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Height and Body Mass on the Mating Market


People with traits that are attractive on the mating market are better able to pursue their preferred mating strategy. Men who are relatively tall may be preferred by women because taller height is a cue to dominance, social status, access to resources, and heritable fitness, leading them to have more mating opportunities and sex partners. We examined height, education, age, ethnicity, and body mass index (BMI) as predictors of sexual history among heterosexual men and women (N = 60,058). The linear and curvilinear associations between self-reported height and sex partner number were small for men when controlling for education, BMI, and ethnicity (linear ß = .05; curvilinear ß= -.03). The mean and median number of sex partners for men of different heights were: very short (9.4; 5), short (11.0; 7), average (11.7; 7), tall (12.0; 7), very tall (12.1; 7), and extremely tall (12.3; 7). Men who were "overweight" reported a higher mean and median number of sex partners than men with other body masses. The results for men suggested limited variation in reported sex partner number across most of the height continuum, but that very short men report fewer partners than other men.

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