Women don’t literally have a sixth sense, but they do have better intuition than men, if casual observation is to be believed. (Readers may correct me if I’m off-base, but I think there have even been studies purporting to show that women do have a more finely developed intuition than men, or that women lean on their intuition more than men lean on theirs.)
If we take it as a given that women are more intuitive, then we can offer two plausible evolutionarily modulated reasons why this sex difference exists.
1. Women need to be better than men at screening out undesirable mate prospects, and intuition is a tool they use to accomplish on-the-fly screening.
Men are more visual-oriented than women, so men can see with a split second glance which women are worthy of their seed and which aren’t. Women, on the contrary, require many input variables to determine a man’s worthiness as a mating partner, including, in great measure, his personality; so women have evolved a preference for intuition — molded by eons of accumulated genetic wisdom — as a guide to help them filter out beta males from alpha males. (Or lesser value men from higher value men.) This intuition is what allows a woman to uncover, through the mechanisms of gut feelings and subconsciously formulated sly psychological “tests”, a man’s strength, character, attractiveness to other women, and ability to take the heat without melting down. Her hamster gets a tingle for the man who passes through her intuition filter, and she responds by physiologically opening up to him.
2. Women need to be better than men at averting and resolving relationship trouble, and intuition is a tool they use to identify early warning signs that the relationship is foundering.
A woman is honed like a machine to be a first responder to relationship crisis. She uses her intuition to pick out subtle nicks in the relationship armor that could grow to chasms if left untended. Women’s attractiveness window for landing a desirable mate is shorter than men’s attractiveness window, so a woman who has invested some months or even years into a relationship will have more to lose than the man should the relationship fail. A man can more easily pick himself up and brush himself off for another go-round in the dating scene. Women therefore have evolved an exquisite sense for sniffing out warning signs that a man is losing interest, or that his love, and hence his commitment, is cooling. This is why men are perplexed when women bring up “problems” with the relationship that the men can’t fathom are worthy of discussion. And yet, women’s refined intuition for evidence of men’s emotional distancing has likely served their sex well over the millennia, helping her head off additional investment that would lead nowhere but to an older and unlovelier version of herself alone again in the mating market.
Men who have experience with a lot of women have acquired an astute awareness of women’s intuition, and have even developed their own to compete with women. Players have a preternatural ability to know when a girlfriend is drifting away, or a lover is about to cheat, or a date isn’t both feet in. They know better than less experienced men when to cut their losses and when to press on, partly based on their own refined intuitions and partly based on a better ability to manipulate women’s intuitive sense for both of their gains. This is why some of the best players beloved by women possess feminine acumen themselves. The alpha male leader of men who cares not for the emotional world of women often leaves the sensitive female cold, and finds himself playing second fiddle to the man who has absorbed female psychology and made it work for him.