October 03, 2005

Women's preferences for the male physique

Anthropologie, Volume 41/1-2, 2003, pp. 87-91

Sexual selection – women´s preferences for the male physique

Strzałko J.


A group of young women were presented with a set of nine male silhouettes drawn in such a way that three depicted the extreme endomorphic, mesomorphic and ectomorphic body types; three the intermediate types; and three body types with a slight predominance of a given component (meso-, ecto- or endomorphic) over the other, evenly balanced, components. The silhouettes were fashioned after photographs from Sheldon. It was expected that the most mesomorphic ‘male’ somatotype would be chosen as the most attractive. Contrary to expectation, the silhouette that scored highest in attractiveness was the one having a balanced proportion of the three components with a slight predominance of ectomorphy. Hence, it represented a physique with moderately developed musculature and a rather slim build. This result supports the postulate that a significant factor of sexual selection leading to the development of sexual dimorphism in modern man was that of intra-sexual competition among males.


This article reminds me of another one:

Remarkably, among men, the low WHR-low SHR rival, that is, the rival with a linear and slender body build, evoked the highest level of jealousy and was perceived as the most attractive and the most socially dominant of all rivals.

Roughly speaking ectomorphic=slim, mesomorphic=muscular, endomorphic=fat.

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