Sexual Orientation & Olfactory Detection of Ovulation



  • Trouton, G., Guitar, A. E., Carmen, R. A., Grandis, T. & Geher, G. (2012). Male sexual orientation and the ability to detect female ovulation via olfaction.Journal of Social, Evolution, and Cultural Studies, 6(4), 469-479.
    • Abstract: For two decades, psychologists studying ovulation have successfully employed a series of “T-shirt studies” supporting the hypothesis that men can detect when a woman is most fertile based on olfactory detection of ovulatory cues. However, it is not known whether the ability to detect female fertility is primarily a function of biological sex, sexual orientation, or a combination of both. Using methodologies from previous T-shirt studies, we asked women not using hormonal contraceptives to wear a T-shirt for three consecutive nights during their follicular (ovulatory) and luteal (non-ovulatory) phases. Male and female participants of differing sexual orientations then rated the T-shirts based on intensity, pleasantness, and sexiness. Heterosexual males were the only group to rate the follicular T-shirts as more pleasant and sexy than the luteal T-shirts. Near-significant trends also indicated that heterosexual men and non-heterosexual women consistently ranked the T-shirts, regardless of menstrual stage, to be more intense, pleasant, and sexy than did non-heterosexual men and heterosexual women. Recommendations for future research, including suggestions for methodological changes, are discussed.

Poster Presentations

Male Sexual Orientation and the Ability to Detect Female Ovulation via Olfaction
Can You Smell My Ovulation? Male Sexual Orientation and the Ability to Detect Female Ovulation via Olfaction (click for PDF)
Presentation at the Conference of The NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society (2012)
EvoS Summit Poster:
Presentation at The EvoS Summit (2012)

Media Coverage

EvoS Students Study Sexual Selection On Campus (February 23, 2012)

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