Attractiveness and sexual behavior: Does attractiveness enhance mating success?

Attractiveness and sexual behavior: Does attractiveness enhance mating success? If attractiveness is an important cue for mate choice, as proposed by evolutionary psychologists, then attractive individuals should have greater mating success than their peers. We tested this hypothesis in a large sample of adults. Facial attractiveness correlated with the number of short-term, but not long-term, sexual partners, for males, and with the number of long-term, but not short-term, sexual partners and age of first sex, for females. Body attractiveness also correlated significantly with the number of short-term, but not long-term, sexual partners, for males, and attractive males became sexually active earlier than their peers. Body attractiveness did not correlate with any sexual behavior variable for females. To determine which aspects of attractiveness were important, we examined associations between sexual behaviors and three components of attractiveness: sexual dimorphism, averageness, and symmetry. Sexual dimorphism showed the clearest associations with sexual behaviors. Masculine males (bodies, similar trend for faces) had more short-term sexual partners, and feminine females (faces) had more long-term sexual partners than their peers. Feminine females (faces) also became sexually active earlier than their peers. Average males (faces and bodies) had more short-term sexual partners and more extra-pair copulations (EPC) than their peers. Symmetric women (faces) became sexually active earlier than their peers. Given that male reproductive success depends more on short-term mating opportunities than does female reproductive success, these findings suggest that individuals of high phenotypic quality have higher mating success than their lower quality counterparts. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Evolution and Human Behavior Elsevier

Attractiveness and sexual behavior: Does attractiveness enhance mating success?

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Elsevier Inc.
ISSN
1090-5138
DOI
10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2004.08.014
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

If attractiveness is an important cue for mate choice, as proposed by evolutionary psychologists, then attractive individuals should have greater mating success than their peers. We tested this hypothesis in a large sample of adults. Facial attractiveness correlated with the number of short-term, but not long-term, sexual partners, for males, and with the number of long-term, but not short-term, sexual partners and age of first sex, for females. Body attractiveness also correlated significantly with the number of short-term, but not long-term, sexual partners, for males, and attractive males became sexually active earlier than their peers. Body attractiveness did not correlate with any sexual behavior variable for females. To determine which aspects of attractiveness were important, we examined associations between sexual behaviors and three components of attractiveness: sexual dimorphism, averageness, and symmetry. Sexual dimorphism showed the clearest associations with sexual behaviors. Masculine males (bodies, similar trend for faces) had more short-term sexual partners, and feminine females (faces) had more long-term sexual partners than their peers. Feminine females (faces) also became sexually active earlier than their peers. Average males (faces and bodies) had more short-term sexual partners and more extra-pair copulations (EPC) than their peers. Symmetric women (faces) became sexually active earlier than their peers. Given that male reproductive success depends more on short-term mating opportunities than does female reproductive success, these findings suggest that individuals of high phenotypic quality have higher mating success than their lower quality counterparts.

Journal

Evolution and Human BehaviorElsevier

Published: Mar 1, 2005

References

  • The evolutionary psychology of extrapair sex: The role of fluctuating asymmetry
    Gangestad, S.W.; Thornhill, R.
  • The analysis of fluctuating asymmetry redux: The robustness of parametric statistics
    Gangestad, S.W.; Thornhill, R.
  • Male parental care, differential parental investment by females, and sexual selection
    Møller, A.P.; Thornhill, R.
  • Height and reproductive success in a cohort of British men
    Nettle, D.
  • Sex-typicality and attractiveness: Are supermale and superfemale faces super-attractive
    Rhodes, G.; Hickford, C.; Jeffery, L.
  • Do facial averageness and symmetry signal health?
    Rhodes, G.; Zebrowitz, L.A.; Clark, A.; Kalick, S.M.; Hightower, A.; McKay, R.
  • Are human preferences for facial symmetry focused on signals of developmental instability?
    Simmons, L.W.; Rhodes, G.; Peters, M.; Koehler, N.
  • Newborn infants prefer attractive faces
    Slater, A.; Von der Schulenberg, C.; Brown, E.; Badenoch, M.; Butterworth, G.; Parsons, S.; Samuels, C.
  • Is symmetry a visual cue to attractiveness in the human female body?
    Tovée, M.J.; Tasker, K.; Benson, P.J.

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