Category Archives: For Singles

Mating Matters Podcast “Troubling Testosterone”

In this episode of Mating Matters, Dr. Wendy Walsh discusses how the level of a man’s testosterone can impact a man’s ability to fall in love, can affect his health, and could even make him a better Dad. But what is the optimal level? Can a nose spray of oxytocin knock out testosterone and make men kinder?







Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Why is it that some men are so monogamous and others are complete players? I’m Dr. Wendy Walsh. I think it has to do with testosterone. This hormone can affect a man’s ability to fall in love. It might even increase his death rate.

This is Mating Matters!

[Ken Turner Singing 00:00:19 to 00:00:30]

A sound of a deep baritone. That was Ken Turner of the Crystal River Boys. I’m Dr. Wendy Walsh. Welcome to the Mating Matters Podcast.

On this episode, the trouble with testosterone. How does the amount of this male hormone make men more attractive, less likely to fall in love, and sometimes better fathers.

[Man Singing 00:00:52 00:00:58]

That’s the voice of a man who according to YouTube, has the deepest singing voice ever. His baritone makes women shiver. And here’s the speaking voice of Red Pepper, a voiceover artist with over 100 movie trailers under his belt.

[Redd Pepper Voiceover 00:01:13 to 00:01:25]

All of these men carry a male vocal trait that can be a big indicator of high testosterone. Testosterone, a hormone found in both men and women is responsible for creating long vocal chords that produce deep sounds.

Male:               Hello, I’m a human male.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         One way to tell if a man has high or low or medium testosterone is to listen to the pitch of his voice.

Male:               Hello, I’m a human male.

Male:               Hello, I’m a human male.

Male:               Hello, I’m a human male.

Male:               Hello, I’m a human male.

Male:               Hello. I’m a human male.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Did you spot the dude with high testosterone? If you’re a woman, you probably had no problem. Women always find lower voices attractive because it indicates a higher sex drive and greater sperm production.

[Video Playing 00:02:09 to 00:02:25]

But testosterone does much more than that. Testosterone develops masculine traits such as sex drive, sperm production. It creates a higher energy level. It can affect behavior. It grows larger muscle mass and bone size, and it grows hair. For the most part, testosterone is well, great. Men evolve to carry lots of it for reproductive survival. High testosterone men are like chick magnets. They tend to be taller, more muscular, brave, and they grow really great beards. Oh, and they have lots of energy. Think professional athlete and hunky action hero.

Besides vocal tone, there’s another pretty accurate way to tell how much testosterone a man has, the size of his testes. Think about it, we even use the term in common language. “He’s got big balls,” right? Well, obviously, it doesn’t make sense that we could ask the guests in our studio to show us their scrotum. Instead, I asked them to do an interesting experiment with their hand.

Can you hold your hand like this fingers together and looking at the back of your hand? If you look at your first finger, your pointer finger and your ring finger, describe which one is longer, shorter or are they the same?

Male:               They look almost the same. What would you say?

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Yeah, they look almost exactly the same.

Men who have been exposed to a lot of testosterone in utero tend to have a ring finger that’s just slightly longer than their pointer finger.

Male:               Just hand to hand, both my ring fingers are much longer than my pointer finger.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Like almost an inch?

Male:               Yes.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Is one longer than the other? Even slightly?

Male:               Yeah. My pointer finger or my ring finger? My ring finger is a little longer.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         It’s a lot longer.

There’s also been some interesting research that associates that longer ring finger with better music ability. Apparently, music was designed to attract women. And one study that asked a man to stand on the street in Paris and simply ask women for their telephone number had a terrible time, really bad odds. Then the researchers asked him to hold a guitar. And holding a guitar, he was able to collect far more female phone numbers. Thus, musicality and the testosterone that creates it were designed to attract women.

Male:               They’re pretty close. I would say my ring finger is a little bit larger. Singer? Not really anymore. I play guitar.

Male:               Yeah, I played alto sax for six years and then I played bass guitar for about eight.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Are you musical at all?

Male:               Absolutely.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         What’d you play?

Male:               Guess?

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         But testosterone also has a few downsides. It can affect personality, can actually make men selfish and even affect a man’s ability to fall in love. And in long-term monogamy, a natural lowering of testosterone can turn a perfectly good husband into a couch potato.

Stick with me until the end of this podcast because I’ll tell you how women can actually help men maintain just the right levels of testosterone to create happier relationships, all without pharmaceuticals.

But let’s start at the beginning. Around the world, slightly more male babies are born than female. That’s because boy babies don’t always get to grow up to be men. Young males are biologically weaker (sorry guys) and more susceptible to diseases and premature death. And then there’s that pesky testosterone that makes young men more likely to die from violent causes than women.

