Movember may be over, but we’ve found another reason to keep your facial hair in check: studies have shown that women prefer men who have a five-o’clock shadow over those with big beards and clean-shaven faces for love, sex and marriage. Pictures of men with various forms of facial hair were shown to 76 women, who were then asked to rate the men on masculinity, aggression, dominance, attractiveness, age and social maturity. While men who sported full beards in the pictures were seen as the most masculine and aggressive of the bunch, they also were seen as up to five years older, least attractive and the worst choice for short-term relationships.
On the other end of the spectrum, men who were completely clean shaven were ranked the lowest for masculinity, dominance and aggression, as well as almost last in attractiveness and social maturity. The women also noted that they would be least likely to choose men with no facial hair as a long-term partner.
“In desirability for a short-term relationship, a female preference for male faces with stubble or light beard was found, with clean-shaven and fully bearded faces being the least preferred,” noted the researchers. “This indicates that females are not selecting faces displaying relatively high or low masculinity, but are rather preferring males who are clearly mature—post-pubertal—but not too masculinized. The same pattern was found for preferences for a long-term relationship.”
The findings check out; in another study women admitted to finding geeky boys with facial stubble sexually arousing. They also noted that one in five women would not admit to her personal preference of a nerdy stubbly guy and would claim that she wanted a muscly, clean-shaven manly man.
Check out the Summer Sex Facts infographic here.