Menstruation is meant to dispose of old eggs. After menses, a woman begins ovulating and is most fertile. Women undergo a psychological shift during this period to undertake short-term mating with masculine, dominant males. After ovulation, women emotionally shift towards a long-term mating strategy towards men who pursue resource accumulation.
This reproductive cycle controls how men’s genes are passed on to the next generation and how society functions. If most women obey their short-term mating predisposition during ovulation, then they will give birth to offspring who resemble the character of the man they mated with. If most women obey their long-term mating predisposition, they and their offspring will be ensured enough resources to survive.
Short-term mating strategies usually involve less paternal investment from the male, who is incentivized to partner only during the proliferative phase. Long-term mating strategies require heavy parental involvement from the male, who usually commits his limited resources to as few females and offspring as possible.
In order to give birth to the healthiest offspring possible and ensure their survival, a woman must reproduce with the healthiest man possible and then secure the resources of the wealthiest man possible.
Most mammalian females possess classic estrus, a discrete phase of the ovulatory cycle during which females engage in sex and undergo dramatic physical changes that make them attractive to males. In contrast, humans engage in sexual activity throughout the ovulatory cycle. But is it the case that humans possess no estrous-like changes across the cycle? Research over the past three decades has shown that, in fact, women’s sexual desires change across the cycle, as do men’s responses to women. Research over the last few years has sharpened scientific understanding of the precise nature of these changes. Nevertheless, many intriguing questions remain. We highlight recent work in this area and identify key opportunities for research in the future.