Male:               Won a lot of fights because I knew if I didn’t, then they would come back. Bullies tend to want to pick on only kids. But my dad had taught me a long time ago as an only child, that I would have to stand up for myself. And he never ever wanted to see me start a fight. But he never ever wanted to see me hightail and away from a fight, because if that happened, then I’d have to fight him. And I certainly did not want to fight him.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         This is how men teach masculinity.

Male:               Yeah. But it wasn’t about exerting dominance, it was just a function of responding to bullying, self-protection. Sometimes, trouble finds you even though you’re not looking for it.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         During puberty, when testosterone levels rise suddenly, well, boys become men. And for many, this is a shocking transformation.

Male:               It’s a little strange. It’s a little strange. I remember seeing my female classmates a little bit differently.

Male:               Well, I remember it as a time of a lot of confusion. I don’t think I was prepared for it. I don’t think I was warned about just how weird puberty would feel.

Male:               It hit when I was in middle school. Seventh to eighth grade, probably, if I can remember correctly. And the biggest thing I remember was the desire to be closer to girls more than ever.

Male:               Kind of noticed little girls a little bit more. Didn’t want to punch them as much. Probably wanted to spend more time hugging on them.

Male:               I noticed a girl in my sixth grade class, she had breasts and she was far more mature, if you will. I noticed that I was having erections every five minutes and I didn’t understand what was going on with my body.

Male:               A lot of it is mental. You started thinking about sex a lot, which feels weird or even feels like a little bit dirty.

Male:               I don’t remember exactly how old I was. I felt like I was older than a lot of those around me. I remember getting, like feeling like I got armpit hair later on than everyone else did and being like, kind of self-conscious about that.

Male:               Probably around 12 or so, my voice started to change. I started picking up a little bit more weight. I started seeing more definition in my arms and in my neck, my back, even my friends joked with me about it.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Research shows that it’s advantageous to be an early maturing boy. They have better social lives and even better grades. And that effect of high testosterone can be lifelong. Here’s the really good news about having high testosterone. Men with it have better health. But is there health related to the amounts of testosterone circulating in their system or the increased energy caused by testosterone that makes them workout so much?

Take, for example, clearly high testosterone, Dwayne the Rock Johnson named by Muscle and Fitness Magazine as man of the century.

[Dwayne Johnson Talking 00:09:26 to 00:09:42]

Men with higher levels of testosterone are 45% less likely to have high blood pressure. 72% less likely to have experienced a heart attack. 8% less likely to have three or more colds in a year, and 45% less likely to rate their health as fair or poor. Oh, and by the way, men with high testosterone may also be smarter, at least in terms of nonverbal intelligence, spatial reasoning, hand-eye coordination, art and music.

Male:               I don’t like to ask for directions. I like to reroute and I would call it improvising.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Do you know why men don’t ask for directions? Well, partly it’s male ego, but a big piece has to do with vicio spatial reasoning.

Male:               We carry a map around in our heads.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Men are natural mapmakers. In fact, words don’t help them as much as reading a map or spotting a landmark. In one study, lower testosterone men showed deficits in this mapping ability compared with a control group. This seems to point to the fact that testosterone helps men see and move more fluidly within the world. The researchers also found that testosterone affected intelligence. And when healthy men were given testosterone cream as a treatment, their verbal abilities increased. But get this, their spatial abilities declined.

What does this mean? Well, it means that the relationship between testosterone and intelligence isn’t straightforward. Whether it’s spatial reasoning or verbal ability, an optimal level of hormone is vital. But what’s an optimal level? We’ll talk about that later in the podcast.

[NFL Video Clip Playing 00:11:29 to 00:11:42]

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Testosterone makes men both aggressive and protective. Ever heard of the home team advantage? It used to be only connected to referee bias, home crowd support, greater familiarity with the venue and maybe less travel fatigue. But new research links it to the fact that men are just more territorial.

In animals, territorial behaviors are common and the acquisition of and defense of territories is often accompanied by big surges in testosterone. Two separate studies on humans found that soccer players do indeed show a testosterone surge right before a home game, much more when compared with just a training session or a game away. But this home surge is particularly apparent when the opposing team is considered a bitter rival.

So, testosterone is all well and good. It may make men smarter, more masculine, more protective, healthier and more sexual. But there are some downsides to having high testosterone. In case you were wondering, it’s a myth that high testosterone men lose their hair. Men with male pattern balding may actually have lower circulating levels of testosterone, but higher levels of an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. That can cause baldness.

