Women Choose Mates by Shoulder Size First, Research Suggests

Size matters when women look for a mate, a study finds, whether it’s the size of a man’s shoulders versus his hips, his height or anywhere else.

That’s the conclusion of Australian and Canadian scientists who studied what women look for in men. The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was done to help develop a better understanding of sexual selection.

About 80 percent of 105 women queried cited a wide shoulder-to-hip ratio as being attractive, the study found, with the other 20 percent split equally between height and flaccid penis size. The researchers generated computer models in order to assess responses to various body dimensions.

“Mating behavior in general is important,” said Brian Mautz, a post-doctoral researcher in biology at the University of Ottawa, Canada who was the study author.

Facial symmetry and body shape are known to play a role in sexual selection. While the importance of the shoulder-to-hip ratio and of height is consistent with previous research, the finding on penis size was a surprise, Mautz said.

“Height and penis size had the same effect, and to me, that’s surprising,” Mautz said in a telephone interview. “We know taller men make more money, are more likely to have leadership positions and have more children. To have penis size have the equivalent effect was just, wow.”

Other things that may influence male attractiveness include body hair, movement, and other physical cues, Mautz said. This study “opens the door” to look at those as well, he said.

The researchers were funded by the Australian Research Council.

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