What Body Type Do Women Prefer? (You Will Be Surprised!)

Hey there, here’s one for the men that have wondered what body type women prefer.

The media often portrays a certain body type as the “ideal,” but is that what most women find attractive?

In this article, we’ll dive into the research and determine what body types women prefer.

Quick Answer: While research suggests women generally prefer a mesomorphic body type, there is a growing appreciation for diverse body types. Key personality traits, such as confidence and a sense of humor, also contribute to attractiveness. Cultural influences and media representation significantly shape preferences, but true beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

Let’s explore those traits below.

Physical Attractiveness

As a plus-size model and body positivity activist, I know firsthand that physical attractiveness comes in all shapes and sizes.

Nonetheless, it is widely known that society has historically promoted a limited concept of beauty, often emphasizing slimness and a particular body shape.

What, then, do women genuinely find attractive in terms of physical appearance? Let’s take a closer look.

Body Shape

muscular man leaning to the railings of a balcony

Regarding body shape, research indicates that women generally favor a “mesomorphic” body type characterized by a muscular and athletic physique.

This preference is understandable, as a robust and healthy body is frequently linked to self-assurance and energy. However, it’s crucial to recognize that this preference is not universal and may not apply to everyone.

Additionally, it’s important to highlight the increasing admiration for fuller body types as people celebrate their natural shapes. This change signifies a move towards inclusiveness and variety in beauty ideals, a development I am honored to be involved.

Getting Down to the Science:

  • A study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2017 found that women prefer men with a V-shaped torso, broad shoulders, and narrow waist.
  • Another study published in the same journal in 2013 found that women were more attracted to men with muscular physiques and lower body fat levels.
  • A study published in Evolution and Human Behavior in 2018 found that women in their fertile menstrual cycle strongly preferred men with more masculine features, such as a larger jawline and more pronounced brow ridge.
  • A study published in the journal PLoS ONE in 2014 found that women preferred men with a body mass index (BMI) of around 25, which is considered to be in the normal weight range.

It’s important to note that these preferences can vary among individuals and cultures, and various factors beyond physical appearances, such as personality traits and social status, influence that attraction.

Body Size

black and white portrait of a gorgeous man

When it comes to body size, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Certain women might be drawn to a tall, slender partner, whereas others could prefer a shorter, more voluptuous individual. Ultimately, the most significant aspect is feeling self-assured and at ease in one’s skin.

It’s essential to remember that each person’s body is distinct and beautiful. Instead of agreeing to a particular body type or size, we should appreciate and accept our differences.

Physical attractiveness is a subjective matter that varies among individuals. Although society may hold a restrictive view of beauty, we must remember that genuine beauty encompasses all forms and dimensions.

Personality Traits

In the realm of attraction, physical appearance constitutes only one facet. Women also consider personality traits crucial in determining a partner’s attractiveness.

Here are two primary personality traits that women often find desirable:


man in sunglass and tuxedo

Confidence is a sought-after trait that numerous women find appealing in a partner. Confident people exude comfort in their skin, making them highly attractive.

Confidence can manifest in various ways, such as assertiveness, taking risks, and standing up for oneself. Acknowledging the thin line between confidence and arrogance is crucial, and maintaining equilibrium is essential.

Body language can further express confidence. For instance, maintaining an upright posture, engaging in eye contact, and speaking articulately indicate self-assurance. Moreover, having confidence in one’s capabilities and achievements is also alluring.

Sense of Humor

man at work having a good laugh

A sense of humor is an additional personality characteristic that numerous women find appealing. Someone with a great sense of humor can provoke laughter and positive feelings in others, making them highly attractive. A good sense of humor may also signify intelligence and creativity.

It’s worth noting that possessing a sense of humor doesn’t require being a stand-up comedian. Instead, it’s about discovering humor in everyday situations and not taking oneself excessively seriously. An individual with a good sense of humor is often a good listener and capable of making others feel at ease.

Confidence and a sense of humor are two personality traits many women find attractive. Nonetheless, it’s essential to remember that people are diverse, and what one person finds appealing might not hold for someone else.

Social Factors

Cultural Influences

image of people in the street

Cultural influences undeniably have a substantial impact on shaping our preferences. Beauty standards differ across various cultures and can display considerable variation. In certain cultures, more voluptuous women are deemed attractive, while others favor slimmer figures.

For instance, a more powerful figure in numerous African cultures symbolizes health and fertility, with thinner women often perceived as unwell or undernourished. On the other hand, Western cultures generally prize thinness, associating it with youth, beauty, and success.

Media Representations

medium in black and white

The media also plays a significant role in shaping our perceptions of beauty. Women are bombarded with images of thin, toned bodies daily, from magazines and billboards to social media and television shows. These images can create unrealistic expectations and make women feel inadequate or insecure about their bodies.

However, there has been a recent push for more diverse representation in the media, with plus-size models and celebrities like myself gaining more visibility. This is a positive step toward promoting body positivity and inclusivity, but there is still a long way to go.

Ultimately, while social factors like cultural influences and media representations can shape our preferences to some extent, it’s important to remember that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Women should feel empowered to embrace their bodies and celebrate their unique features, regardless of societal expectations.


Studies and Articles:

  • Lippa, R. A. (2007). The preferred traits of mates in a cross-national study of heterosexual and homosexual men and women: An examination of biological and cultural influences. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36(2), 193-208. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-006-9151-2


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Maggie Walker
Maggie Walker

Certifications: Fashion Design (BA)
Education: School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Lives In: Chicago
Maggie has invaluable experience working in the fashion industry. Regarding fitting and clothing, only a select few can match up with her experience.
She oversees every aspect and has put her heart and soul into MadisonPlus.

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