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Arch Sex Behav. 2016 May;45(4):877-89. doi: 10.1007/s10508-015-0588-z. Epub 2015 Aug 21.

The Role of Facial and Body Hair Distribution in Women's Judgments of Men's Sexual Attractiveness.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, QLD, 4072, Australia. b.dixson@uq.edu.au.
2
Evolution and Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Sydney, Australia. b.dixson@uq.edu.au.
3
Turku Brain and Mind Center, Section of Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Abstract

Facial and body hair are some of the most visually conspicuous and sexually dimorphic of all men's secondary sexual traits. Both are androgen dependent, requiring the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone via the enzyme 5α reductase 2 for their expression. While previous studies on the attractiveness of facial and body hair are equivocal, none have accounted as to how natural variation in their distribution may influence male sexual attractiveness. In the present study, we quantified men's facial and body hair distribution as either very light, light, medium, or heavy using natural photographs. We also tested whether women's fertility influenced their preferences for beards and body hair by comparing preferences among heterosexual women grouped according their fertility (high fertility, low fertility, and contraceptive use). Results showed that men with more evenly and continuously distributed facial hair from the lower jaw connecting to the mustache and covering the cheeks were judged as more sexually attractive than individuals with more patchy facial hair. Men with body hair were less attractive than when clean shaven, with the exception of images depicting some hair around the areolae, pectoral region, and the sternum that were significantly more attractive than clean-shaven bodies. However, there was no effect of fertility on women's preferences for men's beard or body hair distribution. These results suggest that the distribution of facial and body hair influences male attractiveness to women, possibly as an indication of masculine development and the synthesis of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone via 5α reductase.

KEYWORDS:

Attractiveness; Beards; Body hair; Facial hair; Menstrual cycle

PMID:
26292838
DOI:
10.1007/s10508-015-0588-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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