A woman’s relationship satisfaction changes as she nears ovulation, when she’s most fertile. But whether or not she’s more or less happy with her guy depends on his sex appeal.
In a new study, heterosexual women who rated their guys as highly sexually desirable felt closer to their partners and more satisfied with their relationships just before ovulation, as compared to their less-fertile days. The opposite was true for women who said their partners were less sexy; they felt less close to their male partners and were more critical of their mate’s faults as they approached ovulation.
Previous research has shown that the type of man a woman prefers tends to change across her ovulatory cycle, as she becomes more attracted to masculine faces and bodies, and bilateral symmetry, when she’s fertile. Another recent study showed that heterosexual women actually look and sound more attractive to guys on the women’s fertile compared with non-fertile days.
“This is the first research to show that these changes have implications for relationship functioning,” said study researcher Christina Larson, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Hormones likely influence these fluctuating preferences and evaluations. However, the researchers didn’t directly measure hormones. “So we can’t say exactly which hormones were responsible or how exactly they change women’s behaviors,” Larson said. Estrogen, which peaks at ovulation, is a strong candidate, she said.