Every few months a study comes out making a claim about the impact that women's hormones have on their choices, desires and preferences.
Below is a sampling of five ways that lady hormones supposedly influence us:
1. Increase (or decrease) how much we want to have sex.
According to a study published on April 25, women's estrogen and progesterone levels may determine their sexual motivation. Researchers found that estrogen increased undergraduate women's sexual desire, while progesterone decreased it. Testosterone had very little impact either way. However, only 37 women participated in the full study.
2. Become attracted to "feminine" men (if you're on the pill).
A U.K. study from early April which only had a sample size of 18 found that heterosexual women on the birth control pill were more likely to be attracted to effeminate male faces. The young women were tested twice, once off the pill and once when they were on the pill. Before taking birth control, the women reported being attracted to faces with more traditionally "masculine" features like "larger jaws, more prominent brow ridges and more angular features."
3. Sway our voting preferences.
In October 2012, CNN published a seriously misguided story reporting on a study which claimed that ovulating women were more likely to vote for a liberal candidate because they felt "sexier." People called bullsh*t on that one pretty quickly, and the story was pulled.
4. Sway our career choices.
A September 2011 study claimed that sex hormones could help determine men and women's career preferences later on. The researchers studied young people with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a genetic condition caused by being overexposed to the male sex hormone androgen in-utero, and their siblings who didn't have CAH. They found that women with CAH were more interested in "things," while women without CAH were more interested in people -- a.k.a. girly hormones make you want to work with people later on in life and become teachers while masculine hormones make you want to be a scientist. FYI, we know plenty of women interested in "things" who don't have CAH.
5. Make us like "bad boys."
So if you're on the pill, you like feminine men, but your hormones can also make you want to make out with a "bad boy"? According to a May 2012 study, your menstrual cycle is totally making you like that guy cruising around on his motorcycle. Researchers found that during ovulation, women pick "sexy" men over "reliable" men. (Unclear what makes someone reliable and what makes someone sexy.)