The Scent of a Woman and . . .
How men perceive the scent of a fertile woman depends on whether they're in a relationship or not, reports the New York Times. It's well-known that bachelors find women at the fertile peak of the menstrual cycle sexy. Scientists have now found, however, that men in relationships rate women at that stage less attractive than at other times. Scientists think this may be a deeply embedded evolutionary mechanism aimed at preserving the integrity of long-term relationships. "To avoid being enticed to stray," writes the NYT, "they apparently told themselves she wasn't all that hot anyway." What could be the benefits of such an arrangement? Scientists think it might help couples stick it out long enough to raise kids. Women, on the other hand, are more inclined to promiscuity during their fertile period. "Women who are in steady relationships with men who are not very sexually attractive—those who lack the human equivalent of the peacock's tail—suddenly start to notice other men and flirt," said one of the scientists involved in the study. "They are also more critical of their steady partners and feel less 'one' with them on those few days before ovulation." Guys need not worry, however, women don't actually want to leave the warm embrace of coupledom. "They just want to look around at other men and consider them as alternative sex partners," said Dr. Haselton.