Are men physically attractive

What makes tall men attractive?

Wrocław (Poland) - Women prefer tall men when choosing a partner. This preference could have developed in the course of evolution because larger - and therefore usually stronger - men can assert themselves more successfully against others. In addition, they are more likely to achieve a high social rank and father more children. So far, however, differences in testosterone levels depending on body size have not been demonstrated. But now Polish researchers have found that the production of the sex hormone increases significantly in tall men after vigorous physical activity than in short men, as they report in the journal "Evolution and Human Behavior". The increased testosterone production only when needed could activate various metabolic processes and improve physical performance quickly without causing harmful side effects.

“Our results would explain why taller men are more attractive to women and why they have more children than shorter men,” write the researchers working with Piotr Sorokowski from the University of Wrocław. As a positive signal when looking for a partner, body size is only one of several physical characteristics, since body weight, muscle mass and facial features are also of great importance. Although a high testosterone level is also associated with great dominance and pronounced masculinity, no clear relationship between body size and the blood level of the sex hormone has been demonstrated.

97 healthy men between the ages of 19 and 25 took part in the new study. The test subjects had to train for about ten minutes on a bicycle ergometer, with a few short sprints under heavy load. Shortly before and after cycling, each gave a sample of two milliliters of saliva, which was examined for testosterone and cortisol levels. As expected, there was no connection between the testosterone levels measured before training and the height of the test subjects.

After cycling, the testosterone levels were increased by an average of 9.4 percent, while the blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol had hardly changed. The taller the man, the greater the increase in his testosterone level after exercise, while age, pulse, and body weight were irrelevant. An above-average man can increase his testosterone production in a stressful situation more than others and thus probably perform better. The authors suspect that an elevated testosterone level in boys may promote body growth during puberty, even if only temporarily. A permanently high hormone level, on the other hand, could have health disadvantages. The mechanism by which physical exertion increases testosterone production is not yet known.

© Wissenschaft aktuell