MONDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- Rekindling the old debate on whether size matters, new research finds that women may take a man's penile endowment as a key factor in "mate selection," ranking it as important as his height.
Besides making some men insecure, the research might offer insight into evolution and the fact that humans have especially large penises for their size.
The research, which has limitations, isn't definitive. The women were only asked to consider the attractiveness of hairless, mannequin-like depictions of men with flaccid penises. None of the women lived outside the Western world. And other research has shown that human females, contrary to popular belief, aren't especially interested in penis size.
Still, the findings suggest that "penis size matters," said study lead author Brian Mautz, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Ottawa, in Canada. However, he added, "It's relative. Other traits like height and body shape are important too. And they all seem to interact to contribute to attractiveness."
Mautz, then at the Australian National University, and colleagues launched their study in an attempt to better understand how evolution affected the development of the human penis. Unlike some other mammals, the size of a human penis is obvious at first glance -- at least when men are naked -- and evolution may have favored men with larger ones.
The researchers gathered 105 Australian heterosexual women whose average age was 26 and asked them to rank the attractiveness of 53 images of computer-generated naked "men" of various heights and body shapes and with various flaccid penis lengths.
The apparent measurements of the computerized "men" were based on a study of more than 1,000 Italian men. The longest flaccid penis length in the images was the equivalent of 5.1 inches in real life.
The researchers found th
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