Ovulating Behaviours – Women’s Body Movements As A Cue to Ovulation
Jenny Galvao

6955889338_96c8503cad_kAccording to research by Bernhard Fink of the University of Göttingen and associates, it has been found that women who are ovulating display certain behaviours that serve as cues to their fertility.

It turns out that women may not hide their ovulation from others as it was once believed. Science has found that there are specific vocal, visual, and olfactory cues, as well as distinct behaviours that women who are ovulating tend to display, and men are able, in some cases, to detect.

“Oestrogen has effects on muscular control, skill performance, and on ligaments and tendons, so it’s reasonable to conclude that it could affect body movement,” say the researchers.

It appears that women are not as discrete as they may think.

In this experiment, women participated twice; once when they were fertile, and then again outside of their fertility range. In order to create the study’s stimuli video clips, the researchers had women wear dark clothing, asked to tie their hair back, and then they were asked to stride, and to dance. The resulting video clips were edited into grey-scale videos, illustrating 192 brief videos with each type of body movement (dance and gait), of the 48 women in both conditions (fertile and non-fertile).

Next, 200 male participants judged each woman’s dancing video, as well as her walking stride based on attractiveness.

The results were quite interesting, as they showed that men judged the women dancing as more attractive when they were in the fertile condition, as opposed to in the non-fertile condition. Also, men rated the stride (or gait) of the women who were fertile as more attractive, although this was less significant in the dancing video.

The researchers tell us that the data “supports the claim that psychological adaptations to female sensory cues in men exist, and that these cues are linked to female fertility, given that men responded differentially to fertile and non-fertile women’s body movements (the latter being rated as less attractive).”

So, not only do women move differently based on the timing of their menstrual cycle, but men seem to find the difference in movements more attractive. Physiological indicators of ovulation may not be a bad thing, as in this case, it seems to make the body movements of women appear to be more attractive in the eyes of men. These tell-tale cues are not all bad, in fact, they may very well be advantageous to women. Though, while women should embrace their fertility, they should always keep in mind that displaying these cues in a broadcast fashion will attract attention from nearby men – regardless of their desirability. Naturally, careless use of fertility cues can result in unwanted attention.

Image Credit: Dan Ox

Jenny Galvao_smallAbout the Author: Jenny Galvao is an undergraduate student at the University of Guelph studying psychology.





Fink, Bernhard; Nadine Hugill and Benjamin P. Lange. Women’s Body Movements Are a Potential Cue to Ovulation. Personality and Individual Differences. 2012. 53: 759-763.