Upper body strength key factor in men's bodily attractiveness

December 13, 2017, Griffith University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

What makes a man's body attractive? In many mammalian species, females evolved to prefer the strongest males. According to research from Griffith University, the same is true of humans.

Dr Aaron Sell from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice said cues of upper body strength make a man attractive, including having wider shoulders, being physically fit and having greater handgrip strength.

"Evolutionary psychologists have shown that 's mate choices use many cues of men's genetic quality and ability to invest resources in the woman and her offspring,'' he said.

"Among our ancestors, one variable that predicted both a man's genetic quality and his ability to invest was the man's formidability. Therefore, modern women should still have mate choice mechanisms that respond to cues of a man's fighting ability.

"One crucial component of a man's ability to fight was his upper body strength."

In the study, the researchers tested how important is to men's bodily attractiveness by showing women pictures of men's bodies and asking they how attractive they were.

The results showed that it was possible to almost perfectly predict how a man's body is from three things: how physically strong he looks, how tall he is, and how lean he is. The effect of strength was so large that none of the 150 women in the study preferred weak men. Furthermore, looking strong was much more important for man's attractiveness than being tall or lean.

"The rated of a male accounts for a full 70 percent of the variance in attractiveness,'' Dr Sell said.

"The effect of height and weight on attractiveness may indicate that women are responding to cues of health or to the benefits that height and lean bodies have in protracted aggression, hunting and other aspects of fighting ability."

Dr Sell said while the women in their study preferred the strongest bodies, there was a sizeable dataset across many cultures that showed women did not always prefer the strongest looking faces.

The study was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B today.

Explore further: Why arched backs are attractive

More information: Aaron Sell et al. Cues of upper body strength account for most of the variance in men's bodily attractiveness, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1819

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20 comments

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EnricM
3.5 / 5 (8) Dec 13, 2017
Another breakthrough discovery by the famous team lead by Award Winning Dr. O. B. Vious.
RobertKarlStonjek
1.7 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2017
Most of those muscles are obscured by loose clothing...in the days before clothing females could see all a man had to offer and the same for males adjudging female's attributes.

In modern times an erect penetrating mind is as attractive as anything the body may have to offer.
JongDan
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2017
Most of those muscles are in the way when I'm trying to buy fitting shirts. Everything is either way too loose around my body or too narrow over shoulders.
Zorcon
4 / 5 (5) Dec 13, 2017
Most of those muscles are in the way when I'm trying to buy fitting shirts. Everything is either way too loose around my body or too narrow over shoulders.


It is impossible to buy clothes off the rack if you are healthy, at least in the USA.

You need to make a choice: either pay a premium for tailored clothing or spend more time on the couch scarfing potato chips.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2017
"The effect of strength was so large that none of the 150 women in the study preferred weak men."

-To be truly unbiased, photos of weak rich men with their bank statements must be included.

I think a woman's priorities change. As tropical animals our first priority shortly after puberty is to reproduce at any cost. This is quickly replaced by the desire to discern quality by compelling suitors to compete physically. But as women get older their desire is to have a partner who can provide economic security for the children she has already born.

Obviously these 3 different mates need not be the same person. And chances are, one man cannot fulfill these 3 different roles.

That's why a woman's natural propensity is to trade up, which is an obvious detriment to tribal cohesion and stability; as is a man's natural propensity to impregnate as many women as possible.

Understanding this quickly leads one to appreciate the value of domestication to society.
Spaced out Engineer
5 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2017
Mmm, yes useless calorie parasitic skeletal muscle....

Or from the somatic narcissistic, all this thinking gets in the way of reducing the noise reducing circuits for my limbs. Damn parasitic brain for my noise reduction.

Enactivsm may imply reciprocity.

Seriously though ladies, quads= more testosterone= more brain. Whether they have the balls to squat or the voraciousness for running to spur neurogenisis.
mackita
4.5 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2017
RobertKarlStonjek
1.8 / 5 (4) Dec 13, 2017
So, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (fairly wimpish in appearance) would have struggled to get dates? Bill Clinton had budging biceps? Jerry Hall was/is attracted to Rupert Murdock's tall muscular athleticism?

