Ovulating women buy sexier clothes, says U of M

She bought this underwear while she was ovulating.
She bought this underwear while she was ovulating.
image courtesy of Rachel Kramer Bussel

In the future, the robot sales clerks in the lingerie department will tailor their pitch based on where you are in your menstrual cycle. Maybe.

Marketing researchers at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management have released a new study that finds that ovulating shoppers buy sexier clothes when they are shown pictures of attractive local women. When the shoppers are shown pictures of unattractive local women, or attractive women who are 1,000 miles away, there's no effect.

Kristina Durant, a post-doc in marketing and logistics management who co-authored the study, explains it like this:

"In order to entice a desirable mate, a woman needs to assess the attractiveness of other women in her local environment to determine how eye-catching she needs to be to snare a good man."

Evolutionary behaviorists are always trying to explain the way we act as unconscious expressions of ancient hard-wired evolutionary drives: Men dog around because they want to spread their seed! Women are clingy because they want their young provided for! It's kind of tough to prove or disprove that the reason anyone does anything is due to subliminal natural-selection pressures, but that hasn't put the brakes on the hot new behaviorist trend: research on ovulating women.

There was the recent study about how ovulating women walk less sexily to keep men from bugging them. And one concluded strippers make more money when they're ovulating. And let's not forget the one about how ovulating women favored Obama for president

Durant says her new study research could be handy for retailers trying to sell more stuff to women.

"For about five to six days every month, normally ovulating women--constituting over a billion consumers--may be especially likely to purchase products and services that enhance physical appearance," she says.

Presumably this means that knowledge of consumers' menstrual rhythms will soon be valuable to businesses. Ladies, get ready for a brave new world in which your cycles are tracked in the same databases as your credit scores, buying habits, and google search terms.

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