Lap dancers provide evidence for human estrus

Lap dancers with a normal cycle earned more during their 5 hours shift when in estrus. Estrus refers to the phase when the female is sexually receptive. Under regulation by gonadotropic hormones, ovarian follicles are maturing and estrogen secretions exert their biggest influence. They earned about US$335 per 5 hours shift, during the luteal phase they earned US$260, and US$185 per shift during menstruation. Participants using contraceptive pills showed no estrus peak earning.

This research was started to test the “hidden” estrus view. In this view the estrus phase was “lost” or “hidden” in the human female to promote male provisioning and paternal care in long-term pair bonded relationships. In contrast to this view recent laboratory studies showed that women near the most fertile point of their cycle are most attractive to males.
This was manifested by:
1. more attractive body scent
2. greater facial attractiveness
3. increased soft-tissue body symmetry
4. decreased waist-to-hip ratio
5. higher verbal creativity and fluency

Eighteen professional lap dancers working in a gentlemen’s club recorded their menstrual cycle, work shifts and tip earnings for 60 days on a study website. A mixed model analysis of 296 work shifts showed an interaction between cycle phase and hormonal contraception use.

Dr Shock loves creative unusual research.

Other remarks

1. Economic evidence for the existence of estrus in contemporary human females

2. Real consumer spending patterns reveal human preferences more reliably than verbally stated judgments

3. Men can detect female fertility accurately but not so accurate that tips during the other phases drop to zero

4. As often in races between the sexes the outcome is not a clear victory for either sex


1. Small sample size (n=18) hampers generalizability
2. Outcomes (earning menstrual cycle phase, hormonal contraception) were self-reported
3. The exact mechanism that influences the tip earnings is not identified (body scent, facial attractiveness etc.)

These results have clear implications for human evolution, sexuality and economics.

Article discussed:
Miller, G., Tybur, J.M., Jordan, B.D.
Ovulatory cycle effect on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus.
Evolution and Human Behavior 2007 ahead of print.

Additional information on Science Now
Information about the Estrous cycle on Wikipedia.