January 14, 2009
Women With Higher Estrogen Levels Feel More Attractive
U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday that women with high levels of estrogen not only look and feel prettier, but they may act on those feelings by moving from man to man.
The female hormone estrogen affects fertility and has been shown to make women dress more provocatively and show more thrill-seeking behavior.
Young women felt more attractive when they had high levels of an estrogen known as estradiol, and they acted on those feelings, according to Dr. Kristina Durante of the University of Texas at Austin and colleagues, who conducted a study of female undergraduates.
Durante's team wrote in the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters: "Women with higher estradiol reported a greater likelihood of flirting, kissing and having a serious affair with someone other than their primary partner and were marginally more likely to date another man."
"Results provide support for the relationship between physical beauty and fertility and suggest that women high in reproductive health engage in opportunistic serial monogamy -- being open to affairs and moving on to a new relationship if a higher-quality mate becomes available."
The study closely followed 52 female undergraduates between the ages of 17 and 30 who were not taking hormone contraceptives. They took two estradiol samples from each, as hormone levels fluctuate from week to week.
The women were then asked to rate their own attractiveness and have others rate it as well.
"High-estradiol women were considered significantly more physically attractive by themselves and others," Durante said.
Those rated with higher estradiol levels also reported more sexual behavior, particularly outside of a relationship, although it was not linked to one-night stands.
The team wrote that their results were consistent with the possibility that highly fertile women are not easily satisfied by their long-term partners and are especially motivated to become acquainted with other presumably more desirable men.
Several studies in the past have shown that hormones influence the behavior and success of both men and women.
U.S. and British researchers showed earlier this week that male financial traders whose finger lengths indicate high testosterone levels in the womb were much more successful.
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