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Tall, Dark and Handsome: Desired Male Traits For Ovulating Women

A  woman’s attraction during ovulation to strong, rugged characteristics in men may be the result of genetic evolution, researchers from UCLA have found.

During the days they are ovulating, the majority of women prefer strong, rugged, dominant men with masculine body types. However, for the majority of men who do not fit this narrow criteria, for the rest of month, women will favor you and choose you for long-term partnerships.

The UCLA researchers, who analyzed a number of both published and unpublished studies – about fifty in total, looked at how women’s sexual preferences change throughout the menstrual cycle. Researchers found that women demonstrate a significant shift in sexual selection during their menstrual cycle, and that they may make that choice through a man’s body scent.

“Women sometimes get a bad rap for being fickle, but the changes they experience are not arbitrary,” Martie Haselton, a professor of psychology and communication studies at UCLA and the paper’s senior author, said. “Women experience intricately patterned preference shifts, even though they might not serve any function in the present.”

In previous studies, the women were asked to smell T-shirts of different men with various degrees of facial and body symmetry. Those women who were ovulating during the menstrual cycle preferred the odors of men who were more symmetrical.

In the ancestral days, facial and body symmetry may have been linked to signs of good health and quality genes, as well as stronger mates to protect them and their offspring. But during other days of the month, women may be attracted to traits like kindness and loyalty, which may indicate good  “daddy genes.”

The study will be published in Psychological Bulletin on Feb. 24.

S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on twitter @ReporterandGirl or on and visit her website at

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