Sex Roles

, Volume 69, Issue 9–10, pp 516–524 | Cite as

Shifts in Women’s Mate Preferences Across the Ovulatory Cycle: A Critique of Harris (2011) and Harris (2012)

  • Kelly Gildersleeve
  • Lisa DeBruine
  • Martie G. Haselton
  • David A. Frederick
  • Ian S. Penton-Voak
  • Benedict C. Jones
  • David I. Perrett
Original Article


Many studies have documented systematic shifts in women’s mate preferences and sexual motivations across the ovulatory cycle. Harris (2012) presents a nonreplication of one particular finding in this literature—namely, that women’s preference for masculinity in men’s faces shifts across the cycle. Harris critiques the empirical and theoretical literature on cycle shifts and concludes that the cycle shift hypothesis should be abandoned. Here, we situate Harris’s findings within the broader empirical literature and respond to several of the points in her critique. We conclude that the evidence for cycle shifts in women‘s mate preferences and sexual motivations is much stronger than Harris portrays and that she mischaracterizes the theoretical basis of this work.


Menstrual cycle Ovulatory cycle Ovulation Facial masculinity Mate preferences Sexual motivations 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelly Gildersleeve
    • 1
  • Lisa DeBruine
    • 2
  • Martie G. Haselton
    • 3
  • David A. Frederick
    • 4
  • Ian S. Penton-Voak
    • 5
  • Benedict C. Jones
    • 2
  • David I. Perrett
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUCLALos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Neuroscience and PsychologyUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  3. 3.Departments of Communication Studies and Psychology, and Center for Behavior, Evolution, and CultureUCLALos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Crean School of Health and Life SciencesChapman UniversityOrangeUSA
  5. 5.School of PsychologyUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  6. 6.School of PsychologyUniversity of St. AndrewsSt. AndrewsUK

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