Aunt Flo’s monthly visit gets a lot of attention when it comes to our hormonal cycles. (And rightly so. Spontaneous bleeding out of an orifice does seem kind of alarming.) But it’s time we talk about the other time of the month: the fertile time. According to science, when we ovulate may have just as much of an effect on us.
Hormones are the ultimate puppet masters, and while chocolate cravings and cramps get all the attention, scientists say that perhaps we ladies need to be focusing more on what happens when we ovulate and, unlike PMS, the news isn’t all bad. A slew of recent studies show all the subtle ways we change when we get fertile. (Hint: There’s a lot of sexing involved.)
1. We think more types of men are sexy
Do I prefer blondes or brunettes? One of each, please, and throw in that sexy silver fox too! According to a study out this week from the University of Texas, during ovulation women are programmed to seek out a wider variety of choices in men. The researchers think that we’re subconsciously expanding our pool of mates to make sure we get the best genetic potential for future babies.
2. We want more variety in consumer products, too
Why do I own so many black sweaters? Why don’t I have any red boots? Let’s go shopping! Not only do we women prefer variety in our men, but when we’re fertile we also like variety in our consumer products. According to the Texas study, we suddenly want more options in everything from clothing to food to deodorant. Marketers are already looking for a way to cash in on this phenomenon by using our hormonal cycles to lure us away from our favorite brands. No word yet if our estrogen predisposes us to couponing.
3. We’re extra attracted to masculine features, like strong jaws
Setting aside the question of whether it’s weird to lust after children’s show characters (all I’ll say is I once got into a heated debate with a fellow mom about which “Steve” on Blue’s Clues was hotter), researchers say it’s totally normal to be ultra-attracted to lantern-jawed “masculine” men during ovulation. So the next time anyone questions your Bradley Cooper movie marathon, now you can just say you’re doing it for science.
4. We are more open to adventurous sex
Gif credit: Giphy
Closet quickie? Yes, please! Fantasizing about hooking up with a stranger peaks during ovulation say the authors of a study in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behavior. They say that women reported being more open to the idea of one-night stands, sex with acquaintances and more adventurous types of sex when their fertility peaked. That said, the researchers noted that the fantasies didn’t necessarily translate into more sex.
5. We even want to dress sexier
“This bright red bandage dress is perfect for my departmental presentation.” Not only do women think about sex more often during their fertile days but they dress to reflect that. One study found women to be significantly more likely to choose sexier clothing and flashier accessories, regardless of the occasion they were dressing for.
6. We generally feel sexier
I feel pretty! Oh so pretty! When was the last time you had one of those days where your skin glowed, your hair looked like a Pantene commercial and everything you put on looked amazing? Chances are it was during your fertile phase. A study that looked at strippers found that not only do women feel prettier when they’re ovulating but that other people found them to be more attractive as well. In the study, ovulating strippers made twice the amount in tips as their non-fertile sisters. For the rest of us, we get compliments instead of dollar bills.
7. We prefer men without hair
How you feel about body hair on your man may be directly related to your hormones. According to a study from Finland, almost all women in their childbearing years preferred their men to be clean-shaven Chippendales. (Post-menopausal women vastly preferred hairier gents, which raises all kinds of different questions.) But the effect was magnified with ovulating women greatly preferring smooth-skinned men.
8. We attract men with our natural smell more than ever
Since it’s not socially acceptable to broadcast our fertile status like animals, humans have had to develop different, more subtle ways of letting men know we’re ready for a romp. And one of those signals is the way we smell. According to a large study, women exude a different odor when ovulating — one that men find very alluring. The men in the study preferred smelling a T-shirt worn by an ovulating woman over one sprayed with perfume or with nothing at all.