Straight Women in Richer Countries Like Feminine Men. Basically, They Want to Sleep With Gays

Learning that straight women in Western countries prefer the appearance of more feminine-looking men might explain the Twlight craze. But what’s it say about masculinity?

We won’t get into the details of the experiment done through, but women from all over the world identified men who they were more attracted to after seeing images like the one above — where side-by-side photos of different version of the same guy were displayed. Researchers, then, “could predict how masculine a woman likes her men based on her nation’s World Health Organization statistics for mortality rates, life expectancy and the impact of communicable disease,” reports WSJ. “In countries where poor health is particularly a threat to survival, women leaned toward “manlier” men. That is, they preferred their males to have shorter, broader faces and stronger eyebrows, cheekbones and jaw lines.”

How come?

To a person unfamiliar with the field of evolutionary psychology, this may sound a little far-fetched. How is it even possible to link a woman’s masculinity preferences to the health of her nation? The answer begins with the theory of sexual selection. It goes that women are the choosier sex because they take on most of the risk and burden of reproduction and child rearing. While a man can sleep around with 100 women in a year’s time and have 100 kids, a woman who sleeps with 100 men in a year will only have one baby (barring multiples). She has more at stake in each pregnancy. Therefore, it is in her best interest to at least choose a high-quality mate. And one of the hallmarks of a quality male is good health.

But what does health have to do with masculinity? The link is testosterone, the hormone behind manly muscles, strong jaws, prominent eyebrow ridges, facial hair and deep voices. Testosterone is immunosuppressive. This means a man must be healthy and in good condition to withstand its effects on his development. Testosterone is also linked to other traits related to strength: fitness, fertility and dominance. From an evolutionary perspective, masculinity is basically man’s way of advertising good genes, dominance and likelihood to father healthier kids. When disease is a real threat, as it had been—and arguably still is—heritable health is invaluable.

Masculinity, however, can come at a high price. Women often think of high-testosterone types as uncooperative, unsympathetic, philandering, aggressive and disinterested in parenting. In fact, there is evidence that they really do have more relationship problems than other men. In a small study led by psychologist James Roney at the University of Santa Barbara, 29 women were asked to look at photos of men and rate their masculinity and fondness for infants. (The men had already been tested for child-friendliness and testosterone levels.) The men who were rated as the most masculine generally had higher testosterone levels; the women also were generally accurate in assessing child-friendliness.

Indeed, women from poorer, less healthy countries preferred more masculine-looking men. But as we make a global effort to eradicate poverty and increase life-span, are we also eradicating the appeal of guys who say things like Hey, brah?

And what does any of this mean for gay men who prefer masculine or feminine guys? Or lesbian women? Without the conclusion that attractiveness is based on reproductive need — something gay men and women don’t seek out partners to do biologically — where’s the scientific explanation for why one of our male writers loves himself some twinks, while another has dated three cromagnon types in a row? (Sorry, Scott!)

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  • terrwill

    Whether he goes by Fat Faced Freddy and Thin Faced Timmy both need pro-activ. : p

  • Alejandro

    I dunno. While in terms of mannerisms, I don’t need to date a manly man, in terms of appearances, I tend to prefer more “masculine” bodies–beefier, hairier . . . and in the example above, I prefer the face on the left. I like square, blockier faces, strong jaws and eyebrows. I’m pretty certain a lot of it stems from my own insecurities over my masculinity. And being a smaller guy (I stand at 5’4″), I have often gotten a lot of attention from more masculine types, so perhaps I just associate them with positive affirmation.

  • Lanjier

    Of course, the answer is earning capacity. What’s in their wallet. In a rich culture, more feminine means higher earnings, beefy means working stiff; in a poor country, beefy means earner, thin means no money. Woman are proven to think money is sexy, it is in men that they are turned on by bodies alone.

    Me, I like the guy on the left.

  • Lamar

    I prefer the guy on the right, the guy on the left looks unbelievably straight, you know the typical fag hating, unintelligent jock that would bully more effeminate guys in school

  • Hyhybt

    “Masculinity, however, can come at a high price. Women often think of high-testosterone types as uncooperative, unsympathetic, philandering, aggressive…”

    How’s this for a worthwhile question: where can I find a “cromagnon type” physically, who is cooperative, sympathetic, faithful, and nonaggressive, and not already taken?

  • cat

    The guys from Twilight are very stereotypically masculine featured and portray very traditional violent/protector gender roles. Newsflash, just because hetero girls like you doesn’t make you femme.

    Also, 95% of evopsych is just sexist bullshit masquerading as science. I caught the ‘men are naturally promiscuous and women are naturally monogamous’ trope here, as well as ‘
    masculinity is basically man’s way of advertising good genes’. Really? Because what counts as ‘masculine’ varies a lot from culture to culture. Look at this paiting of Louis the XIV, king stud of his era because nothing says butch like heels, tights, and a long curly wig. Besides, I love how the one study they actually cite is not at all statistically significant. Bad sexists. Bad science.

  • Devon

    I’ll give you Jackson Rathbone, but I haven’t seen many women who bear a striking resemblance to Taylor Lautner or Robert Pattinson.

    That said, I’d do both of these guys.

