Science: Ovulating Women Give Off A Bad Vibe

Illustration for article titled Science: Ovulating Women Give Off A Bad Vibe

A study finds that a women's gait changes during the course of her menstrual cycle. Well, I should think so! Anyone who's had to endure wearing a heavy-flow pad could tell you that much. But how do men respond?

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Considering — as studies (some more scientific than others) have reiterated ad nauseum — that much of our behavior has to do with the human instinct to breed like bunnies, one might conclude that during the most fertile days of a gal's cycle, she walks in a manner that is slightly more attractive to men (a bit of swing in the child-bearing hips). But no! As it turns out, the study in question found that ovulating ladies actually walked in a way that was less attractive to men:

Women might be subconsciously changing the cues that they emit (to a wide male audience) in such a way as to minimize the likelihood of receiving unwanted sexual attention when maximally fertile. […] There is supporting evidence for the "personal safety" argument, namely, women do seek to reduce their risk-taking (e.g., walking down an isolated alley) when in estrus.

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So during ovulation, you perhaps take less risks, deflect sexual attention, and are a bit less bangin'. This goes against the majority of previous research — one attention-getting study reported that ovulating strippers made more in tips — but these opposite results make more sense: When you're maximally fertile, you tend to be maximally PMS-ing. Naturally you're going to emit a subtle "get the hell away from me" vibe.

Women's Gait Changes Across the Menstrual Cycle (And Men Notice It) [Psychology Today]

Earlier: Study Reveals Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Sex

[Image via the awesome menstruation animation called Blob, by Koit.]

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DISCUSSION

american-as-apple-pie-old
American as Apple Pie

Umm, study (or article reporting on the study), women don't have estrus. Baboons have estrus. Chimps have estrus, genital swellings. We have (what do anthropologists call it?) cryptic ovulation.

At least, that's what I always thought.