The Role of Facial and Body Hair Distribution in Women’s Judgments of Men’s Sexual Attractiveness

Dixson, Barnaby J.W and Rantala, Markus J (2015) The Role of Facial and Body Hair Distribution in Women’s Judgments of Men’s Sexual Attractiveness. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45 4: 877-889. doi:10.1007/s10508-015-0588-z

Author Dixson, Barnaby J.W
Rantala, Markus J
Title The Role of Facial and Body Hair Distribution in Women’s Judgments of Men’s Sexual Attractiveness
Journal name Archives of Sexual Behavior   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-0002
Publication date 2015-08-21
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10508-015-0588-z
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 45
Issue 4
Start page 877
End page 889
Total pages 13
Place of publication New York, United States
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Subject 1201 Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
3200 Psychology
Abstract Facial and body hair are some of the most visually conspicuous and sexually dimorphic of all men’s secondary sexual traits. Both are androgen dependent, requiring the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone via the enzyme 5α reductase 2 for their expression. While previous studies on the attractiveness of facial and body hair are equivocal, none have accounted as to how natural variation in their distribution may influence male sexual attractiveness. In the present study, we quantified men’s facial and body hair distribution as either very light, light, medium, or heavy using natural photographs. We also tested whether women’s fertility influenced their preferences for beards and body hair by comparing preferences among heterosexual women grouped according their fertility (high fertility, low fertility, and contraceptive use). Results showed that men with more evenly and continuously distributed facial hair from the lower jaw connecting to the mustache and covering the cheeks were judged as more sexually attractive than individuals with more patchy facial hair. Men with body hair were less attractive than when clean shaven, with the exception of images depicting some hair around the areolae, pectoral region, and the sternum that were significantly more attractive than clean-shaven bodies. However, there was no effect of fertility on women’s preferences for men’s beard or body hair distribution. These results suggest that the distribution of facial and body hair influences male attractiveness to women, possibly as an indication of masculine development and the synthesis of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone via 5α reductase.
Keyword Facial hair
Body hair
Menstrual cycle
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed 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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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 11 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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