When women are at their most fertile time of the month, they smell better to men

Olivia Petter
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If the recent boom of dating apps has taught us anything, it's that choosing someone to spend our lives with can be as quick as the swipe of a finger, where snap decisions are made based solely on what a person looks like.

However, we may also be hugely influenced by a person's smell, as a new study has revealed that men are more attracted to some women's scents than others.

Rather than just looking for someone with a pleasant perfume or shower gel, it turns out it's actually a woman's time of the month that dictates when they smell most attractive.

According to research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, women are actually most attractive to men when they’re at their most fertile due to a special scent released by the body during this time.

In a study involving 28 women and 57 men, researchers identified the smells associated with the hormone oestradiol, which peaks when women are ovulating, as the source of attractiveness.

The women who took part were required to stick to a strict diet so as not to tamper with the results.

At the time of participating, they were each at the most fertile stage of their menstrual cycle and were asked to sleep with cotton wool pads under their arms.

The pads were stored in freezers, defrosted (to allow men to sniff the pads at the same time) and given to the male participants, who were required to rate each scent in terms of attractiveness, which they did without having seen images of what the women looked like.

The researchers cross-referenced the results with saliva samples taken from the women, which revealed that the higher the level of oestradiol and the lower the level of progesterone, the more attractive the women’s scents were to the men.

Speaking to The Independent, lead author Daria Knoch, of the University of Bern, explains: "We showed that women with high levels of oestrogen and low levels of progesterone had the most attractive body odour as judged by men."

Such a ratio is widely believed to infer peak fertility, suggesting that men may be subconsciously drawn to women who they think are more likely to bear them children.

“I believe we all find it very interesting to find out what makes us attractive,” Knoch writes in the study.

“Chemical communication of sex and reproductive stage are ubiquitous in the animal kingdom."

“Our results provide strong evidence that humans also use chemical signals to communicate their reproductive potential.”

It’s not the first time that studies have suggested men are more attracted to women when they are at their most fertile.

There is some evidence to suggest that women’s faces become more sexually attractive to both men and women as they near ovulation, due to a redder and peachier complexion.