It's not just youÃ¢â‚¬”every woman has nights where she's just not in the mood to flirt and others where she's practically on the prowl. So what gives? Blame it on your cycle. Women flirt more during the high-fertility phase of their cycle, and they particularly focus on flings with genetically fit men, according to a recent study published in the journal Psychological Science.
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Previous research found that men pay special attention when women are ovulating (around day 14 of your cycle if you're not taking hormonal birth control). So researchers wanted to find out if this might be due to the fact that women are actually the friskier ones at this time. The study looked at 25 undergraduate women as they video chatted with pre-recorded male actors during a low-fertility phase and a high-fertility phase of their cycles. Each women "spoke" with the same two men both times but were told that they were talking to their identical twins as part of the study. While one of the actors was meant to be the stereotypical fling (confident, exciting, yet unreliable), the other man acted like the stereotypical safe guy (warm and stable, yet less confident and exciting).
Here's what happened: The women seemed to respond to both men equally during the low-fertility phase, but when they were ovulating they showed way more interest in the short-term guy. They also flirted more overall, but their self reports showed that they were particularly interested in a casual fling with the exciting-yet-flaky dude.
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So, um, why would we do this? The researchers imply that it fits with the evolutionary theory that women look for a mate when they're most fertileÃ¢â‚¬”and they'd prefer that mate to have some great genetics (like a charismatic personality, symmetrical face, and probably awesome hair). Apparently, our cavewomen ancestors were less concerned with having a faithful, reliable guy when it came to making babies.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you'll only be hitting on guys with no long term potential when you're fertile, but it could be something to keep in mind the next time you find yourself flirting hardcore on the 14th day of your circle.
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