Navigation Links
Men with macho faces attractive to fertile women, researchers find

When their romantic partners are not quintessentially masculine, women in their fertile phase are more likely to fantasize about masculine-looking men than are women paired with George Clooney types.

But women with masculine-looking partners do not necessarily become more attracted to their partners, a recent study co-authored by a University of Colorado at Boulder researcher concludes.

Meanwhile, a man's intelligence has no effect on the extent to which fertile, female partners fantasize about others, the researchers found. They say the lack of an observed "fertility effect" related to intelligence is puzzling.

The findings augment the emerging understanding of how human sexual selection evolved over time, and how the vestiges of that evolution are evident today.

The findings come from a study published recently in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. The study was conducted by Steven Gangestad and Randy Thornhill of the University of New Mexico and Christine Garver-Apgar, a postdoctoral fellow at CU's Institute for Behavioral Genetics.

A "masculine face" has a relatively pronounced chin, strong jaw, narrow eyes and well-defined brow. George Clooney fits this bill, Gangestad suggests. A less-masculine face, on the other hand, would include a less-pronounced jaw and wider eyes, a la Pee-wee Herman.

But this does not mean that pretty boys are less attractive as life partners.

"When they rate men's sexiness, in a sense, that's when (women) show the shift," Gangestad told LiveScience, an online journal. "If they rate men's attractiveness as a long-term partner, then they don't show it."

The team interviewed 66 heterosexual couples in which women's ages ranged from 18 to 44. Their relationships ranged from one month to 20 years in length. Nine couples were married.

A host of studies has shown that women's interest in men with masculine features peaks during ovulation. But this study is the first to confirm that the effect occurs in real couples.

"The effects of facial masculinity and attractiveness fit in a larger picture that has emerged," says Garver-Apgar.

The prevailing wisdom during much of the last half-century was that women did not experience estrus, the period in which other primates signal their fertility with swollen genitals. But newer research suggests that women may not have lost all remnants of estrus.

Evolutionary biologists have documented that women are choosy when fertile, and their freedom to choose mates is increased because their fertile phase is not advertised as it is in other primates. A growing body of evidence suggests that, when most fertile, women gravitate toward males who show signs of good genetic quality.

Masculine facial features suggest that a man is of good genetic quality, because he had the resources during development not only to survive but also to expend energy on a macho visage. Rugged-looking jaws and eyebrows are signals of testosterone.

Instead of using his energy on other features or to maintain his immune system, the masculine-looking male may have had a "surplus energy budget," Garver-Apgar says.

During development, individuals make trade-offs. They can build big brains, large muscles or stronger immune systems. Brains, brawn and immunity may all compete for the same resources.

While it is not surprising that women's gazes would fall on masculine-looking men when they are most fertile, Garver-Apgar says the lack of a similar effect with intelligence is perplexing.

"That we didn't find any effect of men's intelligence on their partners' sexual interests across the cycle is important because some evidence suggests that intelligence associates with genetic quality."

But the data on the intelligence-attraction equation are mixed. If intelligence correlates with good genetic quality, Garver-Apgar wonders, why is it that intelligence is not among those traits that women prefer mid-cycle? "Why don't you see a fertility effect?"

Further research should help answer those questions, she and her co-authors suggest.


Contact: Christine Garver-Apgar
University of Colorado at Boulder

Related medicine news :

1. Trouble Recognizing Faces Could Be Genetic
2. Star of TVs The Doctors Helping Put Smiles on Faces of Needy Children in India
3. Santa Monica Jury Rejects Claims of Catastrophic Brain Injury From Exposure to Mold; Plaintiff Faces Motions for Attorney Fees and Costs
4. Gay mens bilateral brains better at remembering faces: York U study
5. Phoenix Volleyball Festival Championships Played on SnapSports Volleyball Surfaces
6. Health-Care Reform Faces Long Legal Fight
7. The too many faces of war -- why the war in Afghanistan is so complex
8. A well-defended territory is what some female hummingbirds find most attractive in a mate
9. Unlocking the secret of beauty: Scientists discover the complexities of attractive female bodies
10. First Impressions of Attractive People Often Correct: Study
11. New Hope for Infertile Young Women
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... A team of Swiss doctors has released a report on ... just posted the findings on the website. Click here to read the details ... mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy followed by EPP surgery. Among the 106 ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced a special promotion that will run throughout ... of lice treatment product. In addition, customers will receive a complimentary head Check when ... is a sure way to ruin the holidays, so we encourage all of our ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that ... ). More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% ... WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices in ... that delves into an array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated to ... dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at a ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) awarded accreditation to its ... exclusive list of CAAHEP accredited colleges, as only one of twelve colleges and universities ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 3D bioprinting market is ... a new report by Grand View Research Inc. Rising prevalence ... demands kidney transplantation is expected to boost the market growth, ... organ transplantation. --> 3D bioprinting market is ... a new report by Grand View Research Inc. Rising prevalence ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, ... their offering. --> ) ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ) has ... Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in the ... Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging ... --> ) has announced the ... and Growth Strategies in the German Drugs ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: