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Biol Psychol. 2005 Sep;70(1):38-43. Epub 2005 Apr 7.

Women's preferences for sexual dimorphism in height depend on menstrual cycle phase and expected duration of relationship.

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Department of Anthropology, University of Wrocław, ul. Kuźnicza 35, Wrocław 50-138, Poland.


Human mate preferences are related to many morphological traits, such as female waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), body mass index (BMI), male height or facial symmetry. People also vary in preferences for sexual dimorphism in stature (SDS = male height/female height) between themselves and a potential partner. Here, we demonstrate that women adjust their preference for SDS not only in relation to their own height but also in relation to (1) the phase of menstrual cycle during which their preferences were studied and (2) the sexual strategy (short- versus long-term) they were asked to choose. Taller males (larger SDS) were preferred more often when women were in the follicular (i.e. fertile) phase of their menstrual cycle and when the partners were chosen for short-term relationships. These effects were independent of woman's height. The results show that women in a potentially fertile phase of their menstrual cycle and when choosing a partner who might be less likely to invest in children select genes of taller males.

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