Female Adaptations to Ovulation

  • Lisa L. M. Welling
  • David A. Puts
Part of the Evolutionary Psychology book series (EVOLPSYCH)


Particularly when compared to many other primates, human females appear to have lost any cues to their ovulatory status at some point during our evolutionary past. Until recently, it was assumed that the timing of peak fertility was hidden from both men and women. However, current evidence suggests that subtle changes in women’s behavior and preferences that correspond with the periovulatory period of a woman’s menstrual cycle persist and may function to promote conception, particularly with higher quality males. Women appear more sexually motivated, are rated as more attractive, and may be better able to attract a mate around ovulation compared to other points in the cycle. Moreover, women report higher attraction to putative indicators of underlying genetic health in men when conception is most likely, which may allow offspring to reap associated genetic benefits. Critically, men seem capable of detecting subtle cues to ovulation, increasing their ratings of the attractiveness of periovulatory women and, according to their romantic partners, engaging in more mate guarding behavior. Altogether, the current research suggests that female ovulation is not entirely concealed.


Menstrual Cycle Hormonal Contraceptive Human Female Sexual Motivation Primary Partner 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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