Men’s preferences for female facial femininity decline with age

Marcinkowska, Urszula M., Dixson, Barnaby J., Kozlov, Mikhail V. and Rantala, Markus J. (2015) Men’s preferences for female facial femininity decline with age. Journals of Gerontology. Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, . doi:10.1093/geronb/gbv077

Author Marcinkowska, Urszula M.
Dixson, Barnaby J.
Kozlov, Mikhail V.
Rantala, Markus J.
Title Men’s preferences for female facial femininity decline with age
Journal name Journals of Gerontology. Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1758-5368
Publication date 2015
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/geronb/gbv077
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Total pages 7
Place of publication Cary, NC United States
Publisher Oxford University Press
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objectives. Women tend to have a smaller chin, fuller lips, and rounder eyes than men, due in part to the effects of estrogen. These features associated with facial femininity have been found to be positively associated with fertility. Although young men in their 20s typically judge facial femininity as more attractive than facial masculinity, at all ages, men with higher sexual desire and testosterone levels tend to show a marked preference for feminine faces. In the current study, we extend this research using a large cross-national sample to test the hypothesis that facial femininity preferences will be stronger among younger men than among older men. We also tested whether these preferences are influenced by self-reported sexual openness, national health indices, and gross national income.

Method. We quantified attractiveness judgments (i.e., preferences) among 2,125 heterosexual men (aged 17–73 years) for female faces that were manipulated to appear more or less feminine using a computer graphics program.

Results. Facial femininity preferences decreased with age, being highest among men in their 30s and lowest among men in their 70s. This pattern was independent of men’s sexual openness and cross-national variation in health and socioeconomic development.

Discussion. Our study shows that men’s preferences for facial femininity are age dependent. At the proximate level, differences in preferences could reflect age-related declines in testosterone levels. These age-related declines in preferences could benefit older men, who are less able to invest in mating effort, and thus may opt out of competition with younger men for mates with potentially higher fertility.
Keyword Attractiveness
Gender differences
Sexual dimorphism
Sexual preferences
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Created: Thu, 31 Mar 2016, 18:35:00 EST by Mrs Alison Pike on behalf of School of Psychology