Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Strippers, and why men can't be fooled

There are few moments in a man's life where he thinks more about sex than during boring meetings or business dinners (after all, one of the main reasons people like business trips is that they hope to get laid).

I am lucky in that I spend some of said dinners with primatologists. These people are interesting to talk to. Seeing humans as just another primate, they wonder about human alpha males and things like the impact of the estrus cycle on what women think is sexy. I use those dinner conversations (or whatever I can remember from them) for my own. Some of them are even interesting enough to be used at bars and during pickup.

On one of these occasions, the topic shifted towards monogamy (using DNA analysis they had just found out that one of the alpha males in their colony had been cuckolded since years).

ME: I read somewhere that humans are supposed to be the only primate species with monogamy - at least for periods of months to years. They refered to "hidden ovulation". The idea is that humans have lost any outward sign of when the woman is most fertile. While other primates tend to get a red butt, we walk upright and tend to conceal our naked skin. This way the guys needs to stick around the whole time in order to make sure he is the one to impregnate her. Not even the woman knows when she is ovulating. There is no way for the man to find out. It is a sneaky trick in the battle of the sexes.

PRIMATOLOGIST (PT): Hahahahaha. There is no such thing as a sexually exclusive primate species. This is especially not true for humans. Well, yes, other apes and monkeys display quite saliently when it is the best time to mate, but it doesn't need red butts or swollen lips to signal that. It is the female's behavior that signals when she is ready to be impregnated.

ME: So men can tell when a woman is "in heat"?

PT: Oh yes, they can. One easy way is to judge her by what she's wearing (we all do so subconsciously). Women tend to dress more sexy during ovulation.

ME: That's fascinating. So, monkeys show off their butts - and women their boobs?

PT: It is more than that. Men seem to be able to judge by a woman's bodylanguage alone.

ME: How can you prove that? If women show more skin during their fertility peak anyway, how can you find out that there is something else that guys use to judge?

PR: Well, you see how they react to women who don't wear anything at all.

ME: Hahahaha. How can you get that study through the ethics board?

PR: Easy. Just go to a place where women already are naked. A strip club. Then measure how guys react to each of the girls, and see if they are ovulating.

ME: How they react?

PR: Yeah, how well they tip. Turns out that being fertile is a good money maker for strippers.

This discussion happened (not in the exact same word) some years after the study came out, but I never looked up the paper.
Until today.

The difference in tip is significant (about $150 more per shift).

The implications are even more interesting:

Women communicate by showing more or less skin and via body language that they are fertile, and men react to it.

You might not be surprised about that. After all, if a girl shows a lot of skin and shakes her derriere at the club, we all know she is "ready to go", right?

Watch this video (thanks to stage two for pointing it out to me): Science of Sex Appeal: Flirting Females. The findings were "shocking" to the scientist:

"- Women who were ovulating were more flirtatious

- Women who were ovulating and had a steady partner were the most flirtatious of all"

According to the scientist this may be so they can go out with their friends and "... then maybe do some double mating or whatever."

Next time your girl goes out with her friends, and she tells you she dresses up for "herself" or to "impress her friends", think again.


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  2. Something else,

    It is claimed women do not naturally sleep around because of the heavy investment an unwanted pregnancy would bring, without the support of the father; but men have the incentive to sleep around because there exists no such investment; and the will to spread the genes.

    What if....

    What if, because of the commitment of a male, now she has lost that punishment for an unwanted child? What if instinctively she is more prone to fuck around because now there will be a provider for the results?

    What if women are wired to behave like men, i.e. accumulate a lot of sperm during ovulation, and let the best sperm win, when there is a provider around?

    What if this is the darkest side of female sexuality that has been hidden from men? From committed men?

  3. yeah, i read the stripper study results about ovulation's effects on tipping....evolutionary biology is always of interest.

  4. My ex-girlfriend was a stripper... that's another story for another day. But she reported this, too... Tended to make more money on the days she was ovulating.

    I don't see it mentioned here, but aside from the woman's actions during this period, it's likely she is also giving off pheromones, or at least that there is some link between pheromones and ovulation.

    It's not much of a stretch (though still tantalizingly unproven) to assume that men pick up on ovulation subconsciously, and that it makes the women more attractive.

    My stripper ex put it more plainly... "They can smell it on me," she said.

  5. Great find. I remember anecdotes of women menstruating simultaneously in dormitories and mothers hiding their panties below their daughters cushion to help them get a more regular period. Interesting - especially when put in the context of game theory: by ovulating at the same time, none of the women gains an "advantage" over the others...

  6. Stripper story? Sure. Way back in the day we went to this club and one of the male strippers kept wagging his "floppy disc" at me. I was possibly the only one who thought this was NOT sexy. I had my mouth covered so I wouldn't laugh out loud. topless waiters birmingham

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