Reporting in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, researchers led by Brian Mautz, now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa in Canada, studied how 105 young Australian women rated attractiveness in males.
The researchers, including those from Monash University and Australian National University, asked the women to view life-size video clips of computer-generated images of naked men who varied in height, body shape and flaccid penis size, but not in other qualities like facial attractiveness and hair. The women gave each image a rating from 1 to 7 on total sexual attractiveness, rather than assessing individual characteristics.
“We show that penis size actually is important on some level and, importantly, it interacts with other traits,” says Mautz.
The size of a model’s member, for example, had a greater influence on attractiveness if the model were tall, since proportion may have been an important factor in how appealing the men appeared to the women. “A change in penis size has a larger effect for taller men than it does for other heights,” Mautz says. “This result could be because penis size was smaller when assessed relative to the height of a taller man,” the authors note.