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Adaptations to Ovulation: Implications for Sexual and Social Behavior

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In socially monogamous species in which males heavily invest in offspring, there arises an inevitable genetic conflict between partners over whether investing males become biological fathers of their partners' offspring. Humans are such a species. The ovulatory-shift hypothesis proposes that changes in women's mate preferences and sexual interests across the cycle are footprints of this conflict. When fertile (mid-cycle), women find masculine bodily and behavioral features particularly sexy and report increased attraction to men other than current partners. Men are more vigilant of partners when the latter are fertile, which may reflect evolved counteradaptations. This adaptationist hypothesis has already generated several fruitful research programs, but many questions remain.

Keywords: attraction; evolutionary psychology; mating

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology and 2: Department of Biology, University of New Mexico

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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