Ovulatory Shifts in Female Sexual Desire

  title={Ovulatory Shifts in Female Sexual Desire},
  author={Elizabeth G. Pillsworth and Martie G. Haselton and David M. Buss},
  journal={The Journal of Sex Research},
  pages={55 - 65}
Women's reproductive biology imposes heavy obligatory costs of parental investment, creating strong selective forces hypothesized to shape female mating psychology around critical decisions such as the choice of partner, the timing of sexual intercourse, and the timing of reproduction. We propose that female sexual desire has evolved as one adaptation among several designed to regulate these decisions. We hypothesize (a) an increase in desire as conception probability increases, but only among… 
Women's Sexual Interests Across the Ovulatory Cycle
This chapter explores issues that suggest women appear to have retained a form of fertile-phase estrus, which shares functional and physiological underpinnings with estrus of other primates, and suggests women are subtly more attractive during the fertile phase.
Self-Deception about Fecundity in Women
It is shown that consensus motivation for coitus between partners influences both the importance of variable ovulation date and the probability of conception, under the influence of self-deception.
Women's emotional and sexual attraction to men across the menstrual cycle
The results imply that female self‐reported sexual desire is not strictly dependent on cyclic hormonal changes, and is more consistent with a recently proposed ‘spandrel’ hypothesis, positing cycle phase effects as a nonfunctional by‐product of raised estradiol.
Human oestrus
It is proposed that the term oestrus appropriately applies to this phase of female sexuality occurring near ovulation, and ways that fertile-phase sexuality in women has been shaped to partly function in the context of extra-pair mating are suggested.
An Evolutionary Functional Analysis of the Hormonal Predictors of Women’s Sexual Motivation
Results from a recent study demonstrated that estradiol concentrations were, in fact, positive predictors of within-cycle fluctuations in women’s daily reports of sexual desire, whereas progesterone concentrations were even stronger negative predictors, suggesting that phylogenetically conserved brain mechanisms use hormonal signals to partially calibrate women”s sexual motivation to fluctuations in fecundity.


Changes in women's sexual interests and their partner's mate–retention tactics across the menstrual cycle: evidence for shifting conflicts of interest
Results showed that women reported greater sexual interest in, and fantasy about, non–primary partners near ovulation than during the luteal phase; but women did not report significantly greater sexualinterest in, or fantasies about, primary partners close to ovulation.
Partnership status and the temporal context of relationships influence human female preferences for sexual dimorphism in male face shape
It is found that preferences for masculinity are increased when women either have a partner or are considering a short–term relationship, and that individuals using oral contraception do not show the above effects, indicating that such hormonal intervention potentially disrupts women's choices for evolutionarily relevant benefits from males.
Menstrual cycle variation in women's preferences for the scent of symmetrical men
Normally cycling women near the peak fertility of their cycle tended to prefer the scent of shirts worn by symmetrical men, while normally ovulating women at low fertility within their cycle, and women using a contraceptive pill showed no significant preference for either symmetrical or asymmetrical men's scent.
Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures
  • D. Buss
  • Psychology
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 1989
Abstract Contemporary mate preferences can provide important clues to human reproductive history. Little is known about which characteristics people value in potential mates. Five predictions were
Menstrual cycle alters face preference
It is shown that female preference for secondary sexual traits in male face shapes varies with the probability of conception across the menstrual cycle, similar to that of men with low fluctuating asymmetry.
Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation. Effects on the probability of conception, survival of the pregnancy, and sex of the baby.
Among healthy women trying to conceive, nearly all pregnancies can be attributed to intercourse during a six-day period ending on the day of ovulation, and the timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation has no influence on the sex of the baby.
Menstrual cycle phase and sexual arousability in women
Sexual arousability of women has not been consistently found to vary significantly over phases of the menstrual cycle, but changes in the temperature of a labium minus and subjective sexual and genital arousal recorded on semantic scales while watching erotic video in 12 women with natural menstrual cycles and 12 women using low-dose estrogen oral contraceptive pills appeared to be correlated with an increase in desire for making love.