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Does He Measure Up?
If you ask 10 sisters what they find attractive in a brother, you might get ten different responses. But what if you ask more than 100 females?
Dr. Bob Wong of Monash University in Australia and his colleagues at The Australian National University and La Trobe University did just that. They projected life-size, 3D computer-generated male bodies to 105 female participants and asked women what they liked. It’s unclear how many African American women participated in the study.
Women found broad shoulders and narrow hips attractive, but what they really liked was a…wait for it…a large penis. The images differed in height, body shape and penis size. The women were asked to assess the figures’ sexual attractiveness.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, found penis size influenced how the female participants perceived attractiveness — the more ample, the more appealing.
“There is always much debate on the subject and we wanted to address the notion of whether size matters using a valid scientific approach,” Wong said in a statement. “We found penis size affected a man’s sexual attractiveness, but height was equally as important, with taller men considered more attractive.”
The study also found taller men with larger genitalia were considered more attractive than shorter men with larger genitalia.
Dr. Brian Mautz of ANU said an overall impression of attractiveness to women, without focusing on any particular body part, is what distinguished the research from previous findings.
“The only previous study of this topic in humans used five small drawings of male figures that differed only in penis length,” Mautz said. “It was very obvious to the female participants which character they were being asked to assess. In that situation, it’s easy for people to self-deceive or lie and distort the results.”
By contrast, American women polled in a 2011 cover story by Psychology Today, 1,500 readers (about 2/3 women) were surveyed about male body image. Many of the women were not particularly concerned with penis size and over 71% thought men overemphasized the importance of penis size and shape.
Photograph by Patrik Giardino, Getty Images