back to article Women's gaydar (for men) improves when ovulating

Researchers in Canada have found that women become much better at telling whether a man is gay – based merely on looking at a photo of his face – when they are ovulating and fertile. In the course of determining this, the psychology profs revealed that they possess highly effective scientifically-verified texts, the mere reading …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You mentioned the word Lesbian. You know what happens to your image when you do that.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    You mean...

    .. a copy of AD2000 or Computer Weekly are NOT female 'priming' material! Damn

    Do Mills & Boon do technical articles?

    Paris - 'cos she provides her own male 'priming' material.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Computer Weekly

      > Computer Weekly are NOT female 'priming' material!

      Could be .... does it have a > £100,000 jobs section?

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Computer Weekly

        Oh right I get it.

  3. Tom Wood

    So how good are they?

    What percentage did they guess correctly in either case? How big was the difference?

    Kind of useless article without even a hint at that info.

  4. Marvin the Martian



    Is it obvious that a fertile or aroused woman is more able to tell from a picture whether men are gay or straight? No.

    If it's that obvious to you, please answer if primed males are similarly better able to tell apart lesbians from heterosexual women; if so explain mechanism and similarly if not. No coherent story? Thought not.

    1. TheOtherHobbbes


      the implication is that according to this study, gay men and straight men have different facial features.

      So you could code an auto-gaydar, and build it into an app or an HTML5 site.

      People who worry about such things could upload a photo, and get an instant accurate and scientific gay/not gay score.

      I for one support such a venture - if only because the results might surprise some of El Reg's regular writers.

      1. Gannon (J.) Dick

        Redundancy Planning

        For years now we've had to hang large amounts of money on IT superstars to confuse women's gaydar.

        There really, really should have been an app for that.

      2. Dazed and Confused


        > So you could code an auto-gaydar, and build it into an app or an...

        It's probably included in the facebook facial recognition SW and the results are then with you for life.

      3. Scorchio!!

        Re: Actually

        "the implication is that according to this study, 'gay' men and straight men have different facial features."

        I've not read the article but, from my reading during my psychology B.Sc. way back that would be right. There are neural differences between straight men and 'gay' men/straight females and 'gay' females, and these involve neurohormonal releases from the womb onward. The differences are clearly measurable (in spite of past claims of 'gay' people), in the form of the preoptic bulb of the anterior hypothalamus, for example; in females the nuclei are (IIRC) larger and less numerous. This sort of finding occurs in the brains of 'gay' (I hate neologisms, especially when they abuse the language so) people Gunther Dörner did a lot of work on this kind of thing, and withstood a great deal of abuse from 'gay' people who short sightedly did not realise or accept that his work helped to substantiate something they often claimed; they simply were homosexual, not by choice, but because it was in their nature.

        Returning to the (cough) entry point, hormones affect the way facial bone structures are formed, among many other things, including hairline.

    2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      What's not obvious to you?

      "if primed males are similarly better able to tell apart lesbians from heterosexual women"

      Primed males attracted to all women, whether lesbian or not. They don't need to tell them apart.

      And, also from the same department, an indirect almost-scientific confirmation:

      1. Scorchio!!

        Re: What's not obvious to you?

        Also from the department of the bleedin' obvious; males have less to be jealous of females, inasmuch that they do not plant a seed. From a Darwinist/reproductive strategy there is no threat. A read of Dawkins' selfish gene amplifies the point.

    3. Markie Dussard
      Thumb Up

      and another thing ...

      Far from being 'bleedin-obvious' it actually suggests that this is a naturally selected skill that females have developed to avoid mating mismatches with the hordes of prehistoric gays that must have been mincing around on the African savannah. Gives more of the lie to those religious bigots who constantly flaunt their ignorance of biology by restating the mistaken assertion that homosexuality is 'unnatural'.

      I really think The Reg should start distancing itself from the Daily Heil, because some of its readers aren't quite that simple-minded.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        'Gay' is a recent term

        The concept of gayness is a relatively recent term, and somewhat inaccurate, since it imposes a near triplicate state (gay or straight or bi) on what is actually a range of sexuality. Or to put it simply. Many gay guys (by present day definition) are married and have kids.

      2. dit-dit-dit-dah

        Causation / Correlation

        Only if you assume that women are recognising gay features and rejecting them.

        The other alternative is that women are simply rejecting men with features that indicate they're not prime mates and as a consequence, at least a proportion of those rejected men are turning to homosexuality instead.

