“Dad, Sorry I haven’t Called. I’ve Been Busy Ovulating.” Just when you thought the jury had settled on human intellectual power over animal instincts, there’s more news that our animal side sometimes dominates without our knowledge. A new study of cell phone records shows that women avoid contact with their fathers during ovulation. Researchers at UCLA, the University of Miami, and Cal State, Fullerton examined cell phone bills of female students and found that the number and frequency of calls to Daddy dropped off during the few days each month when a woman is particularly fertile. The researchers speculate that this avoidance is an evolutionary protection against inbreeding.
Science also tells us that ovulation is a time when many women have superhero olfactory abilities and during those days reproduction is affected in more ways than one. Daddy’s pheromones may be a tad repulsive during ovulation, but non-biologically related males who look and sound like Hercules may score easily with us, even if they would make a lousy life partner. In “The Evolutionary Biology of Human Female Sexuality,” researchers Randy Thornhill and Steven Gangestad say that during ovulation women prefer more masculine faces, deeper voices, and dominant personality traits. And when not ovulating, we tend to choose a long-term mate based on traits of resources and kindness.
All this may be mute, of course, thanks to the birth control pill. More than 100-million women worldwide use the birth control pill and because the pill suppresses ovulation, it may also affect mate selection. Apparently, when we ovulate, we have an uncanny ability to sniff out good physical genes and healthy immune systems, but also boys who might make for a yummy sex life overall. The birth control pill mimics a kind of pregnancy state in terms of hormone balance. And when we select a mate while on the pill, we are not using all of mother nature’s detectives to help us select a mate with a strong immune system that will combine with ours to produce even stronger offspring nor a mate that will smell just as yummy later on.
Research from the University of Newcastle in England suggests that couples with more matched genes who courted while the woman was on the pill have less marital satisfaction and may be more prone to unfaithfulness when the woman discontinues use of the pill. The lead researcher, evolutionary psychologist, Stewart Craig Roberts, says that this gene similarity can also lead to fertility problems.
So, what’s a girl to do? Well, if you’re looking for a long-term mate and you are on the pill, it might be wise to go off the pill until the engagement ring is produced. However, in that high-risk fertile state, it might also be wise to avoid bars and needless hook-ups during ovulation, that is, if you’re looking for a “Dad” instead of a “cad.” Now that’s some calculated will power. If anyone’s up for the challenge, a woman is. Let the hormone games begin.