A study shortly to be published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour found that lap dancers in their most fertile phase of the menstrual cycle earned much more than dancers in the least fertile phase. In contrast, dancers who took the contraceptive pill, which ‘flattens’ the hormone cycle, earned much the same throughout the month.
This adds to the increasing evidence that women’s sexual behaviour changes during their monthly cycle, and that the external signs of this change are picked up by males.
Other studies have found that the most fertile time is associated with increased facial attractiveness, decreased waist-to-hip ratio, higher levels verbal creativity, a heightened interest in other partners (and a greater ‘protective’ interest from their primary partner) – to name but a few of the effects.
The researchers of the latest study, led by psychologist Prof Geoff Miller, asked 18 dancers to record their menstrual periods, work shifts, and tip earnings for 60 days via a web site.
Although 18 participants is relatively few for a psychology study, they recorded a large amount of data over time – 296 work shifts in total, representing about 5300 lap dances.
Dancers who were not on the contraceptive pill and at their most fertile time earned an average of $70 dollars an hour, twice the $35 average of women at their least fertile phase.
Dancers who took the contraceptive pill, which ‘flattens’ the hormone cycle, didn’t show a peak in earnings when the peak in fertility would normally occur.
The researchers suggest that this is evidence of ‘estrus’ – an external display of peak fertility – seen in almost all other animals but supposedly missing in humans. One theory goes that women have ‘concealed ovulation’ as estrus has been lost during evolution.
But the fact that tip earnings peak during estrus perhaps suggests that men can detect female fertility more accurately than the ‘concealed ovulation’ idea suggests.
They also argue that studying lap dancing may also be a particularly powerful way of understanding change in female sexual attractiveness as the interaction with the men is ‘multisensory’ and there is a clear measure of appreciation – the tips from patrons:
Because academics may be unfamiliar with the gentlemen’s
club subculture, some background may be helpful… Club patrons will often “sample” several different dancers with one lap dance each before picking one for a more expensive multisong bout of dancing. Thus, patrons can assess the relative attractiveness of different women through intimate verbal, visual, tactile, and olfactory interaction, and those attractiveness judgments can directly influence women’s tip earnings, through the number of 3-min dances that patrons request from each dancer.