Unless you’re actively trying to get pregnant, you probably don’t pay too much attention to your ovulation. After all, as long as your period comes on time (fingers crossed!), what else do you need to know? However, researchers have discovered something interesting about women’s sexual appeal when we’re most fertile: apparently that’s when we smell the best to men.
According to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, women’s bodies release a special scent during ovulation that straight dudes can’t get enough of. In a study of 28 women and 57 men, it was discovered that the hormone estradiol peaks during ovulation and is responsible for men’s increased attraction to us.
How did they discover this? The women in the study were made to follow a strict diet and made to sleep with cotton pads in their underarms while ovulating. Those pads were then frozen and later defrosted and given to men, who had to rate the owner’s attractiveness based on scent alone. Weird, right? The women who were rated the highest by the male participants also happened to have the highest levels of estradiol, so that’s that.
As University of Bern’s Daria Knoch explained to The Independent, “We showed that women with high levels of estrogen and low levels of progesterone had the most attractive body odor as judged by men. I believe we all find it very interesting to find out what makes us attractive. Chemical communication of sex and reproductive stage are ubiquitous in the animal kingdom. Our results provide strong evidence that humans also use chemical signals to communicate their reproductive potential.”
In other words, guys are basically biologically programmed to be attracted to women who they think might bear them children, even if they don’t actually want them. Of course, this isn’t necessarily news – scientists have reached the same conclusion previously, but it’s always good to have these findings reconfirmed.