Less-stressed women are more attractive to men: study

23 May 2013 - 14:44 By AFP Relaxnews
Image: ©Phil Date/shutterstock.com

Researchers found that women who have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol are rated as having less attractive faces by men than their more relaxed counterparts.

Since stress can suppress fertility, study researcher Markus Rantala, a professor of biology at the University of Turku in Finland, told LiveScience, it's no surprise that both men and women might have evolved to prefer relaxed faces.

The scientists believe that a person’s face may carry strong signals about their health and fertility, and stressed-out people are generally less healthy. But even so, the findings also showed that the strength of a woman’s immune system didn’t affect her sexual appeal to men.

Rantala and his team, whose research was published Wednesday in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, vaccinated 52 young Latvian women around 20 years old against the virus hepatitis B. The researchers then took blood samples to measure their immune response and cortisol levels.

They asked 18 heterosexual male students to rate the attractiveness of each woman from a photograph of their face. While there was no link between a woman’s immune response and her attractiveness to the men, women with lower levels of cortisol were rated as more attractive.

Body fat was also linked to attractiveness, with the men rating the thinnest and the heaviest women as less attractive.

Click here to access the research.