraceptive pill use alters odour preferences.“
“MHC-correlated mate choice in humans: a review” (2009)
“A kiss puts two people in very close proximity. Our sense of smell allows us to pick up subconscious clues about the other person’s DNA or reproductive status. Biologist Claus Wedekind found that women are most attracted to the scent of men who have a very different genetic code for their immune system in a region of DNA known as the major histocompatibility complex. Pairing off with a male who has a different set of genes for immunity can lead to children that will have a higher level of genetic diversity, making them healthier and more likely to survive.”
“At first blush, the idea of scent-based attraction might seem hypothetical and ephemeral, but when we unknowingly interfere with the transmission of subtle olfactory messages operating below the level of conscious awareness, the results can be both concrete and devastating.”
“The first pheromone party in New York City, conceived of the event as a new twist on speed dating, with pop science thrown in. The idea is that if a T-shirt’s odor arouses you, you’ll be sexually (and maybe emotionally?) compatible with its wearer.” Report at TheDailySmell.
“A recent series of studies shows, however, that there are discernible cues of fertility in women’s social behaviors, body scents, voices, and, possibly, aspects of physical beauty. Some of these changes are subtle, but others are strikingly large (we report effect sizes ranging from small, d ¼ 0.12 to large, d ¼ 1.20). Moreover, emerging evidence suggests that women’s male partners may adaptively shift their behavior in response to cues of approaching ovulation.”
“Using a sample of 30 partnered women photographed at high and low fertility cycle phases, we show that readily-observable behaviors – self-grooming and ornamentation through attractive choice of dress – increase during the fertile phase of the ovulatory cycle.”
An interpretation of Magritte’s brutal painting:
“Le Viol” by Magritte (1934)
“Female facial attractiveness increases during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle“: “This indicates the existence of visible cues to ovulation in the human face, and is consistent with similar cyclical changes observed for preferences of female body odour.”
“The high- versus low-fertility difference in pitch was associated with the approach of ovulation and not menstrual onset, thus representing, to our knowledge, the first research to show a specific cyclic fertility cue in the human voice. We interpret this finding as evidence of a fertility-related enhancement of femininity consistent with other research documenting attractivenessrelated changes associated with ovulation.”
“Though some research suggests that women unconsciously advertise their fertility, a new study shows that their voices are misleading to would-be mates. Just before ovulation, when women are at their most fertile, their voices become higher-pitched — but the same happens after ovulation, when they’re less fertile.”
“We found that women’s preferences for men’s voices with lowered (i.e., masculinized) pitch versus raised (i.e., feminized) pitch were positively associated with women’s own average voice pitch. Because voice pitch is positively correlated with many indices of women’s attractiveness, our findings suggest that the attractiveness of the perceiver predicts variation in women’s preferences for masculinity in men’s voices.”
“Until recently, little attention has been given to the idea that people’s faces and voices might both signal the same underlying qualities related to hormone levels, and that we might use these hormonal fitness markers to provide a better picture of the signaler’s overall mate value.20,21,24 In this paper I first argue that aspects of voices and faces can be used as markers of hormonal status. Second, I argue that both vocal and facial features associated with hormonal status
are used by people to assess mate quality.“
Maurizio Cattelan photographed by Richard Avedon (2004)
“This research focuses on two types of sexual selection operating on men: female mate choice, which favors traits that attract females, and male contests, which favor traits for excluding competitors from mates by force or threat of force. This article demonstrates how masculine faces and voices advertize critical information about men’s mate value and threat potential, and reviews evidence that women’s preferences and men’s deference to masculine faces and voices reflect this information content.” More papers from the Puts lab.
“The purpose of the study was to explore the influence of mate value and fertility status on women’s implicit and explicit preferences for male traits associated with genetic quality. It was hypothesized that a woman low in mate value would experience greater fluctuation across her menstrual cycle in her preferences for characteristics associated with genetic quality than a woman high in mate value. Specifically, a low mate value woman during the non-fertile part of the cycle would experience a reduction in a desire for traits associated with health and reproductive success.”
A nose fetish blog. The nose fetish appeared on Magnus Hirschfeld’s partial list of fetishisms.