Raised salivary testosterone in women is associated with increased attraction to masculine faces

L. L.M. Welling, B. C. Jones, L. M. DeBruine, C. A. Conway, M. J. Law Smith, A. C. Little, D. R. Feinberg, M. A. Sharp, E. A.S. Al-Dujaili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Citations (Scopus)


Women's preferences for masculinity in men's faces, voices and behavioral displays change during the menstrual cycle and are strongest around ovulation. While previous findings suggest that change in progesterone level is an important hormonal mechanism for such variation, it is likely that changes in the levels of other hormones will also contribute to cyclic variation in masculinity preferences. Here we compared women's preferences for masculine faces at two points in the menstrual cycle where women differed in salivary testosterone, but not in salivary progesterone or estrogen. Preferences for masculinity were strongest when women's testosterone levels were relatively high. Our findings complement those from previous studies that show systematic variation in masculinity preferences during the menstrual cycle and suggest that change in testosterone level may play an important role in cyclic shifts in women's preferences for masculine traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-161
Number of pages6
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2007


  • androgen
  • attractiveness
  • face perception
  • menstrual cycle
  • sexual dimorphism
  • testosterone


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