Abstract: For two decades, psychologists studying ovulation have successfully employed a series of “T-shirt studies” supporting the hypothesis that men can detect when a woman is most fertile based on olfactory detection of ovulatory cues. However, it is not known whether the ability to detect female fertility is primarily a function of biological sex, sexual orientation, or a combination of both. Using methodologies from previous T-shirt studies, we asked women not using hormonal contraceptives to wear a T-shirt for three consecutive nights during their follicular (ovulatory) and luteal (non-ovulatory) phases. Male and female participants of differing sexual orientations then rated the T-shirts based on intensity, pleasantness, and sexiness. Heterosexual males were the only group to rate the follicular T-shirts as more pleasant and sexy than the luteal T-shirts. Near-significant trends also indicated that heterosexual men and non-heterosexual women consistently ranked the T-shirts, regardless of menstrual stage, to be more intense, pleasant, and sexy than did non-heterosexual men and heterosexual women. Recommendations for future research, including suggestions for methodological changes, are discussed.
Male Sexual Orientation & the Ability to Detect Ovulation via Olfaction
Conference of The Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society
The EvoS Summit
EvoS Students Study Sexual Selection On Campus
February 23, 2012