This post is also available in: Deutsch
A solid, thick, tight study has scraped the shins with a loaded deadlift bar, and the findings are nothing short of an ECA stacked validation of CH teachings. For as long as the Provencal sun has shone its ethereal light on the Chateau, we have been saying that male power and dominance — and the outcome independent attitude that conveys those traits — are the primary male attractiveness cues that women LOVE LOVE LOVE. And where there’s LOVE LOVE LOVE, there’s TINGLE TINGLE TINGLE.
Although recent research has increasingly focused on human sexual selection, fundamental questions remain concerning the relative influence of individual traits on success in competition for mates and the mechanisms, form, and direction of these sexual selective pressures. Here, we explore sexual selection on men’s traits by ascertaining men’s dominance and attractiveness from male and female acquaintances. On a large American university campus, 63 men from two social fraternities provided anthropometric measurements, facial photographs, voice recordings, and reported mating success (number of sexual partners). These men also assessed each other’s dominance, and 72 women from two socially affiliated sororities assessed the men’s attractiveness. We measured facial masculinity from inter-landmark distances and vocal masculinity from acoustic parameters. We additionally obtained facial and vocal attractiveness and dominance ratings from unfamiliar observers. Results indicate that dominance and the traits associated with it predict men’s mating success, but attractiveness and the traits associated with it do not. These findings point to the salience of contest competition on men’s mating success in this population.
“Only looks matter” shut-in dorks wept bitter, Cheetos-laced orange tears.
This study is chock full of quotable goodness, and the experimental breadth is wide enough to spur further discussion.
[P]rior studies have typically focused on either female choice or male contests without attempting to quantify the relative contributions of these mechanisms to the total sexual selective pressure on a particular trait (Hunt, Breuker, Sadowski, & Moore, 2009). Second, to our knowledge, no study reporting relationships between a male trait and mating success has investigated whether these relationships were mediated by attractiveness or dominance. Third, most studies of sexual selection in men have measured success under female choice or male contests from limited information, such as body size, strength, or ratings of faces or voices made by strangers in the laboratory. Attractiveness and dominance have thus frequently been assessed devoid of relevant information, such as personality and intelligence, and in isolation from the complex webs of social relationships in which we live.
Your charmingly egotistic Chateau lords have insisted for a long time that a major shortcoming of studies attempting to measure male sexual attractiveness is the lack of examining the all-important components of personality and attitude, or what we in the business call charisma, aka game.
Although we are interested in how past selection produced present sexual dimorphisms, we take a behavioral ecological approach, which emphasizes contemporary selection. We take this approach because we expect that, in general, current function will provide insight into past function. However, attractiveness, dominance, and even mating success have likely been at least partly decoupled from reproductive success by features of modern industrial environments such as effective contraception and socially imposed monogamy.
“Only men who have kids are alpha” game haters wept as well. In CH shorthand: The Pill and condom thwart reproduction, but encourage copulation. And which men are doing the bulk of non-marital copulation? Alpha males. (In fact, I’d bet that within marriages alpha males continue to comparatively monopolize the share of copulation events. Chicks dig dominant men, with or without a ring on it.)
As shown for female choice and male contests, the combination of significant positive and negative eigenvalues suggests that the fitness surface for mating success is best described as a multivariate saddle (Fig. 2C). There was also significant positive linear selection on m2 and m3, which favors increased girth and decreased vocal masculinity (m2) and increased height and girth (m3).
There’s a lot of juicy math in this study, so you abstraction pros can hash out the details for make benefit of haters’ anguish.
When mating success was used as the fitness measure and success under female choice (attractiveness) and male contests (dominance) were treated as traits, there was directional selection for dominance, but not attractiveness (Fig. 1, Table 3).
Reread the 16 Commandments of Poon. Most of the Commandments are essentially power laws, instructing men how to act like a more powerful man. It works because, as ♥science♥ is now discovering and in the process catching up to the observations of real world field soldiers, chicks dig dominant men more than anything else. And perhaps chicks have no choice but to dig dominant men!
Although facial and vocal attractiveness (Table E2a) and related eigenvectors (Table E3a: m1, m2) positively linearly predicted success under female choice, they did not predict mating success (Tables E2b, E3b). Again, linear, but not quadratic or correlational, sexual selection on male traits acting through female choice differed from that acting through mating success (see ESM).
What this means is that men’s efforts to get laid matter just as much as, and perhaps more than, women’s choice in matters of male sexual success. So… bust a move, gentlemen! As long as you’re imposing yourself, you can override the female sexual choice imperative.
