Do me a favor, if you will, and think for a second about the last time you and your gal pals talked about your cycles. You know what I mean: periods, ovulation, back pain, fertility … motherhood. Do you do this because you want to know what’s going on in your friends’ lives, because you are a good person who really cares? No! You want to know when your lady pals are ovulating so you can keep them away from your damn boyfriend (or so studies say).
In a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that women are “sensitive to both interpersonal and contextual cues indicating whether other women might be likely and effective mate poachers.” And when the women around them are perceived as threats to their mates, they guard their men from them. Ovulating women, you know who you are. From the JPSP:
Across 4 experiments, partnered women were exposed to photographs of other women taken during either their ovulatory or nonovulatory menstrual-cycle phases, and consistently reported intentions to socially avoid ovulating (but not nonovulating) women-but only when their own partners were highly desirable. Exposure to ovulating women also increased women’s sexual desires for their (highly desirable) partners.
The study reveals that women use this sensitivity to fertile women to do things like socially exclude their ovulating friends, or increase sexual attention to their boyfriends in order to deter mate-poaching.
No news on women outside of heteronormative relationships, though, so maybe it’s the men who are the problem?