Stressed-Out Men Prefer Larger Women?

by Britni Danielle

According to a new study by researchers at the University of Westminster in London, when men are stressed out they tend to be more attracted to women with more “mature” body types.

The study, “The Impact of Psychological Stress on Men’s Judgements of Female Body Size,” falls in line with evolutionary wisdom that thought men preferred larger women when resources were scare because they were seen as better able to handle tough times. But few modern studies took a look at whether or not emotional stress affects how we view potential mates until now.

Using a very limited sampling of just 81 men, psychologists Viren Swami and Martin Tovee aimed to figure out how stress affects how men view women.

Live Science reports:

To find out, Swami of the University of Westminster in London and his colleague Tovee of Newcastle University randomly assigned men to either a stressfulsituation that mimicked a job interview or a relaxing condition in which they waited quietly in a room. A total of 81 British white men took part in the experiment.

After the stressful faux interview or quiet waiting period, the men rated the attractiveness of photos of women who ranged in weight from emaciated to obese.

The results revealed that the stressed-out men rated heavier bodies more positively than did men who hadn’t experienced stress. Stressed men also rated normal-weight women as more attractive than did their relaxed counterparts. 

“These results are consistent with previous experimental work indicating that the experience of stress leads participants to prefer more mature physical characteristics, but extends earlier studies in showing that the stress also impacts on body size judgments,” the researchers wrote in the journal PLoS ONE.

The findings suggest that context matters a lot in who we find attractive, the researchers added. The findings could help explain why beauty standards vary from culture to culture and even within cultures, they wrote.

Although it’s impossible to say if the views of such a limited group of men truly signal whether or not men in general prefer larger mates when times are tough, it does provide an interesting look into how our instincts play into our attraction for others.

  • Sasha

    Hmmm….is it maybe because bigger woman seem to be more “comfortable” in the sense that maybe that stress leads to us wanting some kind of comfort be it in the form of a cookie, binging on Chipotle or a big round pilow of a woman whose bosom they can bury their head into when they’re feeling unsettled?

  • jamesfrmphilly


  • ImThinkingAboutIt


  • nona


  • MsBumpkin

    The only types of men that like big women are big men and broke men.

  • ignoranceisbliss

    Of course. Because men with good jobs only date skinny women right? Spread your foolishness somehwere else.
    Many of our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, cousins etc are big women in relationships with gainfully employed men and some of them are *gasp* HAPPY.
    In YOUR eyes that may be true that no one wants a big woman but a big or broke man but it simply isn’t the case.
    And in case you haven’t noticed, there are plenty size 2s running around with broke baby daddy’s, boyfriends and husbands who dont work.
    Folks are always looking to reduce others to a stereotype. Smh.

  • onegirl

    To me, a mature physical characteristic means old or older. Round, heavy, obese, plus-sized is not the definition of mature.

  • Mike

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, beauty is in the eye of the beholder….the thing their not saying is a curvy women vs a chubby woman vs a fat women vs a obese women are not the same… neither is sex appeal….some got it others think they got it…..

  • Kitty M

    I think the reasoning behind it is the man who has money is always worried about what someone else is gonna think of him with a plus size woman, a man with less money could careless about someone else’s opinion on the woman he loves. Its speaks to the fact that well off men are always looking for the “arm candy” girl. She’s pretty and the men in the room probably want her. Its all about appearances

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