Sexual Orientation, Sociosexuality, and Sexual Dimorphism
Using digitally manipulated levels of sexual dimorphism in human male and female faces (like the ones to the right), Glassenberg et.al. (2009) found that, compared to heterosexual women, homosexual women preferred greater masculinization in female faces [Brown-Forsythe t(303.38) = -2.92, p<.01] while heterosexual women preferred greater masculinization in male faces [t(375) = 6.77, p<.001]. Compared to heterosexual males, homosexual males preferred masculinization in both male and female faces [t(520) = -7.42, p<.001 and t(520) = -6.72, p<.001 respectively]. Calculations based on sociosexual orientation were mostly non-significant, though relatively small, significant, positive correlations were found in heterosexual males between unrestricted SO and a preference for feminization in female faces [R(125) = .20, p<.05] while homosexual males showed a positive correlation between unrestricted SO and a preference for masculinized male faces [R(259) = .17, p<.001]. These specifics aside, all raters preferred feminized female faces to masculinized female faces.
- large sample
- rated stimuli consisted of 3 face composites to ensure recognizable individuality. There was no effort to match stimuli for attractiveness prior to manipulating sexual dimorphism, so an attractiveness x dimorphism interaction would be missed in this design.
This study suggests that homosexuals’ preferences are neither identical to nor mirror-images of heterosexuals’ preferences. This data also suggests that researchers should control for sexual orientation when conducting attractiveness studies in which sex/gender are relevant variables.
Glassenberg, A., Feinberg, D., Jones, B., Little, A., & DeBruine, L. (2009). Sex-Dimorphic Face Shape Preference in Heterosexual and Homosexual Men and Women Archives of Sexual Behavior DOI: 10.1007/s10508-009-9559-6