Men with higher levels of testosterone are more inclined to have bad health behaviors. That means they’re more likely to spoke, to drink alcohol excessively and to indulge in risky behavior that leads to injury or death. Because of behaviors that are driven by high testosterone, homicide, warfare, driving motorcycles too fast, the sex ratio tends to reduce as humans age. And by the time we land in a retirement community, there are far greater proportion of females. It’s the lucky older man with a bottle of Viagra in an old folks’ home.

So, those delicious high testosterone men, the ones with the big muscles, the deep voice, the beards, are they nice guys too? A group of researchers set out to answer this question. How do human beings decide when to be selfish and when to be selfless? In this study, they gave testosterone to 25 men looking to see if it had an impact on their pro social behaviors. They also had a control group as well, and they confirmed the participants’ testosterone levels before and after treatment. They used a behavioral economics gain commonly used by psychologists, and what they found was pretty startling.

Men with artificially raised testosterone compared with those on a placebo were 27% less generous towards strangers. But get this, men in the lowest group of testosterone were 560% more generous than men in the highest group.

Basically, what they found is that men with elevated testosterone tend to behave antisocially. And to underscore that, they also found that this group of men were more likely to use their money in the game to punish those who were ungenerous towards them.

But testosterone isn’t exactly the be all and end all in the hormonal universe. It lives in a world with lots of other hormones that compete for dominance. My favorite hormone even has its own nickname, the “cuddle hormone” – oxytocin. It facilitates bonding, feelings of closeness, empathy and compassion.

In one study, they gave a group of men a nasal spray containing oxytocin. Another control group just had salt water. Then they were asked to play a game that involved generosity. And you guessed it, the ones who had the oxytocin nasal spray, were 80% more generous compared to the placebo group.

Oxytocin plays a very high role in how people fall in love. Not surprisingly, when women have sex, their oxytocin levels rise. In fact, during female orgasm, they have huge surges of oxytocin. The only other time in a woman’s life where she has that much oxytocin, is when she’s breastfeeding to help her bond with her baby.

When men have sex, they have a surge of oxytocin too. Except, they have a much higher surge of testosterone. The testosterone blunts the effect of oxytocin. That’s why men don’t fall in love through sex. A man can have casual sex with a woman for weeks or months and not fall in love. Whereas if a woman does the same thing with the same partner, all that oxytocin means that she has a very high chance of falling in love.

But what’s an optimal level of testosterone for a man? You know, if he has too much, he’s more likely to be a cheater. And if he has too little, he might lose his libido and his energy. If you believe the marketing of some pharmaceutical companies, “Low T is a common condition that must be treated immediately.”

Male:               I have low testosterone. There I said it. How did I know? Well, I didn’t really. See, I figured low testosterone would decrease my sex drive, but when I started losing energy and became moody, that’s when I had an honest conversation with my doctor.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         There’s a lot of controversy about a diagnosis of low T. I personally think it was invented by pharmaceutical companies. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that testosterone cream can restore sexual functioning in young and middle-aged men who already have lower testosterone levels. But it has no influence on sexual behavior when hormone levels are about normal.

You know, Mother Nature is a perfect programmer. She knows when to dip down those levels of testosterone to protect women and children. One research study showed that husbands of pregnant women, had a big dip in testosterone during her third trimester. This phenomenon, according to evolutionary psychologists, likely was designed to divert sexual energy and convert it into protecting and providing for, and monogamy can make men’s testosterone levels drop.

One study found that men in long-term relationships for more than a year tested lower in testosterone than single men or men in new relationships. This could be evolutionary, because men with lower testosterone are more likely to be better caregivers and less likely to pursue additional sex partners.

Male:               Well, I think it depends on what stage in your life you are too. I think when my girlfriend and I broke up, I was definitely on the higher end of that scale. But you know, after a while, you kind of miss that camaraderie I think a little bit and start to understand the benefits of monogamy. Feeling of having a partner to take on this thing that we call life.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Finally, low testosterone guys are great fathers. A study in 2013 found that slightly smaller testicles were associated with a more nurturing quality among fathers. Reduced testosterone levels and testes volume were associated with higher levels of paternal caregiving.

Male:               I love kids.

Male:               I just wanted to be married with a family.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         So, what’s a woman to do if she chooses a high testosterone mate? She may have a gorgeous, protective cheater on her hands. And if she chooses a low testosterone guy, she’ll have plenty of help in the daddy department. But what about the bedroom? Well, there are two factors that temper cheating behavior in high testosterone men; religion and intelligence. Men who faithfully follow religious doctrine tend to override their high testosterone urges with good impulse control.

Male:               In my family history, faith was really important. I just didn’t have an interest in spending a lot of time or sleeping with a bunch of women, because it wasn’t the way that I was brought up.

Male:               One’s slightly longer than the other.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Which one is that?

Male:               The ring finger.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         That’s high testosterone. Were you raised with a religion?

