"Gaydar": Women really can tell sexuality just by looking at a man
Women really do have a “gaydar” and can tell sexuality just by looking at a man
9:34 PM on 23rd June 2011
It”s just plain biology: A woman”s need for a mate gives her the instinct to tell a man”s sexual orientation
It is not a myth, women really do have a “gaydar” – the ability to tell if a man is straight or gay just by looking at his face, according to scientists.
And this instinct is at its most powerful when she is in the mood for romance or something more serious, they found.
But it may be down to old-fashioned female intuition and a biological need for a potential mate than some kind of trendy streetwise instinct, they believe.
Gaydar is the modern term giving to the ability to spot a gay man or woman from a straight one, even when there are no obvious clues. It was first coined within the gay community itself.
And it seems that it does exist, at least among women and, in particular, those females who are at the peak of their fertility and looking for a mate.
Shown a set of photographs of 80 men”s faces, all with the same expression, researchers found women were remarkably adept in being able to spot the gay and straight men.
But in a similar experiment using photographs of gay and straight women, the female volunteers were less able to differentiate between straight females and lesbians.
The study by psychologists from the University of Toronto then compared the results to the women”s cycles and found those at their most fertile had the most accurate male “gaydar.”
Lead researchers Professor Nicholas Rule said: “This effect is not apparent when a woman is judging another female”s orientation.
“This suggests that fertility influences a heterosexual woman”s attention to potential mates rather than merely increasing sensitivity to sexual orientation or nonverbal cues more generally.”
In a follow up experiment, half of a group of women were asked to read a story about a love affair before looking at the men”s faces, the idea being they would be in a romantic mindset.
And those women were even more accurate in being able to tell which men were straight and which were gay just from the pictures of their faces.
This suggests the intuition is at its most strongest not just when the biological clock is ticking but also when they are, literally, in the mood for love.
Prof Rule”s study added: “Together, these findings suggest that women”s accuracy may vary across the fertility cycle because men”s sexual orientation is relevant to conception.
“It implies that inducing romantic or mating-related thoughts improved accuracy in identifying men”s sexual orientations.”