Fertile Women Have Best "Gaydar," Says Study

Theory is that women programmed to get pregnant can spot suitable partners

By Greg Wilson
|  Thursday, Jun 30, 2011  |  Updated 10:16 AM EDT
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Fertile Women Have Best "Gaydar," Says Study

AP

Revelers celebrate the passage of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage outside of the Stonewall Inn.

Ovulating women can spot gay men better than just about anyone, according to a study that theorizes females wired for reproduction have a strong sense of "gaydar."

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, found that women shown pictures of gay and straight men were much more accurate at separating them when they were at their most fertile. Their accuracy also proved best after they read a story about a romantic encounter.

“What we do know is that a mix of women at any given point in their cycles did better when primed to think about mating than when not primed to think about mating,” said Nicholas Rule, who conducted the study with colleagues from the University of Toronto.

To test the findings, Rule's team showed straight women photos of lesbians and straight women and asked them to identify which were gay. On that task, there was no significant difference in the performance of ovulating or non-ovulating women.

Ovulating women are no more confident than their less fertile peers when making their choices; they're just much more successful, Rule said.

“We consistently find that people have no idea they are able to do this,” said the assistant professor of psychology and the study’s lead author. “They come out of the experiment completely frustrated and say, 'This is so hard, no one can do this,' and then we look at the data and they’re doing amazingly well.”

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