Men With A Specific Physical Trait Often Make Awful Boyfriends, According To Research

The study surveyed 327 British men.

Last updated on Nov 06, 2023

muscular man- swipe left avanti_photo, grmarc2, Iryna Kolomiiets | Canva

According to a study conducted at the University of Westminster, strong, muscular men are known for being subpar boyfriends.

The 2012 study surveyed 327 straight British men, more than a third of whom were single, and discovered that the more muscular the participant, the more likely he was to have sexist beliefs and hostility toward women due to toxic masculinity

Obviously, there are reasons as to why women are very attracted to men with muscular physiques. There is an allure around masculine men because it is believed that, "Attractive men may actually possess better quality genes, and thus may be healthier, live longer, and even be more intelligent." (Fun fact: "Women partnered with attractive, masculine men report more frequent orgasms.")


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The correlation between brawny men and sexist beliefs is rooted in traditional gender roles. "We think men who hold oppressive beliefs about women and gender equality are also more likely to endorse traditional stereotypes of masculinity, which includes the muscular physique," the study authors wrote.

So, oftentimes, men who are already sexist strive to be muscular, because that upholds their idea of what a "real man" should look like.

The researchers claimed that in societies where patriarchal structures are being challenged, men may attempt to prove their masculinity by bettering their bodies.




Basically, men who are around women in power tend to feel threatened and display this through gaining muscle.

Although the study was not conducted internationally and the number of men surveyed was rather low, on face, it aligns with many preconceived stereotypes many people hold about muscular men.

Consider the cast of The Jersey Shore, for example. Though we can't deny their fabulous physiques, they're not exactly the kind of guys that are typically known for making great partners. 


RELATED: 5 Reasons Loving A Chubby Guy Is The Best

Attractive and muscular men have a higher chance of being unfaithful to their significant others. Sadly, "Women perceive attractive men as both more likely to cheat and more likely to leave a long-term relationship," because past infidelities usually indicate that they will be unfaithful in the future.

Studies have also found that, "More masculine facial features are more likely to report having been unfaithful in the past." Furthermore, "Married couples with more attractive husbands, these husbands report reduced relationship satisfaction and are less supportive of their spouses."

So before you dismiss the next scrawny guy who approaches you, consider that this limited research concludes that he may make a better boyfriend.


The study concluded, "Researchers suggest that some women may pursue a mixed mating strategy, choosing a man with more feminine features as a long-term mate, while pursuing more masculine men for short-term physical relationships."



As with any stereotypes, concluding that being muscular defines who someone is on the inside is usually a bad assessment. There are many wonderful people in all kinds of body shapes and sizes that make wonderful (and awful) long-term partners. Let someone's behavior truly dictate what kind of a boyfriend (or girlfriend!) they would make for you specifically.

But if you happen to be dating a muscular guy, well, this study may make for a fun dinner conversation where you can poke fun at him (in jest!) — and if he's a truly great guy, he'll take it in stride while you tell him his awesome personality defies the odds. 


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Caithlyn Hitt is a freelance writer and editor who's work has been featured in The Sun, Thrillist, Romper, the New York Daily News, and more.