AUSTIN, Tex. (CBS Houston) – Men prefer curvy women, a new study finds.
Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin analyzed men’s mate preferences for women and found that men prefer a woman with a 45.5 degree curve from back to buttocks because it allows women to better support, provide for, and carry out multiple pregnancies.
“What’s fascinating about this research is that it is yet another scientific illustration of a close fit between a sex-differentiated feature of human morphology – in this case lumbar curvature – and an evolved standard of attractiveness,” David Buss, a University of Texas at Austin psychology profess, and the study’s co-author, said in a press release distributed by the university. “This adds to a growing body of evidence that beauty is not entirely arbitrary, or ‘in the eyes of the beholder’ as many in mainstream social science believed, but rather has a coherent adaptive logic.”
In order to draw their conclusion, researchers conducted two studies. The first study looked at vertebral wedging, which is an underlying spinal feature that can influence the actual curve in a woman’s lower back.
Nearly 100 men rated the attractiveness of several photos displaying spinal curves. The study found that most men were attracted to images of women having a 45.5 degree curve.
“This spinal structure would have enabled pregnant women to balance their weight over the hips,” David Lewis, a psychologist at Bilkent University and an alumnus of University of Texas at Austin and lead researcher on this study, said in the press release. “These women would have been more effective at foraging during pregnancy and less likely to suffer spinal injuries. In turn, men who preferred these women would have had mates who were better able to provide for fetus and offspring, and who would have been able to carry out multiple pregnancies without injury.”
The second study addressed the reasoning as to why men preferred this curvy angle in women.
Nearly 200 men participated in the second study. The men were again asked to look at photographs of women but this time each women in the photos had different buttock size and different vertebral wedging but did maintain the 45.5 degree curve. The researchers found that men still preferred women who had a spinal curvature that was close to or at 45.5 degrees.
“This enabled us to conclusively show that men prefer women who exhibit specific angles of spinal curvature over buttock mass,” Eric Russell, a researcher at University of Texas at Arlington and a co-author on this study, said in the press release from University of Texas at Austin.
“This tight fit between evolutionary pressures and modern humans’ psychology, including our standards of attractiveness, highlights the usefulness that an evolutionary approach can have for expanding our knowledge not just of the natural sciences, but also the social sciences,” Lewis added in the press releaas.
The study was published online in Evolution and Human Behavior.