Male:               I was raised as a Christian. My wife comes from a religious background as well. We met when we were in high school and dated and got married and had our first kids when we were in the early 20’s.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         And some research shows that high intelligence men can be better at committing to family over fun.

Male:               The whole everyone dreams of like high school and college and like dating around and all these girls and stuff, and I was just ready to be like a married dad and like have my life in middle school.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         And for those who choose the good guy, stable daddy, there are ways to increase a man’s testosterone. Again, enter my favorite hormone, oxytocin. It’s called the bonding hormone because it helps make people feel connected. Couples who have been given oxytocin nose spray reported more love making, trust and caregiving. But short of an oxytocin lace nose spray, the other way women raise their own oxytocin is through sex. The problem is when a woman’s oxytocin is low, her sex drive goes down. She just doesn’t want to have sex.

As for her husband, his naturally lowered testosterone to divert sexual energy toward providing and caregiving, may make him a low energy couch potato. Or if he’s looking for a way to spike his testosterone, he may be prone to cheating. So, how does a woman raise her husband’s testosterone just enough? And how does a man raise his wife’s oxytocin so she’ll have sex with him?

Couples can keep her oxytocin high by doing lots of bonding behaviors that don’t involve sex, communicating more, cuddling, kissing, having date nights, touch without the pressure of sex can raise her oxytocin enough to make her eventually want to have sex. And that (the sex) will really raise her oxytocin.

How about how to raise his testosterone? Well, to do that, he needs a win and he needs to feel territorial. Even watching his team win can give him a boost of testosterone. So can playing sports, hanging out with his guy friends or achieving at work. And there’s another way that your husband can psychologically have a win – when he feels good about himself. When you compliment him. Yes, when women say nice things to their husbands, their testosterone goes up. As for feeling territorial, when his partner practices good grooming and looks appealing to other men, he’ll naturally want to keep her closer to him.

Is there trouble with testosterone? Hardly. Like all other hormones, they work in concert with a party of hormones, many who temper their effect. And when we look at the nature versus nurture debate, it’s important to remember that thinking and beliefs have as much to do with human behavior as biology.

I’m Dr. Wendy Walsh. Thanks for listening to Mating Matters. On our next episode, the God that clubs how religions make rules around sexuality to increase reproductive advantage.


Mating Matters Podcast “Hidden Eggs”

Dr. Wendy Walsh uses science, personal interviews and examples from pop culture to reveal the secret evolutionary motivation for most every human behavior. It will help you understand yourself better. Read transcript of the episode “Hidden Eggs” below.



Concealed fertility in humans has contributed to the sexual double standard, good Dads, and strippers who make more money when they ovulate.







Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Why is it that you can’t tell when a woman is fertile? In fact, she may not even know herself. I’m Dr. Wendy Walsh. Concealed fertility in humans has contributed to the sexual double standard; good fathers and strippers who make more money when they ovulate.

This is Mating Matters!

I’m Dr. Wendy Walsh, and this is Mating Matters. A podcast that looks at human behavior through a very sexy lens. You should know that I’m obsessed with the science of relationships. Understanding the biological, psychological, and social pressures on people makes me enjoy life more. It makes me more understanding, more forgiving, more compassionate to others and myself. And I want you to see life in the same technicolor version that I do.

You know even when we’re not thinking about sex, our ancient programming makes us respond to reproductive cues that impact just about every decision we make. We are wired to reproduce. In today’s episode of Mating Matters – Hidden Eggs, we ask the question, why did humans evolve to have concealed fertility? All that means is, no one knows for sure which magical three days each month a woman can become pregnant, and most of the time not even the woman. So, how does this impact the way we relate to each other?

Well, why don’t we start at the beginning, in the delivery room. It is usually the happiest moment in a couple’s life. For men, it’s the culmination of the arduous task of finding a date, girlfriend or wife, getting her to mate with you and hanging around for nine whole months while female hormones rule the roost.

For women, it’s the sometimes dangerous journey of finding a healthy mate who might even hang around for a few years. If you’ve ever been a single woman on dating sites, you know how hard this is. But then, it gets physically challenging. Nine months of pregnancy that might include morning sickness, bed rest and crying jags that make PMS look mild.

And then, there’s labor and delivery.

Female:            If I had to go through this a hundred years ago, I don’t know how I would have done it without the help of my doctors and my nurses and my partner to get through it.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Ouch! But after all that women go through; the pregnancy, the labor, the delivery, at least they’re left with one reassuring fact. There’s no doubt who the mother is. But the father? Men can never be too sure. That’s because human females have concealed fertility, approximately three days in a month when women in their childbearing years can become pregnant. And even women aren’t aware of when these three days come. Could it be that his sperm reached the egg during that mysterious window of ovulation? Could he be sure that no other man gained access during that month?

