Women prefer flings with muscular men, but they don't want to marry them

My own experience reflects this.  I have always been physically average but, like most high IQ people, I have a very lively sense of humour. I was always a bit peeved to hear women say that they want someone who makes them laugh.  Is the ideal partner a clown? But I was a beneficiary of it so I didn't complain. So the article below is right in noting how attractive to women that is.  Over the last 60 years, I have had many relationships with fine women, including four marriages

They say nice guys finish last, but it turns out the truth might look a little different. New research shows that while women are more attracted to muscular men for short-term flings, traits like kindness and humour are more important for long-term relationships.

When it comes to pop culture and societal norms, it’s a well-known truth that certain appearances are deemed more desirable than others. 

Men with large muscles, and women with large breasts, are often ranked at the top of the physical pecking order – and those who fit the mould are seen as the model for who we should aspire to be, and aspire to date. 

By and large, this not-so-subtle marketing works; it influences purchasing decisions, social hierarchies and dating app swipes, and it’s been more or less the same for the last hundred years. 

However, a new study shows that while these archetypes are attractive on a surface level, we may be drawn to them when it comes to steamy flings and short-term affairs – what we want changes significantly when we’re looking for a long-term partner. 

Professor Mitch Brown from the University of Arkansas was curious about the correlation between physical attributes and dating and surveyed 384 heterosexual women about their thoughts on dating. 

The research, published in the Personality and Individual Differences academic journal, showed that when it came to a short-term physical relationship like a one-night stand or casual hookup, women were more inclined to prefer a man with a muscular physique, over their lankier counterparts. 

This is not altogether surprising, as the pro-muscle mentality is drilled into us on a daily basis online and in brand marketing everywhere. But it’s also an evolutionary instinct too that harks back to our animal brains – females are biologically drawn to males who look like they can protect and provide. 

However, where the research gets interesting is what we look for in long-term relationships, and how our bucket list for a perfect partner changes when longevity is involved. 

When searching for a life partner, women were more inclined to prioritise other traits like kindness, humour and the willingness to contribute to a family.

“Women associate muscles with being fit and healthy,” said Brown in the report. “However, in a long-term context, it was important to find a kind person who will support his family” – in more than just a physical sense. 

Humour was one trait that rose significantly in importance, though only if the jokes aren’t at the woman’s expense. 

“Nice guys who make friendly jokes can actually finish first when it comes to attracting a woman looking for a long-term relationship,” said Brown. 

Turns out all we want is to be with someone who doesn’t make us feel like crap. Wild. 

The study builds upon a 2007 piece of research by the University of California, Los Angeles that examined the number of sexual partners for muscular versus thinner men. The results concluded that the more physically large men “were twice as likely to have over three sex partners than their less-muscular peers”, per the New York Post. 

One of the study’s authors, David Frederick, said “Most research is focused on what men find physically attractive in women…Much less research is devoted to what women find attractive.”

It’s great to see that 16 years on, that research has been carried out. And the results? At the end of the day, when it comes to lasting love, we don’t care so much about looks. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.



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