How do you attract women? According to one study, 70 percent of your attractiveness comes down to this. And it’s not your wallet size.
Type in “how to attract…” in Google and it’ll auto-fill “how to attract women.” Apparently, it’s a common search query.
No matter how technologically advanced we get as a species, much of human behavior is driven by primitive, animal-like survival and procreation urges – mostly subconscious. This especially appears to be the case with mate selection – who you’re attracted to and who you’d like to make babies with.
Luckily, according to a new study, that puts the odds in your favor if you’re a male weight lifter because 70% of your attractiveness comes down to upper-body muscularity and perceived strength.
According to many women, they want a soft, sensitive man whose main desire in life is to raise kids and cuddle. In other words, these women say they want to marry a man with traditional feminine qualities. But according to their biology, they’re lying. Or at least not fully aware of their mate selection software.
Science tells us that humans have evolved mechanisms to ensure that we pass on the best genetics to our offspring. Female mammals, for example, instinctively look for strong protectors with outward signs of good health.
Think of it as a biological blueprint for man-choosing: Females look for a male with healthy genetics coupled with the ability to protect and provide for the kiddos that will inherit some of those robust genes.
Not exactly feminist-friendly ideology, but science backs it up. A newer study looked specifically at male upper-body size and what that buffness signals to women.
The researchers knew from previous studies that men’s bodies “scale to energetic demands,” thus enabling men with greater disease resistance to grow bigger, fitter bodies.
Women find these stronger, physically fit men more attractive. Why exactly? Because a frail male body might indicate disease or faulty genes that could result in sickly babies and the inability to protect and provide. Scientifically speaking, weakness just doesn’t moisten the undergarments of most females.
So the researchers knew that women would be drawn to fit men with outward signs of “formidability.” But just how much does physical strength correlate with attractiveness? And what if we took facial attractiveness OUT of the equation?
To dig deeper into this, the researchers gathered up a bunch of photos of shirtless college guys with their faces obscured. All the men in the photos had undergone strength tests. Here’s what some of the photos looked like:
College girls were asked to estimate the men’s physical strength and rate their physical attractiveness. Basically, hot or not?
Stronger men were rated as more attractive. “Strength increases attractiveness in a linear fashion,” researchers concluded. In fact, not a single woman in the study chose the less-muscled physiques.
(Keep in mind, none of these guys had drugged-out, bodybuilder-ish physiques, which can work against men. Other studies show that being too big and ripped makes some women think you’re a narcissist, fair or not.)
Based on the men’s photos, the women were able to accurately predict strength, too. If the men in the photos looked strong, they were strong, as least compared to the scrawny guys.
Not surprisingly, fat bodies were rated as unattractive. The researchers wrote: “Women’s mate choice mechanisms respond to muscle mass positively but large stores of body fat negatively.”
Height mattered, and of course, tall guys were generally considered more attractive, but ratings of strength were MORE predictable of attractiveness. Researchers also theorized that tall guys are perceived as stronger and healthier (even if they aren’t).
So, a taller strong guy is even more attractive (about 10% “hotter”), but the fat guy gets a penalty. Humans instinctively know that obesity is unhealthy, so they generally aren’t attracted to it.
“The rated strength of a male body accounts for a full 70% of the variance in attractiveness,” the study said. That basically means that 70% of what makes a man initially desirable stems from his perceived strength and formidability.
You may be thinking, “They needed a study to figure this out?” And you’d be right. But science likes to confirm things and put numbers on them. And that 70% number is pretty powerful.
Humans are driven to “pair bond” or find a mate. It’s primal. And while the female of the species has more to lose and is, therefore, more careful, males can sway the odds. If you want to increase your general “attractability score” and have more mate options, lift weights, stay as healthy as possible, and don’t get fat.
Think of this as getting a peek at the other team’s playbook. Her genetic playbook tells her to find a masculine, protective man who looks strong and healthy. That’s going to be her ideal choice, at least.
And what if you’re, um, facially challenged? Well, your unique mug doesn’t matter that much if your body looks strong. And you can control that part. Get strong and be lean enough to display those strong muscles.
Yes, of course, women want other, non-physical qualities in their mates, like intelligence, a sense of humor, faithfulness, and not being a douche-nozzle.
But we’re talking about lust-at-first-sight attractiveness here. And you have to attract them before you can wow them with your wit and impress them with your values. Lifting helps a lot.
Now, what do men want? Check this out.
- Sell A et al. Cues of upper body strength account for most of the variance in men’s bodily attractiveness. Proc Biol Sci. 2017 Dec 20;284(1869):20171819. PubMed.