You have seen her. She is the woman on the street with the glowing skin and the snuggly fitting yellow dress. She is the woman that lets off the piercing laughter that rings from across the room. The one with the red lipstick and the million-dollar scent. The one that has men leaning over to talk to her. Evolutionary biologists call her the ovulating woman.
The female cycle is seen as a normal part of her everyday existence. Decades of scientific research however show that a woman’s cycle has a far greater effect on her and those around her than we imagine. A 2012 study by University of California, Los Angeles(UCLA), in the US found that ovulation has the most significant effects as it alters not only a woman’s personality but also her preferences in a partner.
Most female animals of other species advertise their fertility to male animals. You can tell a cow on heat for instance by the ruffled hairs on her rump and hipbones.
Humans have been believed to have concealed ovulation. The UCLA study however shows evidence that women do in fact communicate their fertility to the opposite sex. An ovulating woman was found to be more likely to dress nicely. She was also found to adapt a higher than normal, more girly voice.
In this state, which psychotherapist Ida Too calls the state of sexual receptivity, she was found to be interested in a particular type of man.
During ovulation, the study subjects were found to prefer a more masculine-looking man: the man with the deep voice, a brash manner, a beard and a burly physique. This preference was found to be so strong that those women in relationships with stable men as opposed to sexually-attractive men were found to feel less satisfied with their relationships and to feel attracted to other sexually-attractive men during ovulation.
Women who were not in their fertile phase on the other hand, were found to prefer men with a gentle manner and less defined physiques.
A 2004 study by the University of Vienna in Italy found that in addition to showing more skin, when approached, the ovulating woman was more likely to accept the advances of men. Also, when a woman was ovulating, men reacted to her differently.
To the ovulating woman, men were more helpful, sat closer to her and even mimicked her gestures. The researchers observed that men in relationships were found to be more possessive of their women during ovulation.
It is clear that the woman is unaware of how much effect, her menstrual cycle has on her and those around her. Seeing as a woman’s preferences change throughout her cycle, can she use her cycle to manage her love life? If so when is the right time of the month for her to find love? At a glance, ovulation seems like the ultimate time for a woman to find love.
After all, this is the time of the month that she goes out of her way to look most attractive and when she has the most approachable persona. During this period, the men also seem to be tripping over themselves for her. Ovulation definitely is the easiest time for a woman to find love but is it the right time?
Explaining the findings of the above two studies, Nairobi-based anthropologist Gilbert Muraguri says that for the longest time, masculine features have reflected good genetics. Being drawn to a masculine man during ovulation is thus nature’s way of ensuring that a woman’s offspring get the good genes.
After ovulation, nature assumes that a woman is now pregnant and her preferences change to the stable man so as to ensure security and stability for herself and her offspring.
While it might be easier for a woman to get a man while she is ovulating is the kind of man that she is likely to attract at this time the right man? Probably not. If one is looking for a long-term commitment, the right time to find love seems to be when she is not ovulating because while an ovulating woman is drawn by looks, one who isn’t is more likely to pay attention to character.
She is likely to be attracted to a stable man, a man who would make a good father for her children. A man with a gentle, calm manner as opposed to one who is just good-looking.
This theory is supported by yet another study by the University of New Mexico which looked into the lives of girls working in a strip club. The researchers found that the girls made the lowest amount of money when they were menstruating and the highest amount when they were on hormonal birth control.
The microbiologists heading the study found that women on birth control gave out the same cues as pregnant women instinctively driving men into their provider mode. When a man’s subconscious thought that a stripper was pregnant, he gave her more money.
The study lead psychologist George Miller attributed the changes in men’s tipping habits to a woman’s changing body odour and facial features which change all through her cycle.
RIGHT TIME, RIGHT MAN
One might argue that since the UCLA study results found that a woman with a less masculine man will lust after a masculine man during ovulation, she might as well wait for ovulation to choose a man that she will be attracted to all through.
The evolutionary biologists however reassure that while she might longingly look at another man during ovulation, these feelings are temporary and do not affect a woman’s long-term commitment to her man and to her relationship.
It is apparent that a woman is more likely to find stable love when she isn’t ovulating. At which point of this period will she be most emotionally stable for it? According to Dr James Mwangi, a gynaecologist in private practice in Nairobi, the happy time of the month for a woman is likely to be the follicular phase of her cycle which is the first 10 to 14 days before the ovulating phase.
“The hormone estradiol which dulls the effects of the stress hormone rises in her system and she is likely to feel happy and inspired as opposed to the final part of her cycle after ovulation where she feels a mix of sadness and anxiety,” he explains.
So if you are looking to find true love, science says that the right time for you would be during the first ten days of your cycle. You are not only likely to be in good spirits but also to want the right kind of man.