A friend and I were discussing this very issue today while having lunch in an outdoor cafe. We decided to count couples and see how many had a taller man and shorter woman, and how many had a shorter man and taller woman.
There were over 20 couples and all of them was of a taller man with a shorter woman.
This is all fine and good but not very scientific. What does science say about this important issue?
A study by Gillis and Avis in 1980 found that for every 100 couples, only 2 are likely to have a taller woman and shorter man. This suggests that in general, men tend to choose women who are shorter than they are and/or women choose men who are taller than they are.
Do Men Really Like Shorter Women?
The Gillis and Avis study shows that couples very frequently consist of a taller man together with a shorter woman.
However, this does not necessarily mean that men like shorter girls. In fact, one can argue that the height preference largely comes from the woman’s side. Perhaps the man has no height preference, but simply dates shorter women because shorter women find them more attractive.
To get a more comprehensive view of this tall vs. short women issue, I also examined data from Yahoo Answers!. In particular, I did a search for “tall vs. short women” questions.
I collected a total of 54 responses over about 20 related questions. 29 of the responses were from men, and 25 from women. Of the men,
- 52% said that they like shorter women,
- 31% said that height is not an issue, and
- only 17% said that they like tall women.
These figures seem consistent with the results of my Attractive Women Survey which showed that only 19% of voters like tall women.
Of the women,
- 24% said that men like shorter women,
- 36% said that height is not an issue,
- 40% said that men like tall women.
What is especially interesting about the Yahoo! Answers data is that the woman’s view differs so greatly from the man’s view. Upon greater examination though, we found that of the 10 women who claimed that men prefer taller women, 7 were 5’8”-5’9”, and 1 was 5’5”. Therefore, the relatively small data-set and abnormal height distribution of respondents likely skewed the results.
Data from more rigorous scientific studies also support the hypothesis that men have a preference for shorter women.
“We found that shorter, slimmer females with long slender legs, a curvy figure and larger breasts are more attractive,” said lead researcher Dr William Brown of Brunel University.
Nettle’s study on 10,000 people born in the UK in 1958 also showed that –
Shorter women are more likely to have long-term relationships with men, and more likely to have children …
Why Do Men Like Shorter Women?
Most female models are very tall. Based on this female ideal, it seems that all of us have a preference for the tall, thin, and willowy look.
Therefore, why does the survey and scientific results show that men like shorter women? It seems that here, at least, there is an inconsistency between the media feminine ideal and our real-world feminine ideal.
Certainly tall women have the following advantages –
- Clothes fall and drape more naturally on taller women.
- Tall women can handle extra weight much better than shorter women.
- Tall women get noticed more easily because they naturally stand out in a crowd.
All of these attributes make taller women especially suited for the modelling profession. We want models to stand out from the crowd and we want them to look especially good in a wide range of dress styles.
However, a woman’s greater height becomes more of a liability during mate selection because height is often associated with strength and power. These are traditionally traits that are highly regarded in men but less so in women. A tall woman may therefore have an emasculating effect on a shorter man.
In addition, while women frequently select mates based on strength, success, and power; men are more likely to select mates based on fertility. Nettle further pointed out that –
… girls with late sexual maturity will be taller than those who mature early, because they are growing for longer.
According to Nettle, taller women become fertile at a later date when compared to their shorter counterparts. This could also be another contributing factor to a man’s preference for shorter women.
Don’t Men Want Tall Sons?
What’s strange is that I would like to be taller and I would like my future son(s) to be taller. So it would really make more sense to choose a tall mate with genes that will produce a son who is tall. And yet I’m attracted to short women.
Another related factor to this tall vs. short women question is the height of our resulting children. If men do indeed select based on fertility, it seems that part of that fertility question would involve the strength and power of the resulting offspring. As was pointed out in the comment above, selection of a taller woman would increase the chances of producing a taller son.
However, based on all the data it seems that the attributes of our offspring are less significant than the social effects of having a taller female spouse, as well as possible maturity issues as related to height.
Are Tall Women Out of Luck?
Finally, it should also be mentioned that height selection and preference is a relative thing.