  • delurker again

    The one on the right sorta resembles Ms. Maddow or any generic dyke for that matter.

    That said, I’d hit both of ’em.

  • jason

    I always though that Marilyn Monroe had a heart-shaped face and the most perfect heart-shaped mouth you could ever wish for. In fact, my own appearance is similar to hers. I’ve had straight guys – walking with their wives down the street – look at me in that quick, surreptitious manner. Many of them find me insanely gorgeous.

    It’s a burden as it impedes my ability to relate to men spiritually.

  • Colby

    I’ll take the guy on the left. The one on the right looks like a lesbian.

  • Z.L.

    Of course, it could have nothing to do with women in “richer” nations (which are likely more media saturated) being members in good standing of the Cult of Youth. Young men –and young women– have softer features than people who are more physically mature, i.e. old. And ‘soft features’ are regarded as feminine.

    Also, evolutionary psyche generally amounts to little more than building academic castles in the air; theorizing with no foundation of scientific proof.

  • Bill Perdue

    “Basically, They Want to Sleep With Gays”

    Awww. Too bad.

  • romeo

    Bill #12: I’m with you. Too bad. :D

  • Chuck

    I disagree that gay men don’t seek out of biological need for the best reproductive fitness. I know for a fact that my gay attraction strongly correlates with features I perceive as a desirable mix with my own.

  • tjr101

    I’ll definitely go for the one on the left. Straight looking masculine guys always my type and the one on the left seems like he’ll be taller and sturdier than l am (I’m a slim 5’8). The one on the right fits the description of a friend more than anything else.

  • Jason

    @delurker again:

    delurker again FTW!

  • Cam

    Well also though, they did a study with 29 women chosen from a wealthy bedroom community not far from Los Angeles. Is this a comment on U.S. women or on women raised in the metrosexual capital of the country?

  • Jason

    @tjr101: “Straight looking?” Can you explain please?

    Thanks much.

    When in the USMC, I was “straight looking” and I dated/did plenty of my fellow Marines and I guess I still “look straight” now that I am out of the Corps, but I am still confused.

    Oh well.


    I thought straight women found the alternative to the aggressive straight alpha male in the straight Geeky types, no?

  • Sam

    For a much more interesting discussion of the of the role of evolution as it pertains to the geigh, check out Corydon by Andre Gide. Banned at publication, it concludes that gay men are evolutionary superior to straight men. Sweet!

  • Kate

    The author thinks gay men are feminine? Not just in any behavioral sense – but – down to the structure of their faces? I didn’t see that anywhere in the study.

  • Bryce

    It really depends on how you define masculine. I would say that this is not true in many cases. Straight men from Asia are by no means less straight but often come across as feminine by the standards of American culture. I can’t speak for other industrialized countries but America has a definition of in your face macho that women eat up that offends a lot of people in the world. Even the famously machismo men of Latin America have a tendency to express emotion hug and even kiss male friends on the cheek and get into things like poetry and music that will seem rather unmanly to the rather stiff and repressed protestant way of being. I often see Samoan Hawaiian and other Polynesian men sitting around playing ukulele singing easy listening and R&B music that would seem sappy and girly to most Americans. The Japanese, who yes are among the rich countries now but only recently, also have a love for similar things their Samurais dressed in clothes with flowers wrote mushy poetry and named their fearsome battleships of WW2 after yup flower. While we tended to give our military units fearsome but rather cliche sounding names or decorating them with tacky pictures of big breasted strippers. We are the home of hooters and of the international porn industry. Manliness in this society especially in recent times as our extreme consumerism and god awful schools bring our society into further and further decline is defined as confidence. The quality of doing whatever the hell you want. The ability to act like you are a rock star or rapper or pro athlete or CEO even though you are not and somehow fool women on a subconscious level into thinking that no one could be this arrogant unless they were really that cool. That’s confidence. Given our state of constant war and internal violence at home. Where are all these feminine men at? Besides all you queers(no offense) Whether or not we admit it the majority of men are going to cater to what the women like or at least try to in how they act. I am gonna have to say that this is bullshit and besides how would any of you know?

  • Just a passerby girl..

    erm.. dun like any of those guys.. they look both definitely.. computer generated!

    but as a fellow girl “of a richer country..”
    I like guys with a more slender body rather than muscular,long hair! Biiiiig surprise..
    but hey, even those kind of “feminine” looking guys can be really badass sometimes.. not that I’d dislike it though.
    Its all about taste. Blah Blah genes here there.. Blue Eyes and Blonde hair was also a genetic failure at first.. look at people now.. if it went as genetics say we all would have black hair and brown eyes or something..
    The unexpected is always a possibility..
    Being gay/bi comes also mostly unexpected, or am i wrong?
    Ya and wayyyy too bad for us women that thing with the gay guys (;
    –> ya know,
    i think gay relationships have more “feel” in it nowadays..
    the man – woman thingie is a bit worn out.
    Maybe thats why women sometimes go crazy over guy-guy relationships, and like gay guys?
    Its not all whats in your genes its also about whats inside you.

  • ewe

    What kind of a self hating headline is that Queerty?

  • ewe

    What kind of a stereotypical headline is that Queerty? lol. kind of silly

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