…is not to reproduce, to express love, strengthen bonds, or out of some sense of responsibility. This post is based on a book I was assigned in a class to present next month. I’m also the only male in the class (there are 5 students total – it’s a little seminar), and I’m going to tell these women why they have sex. Should be interesting.
- The original study came up with 237 “distinct” reasons, based on a sample of 203 men and 241 women (ages 17 to 52).
- The 237 reasons were then given to another set of 1,549 undergrads (ages 16 to 42), and a the reasons were listed in order of frequency.
- The book I’m reading is on a study that took the 237 reasons, and asked 1,006 women (ages 18 to 86) from throughout the U.S. and many other countries. 80% were in a relationship, 93% heterosexual, 2% bisexual, and 5% homosexual. 57% considered themselves to be part of a specific religious tradition, 26% agnostic, and 14% atheist.
- Scent. Women rate how someone smells as the MOST important of the senses in choosing a lover, more important than sight. “Women’s sexual arousal is enhanced by good body odors–and killed by bad ones… women can literally smell the scent of a gene complex known to play a key role in immune functioning.”
- Height. Over 6′ is good, but not TOO tall. Tall(ish) men, for example, have a higher SES on average, women report feeling safer with them, and they tend to be healthier.
- Fit. Heterosexual women on average prefer strong, athletic men with a high shoulder-to-hip ratio, and a muscular torso, but NOT muscle-bound. Men may overestimate how much muscle a women wants. Women often don’t want as much muscle on man as men think they do. Also, more muscular men tend to have more sexual affairs. Think Men’s Health rather than Flex.
- Face. Heterosexual women prefer more masculine faces for casual sexual encounters, and less masculine faces for long-term relationships. This may be due to the “fact that the more masculine men are less sexually faithful.”
- A Voice like James Earl Jones. Men with sexy voices tend to have a higher shoulder-to-hip ratio, and are judged by women to be healthier, more socially dominant, and well-respected. Women usually prefer these voices more for short-term encounters, however.
- Humor and Confidence. Women view these as the two most important personality characteristics related to attractiveness. Married women who think their husbands are witty are more satisfied!
- Similarity. “Opposites attract” is the exception for long-term relationships. Having a partner with similar values or beliefs is validating.
- One’s “type.” Every women has unique and subtle differences, based in early childhood and adolescence.
Can men do anything about their attractiveness?
Which of these characteristics are most important to you?