You know, sperm are survivors. They can live in a woman’s vagina for five days waiting for the egg to arrive or standing ready to encounter another man’s fighter sperm. Those are the fastest swimmers. They’re ejaculated first with the sole mission to kill any lingering men sperm.

So who won? Which guy is actually the father?

Female:            He makes these really cute faces sometimes that remind me of my husband.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         It’s the chant of new mothers everywhere. If you ask any postpartum mother who she thinks the baby looks most like, she’s far more likely to say daddy instead of mummy, no matter what the baby looks like. It’s always been speculated that this worldwide female behavior evolved to elicit care and protection from a man who might not be certain about his paternity.

Now, there’s new research to show this actually works. Professor of Economics at Binghamton University, Solomon Polachek and his partner Marlon Tracey from Southern Illinois University, studied 456 couples. Now, these couples were not married, nor were they living in the same home. These are called “fragile families”. What they found was interesting. When the baby looked like the father, the child was healthier one year later. And that’s not always because of hardier male genes. The researchers say that if a father believed the child looked like him, he actually spent two and a half more days a month caring for his child and checking in, assessing the economic needs. You see men invest more if they believe a child is actually theirs. And really, does a newborn look like anyone?

Male:               When they were born, they both look like me. Weirdly enough, my older son, when he was about five, looked identical to my wife, like there was some kind of weird shift. And my younger son looks identical to my father. Like people always say, “He looks like your father,” which he should look more like me. Right?

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Having concealed fertility isn’t common in all primates. Take rhesus monkeys for example, how do they spot a fertile female? It’s all in the face reading.

Researcher James Higham of the German Primate Center in Gottingen, Germany found that when a female rhesus monkey is ovulating, her facial features change, ever so slightly. And 85% of the males can see the difference. But there’s a catch, only if he knows her well. In order to pick up the subtle cues about fertility, male rhesus monkeys need to become friends first. Males who spend time getting to know females tend to pick up on sexual signals much better. Hmm, gives new meaning to friends with benefits.

For baboons, no mind reading or facial decoding needed at all. One of the most conspicuous of all signals of primate fertility is the large swellings displayed by female baboons. The Amboseli Baboon Project in East Africa is one of the longest running studies of wild primates in the world. Researchers there, have been studying baboons for more than four decades. Specifically, they have studied the range and size of female well, butt, vulva, labia? Let’s just call them swellings.

Look, if you were glued to National Geographic Magazine as a kid, you’ve probably seen these oversized, bright red bulging, butt lips that female baboons showcase. And biologists hypothesize that the size of a female swelling contains important information for males to know when to procreate. In fact, the scientists at the Amboseli Baboon Project found that indeed changes in swelling size within each sexual cycle, correspond with ovulation. Unless you think we humans are so different, scientists even speculate that our human preference for full lips – lip injections anyone? Or bright red lipstick are just one primate copying another.

But human beings are different. Our faces don’t change much when we’re ovulating. And as far as I know, our vulva does not balloon up like a baboon’s red butt. For the most part, men can’t consciously tell that a woman is fertile. In fact, most women can’t even tell they are ovulating, unless they have help from technology.

Female:            I have no clue when I’m ovulating. I use an app for that.

Female:            I don’t think I’ve ever really tried to track it.

Female:            The only way I know I’m ovulating is because I’m on birth control.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Human ovulation, a state once thought to be undetectable without medical equipment or an app, actually creates a range of subtle but definitely observable behaviors. And these female behaviors are aimed at attracting the best possible mate.

For instance, researchers Barnhard Fink at the University of Gottingen, Germany along with colleagues, Benjamin Leiding and Nadine Hugill, found that women’s bodies move slightly differently when they’re fertile, and men can pick it up. In this fun study, the researchers videotaped 48 women dancing to music. Then, they had 200 men watch the videos and rate them on a scale of attractiveness. So feminist. I’m not so sure I like this hot or not game. But it does provide some interesting information.

Turns out, men rated the ovulating women more attractive. But do women notice anything different about themselves when they’re ovulating?

Female:            I don’t think I could tell if I’m fertile or not, no. I mean, maybe I’ll crave an extra cheesy pizza or something. But besides that –

Female:            I actually can’t tell when I’m ovulating.

Female:            I definitely do feel a little bit more attraction to men, a bit more feminine. Like I want to speak a little softer with them. I want to come off a little bit more sexier when I’m walking past them.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         Wait, did she say she tries to make her voice softer and more breathy or could her voice be changing naturally when she ovulates?

