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.
Daniel Gordon says
It seems i’ve always been attracted to taller girls/women
and as a male 6’3” my first real love interest was a very
attractive 6’1” who told me she would never date a shorter guy yet would always wear very hi heels and when I would mention it she then indicated she wanted
to be taller than me, I never got it and eventually we broke up, some years later I started dating a beautiful woman who was 6’3” and always be pissed because with hi heels she would be so much taller and always carried a pair of flats in purse and this relationship ended the same way and now my latest is a magnificent woman
who is an astonishing 6’7” without heels and has to crouch down to hug/kiss me and knows her legs if possible are even more fantastic in hi heels only she
totally emasculates me knows while standing walking
she’s the dominating person and honestly it totally turns me on and in the bedroom are roles totally reverse and
I will never reach up stand on my toes or stool to hug and kiss her she knows and eliminated all that awkwardness from our relationship by reading the situations so I don’t look like a little boy with his mother.
John Stanton says
I have always found tall girls/women very beautiful and my attraction, however not being able to sustain a long term relationship since my recent gf who is 6’1” and i’m
6’2” and she would wear these 5” heels and having her look down on me as i’m looking up it just started to get to
me and no matter what she would indicate my comfort level would become more unsustainable with our height
difference and she would show up wearing flats and saying ‘ is this better?’ and honestly no it wasn’t, very conflicted having to look up and being looked down upon, not to mention the kissing and hugging issues.
Sean Brooks says
It seems height doesn’t matter until it does and as
a 6’2” male having an attraction for a woman who is
6’5” barefoot and since most of our time being spent on
the beach the difference is quite manageable and it’s only the times we’ll go out and she’ll wear like 5” heels
and yes her legs as well as she look gorgeous only now what was manageable seems difficult and a bit unmanageable as to were I measure up to her and she
will compensate with her fabulous instincts by lower down in order for hugs and kisses and she’ll constantly tell me her love for me and our height difference should
never be an issue with us only it’s me.
I am 5.11 height male and my wife 4.8 height we married love marrige we have two kids we happy in life we more more happy in bed
At the end of the day I really don’t think it is so much about height rather I think a woman’s face and body shape is far more important. As long as a man is a few inches taller there is absolutely no trouble. I live in Sweden and the norm here is tall men with tall women for the most part. I am 5’7 which is pretty average, maybe tall-ISH, in Sweden and I attract men of all heights except shorter than me (to my knowledge). In my experience tall men in Sweden prefer hourglass slim tall-ISH women!
I’m 5’10 and have never had a long relationship. I don’t like to look down to kiss a man, It just doesn’t make me feel desirable. I can always tell a man doesn’t like my height. They will make a comment like”wow your tall in those boots”. I prefer not to wear heels, but there are not a lot of cool flats out there.
It’s very lonely being tall no mater how beautiful you are.
I read your remarks and honestly 510” isn’t that tall and i’m sure your very desirable and in fact i’m a guy 6’3”
and presently in a relationship with a very attractive woman who happens to be 6’7” and I encourage and support her desire to wear hi heels and I don’t think she has any problem with crouching bending down to hug and kiss me and I certainly don’t and she is one very feminine sexy woman and I tell her that all the time.
Mike Ferraro says
I recently broke off a relationship I was having with
an attractive woman who was 6’7” and rarely wore heels and I am being 6’2” and constantly when standing and we’d hug and I tried to kiss her she wouldn’t lower or bend
and sometimes my hands would like be at her hips and she
would make the remark, ‘ i’m not your mother’ and I found it humiliating to have to go on my tip toes to teach her
lips and when she was in heels next to impossible and again that mother remark was all I could bear besides
feeling totally humiliated because even though I was reasonably tall guy she was taller and relished her empowerment of towering over me physically and her vicious and tactless comments.
Helena B says
Maybe she felt old and unattractive due to her height? Hence the mother thing …? I am just 5’7’’ but feel tall awkward and mature / old looking. I wish I had a tiny 5 ft frame and skinny body .. I’d look so much younger. It doesn’t help when my husband always looks at teenytiny women too. I feel rather ugly.
Michael Boyd says
I am a reasonably tall guy 6’2” and some thirty years
later it still bothers me that I didn’t marry a beautiful girl
because she was maybe 6’3 and that seemed tolerable
until those heels and honestly I just couldn’t handle being
towered over at that time no matter how beautiful and
her constantly telling of her love for me and the fact of
her superficial height difference should not be an issue in
our relationship, but it was and I was a jerk about it.
Today my significant other is an age appropriate attractive
woman whose stature is 6’6” and with certain shoe choices
totally humiliates me knows it and finds it a complete turn on, while she taunts and tantalizes her excessive height advantage and even in public were it’s especially hurtful,
but will come back with I always go home with you and I
am dominated by you a shorter man in the bedroom.
I am a 1,87m (6ft1) woman, and I have not ever experienced a lack of potential mates, and have always had numerous short men doting on me, purely because of my height. So this article is not entirely accurate and feels like it was written by a short woman with a height complex
What if it was written by a tall woman? Would she still have a complex or would she be categorized as having something different or nothing at all?
Funny how you assume that this was written by a short woman and then saying that she, therefore, has a height complex. Never would you have assumed that this was written by a tall woman or an average height woman! Really says a lot.
Yes, I want know the height of the person who wrote the article just out of curiosity.
Looking at most of the comments, it sounds more like your anecdote is the exception and not the rule.
Personally I’ve always thought tall women look too stretched out, I think a more petite girl with an hourglass figure and a toned body is much sexier
But the thing is that I absolutely do not care if men find me attractive or not. I want people to find me mysterious, aloof, regal and beautiful but cold, somewhat intimidating even. I wanted to be tall, slim and serious looking all my life, yet here I am, 5’3″ tall, round-ish with cutesy facial features and it sucks because the outside doesn’t match with what’s inside.
