Ask a male author about your male character traits or thoughts.

Amazon links to my stories: Autumn Breeze, A More Perfect Union, Double Happiness, The Wolves of Sherwood Forest, Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden can be found down the right side of the blog.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Male POV myths 1/8/12

. . . and men answered "I want somebody who loves me." This is pulled from the Ph. D. research at the bottom of this blog. Let's investigate a myth.
 Big BOObs
Look at the header to this blog. You’ll notice that one word seems out of proportion. Sure the OO attracts our attention, but does the word look funny or wrong to you? As you will read in the research portion of this piece, some men prefer them . . . and some don’t.

We as writers need only concern ourselves with our hero’s and heroine’s preferences. Some authors, without explaining the hero’s motivation, have them attracted to someone not considered their type. As examples, in MATCH ME IF YOU CAN by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, we have a physically perfect hunk (the Python) matched with Tinkerbelle or in her NATURAL BORN CHARMER, we have Dean (the star quarterback, also perfect) matched with a girl in a beaver suit, who is thought of by him in this way, “She hit him with grape lollipop eyes, one of the few curvy things about her.” Love this.

Think about your audience and what they want. Think about your hero and what he really wants in a woman when he’s ready to marry or even what he is attracted to at any time. I believe you are more likely to find in the following types a preference for proportion, for the Golden Ratio, for the way God made women (which didn’t include silicone): artists, Renaissance men, intellectuals, physically and mentally gifted (which often go together), the very successful (rich), those with an esthetic sense, those who appreciate beauty in all things, etc.

I loved Phillips stories, wouldn’t change a word, but please consider, when it fits your story, to have the male POV address this issue and also undersatnd that Phillips may have marketing reasons for not writing this issue via dialogue or interior monologue:

Don’t apologize for your hero. Consider allowing your hero, through interior monologue and dialogue, to explain his preferences (when the time is right), especially to a woman who assumes she’s out of his league. Men are often analytical (and visual) and would naturally think about such things. I do (all the time).

Although Marilyn Monroe was very popular, many men preferred Audrey Hepburn. The same today is said about Sandra Bullock, and in 2011, Ashley Hebert, The Bachelorette.

FURTHER RESEARCH for those who need more convincing (or are geeky).

June Machover Reinisch, Ph. D. wrote:

“This month, our myth is that most men prefer women with big breasts. And you would certainly think that’s the case, considering what you see in Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, most of the men’s magazines, that’s what you would believe to be true, certainly at least for American men. I’d like to tell you that the French say all you need is enough to fill a champagne glass, but that does not appear to be the American point of view.

“Now, before we answer that question, I’d like to tell you about a study that asked what were the physical attributes that men find most attractive. And I’m going to give them to you in descending order, and it will start to give you a hint as to what the answer is to this myth. Number one was face. And if you have been following these myths, you will find that that’s also very true for women in regard to men – that is, people’s faces are very important. And that shouldn’t be surprising because communication is very important to humans and when we are communicating we are looking at each other’s faces. So anyway, number one is face. Number two is legs. Men find legs very attractive, and they are number two. So, face had 32 percent of men saying it was most important physical attribute, and 24 percent of men said that legs were the most important physical attribute. Third was breasts, at 18 percent. Fourth was hair, at 5 percent. And last but not least was backside, or bottom, at 4 percent. Backsides are very high on women’s lists of physical attributes that are sexually attractive, so that’s an interesting difference between men and women.

“Now another study asked what men found most desirable in women’s bodies, and they then asked them about breasts. Now in this study, 50 percent of men did mention breasts as an important factor. So then they asked them what kind of breasts are most attractive, and I think you’re going to find this very interesting, because as you can see from 50 percent, only half of the men said that breasts were very important physical attractive qualities in women. But of the 50 percent that said that breasts were important, only half said that big breasts were important. And the other half said that they preferred small breasts. Now what that tells us is that only 25 percent of men prefer large breasts. So clearly the myth that most men like large breasts is not true, because only 1 in 4 prefer large breasts. Now, this does not mean that men do not like to look at large breasts, or breasts in general, because of course that’s not true – men do like to look at breasts. In fact, women like to look at breasts. And that’s not surprising. Breasts are certainly one of the major sex differences, and we’re all interested in the differences between the sexes. They’re one of the distinctions between men and women, and they are very interesting. And humans, like all animals, are very interested in what makes men men and what makes women women, what makes females females and males males, and they’re certainly one of the most interesting parts of the body. So it’s not surprising that the men’s magazines focus on the differences, and one of the obvious major differences are women’s breasts. And so there are many photographs of breasts that people look at, and big breasts are certainly interesting to look at. But when men are asked what do they want to take home with them, only 1 out of 4 say the most attractive aspect of a woman, and what they’re particularly attracted to sexually, are large breasts.

“Another study asked men what is the most important attribute you want in a woman. And these men reported that first and foremost what was most attractive in a woman was that she loved them. I think that’s a very good answer, certainly for a lifetime. I don’t think that you can maintain and continue and have a relationship based on just several square inches of a woman’s body, even if it’s several square feet of a woman’s body – I don’t think it is the basis for a relationship. But having somebody who loves you is a very good basis for a relationship. And it’s interesting to me that when a study asked in a general sense, not just a physical sense, what’s the most important attribute for you in a woman, that you are looking for to be attracted to, and men answered "I want somebody who loves me." I think that’s a great answer. So that’s how we bust this myth about large breasts being the most important attribute that a woman can have for a man.”