Most men like women that are shorter than they are and most women like men that are taller than they are. Men who are over 6 feet tall will have less problems dating tall women because they will still be the taller one in the relationship.
However, the distribution of heights for men and women follow the usual bell-curve shape. This suggests that tall women will have a smaller selection of men to choose from.
I am a tall skinny man. I will refer here specifically to the period when I was in my 20s and 30s. I am now age 68 (still tall and skinny and by no means “out of the ball game!!!”). I weighed between 130 and 140 pounds (lowest weight: 125) at 6 feet tall. Yes, people generally associate height with power and strength but that is not always the case. In fact, it really is true that opposites attract: I was always turned on having, for an intimate relationship, much shorter women (4-foot-11 to 5-foot-2), who were larger (160-180+ pounds) than myself and who were stronger than myself [e.g. outlifting me in weightlifting (especially in the clean and jerk!!!); downing me, and then pinning me into submission, during a wrestling match; beating me at armwrestling despite the longer length of my arms] and who were just as much turned on as I was about the sharp contrast in our physical dimensions (going “against the grain” so to speak). There were times when one of those short, large, strong ladies who I was intimately involved with (I had one at a time, of course!!!) was even bold enough to look way up at me, while we were both standing in front of each other, and then say to me while I was looking way down at her (especially after I had just lost to her in a particular test of strength): “I’m bigger than you are and I’m stronger than you are!!!” which she knew turned me on just hearing that. One of the ladies, who stood 4-foot-11 weighing 175 pounds (she outweighed me by 40 pounds while I towered over her by more than a foot!!!), went so far as to say to me (because she knew it would turn me on hearing it): “Whatever you try to do to me, I would do to you with greater force because I am stronger than you are and I weigh more than you do.” I never heard it said that way, either before or since. So you see, there are exceptions to the rule about height being associated with power and strength!
I am a 14 year old boy, I am 5’6 and I seem to find girls that are taller than me REALLY adorable. I have a crush on a girl that is asian that is I think 12, she is one grade below me. I am only up to half of her head. I think she is somewhere around 5’8. I also tend to like girls that are asian, I deem them as pretty although in the long run I don’t believe these things really matter. If you are a tall girl and feel like you are too tall, I don’t think you should be sad because there are guys out there that like girls that are tall or taller than them.
I respect what you’re saying, but short girls deal with some shit as well. I’m a guy and my girlfriend and I have been together since high school. I’m 6’2, she’s 5’3-5’4ish. All throughout high school, taller girls would mock her for her size and complain that she was “wasting my height” and wouldn’t I prefer a girl as “beautifully tall as themselves” and that I was being offensive. They’d call her a slut, say soon enough I’d realize I didn’t want to be with a girl like her, even though she was a stereotypical good girl with great grades and a dedication to her religion. We never even had sex. She was amazing and I could tell it was really hard for her to be bullied so much.
People need to realize that short girls, even if they’re preferred, are people too. Telling them they’re a “waste of inches” is akin to saying “you’re not good enough for him” or “he’s wasted on you.” That’s really fvcked up. If you’re tall, take advantage of being able to reach things from cupboards (as I do) and stop bullying shorter people.
I think women who is petite and have curves is hot and sexy. and.of course most men want taller then women.
I think so too. I’m waaaaaaaay under average when it comes to height, and my crush (who likes me back) is waaaaaaaay above average when it comes to height. I like tall boys for some reason.
