Do women find football players sexier than tennis players?
Sexual selection theory argues that females invest more heavily in reproduction than males and thus tend to be choosier in terms of mate choice. Sport may provide a context within which females can gain information about male quality to inform this choice. Males may be able to display attractive traits such as athleticism, strength, and physique to females while participating in sport. We predicted that females would favor males that participated in team sports over individual sports and non-athletes because team sport athletes may be more likely to display qualities such as the ability to work well with others and role acceptance. We used a questionnaire, a photograph, and manipulated descriptions to gauge the effects of sport involvement, attractiveness, and status on 282 females’ willingness to participate in various types of relationships. Team sport athletes were perceived as being more desirable as potential mates than individual sport athletes and non-athletes. It is suggested that team sport athletes may have traits associated with good parenting such as cooperation, likeability, and role acceptance, and/or these athletes may be better able to assert dominance in a team setting. Results are discussed in terms of further implications and future research.
Source: “Female Mate Choice is Influenced by Male Sport Participation” from Evolutionary Psychology, 2008. 6(1): 113-124
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