Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gay Men Prefer Masculine-faced Men, Study Suggests

Date:
October 31, 2009
Source:
Harvard University
Summary:
New research suggests that regardless of sexual orientation, men prefer sexual dimorphism in faces. This study finds that gay men preferred the most masculine-faced men, while straight men preferred the most feminine-faced women. The findings suggest that regardless of sexual orientation, men's brains are wired for attraction to sexually dimorphic faces -- those with facial features that are most synonymous with their gender.

A new study from a researcher at Harvard University finds that gay men are most attracted to the most masculine-faced men, while straight men prefer the most feminine-faced women.

The findings suggest that regardless of sexual orientation, men's brains are wired for attraction to sexually dimorphic faces -- those with facial features that are most synonymous with their gender.

The research is currently published online in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, and was led by Aaron Glassenberg, while completing his master's degree in the Department of Psychology at Harvard. Glassenberg is currently a Ph.D. student in organizational behavior in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Business School. Glassenberg's co-authors are David Feinberg of McMaster University, Benedict Jones and Lisa DeBruine of Aberdeen University, and Anthony Little of Stirling University.

"Our work showed that gay men found highly masculine male faces to be significantly more attractive than feminine male faces. Also, the types of male faces that gay men found attractive generally did not mirror the types of faces that straight women found attractive on average," says Glassenberg. "Men, gay or straight, prefer high sexual dimorphism in the faces of the sex that they are attracted to. Gay men and straight men did not agree on the types of male faces they considered attractive."

The study is the first to examine the facial feature preferences of gay men and lesbian women. Women's preferences are more complex than men's, as indicated by prior research demonstrating that ovulation, contraceptive use, self-perceived attractiveness, and sex drive all affect face preference. In this particular study, straight women preferred more masculine-faced men than lesbian women, while lesbians preferred slightly more masculine female faces than straight women or men.

Participants viewed images of faces that were digitally manipulated to be more masculine or feminine, and then indicated which face they considered more attractive. The study was conducted online, and included over 900 men and women.

Sexually dimorphic features in male faces include a broad jaw, broad forehead, and more pronounced brow ridge. A sexually dimorphic female face has a more tapered chin, larger lips, and a narrower forehead.

Prior research has also shown that women prefer more masculine male faces when ovulating, indicating an evolutionary function for facial attraction. Men who have faces that are higher in sexual dimorphism (masculinity) have been shown to have better health and dominance but lower investment in offspring.

Although it is difficult to make substantial evolutionary claims from this study, Glassenberg's work supports the idea that male attraction operates differently from female attraction, regardless of sexual orientation.

The research project was supported by Harvard University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Harvard University. "Gay Men Prefer Masculine-faced Men, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091030125044.htm>.
Harvard University. (2009, October 31). Gay Men Prefer Masculine-faced Men, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091030125044.htm
Harvard University. "Gay Men Prefer Masculine-faced Men, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091030125044.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping School Violence

Stopping School Violence

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A trauma doctor steps out of the hospital and into the classroom to teach kids how to calmly solve conflicts, avoiding a trip to the ER. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A tiny cyst in the brain that can cause debilitating symptoms like chronic headaches and insomnia, and the doctor who performs the delicate surgery to remove them. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Burning Away Brain Tumors

Burning Away Brain Tumors

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Doctors are 'cooking' brain tumors. Hear how this new laser-heat procedure cuts down on recovery time. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins