Preferences for masculinity in male bodies change across the menstrual cycle

Anthony C. Little, Benedict C. Jones, Robert P. Burriss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

127 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In human females cyclic shifts in preference have been documented for odour and physical and behavioral male traits. Women prefer the smell of dominant males, more masculine male faces and men behaving more dominantly when at peak fertility than at other times in their menstrual cycle. Here we examine variation in preferences for body sexual dimorphism. Across two studies, both between- and within-participant, we show that women prefer greater masculinity in male bodies at times when their fertility is likely highest, in the follicular phase of their cycle. Shifts were seen when rating for a short-term but not when rating for a long-term relationship. In line with studies showing similar effects for facial sexual dimorphism, we also show that women prefer greater masculinity when they think themselves attractive than when they think themselves less attractive. These results indicate that women's preferences for sexual dimorphism in male bodies follow a similar pattern as found for sexual dimorphism and dominance in other domains and such differences in preference may serve a similar function. Cyclic preferences could influence women to select partners when most likely to become pregnant that possess traits that may be most likely to maximize their offspring's quality via attraction to masculinity or serve to help acquire investment via attraction to femininity. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-639
Number of pages7
JournalHormones and Behavior
Volume51
Issue number5
Early online date24 Mar 2007
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2007

Keywords

  • facial attractiveness
  • fertility
  • masculinity/femininity
  • mate value
  • body
  • condition dependence
  • short/long term
  • human female preferences
  • sexual-dimorphism
  • womens preferences
  • mate choice
  • trade-offs
  • male faces
  • testosterone
  • context
  • health

Cite this

Preferences for masculinity in male bodies change across the menstrual cycle. / Little, Anthony C.; Jones, Benedict C.; Burriss, Robert P.

In: Hormones and Behavior, Vol. 51, No. 5, 05.2007, p. 633-639.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Little, Anthony C. ; Jones, Benedict C. ; Burriss, Robert P. / Preferences for masculinity in male bodies change across the menstrual cycle. In: Hormones and Behavior. 2007 ; Vol. 51, No. 5. pp. 633-639.
@article{ed01b067fe0f41c9be5a0dfedb211282,
title = "Preferences for masculinity in male bodies change across the menstrual cycle",
abstract = "In human females cyclic shifts in preference have been documented for odour and physical and behavioral male traits. Women prefer the smell of dominant males, more masculine male faces and men behaving more dominantly when at peak fertility than at other times in their menstrual cycle. Here we examine variation in preferences for body sexual dimorphism. Across two studies, both between- and within-participant, we show that women prefer greater masculinity in male bodies at times when their fertility is likely highest, in the follicular phase of their cycle. Shifts were seen when rating for a short-term but not when rating for a long-term relationship. In line with studies showing similar effects for facial sexual dimorphism, we also show that women prefer greater masculinity when they think themselves attractive than when they think themselves less attractive. These results indicate that women's preferences for sexual dimorphism in male bodies follow a similar pattern as found for sexual dimorphism and dominance in other domains and such differences in preference may serve a similar function. Cyclic preferences could influence women to select partners when most likely to become pregnant that possess traits that may be most likely to maximize their offspring's quality via attraction to masculinity or serve to help acquire investment via attraction to femininity. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.",
keywords = "facial attractiveness, fertility, masculinity/femininity, mate value, body, condition dependence, short/long term, human female preferences, sexual-dimorphism, womens preferences, mate choice, trade-offs, male faces, testosterone, context, health",
author = "Little, {Anthony C.} and Jones, {Benedict C.} and Burriss, {Robert P.}",
year = "2007",
month = "5",
doi = "10.1016/j.yhbeh.2007.03.006",
language = "English",
volume = "51",
pages = "633--639",
journal = "Hormones and Behavior",
issn = "0018-506X",
publisher = "ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Preferences for masculinity in male bodies change across the menstrual cycle

AU - Little, Anthony C.

AU - Jones, Benedict C.

AU - Burriss, Robert P.

PY - 2007/5

Y1 - 2007/5

N2 - In human females cyclic shifts in preference have been documented for odour and physical and behavioral male traits. Women prefer the smell of dominant males, more masculine male faces and men behaving more dominantly when at peak fertility than at other times in their menstrual cycle. Here we examine variation in preferences for body sexual dimorphism. Across two studies, both between- and within-participant, we show that women prefer greater masculinity in male bodies at times when their fertility is likely highest, in the follicular phase of their cycle. Shifts were seen when rating for a short-term but not when rating for a long-term relationship. In line with studies showing similar effects for facial sexual dimorphism, we also show that women prefer greater masculinity when they think themselves attractive than when they think themselves less attractive. These results indicate that women's preferences for sexual dimorphism in male bodies follow a similar pattern as found for sexual dimorphism and dominance in other domains and such differences in preference may serve a similar function. Cyclic preferences could influence women to select partners when most likely to become pregnant that possess traits that may be most likely to maximize their offspring's quality via attraction to masculinity or serve to help acquire investment via attraction to femininity. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

AB - In human females cyclic shifts in preference have been documented for odour and physical and behavioral male traits. Women prefer the smell of dominant males, more masculine male faces and men behaving more dominantly when at peak fertility than at other times in their menstrual cycle. Here we examine variation in preferences for body sexual dimorphism. Across two studies, both between- and within-participant, we show that women prefer greater masculinity in male bodies at times when their fertility is likely highest, in the follicular phase of their cycle. Shifts were seen when rating for a short-term but not when rating for a long-term relationship. In line with studies showing similar effects for facial sexual dimorphism, we also show that women prefer greater masculinity when they think themselves attractive than when they think themselves less attractive. These results indicate that women's preferences for sexual dimorphism in male bodies follow a similar pattern as found for sexual dimorphism and dominance in other domains and such differences in preference may serve a similar function. Cyclic preferences could influence women to select partners when most likely to become pregnant that possess traits that may be most likely to maximize their offspring's quality via attraction to masculinity or serve to help acquire investment via attraction to femininity. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

KW - facial attractiveness

KW - fertility

KW - masculinity/femininity

KW - mate value

KW - body

KW - condition dependence

KW - short/long term

KW - human female preferences

KW - sexual-dimorphism

KW - womens preferences

KW - mate choice

KW - trade-offs

KW - male faces

KW - testosterone

KW - context

KW - health

U2 - 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2007.03.006

DO - 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2007.03.006

M3 - Article

VL - 51

SP - 633

EP - 639

JO - Hormones and Behavior

JF - Hormones and Behavior

SN - 0018-506X

IS - 5

ER -