Men can tell when a lap dancer is ovulating. Not really.

Posted on by TheLastPsychiatrist and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Normally cycling participants earned about US$335 per 5-h shift during estrus, US$260 per shift during the luteal phase, and US$185 per shift during menstruation. By contrast, participants using contraceptive pills showed no estrous earnings peak… These results have clear implications for human evolution, sexuality, and economics.

No they don’t.

18 dancers recorded their cycles and their tips to generate the above data.  It should be pointed out that they didn’t record them very well: 25% of the 60 days requested.

But while these results are interesting– why did the women get higher tips, after all?– this is the part you want to focus on:

The fact that tip earnings peak during estrus suggests that men can detect female fertility more accurately than the “concealed ovulation” model suggested

Wow, that’s a jump.  Seriously: why can’t the answer be ESP?  Or the ability to detect thetan energy?  There are a million reasons that every woman already knows why tips might be lower during menstruation and higher afterward.   Whatever happened to “you can’t be sexy if you don’t feel sexy” and etc?  None of them requires the man to know anything; only for the woman to be marginally in touch with her body.  My experience with dancers is they are exquisitely in touch with their bodies.  Perhaps there is even a mechanical explanation?

The question the paper is investigating is whether estrus- increased attractiveness and receptiveness near ovulation– which is exhibited outwardly in most mammals is also so in humans. Usually, you can’t tell if a woman is ovulating– but maybe you can?

This may be a legitimate question of evolutionary biology and psychology: are these women broadcasting estrus through “signals” and leaked cues?” But the proxies used to measure that– tips given by men who are paying for lots of things but decidedly not fertility– is logically flawed. So why use it?

Because the purpose of the research isn’t to answer the question, “do women broadcast estrus via signals and leaked cues?” but to to answer that question in the affirmative. 

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20 Responses to Men can tell when a lap dancer is ovulating. Not really.

  1. paige says:

    “leaked cues” Was that a cervical mucus joke? Because if so- well played.

  2. AnonymousAtLarge says:

    Speaking s a female, who is not taking BCP, who is also a nerd, I have noticed very clear cut changes in my attractiveness (and my interest in sex) at various points of the menstrual cycle.

    As I approach ovulation, my skin looks much more supple, my lips become more full, my voice increases a lot. I look about 2 or 3 years younger (I am in my late 20s). Men seem to notice this change in my appearance and flirt with me more often during this time. Sometimes it seems as if men come around constantly while I am approaching ovulation, compared to other times of the month (say, menstruation).
    A few days before ovulation my interest in sex becomes much, much higher, sometimes it feels almost like a physiological need like thirst or hunger (typically, as a female, I can either take or leave sex and it isn’t something I think about at all). Also, my interest in sex is focused on men exclusively (I am bisexual so typically I am interested in men and women, but at ovulation I want men). The change is remarkable to me because it is so physical and extreme at times, I am not used to having a high sex drive at all.
    My mood also increases quite a lot. I likely have subclinical bipolar disorder and it is not unheard of for me to get a little manic for a few days (incredible energy, frenetic activity, euphoria, decreased sleep/appetite and typical signs of nuttery I know so well) . Increased sociability/activity/gregariousness may be another reason for increased interest/attention from men, but I tend to think the primary reason is physical (my appearance improves) because I seem to get attention before I say or do much of anything.

    Given what I know and experience, I totally and completely would expect strippers/lap dancers to make way more money a few days before ovulation (estrogen/dopamine rising) than they would during the estrogen decreasing parts of the cycle (say, menstruation).

    Lap dancers probably see this more than do strippers/exotic dancers, because it’s also shown in studies that ovulating females release pheromones called copulins, which when detected by heterosexual males result in an increase in testosterone and drive/sexual interest. A lap dancer is in close proximity to the customer where he can experience this more than a stripper who is a bit away from him.

    The combination of her feeling sexier at this time, craving sex more, as well as being more sexually attractive clearly means good news for business when you are a sex worker. You dance better, you look better, the customer tips better.

    • Stephen Cashman says:

      This study isn’t grounds for drawing the conclusion that men detect and like estrus in women, but that doesn’t mean they can’t.

      Speaking as a men I know my attractiveness to women is enormously, almost entirely dependant on my internal state and mood. If I feel happy and confident women like me, and if I feel depressed and introverted they don’t. It’s not impossible that your self-perceived increase in attractiveness is based on your mental state – it’s a tough (but not impossible) thing to prove one way or the other.

    • BluegrassJack says:

      Also, my interest in sex is focused on men exclusively (I am bisexual so typically I am interested in men and women, but at ovulation I want men).

      Now, I’m totally confused.

      • AnonymousAtLarge says:

        How is that confusing?

