Entries in masculinity (7)


The Science of the 'Stache: Give It a Grow This Movember

This month is “Movember,” an international movement to raise awareness about men’s health, particularly prostate and testicular cancer. Men participating in “Movember” grow moustaches and raise money to fund cancer education and research.1 Yet, Movember may have an added benefit for relationships: women rate men with a full beard as more masculine, socially mature, dominant, and aggressive than they rate clean-shaven men. However, men with light stubble fare best on ratings of attractiveness and desirability for short-term and long-term relationships.2 Historically, men tend to grow facial hair during years that competition for mates is more intense (for example, moustaches were particularly popular in the early 1900s, based on images in the Illustrated London News),3 suggesting that facial hair fashion trends are attuned to the effect facial hair has on women’s judgments.

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Supersize Me: Does Penis Size Matter to Women?

Media portrayals of sexuality perpetuate the notion that, when it comes to penises, bigger is better. This size bias is likely due, at least in part, to cultural messages that equate penis size with masculinity and sexual prowess. Pornography reinforces the notion that men with large penises are better lovers and more desirable to women. But does a man’s penis size really matter for heterosexual women’s sexual arousal and satisfaction?

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The Real Benefits of Decreased Testosterone in Fathers

We are always on the lookout for misleading reports about relationship research. In the past we’ve featured articles that examined claims about the lingering effects of hooking-up, whether romance novels are addictive, and whether men should adopt pick-up strategies touted in The Game (just to name a few).

When we recently read reports on a study linking fatherhood to decreased testosterone (click here) we were itching to address the reports because many of them drew conclusions that severely reached beyond the actual data from the original study (click here for an example from CNN). In fact, in many cases, the reports made claims about outcomes that were never measured! However, the article "Tarzan the Diaper Man" from Slate.com not only beat us to the punch, but also did an excellent job refuting the inaccurate and overreaching conclusions drawn in several of the media reports. Thanks to Slate.com for getting on board with SofR’s mission.


Oxytocin Takes the Ass out of Masculinity

We’ve written before about the types of faces women find attractive (see here and here). In addition to those studies, one of the more well-known findings in the facial attractiveness literature is that women show a preference for more masculine faces when they are ovulating, but actually tend to prefer less masculine, or more feminized, faces when they are not likely to conceive a child. Why the shift in preference?

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Getting the Girl: The Influence of Testosterone and Dominance

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…two guys walk into a psychology experiment. After getting their picture taken and giving a saliva sample, both guys are given the chance to have a videotaped chat with a highly attractive female. Researchers set up this clever situation in order to examine whether the guys testosterone, or "T levels," influenced their behaviors in the face of competition over a desirable female.

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How Jealous Are You? Check Your Fingers!

Romantic partners often experience jealousy (see our previous post on jealousy and Facebook), but interestingly, who makes us jealous may lie in how long our fingers are!

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Crying Women Are a Real Turn Off

Perhaps when Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses wrote “Don’t Cry,” he was really protecting his libido. First, researchers collected tears of women who watched sad movies. Later, males who smelled the tears had decreased testosterone and found pictures of females less appealing. fMRI scans of males’ brain activity after smelling tears revealed that males' brains had less activity in regions associated with sexual arousal, which suggests that odorless tears contain a chemical signal that men unconsciously detect. 

Gelstein, S., Yeshurun, Y., Rozenkrantz, L., Shushan, S., Frumin, I., Roth, Y., & Sobel, N. (2011). Humans tears contain a chemosignal. Science, 331 (6014), 226-230. doi: 10.1126/science.1198331