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Two competing theories addressing cyclic variations in response to androstenone
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Gone with the Wind
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Post: #1
Two competing theories addressing cyclic variations in response to androstenone
02-21-2010 12:38 PM

Many pheromone users have noted cyclic variations in female response to androstenone. Research has shown females also exhibit cyclic variations in evaluation of facial attractiveness and “forward and aggressive” behavioral displays. The facial elements found to be attractive during fertile periods are elements associated with high androgen concentrations, as are “forward and aggressive” displays.

There are two major theories to explain this variation.

Theory 1
Female perceptions of attractiveness change during fertile periods within a menstrual cycle to facilitate copulations outside an established pair bond. The major (genetic) benefit of such extra-pair copulations is only available during fertile periods, while the risk (dissolution of the pair bond) is relatively constant across the menstrual cycle.

Theory 2
Female perceptions of attractiveness change during long term periods of enhanced fertility. Many factors such as food availability, environmental stressors, and energetic demands influence the amount of biological resources a female has available for gestation, and also her fertility. During high fertility periods, the female has a greater payback from investing energy in mate selection. During low fertility periods, the value in evaluating mates is much less. High fertility periods are marked by increases in estradiol, which also fluctuates within the menstrual cycle. Under this theory, monthly fluctuations in attractiveness evaluations are simply a by-product of the more valuable correlation of attractiveness evaluations and long-term estradiol levels.

Differing predictions.

Theory 1 predicts a tight coupling of enhanced attractiveness to the fertile period. Theory 2 does not predict such a tight coupling. The luteal phase of the menstrual cycle is of interest because it is a non-fertile portion of the cycle in which elevated concentrations of estradiol are present. Some recent (2008) work by Roney indicates that “women’s luteal-phase estradiol predicted the strength of their preference for the faces of higher-testosterone men.” This experimental result tends to endorse theory 2, and weaken theory 1.

Either/or vs. synthesis

It may be a fallacy to consider theory 1 and theory 2 to be mutually exclusive. They could possibly both be true, and the reality of the human response could be an evolving balance between the two factors and their effect of the interpretation of desirable traits in males.


Much of this discussion is drawn from:

The Role of Sex Hormones in the Initiation of Human Mating Relationships
James Roney, in Endrocrinology of Social Relationships
Harvard University Press, 2009

The paper is well referenced, should anyone wish to follow up. Speculations on androstenone and synthesis of theories are mine, and any errors are most probably due to my summarizing and rewording of material from Roney’s article.

Gone with the Wind

<p align="center">Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate. Bodhi svaha!</p>
(This post was last modified: 03-10-2010 9:55 PM by Gone with the Wind.)
02-21-2010 12:38 PM
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cosmomac
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Post: #2
RE: Two competing theories addressing cyclic variations in response to Androstanone
03-10-2010 6:47 AM

It's going to take me several reads to digest this.

(Not the sharpest tool in the shed...heh)

But let me make sure I get the first part:

There are two perspectives. Right?

A) Males using androstanone have noticed variations in its effectiveness,
and have pinpointed this variation to be cyclic, rather than random? This
sounds like it's outside the parameters of a research study. Yes? How were
they able to denote the variations in effectiveness to be cyclic, let alone to
be able to relate to the menstrual cycles of their various targets? Are the targets
the same women whom they know well enough to find out such info?

B) Females actively involved in official research answering survey questions re their
own behavior as well as looking at pictures of faces and providing the opinions of
attractiveness at various times in their menstrual cycle?

Before I can even try to understand the rest, I'll need to know if I have this part right.

In the past I've found I have incorrectly assumed things and totally misunderstood reports,
not just on pheromone research, but all kinds of subjects, but have been able to go back
and understand by taking things slowly, point by point.

cmb

(This post was last modified: 03-15-2010 11:43 AM by cosmomac.)
03-10-2010 6:47 AM
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Gone with the Wind
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Post: #3
RE: Two competing theories addressing cyclic variations in response to Androstenone
03-10-2010 8:01 AM

A - Many pheromone users, both male and female, have noted on discussion boards that female response to androstenone appears to vary over the menstrual cycle. This part of the write-up was my speculation based on my experience and what has been reported here and on the Pherotalk board. I don't know of any controlled experimental data on this point, but others may be able to reference some. I suspect there may be some mamalian data available, as androstenone is used for agricultural purposes to stimulate mating in swine. Human female users tend to be well aware of where they are in their cycles, and some have the ability to percieve co-relations with their androstenone response and cycle time. Also, some male users are in established relationships and have awareness of their partner's cyclic phases. It is commonly reported that sexual responses to androstenone are strongest during fertile periods, and that androstenone can be perceived as irritating during other times. I don't know that we can get good definition of leuteal phase responses from the anecdotal reports. That may take an academic study of some sort. Or perhaps some of our female users could try for a more detailed mapping.