Aerial girl says
I never used height as an indicator of strength or power. It’s not within my personal experience. Perhaps not the general rule or the norm but for my family it doesn’t seem to matter. Most tall woman I know have known have said they would be afraid to mess with me. Growing up full blooded Italian, the men were all scary my brother being the biggest bad ass Of them all! Who stands only 5’6 feet tall. We are all genetically ripped cut, define, I am the tallest of all the girls at 5’3 which most people call short and some times consider less then have said things
Like I need help to reach things on high shelves. My response is that I love to climb if And if I can’t reach its a
Perfect reason to get to, I have great balance, strength and flexibility it’s all I have ever needed to reach anything and I can and do ask for help to grab something from a taller person if it’s not appropriate to climb it or find a latter,
I see nothing wrong or weak with asking for help for anything! Particularly from men cuz they love it!!! As far as protection -lol I have taken down 3 men.! I don’t really need it! My brother would have to literally be threatened with his life to fight or would go to prison he is a trained lethal Weapon! Tall does not threaten him! My dad used to throw full grown men bigger and taller then him like it was nothing! An x boxer for the marine core and He only stands 5’10 some people are just stronger then others, I do aerial which takes a great deal of strength I keep up with woman 20 years younger and much taller! I have always gotten a lot of male attention even now at 50 and still from
Men much younger, im pretty sure it’s because I am in good shape not about being short or tall its seems more like the proportion of f a lady with men not size that I have found, I have an hour glass shape I have curves plenty of bosom a bubbled out butt and plenty of definition. That’s-what I have found they like. I can look like crap hair a mess no makeup and sill get heads to turn if I wear anything that shows off those curves. I have dated men as short as 5’3 and as tall as 6’5 it’s what ever I found attractive about them I don’t need a protector I do fine on my own, both physically and emotionally I am confident and assertive. Many describe me as fearless! I work hard to not fight -lol it’s all about grace for me these days I let men be the masculine tough energy Nit because I need it but because I like it from them! I love doing aerial cuz it’s about being able to use all that strength and combine it with beauty and grace, I still would not back down from a good fight or a viable threat though cuz I’m always ready for a
Good take down! hahahahaha
Kris Hunter says
It seems i’ve always been drawn to tall and taller women.
When I was younger being only 6’1” it seemed I was rejected then and now age appropriate women who
range from 6’0” to 6’5” don’t seem to have any issues with
the height difference and it works for me.
Boy you people are really sold on media actually tall women have more testosterone and small women have more estogen read up on it
Do you have a scientific study to back that testosterone claim? Estrogen does stunt growth, but human growth hormone is what increases growth.
6’4″ heterosexual male here:
I have always liked WOMAN, regardless of height.
I’ve had a “thing” for tall girls, but MOST of my ladies over the years have been 5’5″ or shorter (even in 6″ heels, in one case- she was 4’9″!).
Honestly, women tend to be shorter, and because i AM taller than average, YOU’RE ALL SHORT!
A taller woman would “match up” better, logistically-speaking, when it comes to slow face-to-face lovemaking, for example- but I like my ladies built for making babies (even if we only ever practise making them), not siring them.- i don’t get the whole “twiggy” look. Never have.
Lynda Carter, Mae West, Amy Lee (of Evanescence), Anne Margaret, Olivia Dudley, Elizabeth Olsen….. ALL favorites.
Before you go calling me an old fogey, I’m only turning 46 this Fall! LOL
Mae West west was not tall neither were some of the other American females celebrities in the past were MOST DEFINITELY not tall – media did and still does embellish the facts. I once met Linda Lucardi who is claimed to be 5ft5 (according to Google) yet having met her in Coventry Theatre she was no more than 5ft tall (I am 5ft5) so do know the difference. Most likely facial and body symmetry is the answer – always makes an individual so much more self-assured and taller. Look at John Wayne, he was 6ft2 yet resembled that of a man of 6ft5 simply because he carried himself as someone so much more powerful in screen-character.
Well…I feel if a woman is tall and she has a very nice figure and an equal amount of weight along side a pretty face both tall and short men will want to date them. That’s like all the packages in one. Who wouldn’t want that?
Not only tall women have nice bodies I’ve been described as having a kick ass body and beautiful face by many men and I’m only 5″2
I think it is that women don’t want to date a shorter man. I think they have more of a hangup then men. I would love a really tall women, over 6ft, but most of them have the idea that the man is suppose to be taller.
the Spiral says
Ha! I’m quite tall (5’9″) and have always gotten loads of male attention. Would I get more attention if I was shorter? Maybe, but I wouldn’t necessarily want any more than I get! I also don’t have a height preference for men, and have dated men both shorter and taller than me. I’ve heard this is unusual for women but I’m more attracted to a man’s masculine energy and aura. My husband is only an inch or two taller than me but he’s very strong and I’ve always felt protected by him. This topic really isn’t a big deal for the amount of attention it gets!
