When it comes to choosing a husband--someone who will be faithful, strong, and always there--women really do prefer scrawny over brawny. Think Ray Romano instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
That's the finding of a new study of 325 college women conducted by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles. While women seek out muscular men for fun flings and view them as more attractive and better in bed, they definitely don't want to marry them. Why? They're seen as being "less faithful, less likely to treat them well, and less emotionally sensitive," study co-author David Frederick, told HealthDayNews.
Call it the revenge of the scrawny guys. When it comes to settling down with a lifetime partner, these are the men that women find most attractive, according to the UCLA study. "When women are choosing mates--except for very attractive women--they're facing a tradeoff of choosing a guy who's very sexy or one who will stick around and treat them well," Frederick explained. This explains why Jennifer Aniston married Brad Pitt--and why the girl next door didn't.
The study: Frederick surveyed more than 300 college-age women about their preferences in male physiques and then measured their reactions after they looked at pictures of real and computer-generated men of varying levels of muscular fitness, reports HealthDayNews.
The results: Men with muscular physiques were rated nearly twice as sexy as non-muscular men, but they were also rated twice as intimidating and dominant.
"Based on the theory we're working under, most women wouldn't choose to marry Brad Pitt because he has so many short-term dating opportunities," Frederick concluded. Most women believe that someone that good-looking would not remain faithful to them. "The average woman would probably go for the Ray Romano guy as the long-term marriage partner," he said.
Gordon G. Gallup Jr., a professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, told HealthDayNews that the UCLA findings likely reflect human habits developed through evolution. That is, when women choose life partners, they may be seeking men who will "invest in the family and their offspring and make a long-term, committed investment in the relationship," said Gallup. Fair or not, muscular men may be viewed "as more likely to play the field and less likely to make commitments," he added.
The study findings were reported at a meeting of the western region of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality in San Diego.