A recent study conducted by researchers in California suggests that the number of sexual partners a man could have in a lifetime is significantly influenced by his height and body weight.

Scientists at Chapman University, led by psychology professor Dr. David Frederick, surveyed more than 60,000 heterosexual men and women, with an average age of 37 years old, regarding their preference when choosing a suitable mating partner.

They discovered that men with relatively shorter heights had one to three fewer sexual mates compared to those with average to above average heights.

In examining the link between a person's romantic prowess and body mass index (BMI), Frederick and his team found that women tend to have a minimum height preference when it comes to choosing a potential mate.

Frederick said the findings show that height is very much an important aspect on the mating market.

He explained that studies have proven time and again that women prefer partners who are considerably taller compared to themselves. There is a possibility that most women follow a minimum height threshold with which they judge prospective male sexual mates.

Men whose height exceeds this threshold will more likely have a higher number of partners, according to Frederick.

Over half of the male and female participants of the study said that they have had more than five sexual mates, while those who were already in their 30s and 40s reported of having up to eight sexual mates.

Frederick and his colleagues noted that the study shows how women tend to be attracted, whether knowingly or unknowingly, to the genetic benefits of choosing a taller male partner. It suggests that certain "heritable qualities" play an important role in their decision such as the likelihood of passing these qualities to their offspring.

The researchers said that women also consider the "socio-cultural" effects of choosing a taller mate, such as the notion that the stature of man is linked with economic success.

Another finding of the study showed that overweight men have the highest number of sexual mates.

The figures, however, pertain to men who belong to the upper-middle of the body mass index scale. This makes the technical definition of overweight contentious. Men who fall under this group include Brad Pitt in the film Fight Club and Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime.

Frederick said that the classification of being overweight in medical terms does not necessarily match what society believes as overweight.

The findings of the Chapman University study are featured in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.

Photo: Darron Birgenheier | Flickr 

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