A new study suggests that ovulation may improve women's ability to discern men's sexual orientation. Also useful in this department: reading romance stories.
According to ScienceDaily, psychologists showed 40 heterosexual undergraduate women a variety of pictures of dudes. The guys apparently didn't differ in expression or attractiveness (though whoever determined the latter had a fun and inexact job), but some were gay and some were straight. The closer the women were to ovulating, the better they could tell the difference. However, the same wasn't true when they were shown photos of gay and straight women — ovulation did nothing to improve their ladygaydar. Says study author Prof. Nicholas Rule, "these findings suggest that women's accuracy may vary across the fertility cycle because men's sexual orientation is relevant to conception and thus of greater importance as women are nearer to ovulation."
Another interesting finding: women who read a romantic story before looking at photos had better gaydar than those who didn't. According to ScienceDaily, this means "inducing romantic or mating-related thoughts improved accuracy in identifying men's sexual orientations." Of course, researchers can't be certain that the women who read the story had mating on the brain — maybe they were amused, pissed off, or bored. But it does stand to reason that ladies who are thinking about sex might be better at sniffing out which dudes might want to have sex with them. Ovulation studies have many critics, and I'd like to see just how good these ovulating women were at determining sexual orientation from photos alone (my suspicion is that this would be pretty hard even for the most hormonally-enhanced lady). Still, it's possible that having eggs all ready to be fertilized somehow makes women better at finding someone who might like to fertilize them.
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