MATE CHOICE: Women prefer ‘masculine hands’, but not ‘masculine men’!

October 12, 2010

Four example photographs of hands and arms scoring high or low on the ‘Hand Masculinity Index’: (a) High masculinity male hand; (b) low masculinity male hand; (c) high masculinity female hand; (d) low masculinity female hand.

Like faces, hands and forearms may provide cues to quality and sex-typical hormone exposure used in mate choice. Untill recently finger length (ratio) was the only measure that has been used to evaluate hand attractiveness. But last year (december 2009), L.K. Dane presented a rather surprizing Ph. D. disertation study at the University of New Mexico which provides quite a lot of new insights aboutwhat makes hands attractive for the opposite sexe!

A quick summary of the key-results:

“Men with male typical hand index scores, low 2D:4D digit ratio and high ridge counts were rated as more masculine, dominant, intelligent, healthy and as good parents. Women with feminine hands, high 2D:4D digit ratio and high ridge counts were rated as more feminine. Results were mostly consistent with similar research on faces.”

The results also confirmed that the ‘masculinity’ factor of the hands plays a major role in how attractive / appealing hands are for the other sexe. In men a positive correlation was found between ‘hand masculinity’ and both the ‘face masculinity’ and ‘face attractiveness’. In women a positive correlation was found between ‘hand masculinity” and ‘face masculinity’, while a negative correlation was found between ‘hand masculinity’ and ‘face attractiveness’.

At first sight this may sound not as a big surprize. But a fascinating aspect inside the results is that in men the correlation between ‘hand masculinty’ and ‘face attractiveness’ is even higher (more significant) than the correlation between ‘hand masculinity’and ‘face masculinity’!!

Another interesting element provided by the study is that features of the arm were observed as well:

“Within men, an analysis of separate hand and arm ratings indicated that a combination of masculine hands with less masculine forearms was most attractive.”

A re-definition of the word ‘handsome’?

The result of the study clearly illustrate how ‘masculinity’ in men appeals to women:

While women like men to have ‘masculine hands’… but women do not mind at all when a man’s body (arm + face) is a little bit less masculine than their hands are!!

Why do women have this preference?? The answer remains unclear: but maybe it is related to the fact that only the hands provide ‘genetic’ cues about sexually dimorphic characteristics (2D:4D digit ratio, fingerprints & ridge counts) that are already established before birth!

SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTHER READING:
 Males vs. females: sexe differences in the hand!
Finger length & sex I.D.: find out how your mind works!
 What your physique reveals about your health!

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3 Responses to “MATE CHOICE: Women prefer ‘masculine hands’, but not ‘masculine men’!”


  1. ….however, taking a look at those photos, I really wouldn’t rank ANY of those hands as “high masculine” ….


  2. Ehe, I have to agree. I like “manly” hands…especially on cute women. 😄

    …I wonder… to some extent our bodies are mutable, and “manly” hands tend to come about due to activities that require dexterity. Could these more “manly” hands give immediate clues about an individual’s dexterity that would make them a good mate choice? Hm.

  3. Danrock Says:

    Interesting article! But they got it wrong when it comes to facial appearance, which is found to correlate well with digit ratios in general – some discrepancies may be noticed but extreme examples always work. Evidence?
    I bet you are not able to find even one couple worldwide in which both partners have very high digit ratios. Think about it – under all predominant theories on sexual attraction, dating and relationships in general, there are no rational reasons that would impede such people to pair up. Not even one such couple! What are the odds? There is clearly smth missing in most concepts about human relationships…Find out more at nosuchcouple.com

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