A new study shows that women may be biologically predisposed to find certain types of men attractive, at least during certain times of the month.
The study, co-authored by CU postdoctoral fellow Christine Garver-Apgar, revealed that women, who are in relationships with less masculine-looking, Michael-Cera-type men, are more likely to fantasize about men with sexy, rugged George Clooney facial features. Women with masculine boyfriends or husbands do not display increased attraction, according to ScienceDaily.
Garver-Apgar said she thinks the results may help explain why some women go after men with more masculine features.
“I think it does speak to the idea that women in some instances tend to prefer traits associated with the bad boy image,” Garver-Apgar said.
Garver-Apgar said they determined male masculinity by measuring face lengths of the chin, brow ridges and jawlines. Prominent features are indicators of good genetic quality because higher levels of testosterone promote bone growth, Garver-Apgar said.
Even though women may daydream about the Fabios or Brad Pitts of the world, Garver-Apgar said women tend not to consider the macho types when planning long-term relationships.
“I think it’s important to note that our results show this [stronger attraction] only during that particular part of the cycle,” she said. “It has not happened when they are evaluating a potential long-term partnership, it’s only if you ask them to evaluate sexiness or as a short-term relationship.”
Garver-Apgar said some evidence suggested that masculine men might be less desirable for a long-term relationship because they have more short-term sexual opportunities.
Jordan Nardy, a 20-year-old sophomore psychology major, said she finds men with masculine features more attractive, but less worthwhile in the long run.
“I think it’s more fun to get the macho guy, but once you have them there’s nothing more,” Nardy said.
Farah Abdelmawla, an 18-year-old freshman chemistry major, said she doesn’t think a cycle greatly affected her attraction toward any certain type.
“I don’t notice a difference, attractive is attractive, but I’ve never noticed,” Abdelmawla said. “At least I’ve never consciously thought about it.”
Steven Gangestad and Randy Thornhill, each from the University of New Mexico, and Garver-Apgar interviewed 66 heterosexual couples, according to ScienceDaily.
In the study, the boyfriends who had less-masculine appearances, Garver-Apgar said, were not completely oblivious to their partners’ shifting interest.
“We found before that [the boyfriend] engages in more vigilant type of behavior, like checking on them announced or monopolizing their partner’s time,” Garver-Apgar said. “So yes, we do think that some conflicts in relationships could come from this.”
Casey Craddock, a 21-year-old junior integrative physiology major, said he thinks it is frustrating when a girlfriend or woman talks to him about other sexy men.
“It tends to be kind of annoying,” Craddock said. “I try to change the subject.”
While the study confirms that this pattern occurs in relationships, Garver-Apgar said other elements of attraction remain a mystery. For instance, while attraction to masculinity increases during a heterosexual woman’s ovulation period, intelligence does not.
“[In other studies, there was] some evidence to suggest that intelligence indicates good genetic quality,” she said. “We might expect the same type of ovulatory shift, but the evidence to date is largely showing that this is not the case.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Rose Heaphy at Josephine.email@example.com.