My Hormonology

I’ve been interviewing contractors for a job I have to get done on my house. And since this has been an ongoing process that has spanned several weeks where I have to figure out who can do the job best based on their credentials, but also on the impression I get about him or her, it reminded me of a study about how we judge people based on their looks throughout our cycle.

As you probably know, we often gravitate toward certain folks at certain times, for instance, we might be attracted to someone who’s upbeat to help boost our mood when we’re down or we may be attracted to someone’s warmth at time when we’re feeling lonely.

Well, a study in the journal Hormones and Behavior shows that during Week 3 of your cycle (which occurs right after ovulation), you prefer the company of men and women who have softer, more feminine facial features.

The reason? The researchers believe it comes down to your body thinking there was a chance you got pregnant during ovulation right before your Week 3 began. (Your body doesn’t find out whether or not you really got pregnant till the start of your premenstrual Week 4.)

As a result, the progesterone that rises throughout this week has you preferring feminine-looking men since it’s usually an indication of a lower level of testosterone, which often means they’re better at long-term commitments–a fact that would be key if you needed a partner to help you support a baby.

And progesterone has you preferring feminine-looking women since it’s typically an indication of a higher level of estrogen, which often means they’re more caring and supportive–another factor that would be important if you got pregnant.

So, how can you use this hormonal tidbit in everyday life? When your Week 3 rolls around and you find yourself preferring feminine-looking folks or feel a closer connection with them, you can acknowledge it’s just a quirky side effect of your progesterone. That way, you can factor it in when making hiring decisions, getting a first impression from someone new or simply picking who to chat with at lunch!