Abby Cadaver/Flickr (cc by-nc)
Can male visitors to Las Vegas's famous Glitter Gulch detect when lap dancers are ovulating?
Ovulating dancers make the best tips. That study finding caught the eye of UCLA Communications and Psychology professor Martie Haselton.
Researchers in New Mexico asked a group of professional lap dancers to record the amount of money they received in nightly tips along with their menstrual cycles. In the end the dancers who were ovulating made more money than the women who were not. So, Haselton asked the question: why are ovulating women more attractive to men? And, how can men tell? She addressed these questions in a paper, "Can Men Detect Ovulation?"
Haselton suggests that it's not a conscious realization by men, but rather a combination of unconscious physiological and behavioral changes that they detect and respond to.
When women ovulate, they experience subtle hormonal changes. They produced higher levels of estrogen, which can alter a woman's features and body odor.
In studies, men overwhelmingly preferred the body odors of women who were ovulating over odors from those who were not.
Women's voices also change during ovulation, becoming slightly higher pitched, a trait that men repeatedly associated with being sexy.
But if a man can't smell the natural odor of a woman, or hear her voice over the loud noise in a strip club, are there other factors at play?
Haselton believes that it could be that women who are ovulating may behave differently as their biological impulses drive them to find a mate. But that has not been studied yet.