        I am saying my sexual preferences shift clearly and strongly toward men at ovulation. This is consistent with research (in heterosexual women) that women prefer more masculine men at ovulation (and the rest of the month they prefer more agreeable feminized men).
        I am bisexual (my orientation is not entirely straight or gay, or at least that is how I feel about it). Given I am bisexual my sexual interests shift towards a primary and strong interest in men at ovulation.

        Is that more clear for you, BJ?

  3. spindritf says:

    What about

    In Study 1, men exposed to the scent of a woman near peak levels of fertility displayed increased accessibility to sexual concepts. Study 2 demonstrated that, among men who reported being sensitive to odors, scent cues of fertility triggered heightened perceptions of women’s sexual arousal. Study 3 revealed that, in a face-to-face interaction, high levels of female fertility were associated with a greater tendency for men to make risky decisions and to behaviorally mimic a female partner.

    http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2010-18169-001/

    • AnonymousAtLarge says:

      Yes this seems to entirely support a physiological basis for the findings that strippers/dancers make major cash just before ovulation.

      Those findings deal only with pheromones cues; there are actually many changes which occur in females before ovulation, which affect not only her appearance (visual cues) but her mood, sexual interest and behavior (leading to social behavior which promotes conception).

      • spindritf says:

        > Yes this seems to entirely support a physiological basis for the findings that strippers/dancers make major cash just before ovulation.

        But they do seem to suggest that men can in fact tell when the woman is ovulating.

        • AnonymousAtLarge says:

          Reproduction is like a game of cards where both parties are bluffing trying to maximize their take.

          Men have evolved ways to tell if women are fertile, but they are unconscious of it. As I said, I have consistently noticed men are more interested in me at ovulation. These men must on some level be aware of my fertility status. My appearance? Some pheromone cue I am emitting – copulins? Is it my behavior that is more exuberant and disinhibited? All of the above?

          Being able to predict with some certainty is not the same thing as being able to absolutely KNOW. Men have evolved the capacity to unconsciously and instinctively predict fertility in women, but men do not know if a woman is ovulationg. Women do not know if they are ovulating. There is no way to absolutely tell without blood tests and such things.

      • Spider says:

        I really love the idea that humans have pheromones and can detect them.

        But the evidence is really, really REALLY scarce.

        We don’t have a VNO, first off. No human pheromones (which are simply odorants) have been identified. One particularly smelly derivative of estrogen has been waved under the nose of men. Can they smell it? Well, duh, it has a smell. Does it ebb and flow with ovulation? No. The only thing interesting about it is that it appears to send a signal to the hypothalamus, rather than the olfactory bulb. And then what? Well, nothing.

  4. Spider says:

    Ah, Geoffrey Miller. I wish he’d shut up already.

    By the way, my ex-stripper friends think this is the funniest thing ever. Let’s see, their job is to tell men (or show men, or make men feel) the way they want to for money. What did the researchers want to be true? Did perhaps the strippers tell them what they wanted to hear?

    • towle says:

      It doesn’t say the dancers got paid more for more pleasing results, but I see what you mean. Although, personally, if I were a yes-man-for-pay, I’d be a no-man the rest of the time.

  5. BluegrassJack says:

    Maybe the manager of the lap dancing parlor should send the menstruating women to the bench for the duration. If the manager gets a cut of the tips, he/she would want to maximize the dancer’s desirabilty, regardless of how that desirability is caused. Then a large stable of dancers would be most profitable, but keep all the women apart from each other, so they don’t start cycling together.

    A male client definitely doesn’t care about one dancer’s maximum fertility, unless he’s interested in more than just arousal from that dancer then and there.

    • AnonymousAtLarge says:

      Seeing as the dancers are only in contact with each other for a few hours a day, the odds of their cycles synchronizing is very low. Roommates cycle together because they share a living quarters, where pheromone cues can linger (and presumably where you spend most of your time).
      That would be like women who work together cycling together, and as far as I know this does not occur.

      You’re assuming menstruating women are undesirable. I don’t think that is the case; merely what we are observing is that ovulating women are extremely desired by men on an unconscious level, leading to high profits at that time.

      • AnonymousAtLarge says:

        By your logic, strippers should be fired unless they are off BCP (as the strippers on BCP made less money than the naturally cycling strippers). That sounds like a disaster in the making.

        • BluegrassJack says:

          No, firing would be much too harsh and it would be unreasonable for the manager to do.

          But, some BCPs do decrease a woman’s interest in sex to the degree that clients give them lower tips. If you look at the figure at the top of the original post, women on BCPs get lower amounts of tips on almost all 28 days of the cycle, tips often just slightly lower than naturally cycling women. My thought was that women on BCPs should go into another line of work where their talents would be better used and their income would be higher.

          Sincerely, BJ

  6. Pingback: Males like it when a woman ovulates. (No they don’t.) | Partial Objects

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