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Do women really want super muscular men?

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Monday, March 15th, 2010 in Q&As

I read in a textbook that women have a natural desire for muscular, strong, masculine men for sex. Is this true?

Yes, to a large degree. Sexual preference is also supposedly loosely correlated with their menstrual cycle, among other things. But in the larger picture, it doesn’t matter.

In modern times, things of this nature are pretty much unimportant. In my opinion (as more of a passive observer than a legitimate anthropologist/sociologist), sociocultural influences affect female sexual preference MUCH more than basic instinct. Certainly, instinctual desires do exist- and  girls do tend to prefer certain types of guys, particularly masculine ones, over others- but it’s really more of a vestigial drive, one that only briefly makes its presence known, and one that is overwhelmingly trumped by the forces of television, photographs of models, and childhood experiences. Just as much as women supposedly have a drive for hyper-muscular hunter-types, men supposedly have a desire for slightly chubby wide-hipped women who can easily give birth to children- and we know that’s really not a universal truth (Christina Hendricks notwithstanding). Also, there are plenty of interesting studies indicating that men and women have a drive to find partners who are not of the same race as they (or at least people who look sufficiently different), as it was a way to avoid inbreeding- but we know that’s not the case either, and a huge percentage of the world marry straight from their same race.

This can be put into application only in understanding women’s general tastes. For example, if you are tall, muscular, and generally masculine, chances are you will have a better time finding a woman sexually attracted to you than someone who is short-ish, weak, and effeminate. This means, for example, that if you do somewhat increase your chances of being considered attractive by falling into somewhat stereotypical roles. However, as I’m sure you’re already thinking, there are indeed exceptions to this rule, and no matter how you look, chances are there is a section of the female population that will find you sexually attractive.

So basically, what you’re reading is, much like a lot of things in the social sciences, interesting in the white tower, somewhat useless outside of it. Don’t stress over it.

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One Response to Do women really want super muscular men?

  1. SDragon says:

    Well… Your conclusion is accurate enough, but there’s a couple of major flaws with the evidence you used to reach it.

    First, people tend to be attracted to others that have similar appearances. Similar appearances aid people, psychologically, in their ability to empathize. The leading theory in the psychological prevention of inbreeding is actually childhood familiarity. In other words, if a white girl grew up with a black adoptive brother, the likelihood of her becoming attracted to him is comparable to if he actually was her brother. On the other hand, if she were to grow up and then meet a man who– unbeknown to either of them– actually was her biological brother, the genetic similarities in appearance would actually increase the chances of her being attracted to him.

    The other flaw is your assertion that women have some sort of innate pull toward hyper-masculinity. It’s been shown– and can easily be extrapolated from the above paragraph– that in a comfortable socioeconomic environment, women actually tend to be attracted to men with noticeable feminine features. It is only in poorer regions that women seem to care less about the man’s ability to nurture, and more about his fertility.

    However, sociology and psychology are both complex sciences, and you are right; The more easily observable factors are not the only involved in attraction. Elements such as a cultural atmosphere or the psychological development of an individual can override those that are less subtle.

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