Maybe something to consider as you swipe left or right: a study conducted by a Canadian university has determined that men with wider, shorter faces — or square-shaped — tend to be more sexually impulsive and driven.
The study was led by Dr. Steven Arnocky, a specialist in natural and sexual selection, at Nipissing University in Ontario and was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.
The study adds to a growing body of research that has previously shown that certain psychological and behavioral traits are associated with particular facial width-to-height ratios (known as FWHR). Square-faced men [i.e. wider cheekbones and shorter distances between the brow and the upper lip] (who therefore have a high FWHR) tend to be perceived as more aggressive, more dominant, more unethical, and more attractive as short-term sexual partners than their thinner and longer-faced counterparts.
Researchers attributed differences in facial proportions to variations in testosterone levels during particular developmental periods, such as puberty. This hormone plays a role in forming adult sexual attitudes and desires.
In this paper, Arnocky and his colleagues report two separate studies conducted among students. In the first, 145 undergraduates who were in romantic relationships at the time completed questionnaires about their interpersonal behavior and sex drive. The researchers also used photographs of the participants to determine their facial width-to-height ratio. The second study involved 314 students and was an extended version of the first study, which included questions about participants’ sexual orientation, the chances of them considering infidelity, and their sociosexual orientation. The latter is a measure of how comfortable participants are with the concept of casual sex that does not include love or commitment.
The findings found a correlation between facial ratios and sex drive:
According to Arnocky, their findings suggest that FWHR can be used to predict a measure of sexuality in both sexes. Men and women with a high FWHR (therefore, square and wide faces) reported a greater sex drive than others.
“Together, these findings suggest that facial characteristics might convey important information about human sexual motivations,” says Arnocky.
It was also found that men with a larger FWHR not only have a higher sex drive than others, but also are more easygoing when it comes to casual sex and would consider being unfaithful to their partners.
Of course, surmising that infidelity is just a side-effect of greater sexual impulses might seem simplistic and seems to leave some room for an interpersonal ethics study as a follow-up. Arnocky also allows that further research is in order, according to the New York Daily News:
The average ratio was about 1.6 in study one, and 1.8 in study two . . . while the findings suggest that facial characteristics convey important information about human sexual motivations, more research must be conducted to determine the strength of the effect, Arnocky told The News.
“You can’t walk down the street and see someone with a short, wide face and know with certainty about their sex drive,” he added. “The FWHR is not the end-all, be-all. There are social and cultural factors at play.”