Why are hairy men less popular with women?


It’s still not clear why hairy men are less popular with women, researchers say

Modern humans have much less dense hair than our closest «relatives» primates. This distinction between two similar species has been a mystery to evolutionary biologists for more than a century. One of the common theories about the relative hairlessness of man is the opinion that primitive women preferred less hairy men in order not to pick up parasites, which were more common in men with thick hair.

But new research has proved the inaccuracy of the ectoparasitic theory, since it cannot absolutely logically justify the evolution of human hairlessness.

“From an objective point of view, a preference for hairless men could be shown in areas where parasites are widespread, that is, close to the equator,” writes study author Pavel Prokop, professor of biology at the University of Ternava (Slovakia). “But comparing the data for two countries with different levels of parasitism threat, we still did not notice a decline in interest in men with almost no body hair.”

During the data collection, Prokop and his colleagues asked Turkish and Slovak women to rate the attractiveness of men with varying amounts of chest hair. For the purity of the experiment, scientists photographed men from neck to waist before and after depilation.

Turkey was chosen because the country has a very high percentage of diseases caused by various parasites — malaria, dengue fever, while in Slovakia such cases have not been observed for a long time.

The scientists expected that Turkish women, aware of the wide spread of parasites, would be much more likely to choose less hairy men than girls and women in Slovakia. However, the researchers found that only 20% of women in both nations, in roughly equal proportions, preferred a photo of a hairy version of the same man.

Before excluding the ectoparasitic theory, it is necessary to conduct an experiment on a large number of countries, says Prokop. It was previously believed that women’s preferences for the thickness of their partner’s hair vary from country to country, for example, the female population of Cameroon prefers hairier men than residents of China or New Zealand.

Some studies even link interest in a partner with less hair to the phases of the menstrual cycle, suggesting that just during the most favorable fertile period, women begin to like men with less body hair more.

“Obviously, more cross-cultural research on the topic is needed for complete clarity,” Prokop said.

Based on a publication in LiveScience

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