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Causation / Correlation

          Yes, that sounds *much* more likely.

          1. AdamWill


            Yep, much more likely - especially since we gay man are famously less superficially obsessed with looks than straight women...we really don't care about appearance at all!

            1. dit-dit-dit-dah

              Arguing for the sake of it...

              Bleh. It was just a thought.

              The research shows that ovulating women can identify gay men from a photo; presumably it's not so they can chase after them to get fashion tips, so I guess you can say they find you less sexually attractive. What do you care?

              I still think that what's been shown is not an ability to identify gayness, but just the already known preference that ovulating women have for heavily masculine features associated with status and health.

        2. Dazed and Confused

          Women normally complain

          That all the best ones are either married or gay.

        3. Scorchio!!

          Re: Causation / Correlation

          Oh Francis Galton and the early Italian criminologists (Cesare Lombroso) would *love* this bit. It means that the early criminologists' claim that criminals can be detected by dint of physiognomy is valid and true. Only it is not. Particularities (e.g., truthfulness, honesty, criminality) do not manifest themselves in physiology, but generalities (e.g. sexuality) do. One of the reasons is that criminality, lying and so on are not biological constructs. Similarly the polygraph is *not* a lie detector, substantially because lies are not (yet, you might argue; just as there is no one to one correspondence between sensory stimuli, how they impinge on nerves and are sent to the brain, there's no general machine code for cognitions, such as deception, criminality and, furthermore, CNS development, both genetically and phenotypically, differs across individuals, leading to the term 'individual differences') accessible in biological form; the polygraph detects dissimulation in the form of neurobiological correlates, that is, elevated pulse, HR, skin conductance, and so on.

          In addition, there are a number of different reproductive strategies, including fecundity, accuracy and so on; these rely on sexual fitness, intelligence, and so on. As with the 'criminal face' I've seen no demonstration of an 'intelligent face, no 'sexually fit' face, consistent with the debunking of Lombroso. Since human males are always in season it is hard to think of a reason why and how (hormonal cycles) their faces would show it, though this does occur in females; lips puffed out by elevated blood pressure indicate sexual readiness/receptiveness, a blush on the cheeks, in fact the very sorts of things that women pay a lot of money to have implanted/surgically altered by cosmetic surgeons.

        4. Allan George Dyer

          I just read that...

          as Castration / Correlation

          which might or might not be relevant. I really don't want to find out.

          1. Scorchio!!

            Re: I just read that...

            "as Castration / Correlation

            which might or might not be relevant. I really don't want to find out."

            ...and thank you for reminding me of other parts of my training. For example, it was thought by fluffy headed politicians that castration of sex offenders would solve a problem. It did not. The reason is that whereas humans, unlike for example rats, undergo sex differentiation inside the womb, and the process of sensitisation by circulating hormones (which the sharp eyed will note can demasculinise or defeminise a brain), the process cannot be reversed by orchidectomy. The foundations have already been (cough) laid.

        5. Scorchio!!

          Re: Causation / Correlation

          "The other alternative is that women are simply rejecting men with features that indicate they're not prime mates and as a consequence, at least a proportion of those rejected men are turning to homosexuality instead."

          That, roughly speaking, is the Germaine Greer argument in her nonsensical 'female eunuch'. She says words to the effect that homosexuals are men who cannot live up to their sexual role. I'll be home tonight and will pull that out for a quote if desired.

          It is of course pure unsubstantiated bullshit, of the sort that you would expect from an arts graduate making claims in the empirical realm. How that thing was ever believed defeats me. If a man had made half of the misandrist comments that she had, except in misogynist form, he would probably have been prosecuted under one of the yuman rights/equal rights 'laws' [1] passed by the Blair government.

          [1] Much of the welter of Blairite legislation was in fact their personal preferences in legal form.

        6. Scorchio!!

          Re: Causation / Correlation

          "The other alternative is that women are simply rejecting men with features that indicate they're not prime mates and as a consequence, at least a proportion of those rejected men are turning to homosexuality instead."

