Man working out with kettlebells

Men with muscles: what do women want?

Are women attracted to men with muscles? Recent research has the answer – and the reason you’ve got nothing to worry about if you’re not a bulky man.

Sign of strength

What is it about muscle men like Jesse Williams that drives women wild? No doubt his good looks are a large part of it. And let’s not forget his big biceps and ripped abs, which he is always ready to display by taking his shirt off.

But have you ever stopped to think why women are attracted to fit physiques? Are buff guys better partners, lovers, or fathers? No.

Maybe it’s not the muscles per se, but what they say about the man, figured a team of researchers. Their theory was that girls dig physically strong guys – muscles clearly being a sign of strength.

Strong is attractive  

To test their theory out, the researchers from Australian and US tracked down guys who shared the photos of their chests, and also shared their vital statistics like physical strength, height, and weight.

Each student then saw three pictures of naked men’s chests and they were then asked to rate the photos on a scale of one (very weak/unattractive) to seven (very strong/attractive) for physical strength or attractiveness.

The strongest guys were rated the most attractive ones. Also, there was no upper limit and the students did not rate super beefy guys as less attractive – something past research has shown. Not surprisingly, the hottest chests were those that looked strong and broad. The men with tall and lean torsos were also found attractive in the study.

Good genes

So why are strong men so attractive?

Historically, buff guys would have been good fighters who protected the women folk by fending off beasts and securing food for the kids.

Girls would have evolved to recognise this trait of physical strength as desirable, say the researchers. It is also a sign of good genes, they point out.

If you’re a guy who at this point is wondering how on earth you can compete, here’s where the good news comes in. What floats one girl’s boat might not float another’s!

Not all girls think alike

In general, bulked-up men are rated as most attractive, but don’t lose hope! Many other characteristics are also important for girls – like a good sense of humour, or being a loyal partner.
Thankfully, they have nothing to do with physical appearance and really matter to a lot of women.

Reference: Sell, A., Lukazsweski, A.W. & Townsley, M. (2017). Cues of upper body strength account for most of the variance in men’s bodily attractiveness. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 284:20171819.

Do you think women like men with more muscles? Share your thoughts with Love Matters on our Facebook page. If you have a specific question, please ask our experts on our discussion forum.


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