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Despite what some people say, penis size matters to dude-loving ladies, according to a new study.

In a study of 105 heterosexual Australian women, flaccid penis size, height, and shoulder-to-hip ratio all affected the women’s attractiveness ratings of life-size, computer-generated male figures. The traits worked together in complex ways; for example, penis size mattered more in taller men.

The penis effect was so strong that that the study’s authors, an all-male team of Australian biologists, wrote in their paper that it may have driven the evolution of bigger penises in humans, especially if in prehistory, men didn’t do as much to hide their penises in clothes. However, the authors didn’t offer a way to test this idea beyond these attractiveness ratings.

Of course, the study used a limited sample of pretty specific women. And, not to worry, it’s unlikely to have any real-world applications. Attraction takes into account myriad characteristics, and is unlikely to be well mirrored in a study with weird, white CGI male figures.

To conduct the study, the biologists created 343 male figures with all possible combinations of height, shoulder-to-hip ratio and penis size within a natural range. (I must note that the figures are kind of creepy-looking, although I understand they were created to keep other traits, such as skin color and facial attractiveness, constant.) The biologists then asked women who volunteered for their study to view a random sampling of 53 of the figures and to rate the figures’ attractiveness. Statistical analyses of the women’s answers yielded such gems as:

The biologists published their work today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • Shoulder-to-hip ratio mattered the most, while both penis size and height mattered about the same amount, and less than shoulder-to-hip ratio.
  • Penis size had a greater effect on attractiveness rating in taller men than in shorter men.
  • Penis size also had a greater effect on attractiveness rating in men with higher shoulder-to-hip ratios than in men with smaller shoulders compared to their hips.
  • There were diminishing returns for everything. That is, how much more attractiveness the figures gained for added height, penis size and shoulder-to-hip ratio decreased as those traits increased. So the attractiveness difference between at 6’1″ man and a 6’2″ man is less than the difference between a 5’1″ man and a 5’2″ man. For penis size, the dropoff in attractiveness gains started at about 7.6 centimeters, or three inches.
  • Women’s ages did not affect their attractiveness ratings, but women’s heights did. Taller women made height more important in their ratings than shorter women did.
  • Women took longer to rate figures they found more attractive. Previous studies have found that people generally spend longer gazing at things they find attractive.

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