When mating success was used as the fitness measure and attractiveness, dominance, and sociosexual psychology were treated as traits, there was directional selection for dominance, sociosexuality (Table E8), and an eigenvector onto which dominance and sociosexuality loaded heavily (Table E9: m1), but not attractiveness (Table E8). Dominance and sociosexuality also positively interacted in predicting mating success (Table E8).
Sociosexuality is basically willingness to engage in flings and sexytime outside of committed relationships. So again we see that where high dominance and sociosexuality interact to turn a man into a stone bone lady slaying machine, attractive male looks as perceived by women don’t really do much for a man’s mating success if he’s neither dominant nor highly sociosexual. Dem handsome betaboys are gonna struggle to get the same amount of pussy that uglier badboys with devil-may-care attitudes will pull.
Female choice exerted positive directional selection on height and stabilizing selection on an eigenvector that was heavily weighted by girth. These results corroborate previous research finding that women prefer taller males particularly for short-term mating (Pawlowski & Jasienska, 2005), and that they prefer men of intermediate brawniness (Frederick & Haselton, 2007).
Lifting weights is great, but the biggest benefit comes not from bulking up to the size of a house (which chicks don’t really care about), but from reaping the reward of that wonderful elevated testosterone, the hormone elixir that nourishes the desire to approach and close.
Moreover, both multiple regression analysis and canonical analysis indicated selection under female choice for negative covariance between girth and facial and vocal masculinity, suggesting that the brawnier a man is, the more important it is for him to have a feminine face and voice, and vice versa. Female choice favored more attractive, but not more masculine, faces and voices, and facial attractiveness became more important as height increased.
This is a bit of heartening news for short men. Women will want tall men to have pretty boy faces, but short men can get away with uglier mugs if they have brawnier bodies (and more masculine, if less pretty, faces). There appears to be some kind of competing interplay within women that compels them to find attractive men who, in various ways, balance their masculine traits with feminine traits, leading to counterintuitive results like female choice that favors brawny men with feminine faces and voices, and less physically imposing men with more masculine faces and voices. But…
These results indicate that beyond height, masculine features tend not to make independent positive contributions to success under female choice, suggesting that other factors may have operated in the selection of masculine traits in men.
… female choice doesn’t matter as much as male dominance to men’s mating success, and masculine features aren’t a winning combo by themselves. As the study authors state, masculine traits were favored by evolution for reasons beyond any innate female preference for them.
Given little evidence that men generally deferred to, or that women preferred, men with masculine faces in the present study, perhaps facial masculinity evolved in men not so much as a dominance signal or sexual ornament but because robust facial skeletal structure was protective against facial fractures incurred in physical fights (Puts, 2010).
Veeeery interesting. In related news, Steven Pinker wondered why the world is getting both less violent and more manboob-y.
Overall success under male contests (male acquaintance-rated dominance) predicted mating success, but success under female choice (female acquaintance-rated attractiveness) did not.
In the field, who wins? Answer: men whom other men perceive as dominant. The pretty boys get glowing Facebook likes, but not much real world action if they don’t back it up with a powerful presence.
These results suggest stronger sexual selection through male contests than female choice in the population studied. Much research in evolutionary psychology states or implies the contrary: stronger sexual selection in men through female choice (reviewed in Puts, 2010).
Feminists and assorted butthurt haters who assert that women do all the choosing and solely anoint the male winners in the sexual access sweepstakes are, as per fucking usual, wrong.
At the same time, these results appear incompatible with the apparent autonomy with which Western women choose their mates. One possibility is that female choice determines men’s mating success, but women choose dominant men (i.e., men’s attractiveness and dominance are functionally equivalent). However, women preferred different traits from those favored under male contests, and dominance rather than attractiveness predicted men’s mating success. Another possibility is that women choose from among dominant men—that is, men’s attractiveness and dominance posi- tively interact, so that the influence of attractiveness on mating success increases with increasing dominance. However, in predicting mating success, we observed no statistically significant selection for positive covariance between attractiveness and dominance: in fact, if anything, the correlational selection gradient was negative in sign.
Readers can issue a correction if this interpretation is wrong, but what this study result shows is that dominant men with good looks actually had LOWER mating success than dominant men with rougher looks.
Nevertheless, perhaps women rate men’s sexual attractiveness differently from how they ultimately choose.
Maxim #something or other: Never listen to what a women says she prefers in men; instead, watch what she does.
For example, attractiveness ratings may not adequately capture women’s differential resistance to men’s seduction attempts.
In the future, Chateau Heartiste will devote a number of posts to what we term Monthly Cycle Game. That is, there are two distinct schools of game every man should use: One tailored to women during the one week they’re ovulating and demanding of more dominance signals, and one tailored to women during the three weeks they prefer more signals of attainability and commitment. How will you know when to use each? Stay tuned.
