To help discover what it is that women want, researchers at the Australian National University conducted an experiment in which 105 heterosexual women were asked to rate men as sexual partners according to three physical characteristics: height, shoulder-to-waist ratio and flaccid penis size. “Happily for the insecure, although the women did indeed find a larger penis alluring, it was not the most important factor. That honour went to the combination of broad shoulders and a narrow waist, which accounted for around three-quarters of the variation in attractiveness all by itself.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Why is it that women seem choosier than men when it comes to selecting partners? “Even in humans, who share the burden of child-rearing more equally than many animals, having children requires far more of an investment of resources from a female than it does from a male—after all, it is the woman who must endure nine months of pregnancy and then breast-feed the baby. Women therefore face stronger incentives to spend their relatively limited reproductive resources on only the most attractive men, whose children will be most likely to breed in turn.”