I’m loathe to put much stock in the new study that finds that penis size matters when it comes to women choosing a sexual mate. Sure, it makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint that women – like men – do a quick fertility scan to determine if their male partner would be more likely to successfully procreate.
But I think women have evolved beyond that to judge a man by his ability to commit and help raise those offspring that he’s so good at producing. That’s, at least, what women have said they want in previous psychology studies asking them directly about their male organ preferences.
Some have said they prefer longer penises, others said wider, and a significant amount said penis size was unimportant.
But in the new Australian study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers asked 105 women, whose average age was 27, to look at computer-generated images of naked men—without any distinguishing facial features—and rate their sexual attractiveness. After height, broad shoulders, and a trim waist, penis length was the most significant factor, and the longer, the better.
Flaccid penis size ranged from 2 inches to 5 inches, but the researchers found that attractiveness rating scores didn’t as rise steeply after 3 inches, which is a smaller than average penis size. They called it the law of diminishing returns.
“Our results directly contradict claims that penis size is unimportant to most females,” wrote the researchers who speculated that women may see more potential for sexual pleasure with a larger size.
That’s all fine if women are looking for temporary hook-ups, but I still think women look far more at other physical characteristics—like a man’s face—to say nothing of his personality. Many women rate sense of humor as the most important feature that draws them to a man.
A spate of other studies have indicated that women rate a man’s sexual attractiveness based on a man’s facial features, whether they’re more masculine or feminine, and that their preferences change throughout their menstrual cycle. It could be that these facial features trump all other body parts when it comes to women determining whether there’s any chemistry.
“I am not sure how our results fit together since we controlled for facial features,” said study leader Brian Mautz, now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa in Canada. “The only way to get at the question is to start varying facial features on the figures, which is something we hope to address in the future.”Deborah Kotz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.