Facial features could predict sex drive finds

According to the latest research from Nipissing University in Ontario, Canada, the sex drive of a person could be predicted from the size and shape of their faces.

The study was published in the latest issue of the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. The study finds that those men and women who have shorter and wider faces are more motivated sexually than others.

For this study the team measured the facial parameters including facial width-to-height ratios (known as FWHR). They noted that previous studies have shown that men, who had square faces or high FWHR, are generally more aggressive and more dominant. They tend to be more unethical and are more attractive as short term sexual partners compared to men who have thinner and longer faces. These men also tend to have psychopathic traits and greater achievement drive. They are financially successful as well that make them attractive as a short-term sexual partner. It has been seen that among non-human primates such as apes too high FWHR is linked to assertiveness and dominance.

These differences in the facial structure could actually be due to differences in the blood levels of testosterone that could explain the differences the researchers explain. These variations of the male hormones during development of the boys around puberty could be the underlying reason why there are differences in sexual attitudes and drives. The authors define “sex drive” as “strength of one’s sexual motivation” that serves to “promote mating and sexual behavior” and is a marker for that animal’s “reproductive fitness”. It is typically more aggressive and less malleable in men than women. Testosterone levels are linked with sex drive they write.

Arnocky and his colleagues in this study write that this was a result of two separate studies conducted among students. For the first study 145 undergraduates (heterosexual individuals with 69 males and rest females) who were in romantic relationships were included. Participants were mostly of Caucasian descent (82 percent). They completed questionnaires regarding their sex drives and relationship behaviors. The Sex drive Questionnaire (SDQ) was used as a tool for measurement of the sex drives and sexual attitudes and behaviors. In addition the facial width-to-height ratio was calculated for these individuals as well.

The SDQ has four parts;

  • Frequency of having sexual desires
  • Frequency of orgasms in an average month
  • Frequency of masturbation in an average month
  • Comparison of level of sex drive with that of the average person of same sex and age

The second study from a different Canadian city included 314 students (43 percent men with average age of around 20 years) and here the questionnaires were extended to include questions about sexual orientation, infidelity and chances of them cheating and their sociosexual orientation. Sociosexual orientation refers to comfort levels and attitudes towards casual sex with no strings attached. Here too the participants were mostly Caucasian (92 percent).

When asked about sexual orientation, seven reported to being homosexual, six bisexual and 9 other. SDQ was used to measure participants’ sex drive in this study too. Revised Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI-R) was another questionnaire used to check for sociosexual orientation.

Results showed that FWHR can be used to predict several sexual behaviors among the participants. Men and women who had square wide faces with high FWHR had a greater sex drive than others. Arnocky said these findings show that facial characteristics are an important predictor of human sexual motivations. Men with a larger FWHR in addition were more “easy going” when it came to casual sex and for them being unfaithful to their partners was similarly a consideration.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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