Ovulating women have better "gaydar" - Macleans.ca

Ovulating women have better “gaydar”

Women who can get pregnant pay attention to sexual cues


Women who are ovulating are much better at guessing whether a man is gay or straight, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Toronto and Tufts University.

Scientists asked 40 heterosexual female students to judge 80 photos of men’s faces. Half of the men were gay and the rest were straight, but the groups were considered equally attractive. What’s interesting is that women judged the sexual orientation of each man more accurately during ovulation.

“What it really sort of hints at is [that] there are evolutionary reasons why women would pay attention to cues relevant for mating,” Nicholas Rule, a lead researcher, told The Toronto Star. “When women have a higher chance of getting pregnant they’re going to pay more attention to cues in the environment that would attend to that.”

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Ovulating women have better “gaydar”

  1. How much more accurate are the womens’ judgements when they’re ovulating versus when they’re not? 5%? 10%? 35% more accurate?

    Also, could it just be that women are being less “risky” when ovulating because the body is programmed to produce offspring and therefore they would unconsciously vote off men they weren’t sure about? Based on the mens’ pictures, it could be easier to guess right about which men are gay if the women are more hyper-sensitive to what straight men look like, not necessarily knowing what orientation is the man actually has.

    I’d like to see these pictures. Maybe something about these men seemed a little more “risky” to the women?

  2. This is probably a student’s end of year project full of flaws and maybe even biased

  3. …What does this “statistic” have to do with anything?! I’m a male (non-homosexual) and can usually guess near 100% correct whether or not someone is gay. Statistically, would this make me slightly gayer than the rest of mankind? I would love to read a statistic that would take possibly four years to prove a hypothesis and then the next 12 in researching whether or not if straight men that have gay (as well straight) male friends would make them more succeptible to becoming or experiencing gay pleasures (pardon my French).

    In theory (and I’m quite sure I could make myself an arguable essay that probably wouldn’t win a pulitzer prize), I conclude that this statistic is beyond unconclusive (and none in the least bit interesting other than to argue about). In the end, this boils down to each female individual’s past; if they know any gay people, if they have any gay friends, or if they just chat to people online and have no social life outside of a computer whatsoever. There’s “educated guessing” (some ladies know from past gay encounters what to look for or see similarities), and then there is just plain guessing.

    …This article makes me thing “Girl Power!”

  4. Did this non-sensical research use a taxpayer-funded grant?

    Surely there are more important issues than studying the superior grooming of gay men.

  5. Working hard on the news I see.

    Great job Macleans, way to stay relevant.

  6. I agree with Katrina, above.

    As a dedicated student of human and animal behaviour for over 50 years, I find it frustrating that only a portion of the study is discussed (often true in the mainstream media, unfortunately).

    Where are the photos? Maybe non-ovulating women, children, and/or males are just as aware of sexual cues – was this even considered?

    The evolutionary argument may have some merit here – the U.K. papers and the BBC have listed many studies, as have other sources.

    The printed results are so reductive that they are good only for gossip at the water cooler. So… why print them?????

  7. I agree, information is lacking. We have no way of knowing, based on this article, whether the difference is statistically significant or even properly controlled. I also can’t see how 40 people can possibly be a sufficient sample size.

  8. yes, interesting news but I would love to have more in-depth information too!!

  9. What is the real essence of this study? What are we trying to get to?
    According to Dr. Nicolas he’s trying to achieve the following two:
    “1. Predicting outcomes from nonverbal and facial cues
    2. The study of perceptually ambiguous groups”

    Ok, if a woman’s gaydar is more responsive and accurate when ovulating, then we can also have them check the accuracy of our weather forecasts. There should be a new index called OWWS – Ovulating Woman Weather Scale – which will state the chances of today’s forecast to actually follow through as stated. If it really works out, then we can have a lot of these women winning the 680 News weather jackpot.
    OR maybe supplement these women with the lie detector tests to check if that person behind their defense lawyer is really truthful.

    We’re not animals. As humans We’ve been blessed with knowledge, intellect and the POWER to make the correct choices. If we want to have babies, we get married and have them with our spouse, not with random people whom we feel and detect to prove ourselves to be the best mate as seen on Animal Kingdom documentaries on Discovery or BBC. There is a difference between a human and an animal.

    The only outcome I see of such a test is that the title should be renamed “An ovulating woman is more aware of her environment, study shows”.

    A picture is worth a thousand words, it can mean nothing, anything or everything based on who is seeing the picture.

  10. Split the same group into blue eyes, vs not…blondes vs all others…5’6″ and shorter/taller…wearing glasses vs not. In each and every case, one group would be more successful at picking out the gays. This test proves nadda.