A Physical Effect of the Fertility Cycle on Men

On this man, at least.

Though not a Roman Catholic, I resemble one on the topic of contraception. Because I’m not completely nuts, I do strive to keep the little swineherds arriving on a reasonable schedule. Using the standard array of Natural Family Planning (NFP) techniques, we have managed to delay conceptions as desired with a fair amount of success. Katie has a much deeper understanding of her cycle and its physiological effects than (she judges) most women do. And I generally know where she is in her cycle, because of my strong interest in jumping her bones as often as possible.

You can read elsewhere about the effects of ovulation on a woman’s libido, or on a man’s. I’m here to tell you about the effects of ovulation on one man’s olfactory sensitivity. When Katie’s cycle peaks, so does my sense of smell. I’m idiosyncratically sensitive to odors at all times, but for about five or six days each cycle, I can smell everything in the house. And most of it smells bad. Foods I like suddenly have distinctly foul undertones, which I can detect from across the house, the moment a package is opened. Katie made a strange sort of salad the other day, and I knew when I opened my office door that she had been cutting yellow squash and zucchini.

I use this time of month as an opportunity to goad Katie into maintaining a cleaner household. Get the diaper trash out of the house. Don’t leave dirty dishes around; I can smell them. The infant you’re holding has peed himself; change him already.

I’ve been wondering lately whether this is a design and/or adaptation benefit. Are all men better smellers than women? That would make sense if men are gathering food and women are cleaning babies. Did primitive women lose all sense of danger during ovulation, such that men had to run after them constantly, lunging to rip the poisonous mushrooms from their gaping maws?


Filed under Marriage, Procreation

5 responses to “A Physical Effect of the Fertility Cycle on Men

  1. Pingback: Weekend Link Fest – Far East edition « Seasons of Tumult and Discord

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  3. Bob Smith

    Men generally have a worse sense of smell than women. We all know women synchronize hormonal cycles with each other, but I wasn’t aware of any such general effect between women and men.

  4. G

    Bob, I believe the explanation of this is still in the gray area of pheromones, or at least this “hormonal smell” is processed unconsciously.

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