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. Bu
|Contact: Christine Garver-Apgar|
University of Colorado at Boulder