Fertile imagination: Women have more sexual fantasies when they're ovulating
Women reported finding their fantasies 'more arousing' during their most fertile period
17:27 GMT, 23 March 2012
Women may be more of a slave to their hormones than they realise, according to a new fertility study.
Researchers found single women experienced more sexual fantasies on average during the most fertile part of their menstrual cycles compared to the rest of the month.
They also saw a shift in their daydreams to include a higher proportion of men at this time and reported feeling more aroused as well. This would suggest they were influenced by primal physical desires to find a mate.
Women reported having 1.3 sexual fantasies a day during the most fertile three days of their cycle
A team led by Samantha Dawson from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, set out to find out how a woman's hormones affected their sexual interests.
'I wanted to study fantasies because they are not constrained
by the presence or absence of a partner, so the increase in fantasies and also
the increase in how arousing those fantasies were is a reflection of this
increased interest in sex mid cycle,' Ms Dawson told Mail Online.
They studied 27 heterosexual women aged between 18 and 30 who were not in a relationship or on hormonal birth control. Each filled in a daily online diary about their sexual fantasies for one month.
The researchers worked out the 10-day window when each woman was most fertile by counting back from their last periods. During this window the women took a urine test that detected the exact day of ovulation (when an egg is released from one of the ovaries ready to be fertilised).
When analysing the results, they found women reported an average 0.77 fantasies a day. However, during the three days around ovulation this increased to 1.3 per day and the fantasies involved a higher proportion of men.
'Women prefer someone whom
they are able to receive genes from – hence why the number of men in the
fantasies increases at ovulation,' Ms Dawson said.
Both results were far higher than previous studies that suggested women only fantasised around once a week. The researchers suggested their latest figures were probably more accurate as they came from a daily measure and didn't rely on long-term recollection.
The women were also more likely to focus on the emotional content of their fantasy during their fertile period rather than the visual, which is seen as more of a male characteristic.
Ms Dawson said: 'I believe that when conception risk is highest (ovulation) women would want to secure a potential partner whom they are connected to emotionally, in case a pregnancy results from any interaction during this phase.'
Writing in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior the team concluded: 'Sexual fantasies were significantly more frequent during ovulation than during non-fertile phases.
'These results support other research that has suggested that peak fertility coincides with increased sexual desires, arousability, and sexual motivation in women.'