B - The facial attractiveness studies are academic research, involving showing females pictures of faces. The faces may be real or composites, but are graded according to certain physical characteristics associated with testosterone, like squareness of the chin.

The two theories I mention were advanced to explain the study results in (B). I posted here because I noted a similarity between the results reported in (A) and (B), and thought a few select readers here might enjoy thinking about these two different theories.


I am hoping that Kohl will weigh in on this. My understanding of Kohl's paradigm is that (A) is probably a fundamental response, and that (B) is a conditioned response based on olfactory input. Kohl's perspective is controversial, but intriguing.

Gone with the Wind

<p align="center">Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate. Bodhi svaha!</p>
(This post was last modified: 03-10-2010 10:00 PM by Gone with the Wind.)
03-10-2010 8:01 AM
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Post: #4
RE: Two competing theories addressing cyclic variations in response to Androstanone
03-10-2010 2:30 PM

Studies have shown that close to ovulation the scent of Androstanone becomes less offensive to women. Notice the study said "less offensive" not "smell good". If I have a spare moment, I'll see if I can find the reference to the study.

To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods.
---Lazerous Long
03-10-2010 2:30 PM
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Post: #5
RE: Two competing theories addressing cyclic variations in response to Androstanone
03-10-2010 3:32 PM

I thought that Androstenone had a cyclic component but that Androstanone had not been linked to ovulation cycles (in fact I can find very little on Androstanone at all). Much of the literature actually deals with testosterone as the predominant male androgen, so I am assuming pheromonally it would extrapolate to Androstenone, T's metabolite.

Can you cite some of the links for me? It's driving me crazy hunting for them and I'm getting nowhere with it.
03-10-2010 3:32 PM
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Mtnjim
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Post: #6
RE: Two competing theories addressing cyclic variations in response to Androstanone
03-10-2010 3:52 PM

(03-10-2010 3:32 PM)Willow Wrote:  I thought that Androstenone had a cyclic component ...

Gad, I hate being half blind, I didn't see the "a", you're right.:red face:

To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods.
---Lazerous Long
03-10-2010 3:52 PM
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cosmomac
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Post: #7
RE: Two competing theories addressing cyclic variations in response to Androstanone
03-10-2010 4:20 PM

Well there's so much to learn.

Muy interesane. Muchas gracias.

(I hope Kohl weighs in as well.)

03-10-2010 4:20 PM
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Gone with the Wind
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Post: #8
RE: Two competing theories addressing cyclic variations in response to Androstenone
03-10-2010 9:50 PM

(03-10-2010 3:32 PM)Willow Wrote:  I thought that Androstenone had a cyclic component but that Androstanone had not been linked to ovulation cycles...

I screwed up! I've been typing "a n o n e" and trusting the forum software to translate to androstenone. I didn't proofread carefully.

I'm clumsily typing from a phone but I went back and cleaned up the typos. Hope I got them all.

Thanks for catching the error.

Gone with the Wind

<p align="center">Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate. Bodhi svaha!</p>
(This post was last modified: 03-10-2010 10:27 PM by Gone with the Wind.)
03-10-2010 9:50 PM
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Post: #9
RE: Two competing theories addressing cyclic variations in response to androstenone
03-11-2010 10:30 AM

Well I feel less insane now. I was wondering how in the world I was missing this research on Androstanone...

Whew!
03-11-2010 10:30 AM
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Post: #10
RE: Two competing theories addressing cyclic variations in response to Androstanone
04-07-2010 3:22 PM

Grammer, K. (1993) 5 a androst 16en 3a on: A male pheromone? a brief report. Ethology and Sociobiology, 14, 201 208. -- presents evidence that human female's perceptions of the smell of androstenone from males varies over their cycle, which is interpreted as consistent with the loss of estrus serving to facilitate copulations outside of the pair bond. The negative rating of androstenone changes to a neutral response at the conceptive optimum around ovulation, which may facilitate female mate choice.

Because many products incorporate androstenone, I hope someone can find even a shred of evidence from a human study that suggests it is a human pheromone. Anecdotal evidence aside, who was the first to use it in a product and claim that it was a human pheromone. My research, beginning in the mid-1980's led me to avoid it, and I've seen nothing since then that would change my mind. What are product users reading that I'm not?

James V. Kohl
http://www.pheromones.com


(03-10-2010 4:20 PM)cosmomac Wrote:  Well there's so much to learn.

Muy interesane. Muchas gracias.

(I hope Kohl weighs in as well.)
04-07-2010 3:22 PM
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