It's not necessarily surprising that women were more attracted to men with larger penises, Mautz said. What is surprising is that it had an equal effect on attractiveness as greater height, he said. And larger penises made more of a difference in a man's attractiveness if he was taller.
The study appeared online April 8 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Previous research linked greater height to positive differences in men's lives. Taller men have a greater chance of attaining leadership positions and having more sexual partners, Mautz noted.
The new study didn't consider the wide variety of factors that could affect a modern woman's choice in a mate, from personality to wealth to his level of attraction toward her.
Even so, the researchers speculated that women's preference for larger penises could have played a role in the evolution of the human body. Men with larger penises may have had more children and passed on the trait because they were more likely to attract women.
Sai Gaddam, a neuroscientist who has written about the psychology and biology of human sexuality, said the study introduces "a useful method to tease apart the factors that make us attractive. But do the aesthetic judgments of computer-generated male mannequins by 105 Australian women reveal a factor in mate attractiveness? Not yet," he said.
"I am guessing you would find similar results if the study was done with men," Gaddam suggested. "That is, men passing aesthetic judgment on computer-generated male models. What conclusions would we derive from that?"
It is clear that women aren't especially drawn to penises, he said, a
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