Researchers from Harvard’s department of Psychology performed a study back in 2009 that measured the attractiveness of different faces in both gay and straight sample groups. Although they found that straight and gay men did not agree on the attractiveness of the same male faces shown to both groups, they did find that the two sample groups were more attracted to sexually dimorphic faces of the sex they prefer.
What is sexual dimorphism?
Men who exude physical characteristics (facial features and body stature) that are closely synonymous to their sex are considered to have high sexual dimorphism. This means that men with highly masculine faces, high muscle density, and other “masculine” physical features have high sexual dimorphism
Both gay and straight men prefer sexually-dimorphic faces
This study supported the hypothesis that men, in general, prefer sexually dimorphic faces. More specifically, gay men prefer more masculine features, such as a broad jaw, a pronounced brow ridge, and a broad forehead. Straight men prefer faces of women who have sexually dimorphic features such as larger lips, a narrow forehead, and other “delicate” feminine features
Lesbians and gay men differed in preference
The researchers also found that lesbians differed from gay men such that they did not show the same preference for sexual dimorphism in the faces of the sex they are attracted to. Although gay men preferred masculine faces similar to straight women, lesbians preferred more masculine female faces than straight men. Additionally, straight females are more attracted to masculine faces during phases of ovulation. Although it is difficult to make conjectures based off these differences, it is important to consider that male attraction, in general, functions differently than female attraction.
Previous research has also found that men with more sexually dimorphic features have lower investment in rearing offspring. This is a conflicting concept because these men who are most sought-after often end up being the least involved in raising children.
Men with high Sexual Dimorphism are typically healthier
It would make sense that sexual dimorphism and good health are interrelated. These masculine features gay men and straight women are attracted to also consist of high muscle density formerly mentioned. High muscle density is usually associated with physical fitness and health.
Can men increase their own sexual dimorphism?
Although we have little control over how our facial structure develops into adulthood, we can maintain healthy fitness habits that promote muscle growth. Additionally, by maintaining a wholesome diet we can further pronounce the natural features we already have (eating well and drinking water affects our skin and muscles too).