According to a new scientific study, women who naturally produce more estrogen than others are more likely to see themselves as being attractive, and to behave more like men in romantic relationships, changing partners often and even cheating on their current one. Psychologists say that this type of behavior may be related to the tremendous cost of giving birth to offspring.
"These women are willing to trade up when the opportunity arises and continue to extract these lucrative resources from men when they can," says study leader Kristina Durante, who is an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Texas in Austin. "For women it's all about the resources that we need. If you're going to be getting knocked up there's a significant cost."
Also, women who produce more estradiol, a derived hormone of estrogen, are more likely to be perceived as being more attractive than others, and, statistically, mother more children than those who produce lower levels of the stuff. The amounts of estradiol in each woman's body vary significantly over the duration of the fertility cycle, and explain women's sudden interest or disinterest in intercourse over a month.
When it comes to one-night-stands however, all women rated their interest in these actions the same, regardless of their hormonal productions. However, those with more estradiol reported that they were more inclined to cheat on their partners, taking action ranging from harmless flirts to serious affairs. Durante says that one of her theories states that women may have evolved these traits in ancient times, when they were more dependent on men for food, shelter and protection than they are now.
The study focused more on young women, so these conclusions apply over limited periods of time. Jagiellonian University psychologist Grazyna Jasienska, from Krakow, Poland, says that future studies should also focus on elder women, to see if there are any correlations between their behavior later in life and estradiol and estrogen levels.