Nice Guys Do Finish Last (When a Lady’s Fertile)

Look out nerdy guys—if a woman is ovulating you may not be man enough to satisfy her.

So says a recent study involving two groups of women both in long-term heterosexual relationships. The women were asked to rate their partner’s stability and attractiveness while they tracked their ovulation cycles.

During two points in the women’s cycles (the time of high-fertility and the time of low-fertility) the women were questioned about the quality of their relationship.

Martie Haselton, one of the research psychologists running the study revealed, “Women with the really good, stable guy felt more distant at high-fertility periods than low-fertility periods. That isn’t the case with women who were mated to particularly sexually attractive men. The closeness of their relationships got a boost just prior to ovulation.”

Ouch. Why the preference of Mr. Attractive over Mr. Reliable?

Haselton believes evolutionary mating strategies may hold some answers. “Since our female ancestors couldn’t directly examine a potential partner’s genetic makeup, they had to base their decisions on physical manifestations of the presence of good genes and the absence of genetic mutations, which might include masculine features such as a deep voice, masculine face, dominant behavior and sexy looks.”

And women think men can be shallow!

Another point of interest discovered during the study is that when women ovulate they speak at higher-pitches and like to get dressed up. This could be a subconscious—or even conscious—effort to search for a reproductive partner.

So, what does all this mean—that nice guys do finish last? Not necessarily. The study concluded that the women’s behavioral changes toward her mate were short-term and weren’t likely to affect her commitment to her relationship.

This should be a huge relief to certain males who believe their female partners manage to find fault with everything they do during certain times of the month.

This study will appear in the November issue of Hormones and Behavior and was conducted by research psychologists Christina Larson and Martie Haselton.