The human male possesses the Italian designer faucet of penises. They’re pretty big, the biggest of any primate’s relative to body size. And they’re showy, too, right out there, front and center on our upright bodies (i.e., they don’t retract), as if they were meant to be seen as part of the décor. Why?
A study released today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) offers an explanation: Women are attracted to penises, and the bigger the better.
“Penis size does affect attractiveness,” lead author Brian Mautz, a University of Ottawa post-doctoral researcher said in an NBCNews.com interview.
Past research has seemed to indicate that women, as a group, are drawn to larger male members. But those results have been disputed as sexist, or scientifically flawed, or both.
So Mautz and his team, working at the Australian National University, designed an experiment in hopes of settling the controversy. They created 49 unique, computer-generated, nude, life-sized male figures. Each figure varied in three traits: height, shoulder-hip ratio and flaccid penis size.
The researchers then displayed all the figures to 105 Australian women with an average age of 26. The women, who were not told which traits varied, were asked to rate the attractiveness of the figures as sexual partners on a scale of 1-7. The women were alone in the room and their responses were anonymous.
As past studies have shown, women prefer tall men with broad shoulders and narrow hips, like an Olympic swimmer. But when Mautz controlled for those variables, it turned out that penis size (overall length and girth) was about as important as stature.
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