Dating & Relationships

Women Instinctively ‘Guard’ Desirable Men From Ovulating Women

February 2, 2016 by Justin Lehmiller

Women’s behavior changes in several ways when they’re ovulating. Among other things, research has found that ovulating women fantasize about sex more often, they’re more likely to wear red or pink clothing, and they’re more likely to flirt with “bad boys.” Together, these findings suggest that ovulation in humans isn’t as concealed as previously thought.

Indeed, scientists have found that men seem to be able to identify when women are ovulating. Interestingly, however, a new set of studies suggests that women may also be able to pick up on other women’s ovulation and, furthermore, that there might be an evolutionary reason for this.

Specifically, the thought is that women may have evolved the ability to detect others’ ovulation in order to reduce the odds of a male partner being seduced by another woman who is at peak fertility.

In my latest article over at Playboy, I discuss the results of a new set of studies that found support for this provocative idea. Indeed, across four studies, results showed that heterosexual women (but only those who had desirable male partners) were more prone to “mate-guarding” behavior after being exposed to a photo of an attractive ovulating woman, compared to photos of women at other phases of the menstrual cycle.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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