What makes a person pick a mate? Could it be as simple as an evolutionary drive? According to Professor Haselton of UCLA, women want masculine men when they are ovulating. Essentially, she states, when a woman is ovulating, she want an attractive sexy male. When she is not ovulating, though, she tends to look for someone who is stable and will make a good partner. Someone, Haselton says, will help with raising offspring.
These latest findings are not really surprising, as many studies have looked into what attracts men and women to one another. The latest findings suggest that women look for dominant behavioral traits in men, including masculine body types. These traits are considered to be important because they are genetic markers.
Historically speaking, when women relied on men to provide food, shelter and protection they looked for a man who could provide all of those things. Men who were masculine tended to be healthier and live longer than men who were not, and that was important. Masculine men were also stronger and could provide better protection, so as women evolved, they found themselves attracted to men with masculine traits.
Live Science suggests that another reason why women want masculine men while ovulating has to do with how genes were passed onto the next generation; when a larger man fended off a smaller man, his genes would be passed on and so would the desire for more masculinity. The article goes on to say that while men with lower testosterone or less masculinity may make better long-term partners, women in disease prone countries will still be attracted to more masculine-looking men. This has more to do with how the immune system works and women’s natural ability to seek out the best mate. In other words, an extremely masculine man would have a stronger immune system, something that is desirable in a country with a high mortality rate due to disease.
Haselton contends that women look for men that boost survival rates, although she says that these traits for boosting survival rates may not be the masculine traits that women seek out when they are ovulating. While conducting the study, Haselton and other researchers looked at raw data from earlier studies to determine how women pick a mate. According to the Headline and Global News article the same “shifts in sexual preference” are seen in the animal kingdom. The example given was with chimpanzees, where the females are known to seek out male chimps that are more masculine during their most fertile periods and then prefer a less masculine male during the rest of their cycle.
Haselton said that until more recently it was generally accepted that human sexuality was somehow different from animal sexuality, and that reproductive hormones didn’t factor into how a woman chose her mate. Research is now showing this to not be the case. Haselton suggests that once women understand where these urges come from they can be better informed in their sexual decision-making. Just because when women are ovulating and they want a masculine man does not mean that their long-term partner is not still important to them.
By Rachel Woodruff