  1. Hi
    I'm learning about blogging. I opened the blog looking for this new post and found it in archives. So, I'm guessing adding a comment might help to put it first??

  2. Thought I'd drop by and look at this. Interesting stuff, Bob. But I do wonder at the legitimacy of taking a poll of "guys." I mean, wouldn't some dudes just say that "EYES" are the first thing they notice, to be PC? ha.

    And then, of course, they may have a completely different take on what really captured their attention first.

    A guy turning is head to check out a babe who has just walked past him (the guy's action rude, on occasion) hasn't had time to see how nice her eyes were. Right?



  3. Hi Linda,

    Prejudice dies hard!

    When a guy can only catch a sideways glance he can just as easily disqualify someone who is too stacked as be interested in someone who is svelte.

    After running low on time, I chose the study which best fit the facts based on personal experience, many a conversation with friends, reading up on experiments, and personally constructed psychology experiments. I left out how this study formed background and qualifier questions and all the science behind creating a neutral as possible interview.

    Another study I didn't cite had a female hitch hiker appear in A, then B, then C cups (England). More men (not much more) stopped the larger the size became. The study failed to follow up with their motivations. Boobs are a sexual signal. The more noticable they are made, the more likely that the (wrong) guy will 'get' the wrong idea. If a woman were walking topless on a beach, the study would turn out differently. Consider the desirablility of perkiness, graceful curves (fitting the golden ratio). This ratio shows up in all of nature and all cultures as a kind of subconscious attraction.

    If it is true that a guy when searching for a life mate (which is part of the romance genre) wants to find someone who will love him, then all that other stuff becomes more incidental. True, though he'd be more attracted to a woman with smaller breasts (at least my heroes are).


  4. This was a really interesting blog Bob with lots to think about! :)

    I do think big boobs turn a guy's head, but would it attract him to a mate? I'm not so sure.

    I really like the idea that a guy would choose a woman who loves him... That's a much better barometer than outward appearance!

    Lisa :)

  5. Yes--what Lisa said! This was enlightening, though. Honestly, there are times when I get skeptical that most men put love at the top of their list. This is because I work primarily with men between 18-25ish, and what comes from their mouths rarely reflect their deepest desires. I get to hear about the smut, not about their soft inner workings. Which leads us back to your last post about how younger men's behavior often doesn't match their morality. So true!

    PS--Eyes are usually the first thing I notice about a man I'm attracted to. Amazing eyes...

  6. I found the information very interesting and well presented. Concerning what men want most from their woman, I think saying "I want to be loved" may be too general. On a recent TV show on which men & women had to answer questions about what they wanted most from the significant other in their life, only one woman on a team of 4 came up with the answer the 4 men opposite her team agreed upon which was "support." The conclusion might be that love to a man is feeling supported by the woman for whom he's going out and felling the saber tooth tiger. In supporting a man, the woman is also showing her appreciation for who he is. For the woman, I think being made to feel special by the man is at the top of her want list. As a 76 year old woman who has spent a lot of time involved in girl talk with her women friends, I can tell you that the biggest complaint women have is how the man stops doing all the things he did during the courting period that made her feel he thought she was special. It's like once he won the prize his job was over. Now all he has to do is keep bringing in the pay check so he can relax in front of the TV. That belief, I think set the stage for a lot of disappoint for men, because it didn't support feeling supported and appreciated after the wedding by their woman. When I talked girls with my sons, one of the things I emphasized to them was the importance of continuing to make the woman in their life feel special. I think one of the ways parents fail their children is when fathers don't share with their daughters the emotional makeup of a man and mothers don't share with their sons the emotional makeup of a woman. The result is that it leaves both unprepared for dealing with half the population, one of whom will take on the job of significant other. I look forward to your next blog.

  7. Hi Angela and Geriatricgypsy,

    Thanks so much for your incisive comments.

    You are both expressing disappointment in some men, which as Angela observes is especially true in the 18 to 25 year old bracket. This brings me back to our discussion of testosterone decreasing with age and reasonableness (and wisdom) increasing.

    But a point Geriatricgypsy made, “I can tell you that the biggest complaint women have is how the man stops doing all the things he did during the courting period . . .” and later how fathers and mothers should educate boys on how to treat a woman.

    I agree wholeheartedly. I often find it odd that our most important life decision (and everything about it) is treated so lightly. I haven’t noticed any college or high school courses centering on finding a mate (scientifically (a future blog post maybe)), making a successful marriage, and love-making, and where do more than 50% percent of us fail? We pick up somebody at a bar, we never got any lectures at home or in school, we don’t know what we’re doing in the bedroom. In short we let our glands choose a life mate.

    At least in romance we can build a solid story where all indications point to a happily ever after. But, in order to sell your theme, the plot and characters have to be believable and inspiring and in our own way without bluntly stating it, be a beacon for success with the opposite sex (by first understanding them).

    I hope my next post will get us a step closer for our heroine in fiction or in real life to find a true hero—a man who wants to be loved and who wants to love back with all his heart and attention.