When you hold all other factors constant then selection will be based only on those factors or properties that vary. If two cars in the showroom are identical but one of them has a slightly faster automatic antenna extension and retraction then that is the one you will choose even though you probably never even considered this property in any of the cars you previously purchased.

I call it the 'Antenna effect', when only one property varies it will appear to have an importance far greater than it actually has, which could, in real conditions, be as low as zero (a routinely ignored property).
mackita
1 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2017
Healthy bodies' best for men, but for women, thin is beautiful Thin = muscular? We could say as easily, that insecure chubby women are attracted to a similarly handicaped guys, because they (probably correctly) feel, they could get otherwise rejected soon. Apparently the results of social science depend on context and samples presented to participants of research.
Ojorf
5 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2017
So, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (fairly wimpish in appearance) would have struggled to get dates? Bill Clinton had budging biceps? Jerry Hall was/is attracted to Rupert Murdock's tall muscular athleticism?


Oh gee, don't you understand statistics and people?
Studies like these are about averages. Every human trait is part of a bell curve shaped distribution.

Finding counterexamples on both sides of the average is easy, they are guaranteed to exist.
They prove nothing.
Zzzzzzzz
5 / 5 (3) Dec 14, 2017
Its all about survival, which for offspring translates to competitive advantage via genetic supremacy and ability to pass said genetics along. The choices will zero in on getting the best genetic contribution for the offspring, followed extremely closely by choosing attributes that lead toward more survival success for said offspring. Lots of paths lead in that direction, but as Ojorf mentions this study is about overall trends spread over large numbers.
SwamiOnTheMountain
3 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2017
"...from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice"

What? Why is this person studying what makes a man's body attractive?
I'm not seeing the connection here.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2017
Why is this person studying what makes a man's body attractive?
I'm not seeing the connection here
haha that's a very good point. Whatever happened to the Golden Fleece Award?
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2017
"...from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice"

What? Why is this person studying what makes a man's body attractive?
I'm not seeing the connection here.

Prison life...?
EnricM
5 / 5 (1) Dec 15, 2017
Hard science here: http://www.telegr...ars.html


Not women that own expensive cars or the ones you meet in the same pubs and clubs you yourself visit.
approveds
not rated yet Dec 15, 2017
That must be what attracted Jerry Hall to Rupert Murdoch, and what attracted Melania Trump to Donald then?
mackita
5 / 5 (1) Dec 15, 2017
dudester
5 / 5 (1) Dec 18, 2017
Hilarious protests up above-- but, but, what about women who are attracted to ugly rich men? Hint, they aren't physically attracted to them, they are attracted to the money and everything the money buys-- including fame or infamy. You can bet that if/whenever those rich ugly men are allowed access to intimacy that the thoughts of those beautiful but bought women are conjuring up partners altogether differently put together, just as most married men probably do after a couple years of wedded bliss.

Are strippers attracted to the men in the "audience" or their fists full of money? Are prostitutes attracted to men who cruise red light districts in cars?
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Dec 18, 2017
That must be what attracted Jerry Hall to Rupert Murdoch, and what attracted Melania Trump to Donald then?
Trump was young and virile and well-connected back then
https://www.holly...l-880088

-Even Billy Bob appears to be touching him inappropriately. And we can assume his hidden hand is lurking somewhere near Hillary's nether parts.

Besides, melania and hall are now old crones with hackfaces. Pool boys and ss guards might go for them i suppose.

Like I say the perception of fitness is different for different age groups.
RobertKarlStonjek
not rated yet Jan 17, 2018
The problem with the article is the implication that men's attractiveness is purely physical when this is clearly not the case. Research on speed dating and research done on dating websites shows that females pay a great deal of attention to men's bio, at least as much as appearance.

Of course if all other parameters are controlled and one only sees the physical then physical fitness, youth, apparent health and robust (but not excessive) musculature is going to be preferred. But how much influence does the physical have on attractiveness?

There have been studies on this very issue and a strong correlation with the menstrual cycle has been established with the physical having a greater influence when the female is close to ovulation. Another known studied variable is prospective sexual vs marriage partners.

It is also notable that gay men place a greater emphasis on attractive male bodies than heterosexual women do, yet another dimension entirely ignored by the study...

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