In the course of a natural menstrual cycle, a woman is fertile for around five days, which means she can become pregnant. If a man wants to get his move at the right moment, shouldn’t he have developed special antennas for this phase? A German field study could not confirm this, as a research group from the Georg-August University of Göttingen reported in the journal “Hormones and Behavior”.

The team led by Lara Schleifenbaum and Lars Penke recruited 384 young couples who lived in a monogamous relationship and where the women had a regular menstrual cycle. The subjects were only informed that the study was about feelings and needs in the partnership. For 40 days, they received a request by email or text message every day to provide information about themselves and their partner in an online diary.

Women with a natural cycle who did not use hormonal birth control felt more attractive in the middle of the cycle than during the rest of the time, and their sexual desire also increased. However, men did not find their wives more attractive or paid more attention during their fertile days, nor were they more jealous, either by themselves or by their partners.

Nor did they themselves express more sexual interest in their partner or seek more contact with her. There were no differences to couples with women who used hormonal contraception. “Across the nearly 25,000 diary entries, we found no convincing evidence of men noticing or responding to their wives’ fertility status,” the authors summarize.

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