How and Why Height Influences choice of Sexual Partner
I would have said short, but that’s relative so let me say if you are below average height, male and you can do something about it, you need to read this to know that this is no time to rest on your laurels.
This is what researchers came up with…
Height is highly valued when choosing a mate mainly because tall men are more attractive, and dominant and assertive than their shorter counterparts.
The dominance and assertiveness may be associated with the higher levels of testosterone which are relative to male height and other physical features like prominent jaw. (Healdet al., 2003) (Enlow, 1990)
Also associated with height is the possession of desirable non physical qualities. For example, male height is associated with socioeconomic status and access to resources.
Research has also demonstrated that male height is associated with established indicators of genetic quality.
Indeed both men and women (at least in Western post-industrial societies) report a desire for relationships in which the man is taller .
Consequently, tall men receive more responses to ‘lonely hearts’ column advertisements and women report dating tall men more frequently than short men .
Tall men also obtain more attractive partners are less likely to be childless and have a greater number of children than their shorter counterparts.
The increased reproductive success of tall men may reflect the greater likelihood that tall menobtain a second or subsequent wife since height can be a cue to a man’s ability to provide protection and resources or a cue to heritable fitness .
According to the mixed mating or dual strategy hypothesis, the female preference for tall partners may present an increased risk of desertion to shorter men .
Women may desert their long term partner by mating with a man that has a high genetic quality to produce high quality offspring whilst retaining the resources of their primary (lower quality) partner.
The suggestion that short men may be at most risk of desertion is supported by the finding that the female preference for tall men is heightened when selecting a man for a short term relationship or during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle.
And the greater jealousy of less attractive men when their partner is most fertile . This is also consistent with other research indicating that women paired to low quality males are most likely to seek extra-pair relationships with higher quality men.
The greater reliance on the success of a long term relationship for lifetime reproductive success further highlights the threat that relationship dissolution poses for short men.
This may be further exacerbated by a greater difficulty attracting a new partner as suggested by the female preference for tall mates.
Consequently, being sensitive to the threat that desertion presents and investing in mate retention may be of most benefit to short men.
Jealousy is often perceived as a negative emotion and has been related to a range of destructive events or behaviors such as domestic violence and marital problems .
Jealousy however, may serve a number of adaptive functions . The elicitation of jealousy allows an individual to identify those individuals or circumstances that present the greatest threat to their relationship.
Importantly, the identification of a specific threat may promote the use of mate retention behaviors intended to strengthen the pair bond or deter rivals.
Jealousy therefore has the potential to reduce desertion or relationship dissolution and promote reproductive success if elicited by an appropriate threat.
In addition, it has been suggested that jealousy protects and promotes
love in other ways .
For example, a partner’s jealousy could be interpreted as a sign of caring, promoting a belief that the partner is committed and ready to invest in a long term relationship.
Alternatively, individuals that believe their partner is desired by others and respond jealously to a potential rival may raise their perceptions of the partner’s mate value or attractiveness, increasing their attraction to their partner.
The level of jealousy experienced may reflect the level of threat.
For example, men that are concerned with their partner’s jealousy experience more jealousy when the rival is attractive.
In this context, tall men are less jealous than short men. Specifically, tall men are less jealous than short men when faced with the prospect of a physically attractive and dominant rival.
This research made an important contribution to the field, demonstrating that male height is related to romantic jealousy and that these responses can be elicited in response to hypothetical scenarios.
The present study investigates the relationship between height and jealousy further, and considers the manner in which male height is related to three jealousy dimensions.
Pfeiffer and Wong (1989) identify three jealousy dimensions:
Which concerns how a person responds to potentially provoking situations.
which comprises of the individual’s appraisal of a situation.
which includes a range of behaviors intended to reduce a specific threat.