Choosing a mate of superior genetic health, therefore, may necessitate a trade-off: Participants were required to provide informed consent, and were offered the chance to enter a prize draw for an online shopping voucher upon completion of the questionnaire. Since several studies have already demonstrated menstrual cycle effects on female preferences for various cues related to mate desirability, it seems worthwhile to examine whether these effects extend to other cues associated with mate choice. Participants were required to be over 18 years of age to complete the survey; no identifying personal data were collected and participants were informed that their responses were completely voluntary and anonymous. Many of the traits outlined above, including masculinity, dominance, and facial symmetry, are believed to be acting as signals of underlying genetic competence, which is in turn responsible for physical health, developmental stability and superior immune-responsivity for reviews see Rhodes ; Roberts and Little The drivers behind a behavioral adaptation such as this are likely to be related to the steroid hormones which fluctuate in tandem with the menstrual cycle, namely estrogen and progesterone.
The drivers behind a behavioral adaptation such as this are likely to be related to the steroid hormones which fluctuate in tandem with the menstrual cycle, namely estrogen and progesterone. Using an international online questionnaire, results showed that women in the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle felt that kissing was more important at initial stages of a relationship than women in the luteal phase of their cycle. Participants were required to be over 18 years of age to complete the survey; no identifying personal data were collected and participants were informed that their responses were completely voluntary and anonymous. The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at Hum Nat See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. This method is preferable to forward-counting methods because previous research has found that the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle accounts for much of the variation in average cycle length Fehring et al. Indeed, part of the reason that mate preference shifts seem to be at their most pronounced between the late follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle is due to the fact that the two phases are associated with the most prominent spikes in levels of estradiol estrogen and progesterone hormones, respectively Durante and Li ; Jones et al. To estimate the menstrual cycle phase at the time of answering the survey, information was used about the last date of menses onset and typical cycle length to estimate day of ovulation using the reverse cycle day method—approximated as 15 days prior to next estimated onset of menses see Pillsworth et al. Previous research has found that the cross-culturally prevalent custom of romantic kissing is one mate cue that can been exploited in the assessment of potential mating partners Hughes et al. Furthermore, it was found that estimated progesterone levels were a significant negative predictor for these ratings. Participants were required to provide informed consent, and were offered the chance to enter a prize draw for an online shopping voucher upon completion of the questionnaire. Such a mating strategy explains the plethora of data found thus far on subconscious shifts in mate preference across the menstrual cycle, whereby genetically fit sexual partners are preferentially favored at a time of the cycle when copulation is most likely to lead to conception i. However, a negative relationship seems to exist between genetic fitness indicators such as these and behaviors associated with long-term parental investment. Participants For analyses involving the binary variable of women in their late follicular and luteal cycle phases only, participants consisted of 50 women in the luteal phase and 34 women in the late follicular phase of their menstrual cycle at the time of completing the survey. Many of the traits outlined above, including masculinity, dominance, and facial symmetry, are believed to be acting as signals of underlying genetic competence, which is in turn responsible for physical health, developmental stability and superior immune-responsivity for reviews see Rhodes ; Roberts and Little It has been proposed that because mating in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle involves little risk of conception, women at this time pursue decision strategies geared towards affiliating with individuals likely to provide a supportive social environment, such as kin DeBruine et al. General demographic information was also collected. The current study examined whether women in their late follicular cycle phase place greater value on kissing at times when it might help serve mate assessment functions. However, it seems that mate-preference shifts driven by luteal phases of the cycle may not be as robust as shifts seen during late follicular phases. Estimations of Menstrual Cycle Phase and Risk of Conception For all analyses, data were only used from women who reported having a regular menstrual cycle whose length fell within the normal ranges of 22 to 36 days Chiazze et al. Past research also suggests that romantic kissing is utilized in human mating contexts to assess potential mating partners. While it has been known for some time that female sexual desire spikes in the days surrounding ovulation Regan , it has recently been discovered that preferences for certain types of mating partners also co-vary with phases of the menstrual cycle. Women in this cycle phase have also been found to be more accurate at judging male sexual orientation Rule et al. It was predicted that normally cycling women in the late follicular high risk of conception phase of their menstrual cycle would place greater importance on kissing during the initial stages of a relationship, where it would be most useful as a preliminary mate assessment device, than women in the luteal low risk of conception phase of their cycle, with these shifts being driven by menstrual hormones. These cycle days represent the largest differences in progesterone and estradiol levels throughout the menstrual cycle Durante and Li ; Jones et al. Abstract Hormonal changes associated with the human menstrual cycle have been previously found to affect female mate preference, whereby women in the late follicular phase of their cycle i. Based on previous findings that romantic kissing can serve a mate assessment function, the present study was designed to explore whether menstrual cycle shifts can be seen in female attitudes towards romantic kissing at different stages of a relationship.
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