It appears size does matter when it comes to sex, but no, we’re not talking penis size. A new study has found links between a person’s height, weight and the number of sexual partners they’ve had.
The study, which focused on more than 60,000 heterosexual men and women, found that very short men had fewer than the average number of sexual partners. Meanwhile women in the study classed as underweight had also slept with less people than the average person.
Participants in the study were asked to tell the Chapman University researchers their height, weight and how many sexual partners they have had.
The average number of sexual partners reported for both men and women ages 30 to 44 was eight partners since becoming sexually active. Overall, 58% of men and 56% of women reported having more than five partners, while 29% of men and 23% of women reported having more than 14 partners.
In terms of average number of partners, men who were taller than average reported one to three more partners than men who were shorter than average.
“These findings confirm that height is relevant on the mating market,” said Dr David Frederick, assistant professor in psychology at Chapman University and lead author on the study.
“However, the relatively limited variation in sex partner number for men across much of the height continuum is difficult to explain. Research has repeatedly shown than women prefer men who are relatively taller than they are.”
“It is possible that for most women there is a certain minimal threshold of height, after which they will consider a male as a potential sex partner, and thus men above that height will end up with similar numbers of sex partners.”
With regard to men and body mass index (BMI), the study revealed that men in the middle BMI ranges had the most extensive sexual histories. Average weight men and overweight men reported the most sex partners, and underweight men reported the least. With regard to women, underweight women had notably fewer partners than other women.
“There are numerous possibilities as to why underweight women had few partners,” explained Dr Frederick.
“They may be highly dissatisfied with their weight and suffering from anorexia and thus not motivated to show their bodies. Additionally, being underweight is associated with a relatively high mortality rate and/or they could be suffering from a variety of ailments that cause weight loss and thus have fewer sex partners because they are dealing with serious health issues.”
The study, published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, isn’t the first to suggest our height and weight have an impact on our love life. A previous US study found that short men were more likely to marry later in life than average or tall men, but were 32% less likely to divorce. Meanwhile a study conducted in Turkey found that women consider men with bigger bellies to be “better lovers”.