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What do women want? It depends on the time of the month
Date:2/14/2014

tatistically analyzed together.

The strength of women's preference shift proved to be statistically significant, although "small" to "medium" in size, relative to most findings in the field. As a point of comparison, the size of the shift was statistically comparable to the difference researchers have found between men's and women's self-reported number of heterosexual sex partners (with men reporting more sex partners).

The findings are less clear, however, about which male characteristics are most alluring to ovulating women. But women's responses to male body scents could be capable of producing the strongest effects, Haselton said.

In the few scent studies conducted so far, researchers asked women to smell T-shirts that had been worn by men with varying degrees of body and facial symmetry. (Across a large body of research on many different animals, body and facial symmetry are associated with larger body size, more pronounced sexual "ornaments" such as the attractive plumage on male birds, and better health, suggesting that symmetry could be an indicator of genetic quality.) Women preferred the odors of more symmetrical men when in the fertile portions of their cycles. The UCLA meta-analysis likewise showed a large shift in women's preference for the body odor of symmetrical men, although more studies are needed to determine whether this effect is robust.

Haselton, who is based in UCLA's College of Letters and Science, is one of a handful of pioneers in research on behavioral changes at ovulation. One of her studies showed that women who are partnered to men they view as less sexy are more likely to experience attraction to other men at ovulation than women who rate their male partners as very sexy.

"The excellent reputation Martie has among researchers in this field and her deep understanding of the intricacies of ovulation research make her an ideal person to spearhead this ambitious meta-analytic stud
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Contact: Meg Sullivan
msullivan@support.ucla.edu
310-825-1046
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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