          ...and here is the quote from Greer, the unscientific:

          "Most homosexuality results from the inability of the person to adapt to his given sex role, and ought not to be treated as genetic and pathological, but the prejudiced language of abnormality offers the homosexual no way of expressing this rejection, so he must consider himself a freak. The ‘normal’ sex roles that we learn to play from our infancy are no more natural than the antics of a transvestite. In order to approximate those shapes and attitudes which are considered normal and desirable, both sexes deform themselves, justifying the process by referring to the primary, genetic difference between the sexes. But of forty-eight chromosomes only one is different: on this difference we base a complete separation of male and female, pretending as it were that all forty-eight were different. Frenchmen may well cry ‘Vive la différence’, for it is cultivated unceasingly in all aspects of life. It is easiest and most obvious to consider that deliberately induced deformity as it is manifested in the body and our concepts of it, for whatever else we are or may pretend to be, we are certainly our bodies."

          The Female Eunuch, pp33-34, Harper perennial modern classics (1970)

          Greer seems to have a bee in her bonnet about homosexuality, mentioning it several times. Today I found myself wondering if she hates homosexuals because they have escaped women!

          She has to the best of my knowledge never offered any data in support of her argument, and this is typical of the empirical claims made by arts graduates. I've concluded that this woman is a charlatan.

          1. skeptical i

            Agree that Greer's ideas about homosexuality are bogus, but ...

            ... this bit -- "In order to approximate those shapes and attitudes which are considered normal and desirable, both sexes deform themselves, justifying the process by referring to the primary, genetic difference between the sexes" -- sounds spot on. Obviously, data and empiracal studies would be nice, but I think even a cursory glance across history and across any playground would indicate that if kids could just "be themselves" and pursue their interests regardless of whether they are "for boys" or "for girls" we'd all be better off. Honestly, life is too short to be limiting kids' potential for reasons as irrelevant as genitals.

            1. Scorchio!!

              @skeptical i

              Well the neurobiological data are overwhelming had she but read a little, though obviously it's not her field, which is literature. Attempts to make boys like girl's toys and vice versa seem, statistically speaking, significantly [1] doomed to failure, because the boys - again, statistically speaking - begin to pick up the toys their feminist mothers train them to ignore. I have data somewhere and can, if prodded hard, produce them.

              The conformity issues, well.... ....there are things known as sexually dimorphic behaviours (both non sexual and sexual) that are hard wired, including the lordosis position in rats [ ], cocking in dogs, squatting in bitches, and further up the phylogenetic scale these become ever more subtle and elegant. For example blush indicating sexual arousal/readiness, frequently used as a flirting tool. It goes deeper; in game theory tests of female and male aggression revealed that, whilst men are more ready to adopt an early aggressive strategy, women wait until the last line (or near) is crossed and then flare up into a far more aggressive posture. That would be consistent with defense of the young. Another specimen of sexually specific differences includes the emission of a hormone in late lactation which causes stomach aches in the offspring. It happens around the year six, and is a suitable device for weaning off children who have persisted for so long at the teat. Motherly feelings or not, ejection is the name of the game, and on with the next brat.

              As to your last sentence, meheh; the irony is that Greer's failed marriages included one which fell apart due to her multiple infidelities in the **first three weeks**; not only would that logically make her unfit to preach on the matter of marriage, but she is clearly obsessed with her genitalia and their functions. I'm trying to build up a life history on the woman, because her behavioural history seems to be the source of her problems. I kid you not. Anyhow, I think that much of her views on anything is coloured by her experiences. True to form she does seem to have a tendency to generalise from the particular, in this case the stories she's concocted about the aetiology of homosexuality, about which she clearly knows foxtrot alpha.

              On an ironic note, in checking a couple of things for this response to you, I discovered a small cutlet of information. Greer stood against the transsexual, Rachel Padman, for a fellowship at Newnam College Oxford (a woman's college) on the feminist grounds that Padman was born a man, but later resigned (1996) on account of the obloquoy she experienced. It is indeed nice to know that spiteful, silly ideologues can be given a beating. Somewhat ironically she was more recently taken hostage by a student, who avowed ever lasting daughterly love for her. This could not have happened to a better <Irony>"Person"</Irony>. How appropriate that her sister (owing to the age difference that would be daughter I suppose) gave her an idea of how it feels to be on the end of a wedge of BS. An exercise in empathy? Not hardly; more recently the fool made remarks about the probability that British soldiers will rape innocent civilians, thereby earning her yet more ire. She does not learn it would seem. Normally I would suggest an impairment of the frontal lobe (prefrontal area), but that might lead to litigation, as the Wikipedia article suggests [ particularly see passage on litigation on the matter of the Padperson case]. So I won't, and I must emphasise that I won't. Doubly.

