Am J Hum Biol. 2006 Dec 7;19(1):88-95 [Epub ahead of print]
Studies of human physique and sexual attractiveness: Sexual preferences of men and women in China.
Dixson BJ, Dixson AF, Li B, Anderson MJ.
Men and women at Northwest University (n = 631), Xi'an, China, were asked to rate the attractiveness of male or female figures manipulated to vary somatotype, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), secondary sexual traits, and other features. In study 1, women rated the average masculine somatotype as most attractive, followed by the mesomorphic (muscular), ectomorphic (slim), and endomorphic (heavily built) somatotypes, in descending order of preference. In study 2, the amount and distribution of masculine trunk (chest and abdominal) hair were altered progressively in a series of front-posed figures. Women rated figures with no or little trunk hair as most attractive. Study 3 assessed the attractiveness of front-posed male figures which varied only in length of their nonerect penis. Numerical ratings for this trait were low, but moderate lengthening of the penis (22% or 33% above average) resulted in a significant increase in scores for attractiveness. In study 4, Chinese men rated the attractiveness of back-posed female images varying in waist-to-hip ratio (WHR from 0.5-1.0). The 0.6 WHR figure was most preferred, followed by 0.7, while figures with higher ratios (0.9 or 1.0) were significantly less attractive. Study 5 rated the attractiveness of female skin color: men expressed a marked preference for images which were lighter in color, as compared to images of average or darker skin colors. These results, the first of their kind reported for a Chinese population, support the view that sexual selection has influenced the evolution of human physique and sexual attractiveness in men and women.