What Your Face Might Say About Your Love Life

Do your facial features have anything to do with the length of your romantic relationships? Researchers now think they might.

A recent study published in the British Journal of Psychology showed hundreds of heterosexual male volunteers composite pictures of women’s faces, asking the volunteers which women they would choose for long- or short-term relationships—the women with more feminine features (like a smaller jawbone, fuller cheeks, and larger eyes and lips), or the women with more masculine features.

The men, CTVnews.ca reports, rated women with more feminine features more highly for a fling—and women with more masculine features were rated more highly for long-term relationships. And this was even more so the case for men who were already in a steady relationship. In a follow-up experiment, researchers also found that the more attractive a man thought he was, the more likely he was to prefer a woman with more masculine features.

I can’t really help but be a little skeptical about whether this study is really “needed”—I mean, I guess it’s great info for those of us cool with getting a face transplant or spending hundreds of dollars on bronzer to contour our features more favorably in one direction or the other—but I also find it really interesting, especially the reasoning for why the men might have the preferences they do.

Like this theory from one of the study’s authors, Anthony Little: “There are several possible explanations; perhaps some men are inclined to take a long-term partner whilst still attempting to cheat with other, more feminine, women.” Womp, womp.  Way to be a downer, Anthony Little.

The study’s authors also added that perhaps single men may choose more masculine women because they can increase their short-term mating success by relaxing their standards. Previous research has found that feminine features are linked with higher levels of the sex hormone estrogen. And estrogen is also what evolutionarily makes a woman look fertile to men—an attractive trait for men looking to mate and have lots of babies.

The good news? If you’re not blessed with ample amounts of estrogen, you can fake it with makeup. A study back in 2005 found that when men were shown photographs of women wearing makeup, there was no link between perceived attractiveness and levels of estrogen. That study’s author explained, “the implication is that women are employing a deceptive strategy. They can fool the male visual system with makeup.” Mwahahaha. If you need me, I’ll be at Sephora, stocking up on deceptive strategies to fool the male visual system.

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Elisa F.
Elisa F3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Lone Wolf
Lone W4 years ago

I don't know about this, but an aunt of mine used to say that the luck of the ugly woman is what the pretty woman wishes. Basically, "beauty", especially in a long-term relationship, has more to do than with external "prettiness". It involves the personality and character of the woman, her intelligence and her kindness, and her compatibility with a given man.

Furthermore, most women are feminine, so I wonder where they found the "masculine" women. Did some guys pull a prank on the researchers?

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H4 years ago

But if you need loads of make up to attract a man, you wonder if he's fallen for the real you or just the mask...

Winn Adams
Winn A4 years ago


Terry V.
Terry V4 years ago


Val M.
Val M4 years ago


Aud Nordby
Aud n4 years ago


M Quann
M Q4 years ago


Genoveva M.
Genoveva M M4 years ago


Heather Holland
Heather Holland4 years ago