KATHMANDU — Women’s preference for masculine faces is not linked with hormones, according to a study conducted by the Association for Psychological Science.
Data from around 600 participants show that women’s perceptions of male attractiveness do not vary according to their hormone levels, in contrast with some previous research.
“We found no evidence that changes in hormone levels influence the type of men women find attractive,” said lead researcher Benedict C Jones.
“This study is noteworthy for its scale and scope – previous studies typically examined small samples of women using limited measures,” Jones explained adding, “With much larger sample sizes and direct measures of hormonal status, we weren’t able to replicate effects of hormones on women’s preferences for masculine faces.”
The study findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
To address the limitations of previous studies, Jones and coauthors recruited 584 heterosexual women to participate in a series of weekly test sessions. The participants, in each session, reported whether they were currently in a romantic relationship and whether they were currently using hormonal contraceptives.
They provided a saliva sample for hormone analyses and completed a task that measured their preferences for different types of male faces.
The participants, in each face-preference task, saw 10 pairs of male faces and selected the face in each pair that they found more attractive, rating how strong their preference was.
The two faces in each pair were digitally altered versions of the same photo — one face was altered to have somewhat feminized features and the other was altered to have somewhat masculinised features.
To obscure the specific objective of the study, the researchers interspersed these attractiveness judgments among other filler questions.
As expected, women generally rated the masculinised faces as more attractive than the feminized faces. Preference for the more masculinised faces was also slightly stronger when women judged attractiveness in the context of a short-term relationship as opposed to a long-term relationship.
However, there was no evidence that women’s preferences varied according to levels of fertility-related hormones, such as estradiol and progesterone.
There was also no association between attractiveness judgments and levels of other potentially influential hormones, such as testosterone and cortisol.
These findings run counter to the hypothesis that sexual selection pressures lead women to prefer more masculine mates, who supposedly have greater genetic ‘fitness’, when they are most fertile and most likely to conceive.
The data also showed that oral contraceptive use did not dampen women’s preference for masculine faces, as has been shown previously.
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Bisexual relationship can break your heart, literally
WASHINGTON — Turns out, for men, being bisexual can be injurious to health.
According to a study conducted by the New York University, bisexual men have a higher risk for heart disease compared with heterosexual men across several modifiable risk factors.
“Our findings highlight the impact of sexual orientation, specifically sexual identity, on the cardiovascular health of men and suggest clinicians and public health practitioners should develop tailored screening and prevention to reduce heart disease risk in bisexual men,” said lead author Billy Caceres.
Little is known about the impact of sexual orientation on heart disease risk in men, despite the fact that gay and bisexual men may be at a higher risk based on modifiable factors like tobacco use and poor mental health.
In this study, the researchers examined differences in modifiable risk factors for heart disease and heart disease diagnoses in men of different sexual orientations.
Risk factors measured included mental distress; health behaviors such as tobacco use, binge drinking, diet, and exercise; and biological risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cholesterol.
Participants who reported having angina, coronary heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, or stroke were considered as having a diagnosis of heart disease.
The researchers analysed responses from 7,731 men ages 20 to 59. Differences were analysed across four groups based on their sexual identities: gay men, bisexual men, heterosexual men who have sex with men, and heterosexual men.
The researchers found no differences in heart disease diagnoses based on sexual orientation, but the risk for heart disease was more complicated. Gay men, heterosexual men, and heterosexual men who have sex with men had similar heart disease risk.
Gay men reported lower binge drinking compared with heterosexual men, but otherwise few differences in health behaviors were noted.
Bisexual men, however, had higher rates of several risk factors for heart disease relative to heterosexual men: mental distress, obesity, elevated blood pressure, and three different measures of diabetes (medication use, medical history, and average glycosylated hemoglobin level).
“Poor mental health is a recognized risk factor for the development of heart disease,” said Caceres. “Clinicians should be educated about sexual minority health and should routinely screen bisexual men for mental distress as a risk factor for heart disease.
This is particularly important as healthcare organizations increasingly include sexual orientation as part of demographic questionnaires in electronic health records.”
The researchers also noted that the study underscores the importance of disaggregating analyses for gay and bisexual participants to ascertain differences in health outcomes between these subgroups.
The study findings appear in the journal LGBT Health.