Finally, men’s dominance may limit female choice in subtle ways. For example, in the bars, clubs, parties, and other venues in which sexual affairs are initiated, a dominant man may have little compunction against interfering with the mating attempts of a less dominant man, whereas the reverse would be less likely.
There is also a school of game haters who bleat about how BETA it is for men to actively pursue and woo women. In their warped view, making any sort of seductive effort beyond “JUST BE YOURSELF AND SAY A FRIENDLY HI UNTIL A GIRL TAKES YOU HOME” is the SMV equivalent of crying in public when it rains on your new shoes or begging for sex from land whales. So stupid, it hardly deserves a response, (but here’s one for them: are women losers when they try to improve their mate prospects by wearing make-up and sexy clothes and keeping fit?), but luckily ♥science♥ has stepped in to put the lie to their fantasies of how sex relations work in the real world. And the obvious is made more obvious: When you are the only man out of ten men in a room to approach a cute girl and try to seduce her, you just DOMINATED the nine other men who stood around waiting for traddork-approved female recognition. See how that works, good family men?
Despite the coherence of these results, we note several limitations. First, although we measured what we believe are some of the strongest candidates for sexually selected traits in men, traits that exhibit large sex differences that emerge at sexual maturity and have been implicated in men’s mating competition, we did not assess all possible traits. Among those that we might have included are psychological traits, such as aggression (Archer, 2009) and humor (Miller, 2000).
A scientific study of that nature would be the gold standard in game studies, and the results you can safely bet would lay to rest any lingering doubts about the efficacy of game. We live in a fluid world with a sexual market that responds to attractive male mate cues on a dime, each cue winning and losing all the time in context with competition from other male attractiveness cues. How will the laconic meathead do against the loquacious funnyman? How about the suave smooth-talker versus the caustic frat boy spitting one-liners? The pimp full of promises versus the brooding artist full of torment? Men simply have more options for sexual market victory than do women, who must rely almost entirely on their looks. It’s just a shame that most men don’t realize this and choose the road of dreary corporate paper pushing to get their shot at settling for chubby chicks with vaginas scarred by years of cock pocketing.
Third, the use of hormonal contraception may have affected some female participants’ and raters’ mate preferences (Roberts, Gosling, Carter, & Petrie, 2008) and decoupled male participants’ copulatory patterns from their reproductive success. However, copulatory patterns can predict the reproductive success that would be realized in the absence of effective contraception (Perusse, 1993).
CH has predicted that widely available cheap contraceptives encourages women to sleep with cads more than they would in an environment where non-marital pregnancy was a real and constant threat. However, this encouragement would only be incrementally stronger than the sexual urges that women inherently feel for cads. Copulatory patterns would remain roughly the same between environments of available or absent effective contraceptives, with the former somewhat favoring a higher cad notch count. The reason is that cultural or technological incentives can exert only so much influence on the mating market, since the psychologies of the players originate in the primal limbic system of the brain, which is more resistant to social conditioning.
Fourth, our data on mating success were based on self-report, which may be unreliable. However, we found a highly significantly correlation between self-reported numbers of sex partners and male peers’ assessments of men’s numbers of sex partners.
Dudes know who’s winning the only game that matters.
Fifth, although we measured success under female choice and male contests, sexual selection in men likely involves other mechanisms, such as sperm competition and sexual coercion (Goetz & Shackelford, 2006).
Finally, we measured men’s mating success by their number of sex partners, but additional variables are clearly relevant to mating success, such as the quality of men’s mates, the number of copulations with each, and mates’ fecundability at the time. Nevertheless, the number of women with whom a man has copulated likely strongly reflects his ability to obtain mating opportunities (Faurie et al., 2004; Hodges- Simeon et al., 2011).
Das true. If you bang nothing but fugs and fatties, your artificially pumped notch count is like a nationally ranked college football team going undefeated against Male Feminist Community Colleges. However, the notch count measure is still fairly predictive of a man’s womanizing skill. The few rare fatty fuckers aside, most (non-black*) guys with big numbers have got the talent to score with some bodacious babes.
*Come on, man, you know the bros love swimming in the bottom of the barrel.
The present study begins to fill significant gaps regarding the mechanisms and forms of sexual selection in men and the relative salience of men’s traits to different mechanisms of sexual selection. We do not, however, consider these questions resolved. Future research should explore additional traits and other measures of mating success in different populations, especially in traditional societies.
Next big study: The neg, and why men who use it have higher mating success than men who talk about the weather and their jobs.