Skip to content

Health & Sex

Masculine Faces Keep Women Sexually Attracted

When Women Are in Fertile Period They Prefer Men With Masculine Facial Features, Study Shows
Font Size
A
A
A

Sexual Attraction During a Woman’s Fertile Period

''If women are paired with men who are more facially feminine," Gangestad says, "what we found is they are the ones particularly likely to be attracted to men other than their partners during their fertile phase. Overall, women are reporting the greater attraction to someone other than their partner in the fertile mid-cycle, rather than the non-fertile phase."

He says it probably has to do with women equating masculine faces to a ''robustness" thought to reflect overall good health. "The idea is that women are particularly attracted to individuals who have this robustness characteristic that may benefit their offspring," he tells WebMD.

Gangestad wanted to test the idea that intelligence might trump looks or at least compensate for a less-than-masculine face.

Intelligence didn't factor in, he found. "Even if they are with an intelligent man, women are just as likely to look around during their fertile phase."

Whether a man is intelligent or not doesn't seem to play a role. It's the masculinity of the face that counts, Gangestad says.

Sexual Attraction May Not Equal Action

His latest study didn't explore whether the women with the roving eyes went beyond their fantasies and feeling of sexual attraction, Gangestad says.

While the results support the idea that the attraction to someone other than the partner occurs, "that is not to say they act on their preferences," he says.

Other research suggests that men may have a sixth sense about that roving eye, Gangestad says. "Men are a little bit more attentive to their partners mid cycle," he says, citing previous studies. Men somehow seem to detect a woman's fertile phase, he says.

Women Seeking 'Good' Genes?

The new research builds on what experts in the field, including Gangestad, have found, according to Rob Burriss, PhD, a researcher at the University of Chester in Enlgand who studies mate retention and choices.

"The research shores up the original theory that increased preferences for masculine men when women are fertile serve to increase the likelihood of women seeking so-called 'good genes' in other men," he says. "If women's partners already have these good genes -- that is, if they are masculine -- there is less need for women to seek those qualities elsewhere."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

couple not communicating
How to tell when you're in one.
couple face to face
Get your love life back on track.
 
couple having an argument
Turn spats into solutions
couple in argument
When to call it quits.
 
Life Cycle of a Penis
Article
HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
 
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Quiz
Couple in bed
Video
 
6 Tips For Teens
Article
Close-up of young man
Article
 
screening tests for men
Slideshow
HPV Vaccine Future
Article