Women Prefer Men To Be Stronger And More Buff, New Study Reveals
Most men aren't built like brick shithouses with abs more finely chiselled than a bar of Toblerone. And yet according to scientists, that's exactly what women like when looking for a partner.
A new study exploring male physical attractiveness found that the buffest upper bods were universally the most appealing to the 160 women who were asked to rate male bodies.
"We weren't surprised that women found physically strong men attractive... what did surprise us was just how powerful the effect was," said Aaron Sell, a senior lecturer at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia, who led the research.
"Our data couldn't find even a single woman that preferred weaker or feminine male bodies."
Up until recently there was growing belief in researchers that there's a limit to how strong men could be before they actually start to become unattractive - a theory held dear to the hearts of weaklings everywhere.
However, the team behind this latest study has said found this 'sweet spot' doesn't actually exist - as far as women are concerned, the brawnier the better, at least from a physical point of view.
"The theory is that, yes, there would have been benefits ancestrally, in terms of the ability to acquire resources, protecting offspring, hunting and so on," said Aaron Lukaszewski, an evolutionary psychologist at California State University.
"But at a certain point, mating with highly dominant men, they can exert all this aggressive coercive control and there might be costs."
The new paper, published in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B, also highlights another potential downside of dating dominant men: they may be better able to invest resources in a family, but less willing to do so than weaker men.
However, the evidence suggests that while there may be downsides to dating meaty men, women will still tend to find them more attractive anyway.
The study showed 160 women photos of male bodies with the head blanked out - one set of photos being of male university students and a second set of men who regularly worked out at a gym.
The women were asked to rate the men's bodies for their attractiveness, while the men were also given a strength test.
A man's strength was was easily the best predictor of whether the women rated him as attractive. Being tall, meanwhile, gave men a slight boost, while being overweight incurred a few negative points.
Basically, the results suggested that being a bit tub is OK, so long as you have the strength to make up for it.
Sell's team will now look at why their results clash with those of facial attractiveness studies, which have found women to show a preference for men with more feminine faces.
"It looks like the face is being analysed differently by women, and we're not sure why yet," said Sell.
For now, it looks like the best combo is baby face on top and beefcake a bit lower down. Better toddle off to the gym then.
Featured Image Credit: PA