October 28, 2012
Female Closeness Feelings As A Function Of Fertility, Attraction

The truth about human nature is not pretty. Says the headline: "Women with stable but not-so-sexy mates become more distant, critical during periods of high fertility"

Long after women have chosen Mr. Stable over Mr. Sexy, they struggle unconsciously with the decision, according to a new study by UCLA researchers who look at subtle changes in behavior during ovulation.

At their most fertile period, these women are less likely to feel close to their mates and more likely to find fault with them than women mated to more sexually desirable men, the research shows.

"A woman evaluates her relationship differently at different times in her cycle, and her evaluation seems to be colored by how sexually attractive she perceives her partner to be," said Martie Haselton, a professor of psychology and communication studies at UCLA and senior author of the study.

Nevertheless, the negative feelings appear fleeting, and they don't seem to affect a woman's long-term commitment to her romantic relationship, the study found.

"Even when these women are feeling less positive about their relationship, they don't want to end it," said Christina Larson, the study's lead author and a doctoral candidate in social psychology at UCLA.

I'm skeptical of the claim that women less physically attracted to their man are no more likely to leave him.

If men could get results of a closeness survey on their prospective bride before marriage they could find out whether she is going to get closer or further way when she's most fertile. Might be better to avoid marriage if she's not that turned on by you.

Then at two different points in her monthly cycle at high fertility (just before ovulation) and at low fertility each woman was asked about the quality of her romantic relationship. The researchers, who used a questionnaire designed exclusively for the study, found no significant change across the cycle in how the women perceived their level of commitment to the relationship or, at least initially, in their satisfaction with it.

But an exercise that required the women to rate how close they felt to their men yielded dramatic results. As women mated to less sexually attractive men moved from their least fertile to most fertile period, their closeness scores dropped one point on a seven-point scale. Women mated to the most sexually attractive men, meanwhile, experienced the opposite effect. As these women moved from their least to most fertile period, their closeness scores rose by a point.

"Women with the really good, stable guy felt more distant at high-fertility periods than low-fertility periods," Haselton said. "That isn't the case with women who were mated to particularly sexually attractive men. The closeness of their relationships got a boost just prior to ovulation."

How to surreptitiously measure this effect?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 October 28 08:52 AM 


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