Researchers, Greg Bryant and Marty Hazelton at the University of California, Los Angeles, set out to test this idea. Like all good scientists, they began with an assumption. Their assumption, that higher, more breathy voices are more attractive to men because they signal youth and fertility. After all, didn’t Marilyn Monroe’s breathy voice wow an audience and the president in 1962 with a simple rendition of happy birthday?

[Marilyn Monroe Singing 00:10:07 to 00:10:23]

Our UCLA researchers didn’t have Marilyn Monroe as a test subject, so they used female college students instead. They recorded the voices of 69 women (interesting number scientists) and gave the women hormone tests to determine where they were in their menstrual cycle. The women were all asked to say the same thing. “Hi, I’m a UCLA student.”

Then the researchers calculated how their voice was different. Turns out, women unconsciously raise their voices when they’re ovulating. Interesting. But do men pick this up?

A study that asked this question, looked at strippers. Jeff Miller, Joshua Tiber, and Brent Jordan at the University of New Mexico had to spend many arduous weeks interviewing strippers about their ovulation schedule and helping them count their money at the end of the night. Sure enough, exotic dancers who do not take the birth control pill earn more money when they’re ovulating. On average, they earn nearly $400 more per night when they’re ovulating.

What are the men picking up on? Some say it’s scent. Pheromones may signal fertility, but it could also be the conditions of an average strip club. Strip clubs tend to be loud. They tend to be dark, and strippers make the most money, not on stage, but by doing private lap dances. And how do these ladies sell their lap dances? Well, in a noisy, dark club, there’s only one way. They get real close and whisper in a customer’s ear. The dude gets a double whammy of signals, both scent and vocal tones. And if she’s ovulating, he apparently is willing to dig deeper into his pocket and pull out more money.

The list of human female behaviors that signal fertility goes on. Research has shown that during ovulation, women fantasize about sex more often. They’re more likely to wear red or pink clothing (back to copying those red monkey butts), and they’re more flirty with bad boys. Also, college girls call their fathers less.

But what about the men who can’t pick up on these signals? It’s not a perfect science. And even in the studies, some men fail. Or what about the men who women don’t often choose for reproduction?

The movie, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is every man’s worst nightmare.

[Movie Clip Playing 00:12:59 to 00:13:23]

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         To prevent such a calamity, over the centuries, men have created social systems that increase their odds that they’ll get to mate with a woman, and help to keep competitors away. You might’ve heard of one, it’s called “monogamy”. Evolutionary psychologists suggest that the only way a man could be sure that his girlfriend or wife gave birth to a baby that was his, was to block her from other men. It’s called mate guarding.

If you’ve ever dropped by your mate’s office to strike your stuff in front of a new threatening, cute coworker, you’ve practiced mate guarding. Both genders do it. By sticking to one sexual partner, monogamy, may have evolved as a form of mate guarding. Those gallivanting groups of gatherers, females with children in tow, along with sisters, aunties, and friends were constantly moving. If a dude wanted to be sure his lady was carrying an egg that he fertilized, he better stay close to her butt.

Thus, you could say that men invented monogamy. But they also invented a kind of psychological warfare to combat concealed fertility.

[Movie Clip Playing 00:14:34 to 00:14:46]

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         The movie is called “What’s Your Number?” Because even Hollywood knows that women worry about this. In fact, the fear is pervasive that a woman will be shunned by all men if she’s revealed to be promiscuous. Now, what that means in scientific terms, is that men won’t be sure if her baby is there’s. It’s called the sexual double standard. That’s a social construct that gives men points for sexual experience and gives women demerit points.

Trust me, men invented this one. It’s so psychologically crippling that women are embarrassed to reveal their number.

Female:            I don’t ask them, they don’t ask me. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to know who you’ve been with. And I’m sure you don’t want to know who I’ve been with. So, let’s just avoid it.

Female:            Oh, okay. So, the sexual double standard, I think that definitely revealing your number, you think that somebody is going to judge you by it as a woman. So, I think that I probably avoid that conversation.

Female:            Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever had a man ask me what my sexual partner number was. I think, at least, in my experience, that isn’t a question that comes up. It’s almost like don’t ask, don’t tell.

Female:            I think that they would get this alpha male mentality and say that they can’t be with a woman who’s been with other men. They can’t visualize it because it just kind of ruins the idea of her as a pristine, proper, clean woman. It just kind of ruins that idea in their head that they’ve come up with.

Female:            I think if I told a man I had a high number, that he would think that I was a slut. That would make him feel that he doesn’t owe me any kind of respect or he doesn’t owe me a quality relationship.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         So, what’s a girl to do? On face value, the reproductive system of having concealed fertility seems pretty cray, cray. I mean, what’s the point? Men are worried about getting access to women, and then wondering if her baby’s actually theirs. And women are worried that men will totally reject them if they give access to too many men. So, why would this system have evolved? What real reproductive value does concealed fertility give?