              [1] Statistical significance is set during the design phase of experiments (important point that) according to strict criteria that are publicly set in the appropriate methodology for a given discipline. It means that one or two exceptions do not a summer make, either way; given Gunther Dörner's work from quite early on, data have been on record showing why homosexual males have neuroanatomical similarities (correlated with behavioural ones) with females, and there is no excuse for her ignorance on the matter.

              Right. Pub.

  5. serviceWithASmile

    thanks el reg

    you've perked up my drooping thursday morning with this story.

    i thought i could make more puns when i started typing this but i just can't keep it up.

    tomorrow night at the pub, cue: "i'll prime *your* mating condition"


    by the way, exactly how does one become a trick cyclist? it seems like an easy day's work to me, and apparently *someone* must give them money.

    1. nyelvmark

      exactly how does one become a trick cyclist?

      You start by failing GCSE maths...

  6. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Something for Annals of Improbable Research?

    or even an Ig Nobel prize (for research that first makes you laugh, and then makes you think)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You said anal. Hehehe.

  7. peyton?

    Mildly interesting

    Not the research mind you - that sounds complete bollocks to me. But I found myself thinking - if they could train a machine (neural net/whatever) to do the same, then I might agree that they've discovered something. That would be sort of a reversal from the norm, where we use computers to mine data and verify it with humans.

  8. Ralthor

    Bigger Bollix...

    ... has been reported.

    But not by reliable witnesses.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    That's crazy...

    If you can tell if someone is a chocolatier or not just from looking at them it means they were born like that, and everyone knows it's a choice that people make...there was even an app for it.

  10. Graham Bartlett

    @Micky 1

    Well trolled.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    So...they're sort of like drug sniffing dogs then?


  12. frank ly

    I found that text !

    In e-book form! No, I'm not saying where it is.

    1. Bradley

      oh come on

      Don't be like that

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Any ideas?

    "the psychology profs revealed that they possess highly effective scientifically-verified texts, the mere reading of which sends nubile young sorority girls into a mating frenzy."

    Hmm. Any idea where I could obtain a copy of said texts?

    1. Steven Roper


      Google "Mills and Boon" and all your questions will be answered ;)

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Richard Porter

    Sorry I'm not quite clear

    Was it the sorority girls you have strategically positioned on cofee tables etc, or the material?

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Peer Review?

    I bet after this is reviewed it will show there was flaw in the way the experiment was carried out. It could be as simple of the clothing they wore or the grooming of the men in the pictures. Why are they doing these experiments and who funded it? Reminds me of experiments done to measuring people heads to prove that white people were smarter then black people. If you can tell if someone is gay by their looks, will we make them wear pink triangle arm bands? Will we put them in camps? Will we gas them? Do you want to live in that kind of world, again?

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Peer Review?

      Good grief.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    since when

    did men want to avoid having sex with lesbians?

    1. mikethebull

      Since when........

      I'm not sure they do. Isn't it more a case of lesbians wanting to avoid sex with men?

    2. SirTainleyBarking

      Since When

      The probability of achieving Horizontal Happy time is much better with Hetero Women

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Is everyone on the reg a complete perv?

    Not denying that i am too, just, something is really fishy in everyone's attitude towards women...

    Paris, just to make a point!

  19. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    Numbers are statistically insignificant, and there has been no independent oversight. Also, there are more babies born in areas with lots of cars, than similar sized areas with fewer cars. Therefore cars produce babies.

  20. Jon Press

    Flawed methodology

    Whereas you might be able to tell these things from a man's face, when it comes to a woman you really need a picture of her shoes.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it obvious...

    That women recognise gay men by the fact that they are not trying to take their clothes off?

    Does it really take research to establish this?

    File with "People who enjoy their jobs take fewer days off"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      no, it's not.

      What's a 'day off'?

  22. Bobster

    So, in conclusion...?

    They'll be making an app for it then?

  23. HFoster

    Bleedin' Psychologists...

    This is a pretty fucking irrelevant study. If they'd done the same with Jews there'd be uproar, but gay men are apparently fair game still.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Bleedin' Psychologists...

      I don't see how it victimises or belittles gay men personally, but perhaps I'd feel differently if I were a gay man.

      1. HFoster


        Everyone's on a sliding-scale continuum of sexuality, with the minority of the species at the hard extremes. And it doesn't matter, except to people who feel threatened by homosexual activity.

        So why study whether or not women can spot gay men from photographs, and when this phenomenon is most prominent?

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