I’m 5ft my husband is 6’4”. I don’t love our height difference (never have, it almost kept Me
From Dating him!) but I do love being petite, and that I have a big strong protector. Fortunately our 2 sons and 1 daughter got his height while
Our Other 3 daughters are More petite.
Nigel Beckett says
I am half an inch shorter than 6 feet tall and once dated the tallest woman I have ever seen (who I am fortunate enough to have found again on the Internet after 12 years). She is literally 6 feet 4 inches tall and has had very few men, although she is at least average looking in my opinion. Height is of no relevance to me – in fact my wife has a part-time job of standing on top of wedding cakes and test driving Matchbox cars as her main profession. My experience with Ursula – or Little Bear as she was known at university – was great, so if any men reading this say they could not go out with a tall woman, I say thanks because it gives the rest of us more opportunities to do so.
I am way late on this but I prefer tall ladies by a long shot. I am over 6 foot, so I like a lady at least 5’10 or taller. Tall women have such a confidence about them. In the grand scheme of things I don’t guess it really matters but I like someone more height equivalent (or close) and not submissive. I want an equal.
I like your answer.
I’m a 6’2″ male and I wholeheartedly agree with this. To me, height translates to a stature that can rival my own. I love the idea of having a partner in everything, not someone I necessarily have to protect all the time (I will certainly do so if she needs it). Honestly, I find weakness rather unattractive. I like the idea of someone who can stand up to/challenge me (NOT dominate, to be clear). So somewhere in the back of my head, I equate height with strength as well. So that makes it a big plus for me!
…I mean I also care a lot more about attitude too, so I’d say I find height attractive, but it’s your character that really makes the difference. Firecrackers are the best
Being physically smaller dies not mean you are weaker. Lol. I am a competitive athlete. 5’3 and out perform any tall girl in our group. I am a single mom, financially independent as well. Did it on my own after moving here from Eastern Europe with nothing. Beauty and strength comes from within. You all know the saying: “ It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight that’s matters but the size of the fight in the dog” with that said I think there is beauty in everything tall, short, man or woman. Diversity in all.
Iam 5’10 that’s enough tall for men but my sister is 5’10 I don’t like that and she always wears high heels which makes her 6’5 even I feel tiny even my mom will be taller sometimes in high heels
I am 5’4 my boyfriend is only few inches taller..we seem almost the same height but I wish there was more proportion..
I’m 5’3″ and have always dated taller guys. I’m on the upper side of average weight for my height, and I refuse to date skinny guys because I think when a female outweighs a guy, it makes him look childish in comparison. Besides, I like a thicker guy so he can be like a lovable teddy bear. Bones are for dogs! And not for nothing, I’ve met plenty of really tall, boring-looking chicks. Seems most guys want their female looking feminine and having a sense of style- even the ones who choose taller gals.
I read how you would never date a skinny man who you outweigh, which, no doubt, would include a tall skinny man like me who you outweigh because, in your words, that skinny man would look more like a child (sizewise and weightwise) in comparison to you, being that you outweigh him. I would have to state that a skinny man, including a tall skinny man like me at 6 feet tall and weighing between 125 pounds and 135 pounds, would look, compared to a short large woman, not more like a child, but actually MORE LIKE AN INSECT!!! In fact, my lowest ever weight at my 6-foot frame was 123 pounds but I still attracted, and scored, short large ladies who asked me out (thanks, at least in part, to my being otherwise attractive). All of those women outweighed me and some of them outweighed me considerably while I towered way over them. Yes indeed. JUST LIKE AN INSECT!!! That’s how I looked compared to the short large women with whom I was intimately involved, with all of those women being stronger than myself (some of whom were actually far stronger than myself!!!). One such lady (near the beginning of our intimate relationship), standing a mere 4-foot-11 but weighing a massive 190 pounds, certainly massive considering her very short stature (at the time, SHE OUTWEIGHED ME BY FIFTY-FIVE POUNDS WHILE I TOWERED OVER HER BY MORE THAN A FOOT!!!), she boldly challenged me to a clean-and jerk weightlifting contest. She arrived at my apartment where I had a barbell set with a barbell (fully adjusted with extra plates added) already set up on the floor. While I was watching her, she grabbed that barbell from the floor and then she easily swung it up over her shoulders. While I continued watching her, she just as easily jerked that heavy barbell right up over her head!!! I was both impressed and stunned at the same time, wondering if I could even match her. While she and I stood face-to face, with her looking way up at me while I was looking way down at her, she said to me: “Now let’s see you do it.” While she was watching me, I grabbed that barbell from the floor and then I tried. I tried as hard as I could. I COULDN’T DO IT!!! I was unable to swing the barbell up. I couldn’t even get it above my knees. I was simply too skinny despite my much greater height over her. I immediately conceded defeat and then I congratulated her with a kiss on her left cheek. She was so proud of the fact that she easily outlifted me which actually turned the both of us on. My loss to her was instrumental in solidifying our intimate relationship. Of course, she playfully reminded me, at times, of her easy victory over me that day (and I just loved it!!!). Thank goodness there are all types of people in the world who are physically attracted and sexually attracted to different body sizes and different body shapes. While you would never go for me because I am a skinny man who you outweigh, thank goodness there are plenty of short large women like yourself who do (and who already have!!!).
