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Horm Behav. 2013 Jan;63(1):128-35. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.10.005. Epub 2012 Dec 3.

Changes in women's feelings about their romantic relationships across the ovulatory cycle.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1285 Franz Hall University of California, Los Angeles Box 951563, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


According to the dual mating hypothesis, women possess two overlapping suites of mate-choice mechanisms: one leading to preferences for sexually desirable men who have high-fitness genes and one leading to preferences for men who are able to invest in a woman and her children. Evidence increasingly demonstrates that women's preference for sexual desirability (but not investment attractiveness) increases when women are most fertile within the ovulatory cycle. Little is known, however, about the implications of these preference shifts for women's relationships with their long-term partners. Using luteinizing hormone tests to verify ovulation, across two studies (Samples 1 and 2), we found that women whose partners were relatively low in sexual desirability felt less close to their partner (Samples 1 and 2) and were more critical of their partner's faults (Sample 2) on high-fertility days of the cycle just prior to ovulation compared with low-fertility days of the cycle. Women whose partners were relatively high in sexual desirability felt closer to their partner (Sample 1) and more satisfied with their relationship (Sample 2) on high- than low-fertility days of the cycle. There were no such shifts in women's commitment to their relationship. Therefore, partner sexual desirability predicts women's high-fertility assessments of relationship quality but not their intentions to stay in their relationship, consistent with the dual mating hypothesis. These findings suggest that variations across the ovulation cycle in women's reproductive hormones play an important role in relationship dynamics.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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