hormone oestradiol, oestradiol, estradiol

Sexy Women Share Hormone, Infidelity

March 19, 2009 01:20 PM
by Isabel Cowles
A new study suggests that women with high levels of the hormone oestradiol are perceived as more physically attractive and are more likely to flirt and cheat on their partners.

"Sexy" Hormone Linked to Attractiveness, Infidelity, Fertility

Psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin discovered that women with high levels of oestradiol, a hormone associated with big breasts, small waists, pretty faces and flirtatious behavior, are naturally more inclined to attract and be attracted by men, which often results in infidelity.

Researchers Kristina Durante and Norman Li examined hormone levels among women aged 17 to 30 who were not taking the pill, using saliva tests during two different stages of the menstrual cycle.

Women were asked to rate their perceived attractiveness to men “compared with other women;" those with high levels of oestradiol considered themselves more attractive, and were also perceived as more attractive by men and other women.

Women with high levels of oestradiol were also inclined to regularly have affairs and change partners, although the researchers called the inclination “opportunistic serial monogamy,” since the women were likely to form relationships rather than have flings.

Researchers concluded that such women were constantly changing relationships in search of more superior partners, in terms of sexual attractiveness, good genes and material resources.

Oestradiol is also linked to high conception rates. Women with high levels of oestradiol were more likely to attract sexual advances from men, prompting Durante and Li to conclude that attractiveness and fertility are related.

Related Topic: Modern infidelity

A number of recent studies have explored infidelity rates and motivations among both men and women.

A spring study by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm indicated that infidelity may be built into the male genetic code. According to Swedish researchers, men who have the allele, or gene variant, that regulates the activity of a hormone called vasopressin have higher rates of marital discord and divorce.

In October, findingDulcinea reported on a study at the University of Washington that found higher rates of infidelity among women than in earlier studies. According to The New York Times, which cited the research, the number of modern young women who admit engaging in extramarital sex was not much lower than that of men.

According to evolutionary psychologist David Barash, humans (indeed, most creatures) have always been sexually unfaithful. “Before the homogenization of cultures that resulted from Western colonialism,” he wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “more than 85 percent of human societies unabashedly favored polygamy.” The new data may simply indicate that modern Westerners are more willing to talk about their indiscretions.

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