Home » Archive » (Biology at work) How Women May Have Shaped Men’s Penises

(Biology at work) How Women May Have Shaped Men’s Penises

I found an online article on Smithsonian.com that reported a scientific study done in Canada based exclusively on the male anatomy. Their original finding published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that female preference for certain male traits have likely shaped the size and thickness of the human penis through natural selection. When first reading this article, I couldn’t help but think this study was an odd mixture of both Sex and the City and Darwin’s theory of evolution. Who knew the two could find something in common?

According to the article, human penises are longer and wider when compared to penises of other primates. Biologists know that penises of other animals reveal information about what shaped a particular species’ evolution, so why not apply this same idea to humans? Basically scientists are trying to understand why human males have developed such long penises when compared to other animals. The creators of the study setup virtual images of males combining different heights, shoulder-to-hip ratios and penis lengths. 53 life-size images were shown to 105 women. Afterwards they were asked to rate the computer-generated men by their sexual attractiveness.

A trend was discovered. Women seem to prefer taller men with larger should-to-hip ratios and (big surprise) longer penises to be the most attractive. They also found out that this preference does have its restrictions.  Images that surpassed a certain size were considered less attractive. Brian Mautz of the University of Ottawa and the lead researcher of this project believes there is a “a point of theoretical peak attractiveness.” Once that they go beyond this point the rating does begin to decline. It appears that women prefer more extreme shoulder-to-hip ratio and tallness but less extreme penis size.

Truthfully I found this whole article to be a bit on the ridiculous side. I’m surprised they found people to finance such studies, but like we discussed in class the medical industry prioritizes men’s health over that of women’s.  For example we have a variety of medicines for erectile dysfunction (Viagra, Cialis and Levitra just to name a few) but we still haven’t found a cure for breast cancer. The study does however point out an interesting insight into human sexuality. In chapter five of the textbook we talked about how women feel the pressure to alter their appearance to make themselves look more attractive to the opposite sex (nose jobs, breast enlargement etc.) Like the study points out maybe women with the help of evolution have also altered men’s bodyScreen Shot 2013-04-10 at 1.28.51 PM.


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