To speculate about the answer, we look no further than our closest primate relative – chimpanzee. Chimpanzee males are dangerously brutal animals. When they come across a chimp version of a MILF, a mother I’d like to frolic with, the first thing they do is murder the baby. It’s true. Baboons and gorillas do it too. It’s very efficient, evolutionarily speaking. I mean, baby killing rubs out a competitor’s genes while bringing on ovulation in a nursing mother.

But how about human males? They don’t murder babies so often. In fact, for the most part, men are great dads to their own kids and to others.

Male:               I coach football. I volunteer a lot at the school. I mean, it’s not like direct parenting. Coaching is probably an example of close to direct parenting for at least a couple of hours. And so, you treat these kids as if they are your own. You want to make them as good as you can as football players. I like one of the other coaches says it, and I adopted it myself. He says, “My first job is to make you a better man. My second job is to make you a better football player.” And I really like that. I’m getting goosebumps right now. Man, I’m a sap. I am such a sap.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         The end of this evolutionary story is a big score for the girls’ club. Human males maybe physically evolving to pick up sights, sounds and scent of an ovulating woman. And they may have invented the double standard to keep women from sharing her eggs with the team. Short of any paternity test, which is just a recent tool in men’s arsenal against hidden eggs. Can a man really be sure? Is the baby growing in her womb really his? What if his fighter sperm didn’t do their job? What if he got the dates wrong? What about the dude in accounting she always mentions? Her trainer? Her handyman? The milkman?

Male:               You know you have that seed of doubt. You’re waiting anxiously in the waiting room. You’re making sure you trust the doctor, all the preparation that takes place. You’re doing the breathing exercises. But that one seed of doubt that you have is not what will the baby looked like? But actually is the baby, is it really yours? Could it be somebody else’s out there?

Male:               I’d be lying if there wasn’t a part of me that was like, I would like to know. I don’t know if that’s like an animal part of me that lives inside, but it’s the God’s honest truth. I’m like, I just want to be sure, like even though it would probably destroy my entire life if there was a mistake on the test, or if I found out the truth. My life is much better to live in ignorance. But yeah, I was curious. I was definitely curious.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:         So, if a man can’t be 100% sure that the baby his wife or girlfriend is giving birth to is his, he also can’t be sure that it isn’t his. Men are wired to spread their seed around the tribe. And if human males spent time killing babies, they might’ve been killing their own genes or their family genes. The genes of their brothers or cousins.

That’s the beauty of hidden eggs. It makes human males good dads. They take care of all babies because any one of them could be theirs. So, you see, women’s intelligent bodies developed concealed fertility to increase the chances that their babies would live.

I’m Dr. Wendy Walsh. Thanks for listening to Mating Matters. Next time, we’ll be looking at the trouble with testosterone.


Mating Matters Podcast with Dr. Wendy Walsh Coming Soon!

The science of love is the most fascinating topic I know. Human attachment is parts biological, psychological and sociological. That’s why I’m excited to tell you that my new Podcast called, Mating Matters, in partnership with iHeartMedia, is launching everywhere on Valentines Week. In Mating Matters podcast I explore human behavior through a lens of reproduction. I believe that even when people are not thinking about sex, ancient programming makes us respond to mating cues that impact just about every decision we make.

Mating Matters: We are wired to reproduce.

Let’s face it, we are wired to reproduce. So powerful is this instinct that it has secretly embedded itself in almost every human behavior. But we are so used to being human and hanging out with humans that most people can’t see it. Listen to  Mating Matters podcast and you’ll understand yourself a little better. Here are some things you’ll hear about:

Did you know that men can tell a woman is fertile by the her voice? Or, how about the fact that women like deep male voices maybe  even more than men with deep pockets. There’s even an episode called The God Who Clubs where we look at how religions created rules around dating, mating, and marriage in order to increase their membership? And, here’s a fun fact: Did you know that humans are the only species besides killer whales that has menopause and the only primate where males don’t usually kill babies? There are important evolutionary reasons for all of this. It’s all linked to our survival of the fittest mentality.

I explain it all on the Mating Matters Podcast. Human behavior viewed through a lens of reproduction.



  • How men use a psychological trick to reduce the chances a woman will mate with other men.
  • Mean Girls and Gold-diggers: How women devalue other women.
  • Why exotic dancers can chart their income based on their monthly cycle.
  • Why, when sex rises in supply in a society, the price of sex goes way down.
  • How dating apps can actually change your brain through cognitive overload.
  • Why making more money helps men mate but does the opposite for women.
  • How to win the mating game at any age.
  • Why men invented monogamy

Mating Matters is coming on Valentines Day, 2019. You can listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or the iHeartRadio app, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Psychologist and Relationship Guru, Dr. Wendy Walsh, can also be heard on iHeartRadio’s KFI AM 640 Los Angeles on Sundays from 4-6 pm pacific time.

