Female Fertility and Male Mating: Women's Ovulatory Cues Influence Men's Physiology, Cognition, and Behavior



Evolutionary theories of mating suggest that shifting fertility levels during a woman's menstrual cycle play an important role in the formation and maintenance of romantic relationships. In this article, we review a burgeoning literature that has applied this framework to the investigation of male adaptations to female fertility. The studies reviewed here illuminate the ways in which men evolved to overcome the challenge of finding and attracting mates with peak levels of fertility. In particular, we review research that highlights the types of cues men may use to detect heightened fertility as well as the types of mating processes men display when encountering those cues. We discuss important avenues for future research on this topic as well as implications for psychological theories of romantic attraction.