Oh, I forgot to mention why losing to my 4-foot-11, 190-pound short large lady in that clean and jerk weightlifting contest (that she boldly challenged me to!!!) was instrumental in solidifying our intimate relationship (I stood 6 feet tall at 135 pounds): The clean and jerk involves lifting either a fixed or an adjustable barbell up from the floor and then up over the shoulders (called the clean) and then up overhead (called the jerk). She easily cleaned and easily jerked a heavy barbell (adjusted to that higher weight). When my turn came, I tried but I failed to clean (failing miserably!!!), getting the barbell no higher up than my knees. My having gracefully accepted my loss to her showed her that I was not stubborn and that I was not defiant (I was not carrying on and acting like a child!!!) after losing to her and that I was not in denial which means I accepted the reality that she easily outlifted me. It also showed her that I was not insecure about myself after having lost to her (insecurity is a sign of weakness and immaturity in both women and men). She even admitted to me that she prefers much taller men and, guess what? I AM A MUCH TALLER MAN!!! How could I possibly feel insecure after she admitted that to me? Women do not like men who are stubborn and who are defiant and who are not accepting of reality, and women certainly do not like men who are insecure about themselves. I don’t have to be a woman to know all of that. Just imagine, with my standing six feet tall (especially with my skinny 135 pounds!!!), if I were childish enough, right after she won, to insult her stature by saying something like this to her: “Yeah, but you are very short.” “I am very tall.” “I am way taller than you are.” Yes, her being a very short woman and my being a very tall man are true but saying something like that to her would clearly have shown total disrespect on my part. In fact, with my slight build vs. her large build, especially with her obvious weight advantage, she could have (and she most likely would have!!!) grabbed me, thrown me down, and then pinned me into submission, demanding an apology from me before she would allow me to get back up again, and then she most likely would have ended the relationship right there. I would not have blamed her. Thank goodness for me I knew better. With her being a stocky lady (some would say more fat than stocky but stocky nevertheless), going into that weightlifting contest, her muscles, including her arm muscles and especially her upper arm muscles (a.k.a. her biceps), were much larger than mine. How could I not have accepted losing to her after it was over? I showed my lady, although I am not a strong man physically, I am, indeed, a very strong man mentally and emotionally which she appreciated. Yes, there are plenty of women out there who like that big, strong, “muscular mountain of” a man who they can hug just like a teddy bear. What good is that if he is a man who disrespects women and who mistreats women and who even goes so far as to abuse women? All three, unfortunately, are not uncommon. Skinny men like me who treat women with respect and with admiration are not about to be “put out of business.” The gentlemanly conduct and the positive attitude and the respect I showed for my lady right after she easily outlifted me in weightlifting is what she admired me for. THAT is what was instrumental in solidifying our relationship. WOMEN AND MEN can learn from my aforementioned experience!!!
