Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Sexual Signaling During Ovulation

  • Robert P. Burriss
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_31-1

Synonyms

Definition

Women may signal or inadvertently communicate to others their fertility status, which varies over their menstrual cycle.

Introduction

The likelihood that a single act of sexual intercourse will lead to conception varies over a woman’s menstrual cycle, peaking in the days preceding ovulation (during estrus, sensu Thornhill and Gangestad 2008). Some species of primate advertise fertility status with conspicuous signals, such as bright pink sexual swellings. Women do not conspicuously advertise their fertility, but neither is estrus completely concealed. In an oft-cited study, Miller et al. (2007) asked professional exotic dancers to keep a record of their nightly tip earnings for 2 months. The dancers received about US$67 per hour when they were near ovulation, but only US$52 at less fertile times of the month. Why did patrons give larger tips to ovulating dancers? Research has shown that women’s appearance, body odor,...

Keywords

Fertility Status Body Odor Voice Pitch Sexual Swelling Exotic Dancer 
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.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Campbell, B. G. (1974). Human evolution (2nd ed.). Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  2. Cantú, S. M., Simpson, J. A., Griskevicius, V., Weisberg, Y. J., Durante, K. M., & Beal, D. J. (2014). Fertile and selectively flirty: women’s behavior toward men changes across the ovulatory cycle. Psychological Science, 25, 431–438. doi:10.1177/0956797613508413.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Durante, K. M., Li, N. P., & Haselton, M. G. (2008). Changes in women’s choice of dress across the ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and laboratory task-based evidence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1451–1460. doi:10.1177/0146167208323103.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Fink, B., Hugill, N., & Lange, B. P. (2012). Women’s body movements are a potential cue to ovulation. Personality and Individual Differences, 53, 759–763. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2012.06.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Haselton, M. G., & Gildersleeve, K. (2011). Can men detect ovulation? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 87–92. doi:10.1177/0963721411402668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Haselton, M. G., & Gildersleeve, K. (2015). Human ovulation cues. Current Opinion in Psychology, 7, 120–125. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.08.020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Miller, G., Tybur, J. M., & Jordan, B. D. (2007). Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus? Evolution and Human Behavior, 28, 375–381. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2007.06.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Roberts, S. C., Havlíček, J., Flegr, J., Hruskova, M., Little, A. C., Jones, B. C., … Petrie, M. (2004). Female facial attractiveness increases during the fertile phase of the cycle. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, (Suppl.), Biology Letters, 271, S270–S272. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2004.0174.Google Scholar
  9. Thornhill, R., & Gangestad, S. W. (2008). The evolutionary biology of human female sexuality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Tracy, J. L., & Beall, A. T. (2014). The impact of weather on women’s tendency to wear red or pink when at high risk for conception. PLoS One, 9, e88852. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088852.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PsychologyBasel UniversityBaselSwitzerland