Screen Readers Skip to Content

Males with Wider Faces More Attractive for Short-term Relationships

Author: Association for Psychological Science
Published: 4th Oct 2014 - Updated: 24th Dec 2014
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Love and Romance Publications

Summary: Study shows females may perceive men with wider faces as more dominant and more attractive for short-term relationships.


Main Document

"Our study shows that within three minutes of meeting in real life, women find more dominant, wider-faced men attractive for short-term relationships, and want to go on another date with them," says psychological scientist and lead researcher Katherine Valentine of Singapore Management University.

According to Valentine, there's considerable academic debate about whether physical dominance is advantageous in mating - that is, actually attractive to women. At the same time, researchers have been exploring facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) as a possible physical indicator of male dominance.

This new study, she says, addressed both issues:

"High male fWHR has previously been associated with surviving in hand-to-hand combat, aggressiveness, self-perceived power, and CEO's financial success," says Valentine. "Our study shows it's also a reasonably good indicator of perceived dominance - not only that, it piques women's interest in a face-to-face speed-dating setting."

Valentine and colleagues hypothesized that increased fWHR, due to its link with testosterone, would make men seem more dominant and more desirable as romantic interests in the short-term. But, because facial width is also linked with undesirable traits like aggression, women would not see these men as more desirable for long-term relationships.

The researchers studied over 150 men and women, ages 18 to 32, who participated in one of several speed-dating events. The participants were all single and they received no compensation other than the prospect of making a potential romantic match. Each speed-dating interaction lasted 3 minutes.

Male speed-daters with higher fWHR, as measured by computer software, were independently rated as more dominant. Women not only expressed more interest in short-term relationships with these men, but were also more likely to choose them for a second date. These associations held even after the researchers accounted for the men's age and independently-rated attractiveness.

Further analyses suggest that the link between higher fWHR and greater interest in a short-term relationship could be accounted for, at least in part, by perceived dominance.

The fact that fWHR predicted whether women wanted another date with a man came as a surprise:

"The fact that women wanted to see these men again suggests that our findings are robust - women aren't just saying they are interested, they're actually willing to be contacted by these men," says Valentine. "Previous studies have found that women prefer more dominant men for short-term relationships, but almost all of these studies were based in the lab and did not involve an interaction that could actually lead to mating and dating."

Valentine and colleagues plan on further investigating how these individual differences in men affect their overall attractiveness, and in what contexts.

Co-authors on the study include Norman P. Li of Singapore Management University, Lars Penke of Georg August University Göttingen, and David I. Perrett of the University of St Andrews.

The article abstract is available online: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/01/23/0956797613511823.abstract

Post to Twitter Add to Facebook

Latest Love and Romance Publications

The above information is from our reference library of resources relating to Love and Romance that includes:

Drag Dad and Pregnant Mom - Photo credit: Apporva Gupta. thumbnail image
As an openly bi person, having a child of my own was always a dream. For me to think of it was a rollercoaster of emotions.
Publish Date: 28th Apr 2023
Is Spontaneous Sex Better Than Planned Sex? thumbnail image.
While many people endorse spontaneous sex, there was no difference in their reported satisfaction with their last actual sexual encounter - whether planned or unplanned.
Publish Date: 15th Feb 2023
How to Show Your Children Love thumbnail image.
Relationships built on love, care, and mutual respect are essential for children to grow up feeling safe, healthy, and resilient.
Publish Date: 11th Feb 2023
A person in a suit with a fake kiss mark overlaid on the shirt collar. thumbnail image
People often cheat not because they planned it but because the opportunity presented itself, and they were too depleted, tired, drunk, or distracted to fight temptation.
Publish Date: 31st Jan 2023


1How Many Genders Are There?
Alphabetical list of gender identities.

2Transgender Reporting Guide
How to write about transgender people.

3Glossary of Sexuality Terms
Definitions of sexual terms & acronyms.

4Glossary of Sexual Identities
Definitions of gender related terms.

5Am I Gay? Questions to Ask
Think you may be gay or bisexual?

• Submissions: Send us your coming events and LGBTQ related news stories.


• Report Errors: Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.



• (APA): Association for Psychological Science. (2014, October 4). Males with Wider Faces More Attractive for Short-term Relationships. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved April 12, 2024 from www.sexualdiversity.org/sexuality/love/15.php


• Permalink: <a href="https://www.sexualdiversity.org/sexuality/love/15.php">Males with Wider Faces More Attractive for Short-term Relationships</a>