While it's messy and a general pain, being on your menstrual cycle can be such a handy excuse. Remember when it would get you out of gym class? All you had to do was tell your P.E. teacher that you were on the rag and BOOM you were on the bench instead of playing ultimate frisbee with your fellow classmates. And now, as we get older and are no longer forced to play ultimate frisbee, we can use it to get out of other things. Got a dinner that you want to avoid? "UGH, these cramps." Want to get out of clothes shopping with an exhausting friend? "Sorry, I'm too bloated." Want to eat a whole chocolate cake because goddammit you work hard and deserve it? "PERIOD FREEEEEBIE!" And now, thanks to new a new study, we can also hold our menstrual cycles responsible for who we want to invite to Bone Kingdom during certain times of the month.
Researchers at UCLA have recently revealed that women find themselves drawn to more sexually attractive partners during the time of ovulation, often subconsciously rejecting their plain mousy partners in the process.
According to UCLA professor of psychology and communication studies Martie Haselton:
"A woman evaluates her relationship differently at different times in her cycle, and her evaluation seems to be colored by how sexually attractive she perceives her partner to be."
Haselton's lab, through a series of high profile studies, tracked the ovulation cycles of 41 undergraduate women in long term relationships and noted distinct changes in behavior surrounding the time of ovulation. Subjects were seen taking more care of their appearances, avoiding male family members ("a potential inbreeding-avoidance mechanism") and speaking in a higher voice due to the subconscious desire to appeal to an attractive mate. The lab also found that women with less typically masculine or "less sexy" partners were more interested in other men during points of high fertility.
Says study lead Christina Larson:
"A lot of research has shown that women's preferences change over the course of the cycle, but this is the first time that these changes have been shown to have implications for relationship functioning."
From the Eureka Alert:
An exercise that required the women to rate how close they felt to their men yielded dramatic results. As women mated to less sexually attractive men moved from their least fertile to most fertile period, their closeness scores dropped one point on a seven-point scale. Women mated to the most sexually attractive men, meanwhile, experienced the opposite effect. As these women moved from their least to most fertile period, their closeness scores rose by a point.
Haselton adds, "Women with the really good, stable guy felt more distant at high-fertility periods than low-fertility periods. That isn't the case with women who were mated to particularly sexually attractive men. The closeness of their relationships got a boost just prior to ovulation."
After their findings, Larson and Haselton refined their study and repeated it with 67 other coeds only to yield the same results. Women were more likely to, around the point of ovulation, find fault with less attractive partners than they were with more attractive partners.
So basically we're all a bunch of dumb monkeys anchored to biology and evolution despite our attempts at a higher, less shallow level of consciousness. On the bright side, these male plain Janes can rest slightly easy — while women doubted the attractiveness of their partners around the point of ovulation, there was no sign of doubting commitment. Congrats, nerds! You've kept the girl!