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It’s no secret that dudes prefer curvy women. Seen in paintings by historic masters and pined for in modern song lyrics, feminine curves top most men’s wish lists. Whether we’re talking bodacious boobs, bountiful booty or mouth-watering thighs, gentlemen prefer curvy women over fashionable waifs.
Now there’s some science to back up this craving. And, yes, I said craving. Researchers at Georgia Gwinnett College and the University of Texas at Austin say that curvy women hit men’s brains like a drug. Their study asked a group of men to look at photographs of women’s naked bodies before and after plastic surgery. None of the women lost weight. Instead their fat had been redistributed to other places. Some essentially gained weight to become more curvy after surgery. MRI scans of the observers’ brains when they looked at curvy women showed activity in the same reward centers activated by pleasurable drugs. The men were getting a kind of high from the experience.
Curves are the language everyone understands
Anthropologists have long known about the virtues of curves. Countless cross-cultural studies have shown that men prefer a low hip-to-waist ratio, no matter the body weight. In other words, small waists in relation to larger hips and breasts seem to be the ideal worldwide. Yes, 36-24-36 is a brick house in any language.
Everything in anthropology boils down to answering the question of why a particular trait was selected in evolution for reproductive success. Anthropologists speculate that curvy women signal health, reproductive fitness and youth. Ask any woman in menopause what body part is first to announce the closing of her baby factory, and she’s likely to say, “My expanding middle.” Women past child-bearing age tend to become less curvy.
Now let’s talk breasts. There are all kinds of theories as to why human females developed large frontal mammary glands. Some anthropologists say they grew as a kind of frontal derriere when we evolved from moving on all fours to walking upright. When our closest primate cousin, the chimpanzee, is ready to mate, she sports bright red lips on her back end. When we began walking on two feet, our upright hips closed the curtain on that show. Some scholars speculate that breasts grew to create a new show up front. Of course, that theory doesn’t explain why so many women in parts of the world didn’t grow breasts as large.
Another anthropologist speculates that large breasts that succumb to the gravity sag are also a telltale sign that women have reached a certain age and reproductive chances are waning. Of course, if this is true, the foundation garments of modern times and plastic surgery have disabled this signal. Today, men can easily be tricked by a good push-up bra.
One other researcher suggests that curvy women are smarter and make smarter babies. Steven Gaulin from the University of California at Santa Barbara says that guys who choose women with chubby booties and thighs have a reproductive advantage. He believes that women’s hips and thighs contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help nurture both mothers’ and babies’ brains during pregnancy. Yep. This dude thinks curvy women make smarter babies. Just sayin’.
Curves: Not for every guy
But it would be unfair to make a sweeping generalization that all men like large breasts and hips. In fact, many don’t. One study looked at the personality traits of men who prefer curvy babes, and guess what? They tend to date a lot, engage in masculine activities and read mostly sports magazines. Clearly these dudes are looking to produce a Nobel Prize-winning baby.
The men in the study who preferred smaller breasts and hips tended to make more money and be of a higher social class. The researchers speculate that these men are more susceptible to the influences of fashion.
So who’s right? Everyone. Most men prefer curvy a woman for her reproductive potential, and those men also tend to practice reproduction a lot. Others prefer the time-honored method of survival of the fittest by bowing to social customs and climbing society’s ladder to a feast of resources.
Which curvy celebrity featured in the photo should be in our Top 99 Most Desirable Women of 2012? Tell us in the comments.