Mating Matters: It’s Why We Do What We do!

Big news! I’m launching a new podcast called Mating Matters with iHeartMedia on Valentine’s Day week. Listen to it on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll hear:

Hosted by Psychologist and Relationship Guru, Dr. Wendy Walsh, Mating Matters explores the secret evolutionary motivation for virtually every human behavior. We are here to reproduce and behind everything is a desire to increase our mating opportunity. Producer: Brooke Peterson.

Season 1:

Episode #1. HIDDEN EGGS

Conceded fertility in humans has contributed to the sexual double standard, good Dads, and strippers who make more money when they ovulate.



How this hormone, can affect a man’s ability to fall in love and increase death rates. Can a nose spray of oxytocin knock out testosterone and make men kinder?



The sex rules created by religions to increase reproduction and membership! Hint: the more punitive the God, the faster a religion grows.



How dating apps can change your brain and bio-hack your evolutionary programming… unless you use them correctly.



Art imitates life. The science of falling in love involves biological, social and psychological mechanisms. Dr. Wendy breaks down the underpinnings of everyone’s favorite drug, love using vibrant examples from your favorite movies.

Episode #6. SEXY MONEY

How the pursuit of money is really pursuit of sex for men. And why it works in reverse for women. Why singles pay more for sexual opportunity than they do for rent. Why prostitution rates rise when women are disadvantaged and why the price of sex drops drastically when women rise in economic power.

Love Like a Super Attacher (Someone with a secure attachment style)

Black Couple SleepingDespite what romantic movies, TV shows, and books tell you, love isn’t something that simply happens. It is a work of art created by you. Really. Finding love is less about meeting the right person and more about acquiring the habits of what I call a super-attacher. People with good relationship skills and healthy attachment behavior, who believe they are lovable, are the ones suddenly finding love, as singles often perceive it.

So how can you begin to learn healthy attachment behaviors and find the relationship you want and deserve? It all starts with understanding what attachment style is and how it affects relationships.

Each of us comes into the world with a biological predisposition to attach to people in a certain way ? some babies require more closeness and care than others. During the crucial first year of life, when our brains triple in size, we start to form a hardwired blue print for love based on how our caregivers respond to our needs. Then, in our adult romantic life, we attempt to replicate that version of love, even if, believe it or not, it was filled with feelings of loss or pain. Trying to replicate that love is what causes millions of singles to seek out help from coupled up friends, speed dating events, dating advice articles, and reviews of dating sites from places like Once we find our preferred venue for replicating that love, attachment style is the invisible force that prompts us to swipe right on someone we like or say hello to a stranger we find attractive. Attachment style is also the invisible force that determines whether or not we get into roller-coaster relationships with extreme highs and lows or not.

At the top of the mating heap are super-attachers. These people have whats known as a secure attachment style. Secure people tend to have high self-esteem. They are comfortable sharing feelings with friends and lovers. When they are suffering, they seek out social support. They take responsibility for their actions and are known for having a lot of empathy. Best of all, they have trusting, lasting relationships.

If you dont exactly fit the profile of a super-attacher, there are three simple things you can do that should help transform your dating life:

  1. Give Care Without Having Strings Attached

Yes, be an authentic nice guy or nice gal, not one whose kindness comes from fear that someone will bolt or who uses a manipulative tactic to get someone to like them. Instead, be kind, expecting nothing in return except your own sense of high self-esteem. Enjoy the ego boost. Love just for the sake of loving and youll like yourself better.

  1. Receive Care Happily

The next time you are feeling under the weather or under a lot of stress, call in for backup. Reach out to friends and family members. I know this can be very hard for some people, but learning to have interdependent social support is great practice for one-on-one love. Let the people in your life know what you need and allow them to take care of you.

  1. Dont Take Anything Personally

If you often get emotionally hijacked by sudden feelings of abandonment or rejection, I have four words for you:?Its never about you.?There is always another side to every story, and trust me, people are more concerned with their own stuff than yours. So take a deep breath, and use every feeling of rejection as an opportunity to practice self-consoling. Remember, its never personal.

Learning to have healthy attachments is the key to having a long and happy relationship ? and life in general. Because when you love better, you live better. By the way, if you are curious about what kind of attachment style you have, you can?take the quiz here.

LISTEN TO THE DR. WENDY WALSH SHOW ON KFIAM 640 LOS ANGELES. Listen from anywhere on the iHeartRadio app or online at