Oh, I have yet another comment to make: You stated (in your own words) that: “You refuse to date skinny guys because you think when a female outweighs a guy, it makes him look childish in comparison” and you also stated: “Bones are for dogs.” It seems to me that you have “sour grapes” and that you have “a bone to pick” (pun intended!!!) with skinny men like me who don’t weigh that much. The fact is, the height of a tall man, including the height of a tall skinny man like me who doesn’t weigh that much, attracts women of all sizes and shapes. THE FACTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES!!! Although I, as a tall skinny man standing 6 feet tall and weighing 125-135 pounds, prefer to have a short large woman, generally between 4-foot-11 and 5-foot-2, as an intimate girlfriend outweighing me by at least 40 pounds (I’ve already had quite a few such women!!!), I have also had intimate girlfriends who were skinny, both short and tall. I would never say: “Bones are for dogs” about skinny women because of my having a preference for short large women. The old saying (not to be gender specific here) is: “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” You stated that “you like a thicker guy so he can be like a lovable teddy bear.” Well, then, you must know exactly how I feel while my tall small body is being grabbed and then held in place against the thick, cushiony flesh of a short large woman’s body where she locks me into position with her big strong arms while my long skinny arms (just like tentacles!!!) are probing her large, feminine, strong upper body. Being the tall skinny man that I am, I am always turned on while I am being physically and sexually dominated and controlled by a short large woman who is bigger, heavier and stronger than I am WHILE I AM WAY TALLER THAN SHE IS!!! Of course, “TALLER” becomes “LONGER” while she and I are laying together in bed!!! I feel totally absorbed and completely under her control (exactly the way I like it!!!) while she and I are making love, sometimes with MY LONGER, SMALLER BODY on top of HER SHORTER, LARGER BODY but most of the time with HER SHORTER, LARGER BODY on top of MY LONGER, SMALLER BODY (nothing feels better than that!!!)
I’m probably about 5’6 or 5’7.. but I’m only eleven. I’d like to stay this height but I’ve grown four inches in a year and both my doctor and family say I won’t stop growing anytime soon.. 🙁 so once I’m in high school I’ll probably be 6 ft tall 🙁 heh.. heh.. help
You’ll appreciate in the long run, trust me.
-a tall adult women.
I’m a 5’7 1/2 tall age 29 women… where ever I go I feel like I’m the tallest person. I have always wanted to be an inch shorter because everyone I know is either my height or shorter. So when I’m around someone taller I feel the need to be taller. I was with a guy for ten years that was my height, we didn’t mind each others heights but I would wish sometimes he was 2 inches taller than me. unfortunately we didn’t last because I finally realized he was emotionally abusive. I think that if you are with a really great guy you will overlook the height. Height in men never bothered me when I was younger but now I wounder what it’s like to be with a 6 ft tall guy, I’ve heard a women say one time that she didn’t like tall men because they are clumsy Lol, When I wear heels I can feel all eyes on me and I get a lot attention, but I’m used to it by now and act like I don’t notice. It’s hard not to get noticed when you are tall and beautiful. There are more short women then tall women that’s why tall guys are with them. We’re harder to find…
I feel you
People said that to me, but I stopped growing when I was 12-13 yrs old. I hit 5’9″ and nothing else after that.
I am tall and i like tall boys
Mark Parker says
I am a male 5’11” and have always been attracted to
tall and taller women. Now that I am older, I find
older taller women don’t seem to have any problems
with height difference. My present significant other is
6’7″ and is a beautiful mature/sexy woman and has no problem with my lessor stature and in fact will wear heels
and totally dominate and is comfortable with at times
the awkwardness of a much shorter love interest.
the Spiral says
6’7″? Whoa, that is TALL!
I am almost retired and ever since high school was ALWAYS drawn to the tallest women. I am 6’3″ and mostly dated women 5’7″ to 6’1″. It seemed that 5’10” is what was perfect to me personally. It’s hard to find tall women, but with my preference ended up married to a tall woman. I love it when her shoulder fits snuggly right under my arm when my arm is around her shoulder. When you are tall man – you can kiss longer with a tall woman and not have to bend over and hurt your back or twist your neck.
Wowww on point, I love your comment