Reasons Not to Date an Attractive, Masculine Man

Have you considered the drawbacks to dating an attractive, masculine man?

Posted Sep 14, 2017

LarsZ/Shutterstock
Source: LarsZ/Shutterstock

Sure, that good-looking, muscular guy seems attractive now, but do you really want to date him, especially over the long term? There are benefits to dating attractive, masculine men, but you may want to consider the potential downsides.

The Allure of Attractive Men

Good-looking men are assumed to have better personalities, more rewarding careers, and more fulfilling life experiences (Dion et al., 1972; Griffin and Langlois, 2006), assumptions which may be accurate given our positive bias toward attractive individuals. Attractive men may actually possess better-quality genes, and thus may be healthier, live longer, and even be more intelligent (Perrilloux et al., 2010). Additionally, women partnered with attractive, masculine men report more frequent orgasms (Puts et al., 2012); this finding alone may make some of you stop reading now and pursue the most attractive, masculine guy you can. However...

Attractive, Masculine Men Are More Likely to Cheat

Women may be less interested in dating attractive men over the long term because of these men's higher propensity to be unfaithful. Women perceive attractive men as both more likely to cheat and more likely to leave long-term relationships (Waynforth, 2001). Further, men with more masculine facial features are more likely to report having been unfaithful in the past (Rhodes et al., 2012) — and past infidelity is a predictor of future unfaithfulness (Fincham and May, 2017). You may also want to be leery of a partner with an especially masculine, sexy voice; both men and women who are perceived as having attractive voices are more likely to be unfaithful to their partners (Gallup & Frederick, 2010). 

Reduced Relationship Longevity

Recent research shows that relationships involving highly attractive individuals are less likely to endure over the long term, perhaps due to the tendency to be unfaithful discussed above. Recent research using a variety of different methods shows that more attractive individuals are more likely to divorce, that they have shorter relationships, and that they are less likely to choose not to pursue attractive alternative partners (Ma-Kellams et al., 2017). Further, in married couples with more attractive husbands, these husbands report reduced relationship satisfaction and are less supportive of their spouses (McNulty et al, 2008). Interestingly, more masculine, taller men are also more likely to divorce and remarry than their shorter counterparts (Mueller and Mazur, 2001).  

You Won't Want Him All the Time

Men’s preference for women with more feminine facial features is clear and consistent (Weeden and Sabini, 2005; Jones and Hill, 1993). You might suppose that, correspondingly, women would consistently find more masculine facial features more attractive in men. However, men's facial masculinity is not always attractive to women. Cross-cultural research shows that women from both Eastern and Western cultures prefer more feminized male faces (Perret et al., 1998). According to the authors, more masculine faces are perceived as dominant and older, but less warm, honest, and cooperative. Intriguingly, when women are fertile, they seem to prefer more masculine men as short-term mates, but women generally prefer men with more feminine faces when considering mates for long-term relationships (Penton-Voak et al., 1999). Researchers suggest that some women may pursue a mixed mating strategy, choosing a man with more feminine features as a long-term mate, while pursuing more masculine men for short-term sexual relationships (Cousins, 2015).

For the reasons reviewed above, women often decide to pursue less attractive, less masculine men for their long-term relationships.

References

Cousins, A. J. (2015).  Evolutionary theory. In Fugère, Leszczynski, and Cousins, The Social Psychology of Attraction and Romantic Relationships. Palgrave Macmillan, London, U.K.

Dion, K., Berscheid, E., & Walster, E. (1972). What is beautiful is good. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 24(3), 285–290. doi:10.1037/h0033731

Fincham, F. D., & May, R. W. (2017). Infidelity in romantic relationships. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13, 70-74.

Gallup, G. R., & Frederick, D. A. (2010). The science of sex appeal: An evolutionary perspective. Review of General Psychology, 14(3), 240–250. doi:10.1037/a0020451

Griffin, A. M., & Langlois, J. H. (2006). Stereotype directionality and attractiveness stereotyping: Is beauty good or is ugly bad? Social Cognition, 24(2), 187–206. doi:10.1521/soco.2006.24.2.187

Jones, D., & Hill, K. (1993). Criteria of facial attractiveness in five populations. Human Nature, 4(3), 271–296. doi:10.1007/BF02692202

Ma‐Kellams, C., Wang, M. C., & Cardiel, H. (2017). Attractiveness and relationship longevity: Beauty is not what it is cracked up to be. Personal Relationships, 24(1), 146-161.

McNulty, J. K., Neff, L. A., & Karney, B. R. (2008). Beyond initial attraction: physical attractiveness in newlywed marriage.Journal of Family Psychology, 22(1), 135.

Mueller, U., & Mazur, A. (2001). Evidence of unconstrained directional selection for male tallness. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 50(4), 302-311.

Penton-Voak, I. S., Perrett, D. I., Castles, D. L., Kobayashi, T. T., Burt, D. M., Murray, L. K., & Minamisawa, R. R. (1999). Menstrual cycle alters face preference. Nature, 399(6738), 741–742. doi:10.1038/21557

Perilloux, H. K., Webster, G. D., & Gaulin, S. C. (2010). Signals of genetic quality and maternal investment capacity: The dynamic effects of fluctuating asymmetry and waist-to-hip ratio on men’s ratings of women’s attractiveness. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(1), 34–42. doi:10.1177/1948550609349514

Perrett, D. I., Lee, K. J., Penton-Voak, I. I., Rowland, D. D., Yoshikawa, S. S., Burt, D. M., & ... Akamatsu, S. S. (1998). Effects of sexual dimorphism on facial attractiveness. Nature, 394(6696), 884–887. doi:10.1038/29772

Puts, D. A., Welling, L. L., Burriss, R. P., & Dawood, K. (2012). Men's masculinity and attractiveness predict their female partners' reported orgasm frequency and timing. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33(1), 1-9.

Rhodes, G., Morley, G., & Simmons, L. W. (2012). Women can judge sexual unfaithfulness from unfamiliar men’s faces. Biology Letters, 9, 20120908. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2012.0908

Waynforth, D. (2001). Mate choice trade-offs and women's preference for physically attractive men. Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective, 12(3), 207

Weeden, J., & Sabini, J. (2005). Physical attractiveness and health in Western societies: A review. Psychological Bulletin, 131(5), 635–653. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.131.5.635