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Ovulation Affects a Woman's Choice of Mate

Ovulating women go for the bad guys.

It’s another win for the motorcycle-riding, leather jacket-wearing rebellious guys, the love-them-and-leave-them men who women fight over, while the nice guys sit on the sidelines.

"Previous research has shown in the week near ovulation, women become attracted to sexy, rebellious and handsome men like George Clooney or James Bond," study author Kristina Durante told the University of Texas at San Antonio.

To examine this effect, researchers asked women to rate “nice guys” and “bad boys” for their father and relationship potential—such as caring for children, shopping, cooking, or helping out around the house. The women rated the men using written and picture dating profiles, as well as videotaped interviews with actors playing the roles of both types of men.

Around the time of ovulation, women tended to see the bad boys—what the researchers called “sexy cads”—as better future fathers and more dependable relationship partners. Their rating of the nice guys remained unchanged. "When looking at the sexy cad through ovulation goggles, Mr. Wrong looked exactly like Mr. Right,” said Durante.

While women overestimated the long-term father/partner potential of the bad boys, they did not find them more attractive or of a higher status. The women also rated these men as better fathers only for their own children, not for those of other women.

From an evolutionary standpoint, this “psychological distortion,” explains Durante, may cause some women to choose men who are better suited for short-term relationships. The benefits, though, of landing a highly coveted sexy man—children with the sexy man’s genes—outweigh the risk of becoming a single parent.

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