Guys, it’s time to dust off your high heels. One of the many keys to male attractiveness is slightly longer-than-average legs, according to a new study. More specifically, it has to do with having a slightly higher than average leg-to-body ratio and an average shin-to-thigh ratio. Sounds sexy, right?
These findings come from new research at the University of Cambridge in the UK that used an online survey to question over 800 people from the US, all of whom identified as heterosexual women. As reported in the Royal Society Open Science, the researchers showed the participants a selection of computer-generated images of men’s bodies (image below) and asked them to rate how attractive they found each physique.
The results showed that participants had a distinct preference for a higher than average leg-to-body ratio, as well as an average ratio between the lower and upper limb segments (i.e., the calf and thigh). On the other hand, long arms did not seem to influence attractiveness, the long-armed among you will be disappointed to hear.
The most likely explanation for this, the researchers argue, is all rooted in sexual selection and the perceived evolutionary advantages of having lengthy (but not lanky) legs.
“From the perspective of evolutionary biology, attractiveness judgements reflect the biological fitness of a prospective mate (i.e. their ability to survive and reproduce in their environment), because a high-fitness mate is likely to be better able to provide resources, care, and protection, to be less likely to transmit harmful pathogens, and to pass on ‘good genes’ to the offspring,” the study authors write.
“Because some aspects of fitness correlate with morphological traits, numerous studies have investigated how a variety of prominent anatomical features influence attractiveness... We investigate a relatively unexplored but potentially crucial aspect of morphology: limb proportions.”
Leg-body ratios that are “slightly above the mean are associated with high socioeconomic status, good nutrition, and developmental stability,” it adds.
Although it makes for some interesting reading, there are a few things to consider with this research. For one thing, it only gauged the self-reported opinions of heterosexual women. While the study said the participants were from a multitude of racial backgrounds, all were from the US, meaning the findings could be culture-dependent.
The study authors also say the results could have been affected by the fact that the computer-generated men are probably more attractive than the average man – hey, their words, not mine.