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Men, you might want to rush to the nearest waxing parlour after reading this! According to a new research, at least 80 percent women prefer a man with a smooth chest.
Evolutionary biologists have been puzzled by the fact that humans are not nearly as furry as our closest primate relatives. One common theory for our relative hairlessness suggests that women long ago adopted a preference for less hairy guys as a way to avoid lice and other nasty bloodsuckers.
But this new research suggests that this so-called "ectoparasite avoidance hypothesis" may not explain the evolution of human hairlessness. "According to evolutionary view, hairless men should be preferred, particularly in areas (or cultures) with high parasite threat, which means close to the equator, where parasite richness is highest," said Pavol Prokop, a professor of biology at Trnava University in Slovakia, wrote in an email to LiveScience.
"We compared only two countries that differ in parasite threat, but we found no differences in women's preferences," Prokop said. The researchers asked 161 Turkish and 183 Slovakian women to rate the attractiveness of men with hairy and hairless chests.
To keep the men's appearance as consistent as possible, the researchers had men photographed from the neck to the waist with hairy chests, and then asked them to shave before posing for an identical photograph. Instead, the study found that very few women in either country prefer a hairy chest. Only about 20 percent of women rated the more hirsute versions of the men as more attractive.
The team now plan to repeat the research in other countries to find out if cultural differences influence the reaction. Earlier studies suggested women's hair preferences do differ by country and women in the African nation of Cameroon, for example, preferring hairier guys, while women in China, New Zealand and California went for a bare look.
Some research even suggests women in fertile phases of their menstrual cycles are attracted to less hair on men than women in less-fertile phases, who prefer a slightly hairier look.
The study was published in journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.
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