The study, which appeared in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and was lead by Brian Mautz, a postdoctoral researcher in evolution and sexual selection at the University of Ottawa, gathered 105 heterosexual women and projected life-sized computer-generated video clips of naked men with flaccid genitalia.
The 49 images of the men varied in height, build, and penis size. The female participants whose average age was 26 were then asked to assess the bodies based on sexual appeal and gave each image a rating from 1 to 7, rather than assessing individual characteristics. Another stipulation for the female participants was that they could not gaze at the bodies for more than 3 seconds.
After compiling the responses, the researchers discovered that the respondents rated tall men with large penises as the type of male they found sexually attractive. Even though there were short males with large genitalia who were also presented to the women as well, they were not categorized as attractive.
But how big do women want a male’s genitalia to be?
“We didn’t find an ideal (i.e., ‘most attractive’) penis size or height,” Mautz explained.
The study results “directly contradict claims that penis size is unimportant to most females” and also hints at why human males tend to have relatively larger genitalia when compared to other primates, the study said.
According to evolutionary principles, the researchers of the study state, “Our results show that female mate choice could have played a role in the evolution of the relatively large human male penis,” the authors wrote. The scientists also deduced that the women may have looked at the endowed men as someone who could adequately sire a healthy child.
Wider shoulders and narrow hips were a preferred physical characteristic as well.
The study, however, did not get in to the racial background of men and whether that may affect penis size.