Thursday, 28 July 2016

Lack of support for relation between woman's masculinity preference, estradiol level and mating context

Volume 78, February 2016, Pages 1–7


Woman's estradiol levels do not predict her preference towards facial masculinity.
No difference in masculinity preference between high and low-conception phase of cycle
Preferences for masculinity do not differ between short- and long-term mating contexts.


It has been proposed that women's preferences for male facial sexual dimorphism are positively correlated with conception probability and differ between short- and long-term mating contexts. In this study, we tested this assumption by analyzing relationships between estradiol levels to the women's preferences of male faces that were manipulated to vary in masculinity. Estradiol was measured in daily saliva samples throughout the entire menstrual cycle collected by Polish women with regular menstrual cycles. In our analyses, we included the three most commonly used definitions of the fertile window in the literature. After computing the overall masculinity preference of each participant and measuring hormone levels, we found that i) the timing of ovulation varied greatly among women (between − 11 and − 17 days from the onset of the next menses, counting backwards), ii) there was no relationship between daily, measured during the day of the test (N = 83) or average for the cycle (N = 115) estradiol levels and masculinity preferences, iii) there were no differences in masculinity preferences between women in low- and high-conception probability phases of the cycle, and iv) there were no differences in masculinity preferences between short- and long-term mating contexts. Our results do not support the idea that women's preferences for a potential sexual partner's facial masculinity fluctuate throughout the cycle.


  • Human sexual preferences;
  • Facial preferences;
  • Sex steroid hormones;
  • Estradiol;
  • Sexual dimorphism;
  • Masculinity
Corresponding author at: Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Jagiellonian University Medical College, 20 Grzegorzecka St., 31-531 Krakow, Poland.