Women's preference for dominant male odour: effects of menstrual cycle and relationship status

@article{Havlek2005WomensPF,
  title={Women's preference for dominant male odour: effects of menstrual cycle and relationship status},
  author={Jan Havl{\'i}{\vc}ek and Susan C. Roberts and Jaroslav Flegr},
  journal={Biology Letters},
  year={2005},
  volume={1},
  pages={256 - 259}
}
Body odour may provide significant cues about a potential sexual partner's genetic quality, reproductive status and health. In animals, a key trait in a female's choice of sexual partner is male dominance but, to date, this has not been examined in humans. Here, we show that women in the fertile phase of their cycle prefer body odour of males who score high on a questionnaire-based dominance scale (international personality items pool). In accordance with the theory of mixed mating strategies… 

Figures from this paper

Menstrual Cycle Effects on Attitudes toward Romantic Kissing

TLDR
Women in the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle felt that kissing was more important at initial stages of a relationship than women in the luteal phase of the cycle, and it was found that estimated progesterone levels were a significant negative predictor for these ratings.

Women's emotional and sexual attraction to men across the menstrual cycle

TLDR
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.

The Woman in Red: Examining the Effect of Ovulatory Cycle on Women’s Perceptions of and Behaviors Toward Other Women

TLDR
Across six studies, research fails to provide support for the prediction that an ovulating woman is less likely to trust another woman wearing red compared with a nonovulating woman.

Meta-Analysis of Menstrual Cycle Effects on Women’s Mate Preferences

In evolutionary psychology predictions, women’s mate preferences shift between fertile and nonfertile times of the month to reflect ancestral fitness benefits. Our meta-analytic test involving 58

Women's Sexual Interests Across the Ovulatory Cycle

TLDR
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.
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 47 REFERENCES

Menstrual cycle alters face preference

TLDR
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.

Menstrual cycle variation in women's preferences for the scent of symmetrical men

TLDR
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.

Partnership status and the temporal context of relationships influence human female preferences for sexual dimorphism in male face shape

TLDR
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.

Effects of sexual dimorphism on facial attractiveness

TLDR
The results of asking subjects to choose the most attractive faces from continua that enhanced or diminished differences between the average shape of female and male faces indicate a selection pressure that limits sexual dimorphism and encourages neoteny in humans.

Human body odour, symmetry and attractiveness

TLDR
A significant positive correlation between facial attractiveness and sexiness of body odour for female subjects and negative relations between smell and body asymmetry for males only if female odour raters were in the most fertile phase of their menstrual cycle are found.

Major histocompatibility complex genes, symmetry, and body scent attractiveness in men and women

TLDR
The results indicate that the two olfactory systems are independent and men, but not women, showed a preference for t-shirts with the scent of MHC dissimilarity, while women's scent ratings of t- shirts were uncorrelated with the wearer's MHC Dissimilarity and allele frequency, but positively correlated with the wears' MHC heterozygosity.

Second to fourth digit ratio, testosterone and perceived male dominance

TLDR
High prenatal levels of testosterone serve to ‘organize’ male facial features to subsequently reflect dominance and masculine characteristics presumably activated during puberty, and attractiveness is not directly related to testosterone levels.

Body odour preferences in men and women: do they aim for specific MHC combinations or simply heterozygosity?

  • C. WedekindS. Füri
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1997
TLDR
No significant effect was found when tests were tested for an influence of the MHC on odour preferences after the degree of similarity between T–shirt–wearer and smeller was statistically controlled for, which suggests that in study populations the M HC influences body Odour preferences mainly, if not exclusively, by thedegree of similarity or dissimilarity.