Women’s Signal Sexual Desire Through Behaviour and Style
Christopher Philip

8664840939_70f76cc8f3_bGerman researcher Susanne Röder led a team of researchers on a study to ascertain women’s self perceptions over the course of their menstrual cycle.

She recruited 25 heterosexual women aged 19-32 not currently taking hormonal contraceptives. This was important as previous studies have shown no noticeable cycle change when women are on hormonal birth control.

Over the course of 35 days the women filled out daily questionnaires inquiring about their behaviour. They were asked to fill the questionnaire out daily at night just before going to bed without reviewing any previous entries.

The questions the women were posed were as follows:

Attractiveness Scale
– How sexy did you feel today?
– How attractive did you feel today?
– How attractive do you consider yourself today?
– Did you like to go in for sports today to improve your figure?
– Did you like to modify your appearance today?

Styling Scale
– How complex was your make-up today?
– How much time did you spend on personal hygiene/hair styling/dressing? (3 items)
– How sexy/fashionable was your dress today (2 items)

– How strong was your desire to go shopping/to the hairdresser today? (2 items)

Sexual Interest
– How flirtatious were you today?
– How strong was your sexual desire today?
– How strong was your interest in an affair today?
– How intense were your sexual fantasies?
– How strong was your interest in going out with friends/to a dance club tonight? (2 items)

For each question participants responded on a five point scale, ranging from _2 = less than normal, 0 = normal and +2 = more than normal.

Moving backwards 14 days from the onset of menstruation the researchers were able to estimate ovulation. From there, fertility days (FD) and low fertility days (LFD) were calculated. Fertility days (FD) were calculated as 6 days including ovulation and 5 days previous. The remaining days were considered low fertility days (LFD).

The results showed that participants felt significantly more attractive when fertile compared to low fertility. They also reported a greater interest in sex and styling. The women also expressed a greater, though non significant, interest in shopping.

The trend remained significant regardless of whether or not the women were currently in a dating relationship. Age also didn’t play any specific role in the women’s behaviour.

Drawing Conclusions

Fertility versus behaviourThis research is in line with previous research surrounding ovulation and female behaviour.

Women may benefit from the research in a variety of ways. For one, they may better time conception should they be interested in successfully have a baby as feelings surrounding ovulations should be readily discernable given the method of this present study. Conversely, they may wish to disengage in sex should they wish to avoid pregnancy due to a much increased risk.

Women may time important events surrounding their peek attractiveness including work schedules where tips may increase, or more benign events like photo shoots. Timing finding a mate around ovulation will also certainly increase one’s motivation to put one’s self out there and give women the confidence to strut for the more attractive men.

Men and women may also benefit by keying on a women’s cycles as their interest in sex is increased such that they may wish to make plans surrounding ovulation to benefit most from sexual desire. This may be more important in long-term partners wishing to maintain a healthy spark in the relationship.

Men seeking more willing female participants in one-night stands will also benefit from watching for appearance related cues, as well as overall behaviour, as these signal feelings of attractiveness and thus ovulation which in turn signal overall sexual interest and desire.

Image Credit: lil’_wiz


Röder, Susanne; Gayle Brewer and Bernhard Fink. Menstrual Cycle Shifts in Women’s Self-Perception and Motivation: A Daily Report Method. Personality and Individual Differences. 2009. 47: 616-619.