Science has confirmed there’s a reason why Jon Hamm’s sizeable penis has been dominating headlines: women are more attracted to well-endowed men.
The shocking revelation came via a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), in which a team of Canadian researchers showed 105 young Australian women computer-generated images of life-sized nude men, all of whom varied in height, shoulder-to-hip ratio and flaccid penis size (growers obviously got the shorter end of the stick here). Brian Mautz, the study’s lead author, told NBC that its participants rated men on their sexual attraction and that “attractiveness scores” increased with penis size—both girth and length. Mautz also noted that the women, whose average age was 26, lingered over (and likely gazed longingly at) the photos of larger penises.
To be sure, a relatively small sample of ostensibly heterosexual women staring at images of artificially-created male figures doesn’t make for an entirely flawless study. But the latest findings have more scientific merit than previous penis size studies, which have produced mixed opinions among participants.
“We show that penis size actually is important on some level and, importantly, it interacts with other traits,” said Mautz, adding that there’s a biological factor at work here: preference for bigger packages is “consistent with a mate-choice perspective.”
Critics’ response to the study has varied, potentially hinging on subjective opinions of whether or not bigger is really better.
“As an amateur scientist, I’ve been extolling the merits of big penises my whole life,” wrote Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams, prompting a resounding “Hear, hear!” from every other women in the world who prefers larger penises to smaller ones.
Meanwhile, the Boston Globe’s Deborah Katz wrote that she was “loathe to put much stock in the new study that finds that penis size matters when it comes to women choosing a sexual mate.” Of course it makes some evolutionary sense that women size-up men for fertility purposes, but “women have evolved beyond that to judge a man by his ability to commit and help raise those offspring that he’s so good at producing.”
Katz has a point: there are many other factors when it comes to choosing a mate than the size of his dong. Even the study found that, after a certain point (3 inches, to be exact), penis stature had less influence on overall appeal. “As you get a larger and larger penis, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting more and more attractive,” said Mautz.
We all have personal preferences, but just as a 2012 study revealed men like bigger breasts for biological reasons, the same sweeping generalization might apply to women’s preferences for a bigger penises.
Mautz acknowledged that the study’s results would likely prompt backlash, but that he hoped they would also incite a lively debate.
"It's important that you are serious in science, and our results are solid,” he said, “but it doesn't necessarily mean you can't have fun with it."