Author(s): Tarn JJ, GmezPiquer V
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Abstract This article aims to throw light on the controversial topic of whether women have a 'heat' period within their menstrual cycle. The majority of publications in this field report, in addition to a periovulatory peak, no changes at all or even rises in male- and female-initiated sexual activity, woman's sexual desire, autosexual activity and sexual arousability, and interpersonal sexual activities during the mid-follicular and late luteal phases. The lack of a distinct pattern of women's sexual behaviour across the menstrual cycle may be explained by the interplay between cyclical endocrine fluctuations and many psychological, social, cultural and environmental factors, as well as the methodological shortcomings associated with menstrual cycle research. However, studies focused on cycling changes in women's olfactory and visual perception show that, in comparison with women at other phases of the menstrual cycle, women at mid-cycle exhibit increased sexual motivation that biases recognition performance towards objects with a sexual meaning, evaluate the unattractive sweat substance androstenone as more pleasant, and display enhanced preference for the odour and face shape of masculinized, physically attractive and symmetric men. On the other hand, men find the scent of women at mid-cycle more pleasant and sexually attractive than during the luteal phase.
This article was published in Hum Reprod
and referenced in Journal of Primatology