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Stress Makes Men Seek Curvy and Mature Women

Update Date: Aug 09, 2012 05:58 AM EDT

If you are a woman and have been trying hard to lose those extra pounds and get a skinny frame, here is some good news. You can stop worrying and relax as a new research says that a woman's curvy body may be kind of 'therapeutic' to men. 

According to a research by psychologists at the University of Westminster in London, men are attracted to heavier and curvier women when they are stressed. 

According to lead author Dr Viren Swami, when men are stressed with personal or financial problems, it's more likely they will go for a woman who is physically "more mature."

This could be because men subconsciously expect physically mature women to have a matured personality too. They think that such women may be more capable of handling a crisis, believe scientists. 

'Body size appears to be an important signal of both physical and psychological maturity," Dr Swami said.

"Physical maturity is associated with the ability to handle threatening situations and may communicate attributes such as strength, control and independence during periods when such qualities should be most desired," he added.

For the study, the researchers tested 80 white British men of normal weight. Half of the participants were made to undergo a group interview which was designed to make them feel uneasy and stressed. 

Later, the men were shown pictures of women of various types of bodies, ranging from skinny to obese. While none of the men found either the extremely skinny or extremely obese women attractive, it was found that those in the 'stress' group preferred those on the heavier side.

The men who had not gone through the stress test had fewer choice ranges and were more likely to pick slim women as attractive. Those men who had undergone the stress test not only chose heavier women as their "ideal" body type; they also found wide variety of body sizes, attractive.

This, the scientists call, the "Environmental Security Hypothesis" which suggests that people might change their choices with changing circumstances. 

"We found that the experience of stress shifted men's body size preferences, such that heavier female body sizes were rated more positively. That is, men in who were stressed rated women of normal weight, overweight, and partially at least, obese BMI categories as more attractive than the control group," the authors were quoted as saying by Mail Online.

The authors further said that this might explain why some cultures (where people are deprived of resources) reportedly value heavier bodies, while cultures where people's necessities are met, aim for thinner bodies.

"Such body types are associated with better ability to handle environmental threat."

The research was published in the journal PLoS ONE.

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