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Men in Relationships More Likely to Choose Women with Feminine Faces for Flings

Jun 22, 2013 06:42 AM EDT

(Photo : REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko)

Committed men would prefer women with a more feminine face for a short-term affair.

The study was conducted by Anthony Little from the University of Stirling and Benedict Jones from the University of Glasgow.

In a related study, which was conducted in 2008, a team of researchers had found that men's preference for more feminine faces was associated with testosterone levels.

Another study had found a positive correlation between estrogen levels in women and their attractiveness ratings, showing that facial features hold cues to a female's health and reproductive abilities.

The new study included nearly 400 straight men with 207 men saying they were currently in a relationship. All the study participants were shown 10 pairs of digitally altered images of women. In each pair, one image had more masculine features while the other had more feminine features.

Little said that the findings of this study are consistent with other researches that found that women would choose more masculine men for a fling. Similar researches have shown that women tend to prefer handsome, young men when they are in their teens rather than later in life. Also, women's preference for young men decreases with age.

"There are several possible explanations; perhaps some men are inclined to take a long-term partner whilst still attempting to cheat with other, more feminine, women. Or maybe once a long-term partner is secured, the potential cost of being discovered may increase a man's choosiness regarding short-term partners relative to unpartnered men," said Little.

"In another part of the study we also showed that men who think themselves attractive have stronger preferences for femininity than those who think themselves less attractive., Little said in a news release. "Again, this effect appears similar to an effect seen in women, whereby attractive women are choosier in their preferences for men. Across the two studies attractive men were found to be more discriminating in their preferences for a woman's facial femininity.

The study will be published in the British Journal of Psychology.

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