Men perceive their female partners, and themselves, as more attractive around ovulation



Cobey KD, Buunk AP, Pollet TV, Klipping C & Roberts SC (2013) Men perceive their female partners, and themselves, as more attractive around ovulation. Biological Psychology, 94 (3), pp. 513-516.

The purpose of this study was to test whether men perceive changes in their female partner's attractiveness as a function of her fertility status. We further tested how both male and female self-perception varies in relation to female fertility status. This study benefits from the use of transvaginal ultrasonography to detect fertility during the regular cycle and the use of a within-subjects design in which romantic couples were followed both across the cycle and during hormonal contraceptive use. We find that men rated their female partner as more attractive near to ovulation (when fertile) as compared to during the luteal cycle phase or during hormonal contraceptive use. Moreover, our results point to a presently unrecognized negative consequence of hormonal contraceptive use on male self-perception, with men rating themselves lower in attractiveness when their partner was using hormonal contraceptives than when she was regularly cycling. In contrast, there was no difference across measures in female self-reported attractiveness. Results are discussed in terms of their potential impact on within-couple social dynamics.

Hormonal contraception; Oral contraception; Fertility; Attractiveness; Romantic relationships; Within-subjects

Biological Psychology: Volume 94, Issue 3

FundersThe British Academy
Publication date31/12/2013
Publication date online01/10/2013
Date accepted by journal22/09/2013

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Professor Craig Roberts

Professor Craig Roberts

Professor of Social Psychology, Psychology

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