Human Nature

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 114–127 | Cite as

Cyclic variation in women’s preferences for masculine traits

Potential hormonal causes
  • David Andrew PutsEmail author


Women’s preferences for several male traits, including voices, change over the menstrual cycle, but the proximate causes of these changes are unknown. This paper explores relationships between levels of estradiol, progesterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin, and testosterone (estimated using menstrual cycle information) and women’s preferences for male vocal masculinity in normally cycling and hormonally contracepting heterosexual females. Preferences for vocal masculinity decreased with predicted progesterone levels and increased with predicted prolactin levels in normally cycling—but not hormonally contracepting—women. Adaptive explanations for menstrual variation in women’s preferences for masculine traits are discussed and evaluated in light of these findings.

Key words

Good genes Hormones Masculinity Mate choice Menstrual cycle Progesterone Prolactin Sexual selection Vocal fundamental frequency Voice pitch 


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Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuroscience ProgramMichigan State UniversityEast Lansing

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