I guess we always want what we cant have!
I’m taller (5’7) and come off as aloof, cold and intimidating. I would much rather be 5’2 and come off as tiny, adorable and needing protection. Sometimes it sucks knowing that I’m taller than the average man, ughhh.
Height actually doesn’t matter I think feminine beauty is enough ..just a beautiful face and a beautiful feminine body is so attractive enough so don’t be bothered because of your height whether you are a short woman who think she looks cute but she’s dangerous in the inside this is sexy, tricky, wicked and feminine or if she was a tall woman with taller legs and bigger body always tall with no heel she still will look sexy and feminine …the point is if being tall was bad because it just has some disadvantages then being short is bad too ,because being short also has some disadvantages.. And if being tall was good just because it has some advantages , then being short is good too because it has some advantages. Height doesn’t really matter whether you a have a curvy or a slender frame , a small or medium or a large frame it doesn’t matter ..what matters is to have a feminine face a feminine body (whether its curvy , slightly curvy or even slender) and what’s important the most is a feminine soul , attitude and feminine suitable outfits for body.
What? Why would you want men to find you aloof, cold or intimidating? Those aren’t positive traits, those are reasons to avoid someone. I guess if you don’t like having a cute face you could always walk around with a scowl, or get some ugly facial tattoos, that would scare men off.
Be happy that you were given a cute face, there are a lot of tall ugly women out there (like the really tall one on that show “Mom”) who would probably do anything to not have RBF.
This is hilarious because I feel the same but I’m on the opposite side. I’m a tall, black women who isn’t that thin, quite curvy (slim curvy?) but has broad shoulders. But inside I’m like a giggly, shy person who loves pink and bubblegum pop lol. The whole stereotype lol. How I am perceived for how I look on the outside is so different to how I actually am. People think I must be strong and assertive (I’ve had someone say this to me) & approach me in such a way when actually I am so easy going and smiley and corny. Even around girls, I’m seen as someone to protect them. It’s hilarious when women try to make a move on me though.
So many tall women believe that tall men will automatically desire them as potential partners yet never once have I ever seen in any general public communities Tall oppossite sexes in partnerships – largely the reverse. Yet not so much about physical height, the research does not include the importance of overall human stature – the way a woman might have broad shoulders; beautifully carved leg muscles and waist/hip ratios – I sort of fit into this category despite have naturally large DD boobs. I attract both short and very tall men and I am 5ft5 with the extra advantage of facial symmetry and large almond eyes.
Being either short or tall has little to do with male preferences yet far more to do with female self-belief and integrity of her own self without being arrogant and too self-assured. I attract very good looking tall men because I possess the right amount of human qualities they seek in a partner as well as have the page 3 girl look of yesteryear. Tall women of 5ft6+ tend to be far less attractive to tall men of 6ft2 and over simply because they often feel instinctively intimidated/challenged (without) necessarily knowing the very reasons why by tall women. My partner is 6ft5 and the tallest man I have ever been in a relationship and is very protective of me, yet myself had always opted for short/mid height men in the past, even though much taller men sought my affections far more.
So many very tall women do not physically attract equally tall men because their physical prescence often becomes too much of a conflict – whilst there may be some rare instances of tall couples in general, are not the majority (unless wealth comes into play).
Helena B says
5’6’’ is not tall – it’s the ideal female height !
I’m 5’7 and attract men of all heights. My current bf is 6’3 but I’ve dated guys as short as 5’5
The line of questioning is going to skew the results a bit. People can have a preference and still be perfectly willing to date outside of that preference…. I prefer tall, blonde, thin/muscular men. Most of the men I date do not fit that profile. The same can be said for men who prefer short women. A preference does not mean they will stick to that. As a taller woman, who is 5’8″ – 5’9″, I have been pursued by thousands of men. Only 1, I repeat ONE, said he wouldn’t date me in public due to my height. He said how would a little gremlin like him look next to a tall supermodel? He was still head over heels for me and pursued me privately even after he became married to shorter, less attractive woman who he felt good looking next to. Most height based relationships are really controlled by female preferences. Most women will not date a shorter man. Most men will date a taller woman. Even taller men are okay with it. If I put on 4 in heels, I am around 6 feet tall! Men of all heights LOVE it! I actual avoid heels out and about with shorter men due to my own issues that have nothing to do with them. I need a heftier, taller man to help steady me in heels, and I’m worried I’ll break my neck leaning down too far for a kiss. The question did not answer the question well.
Being tall as a woman is a huge challenge (supermodel women) are often left dissapointed and let down by men of any equal stature. I think tall women are more attractive yet I am a shorter female with great body-structure and long arms and fabulous facial/body symmetry, not too self-assured and definitely not into myself as modern women generally are in the 21st century. The perception of men is always far removed from that women in general, including height.
As I previously mentioned, I am a tall skinny man. The average American woman stands 5-foot-3 (vs. my six feet); she weighs 168 pounds (vs. my current 130 pounds); her BMI is 29.8 (vs. my. current 17.6); her waist circumference is 38 inches (vs. my current 28 inches); and she can bench press 80 pounds untrained which means she (the average American woman) is considerably stronger than I am because I am of very slight build in both my upper body and my lower body (I am considerably TOO SKINNY to bench what the average American woman can bench!!!). There are those who would consider the average American woman to be fat. Fat? So, what? I don’t see anything derogatory about the term ‘fat,” anyway. If “fat” (like her) is a derogatory term, then why is “skinny” (like me) not a derogatory term? That constitutes a double standard. It should not be considered any more derogatory for an overweight woman (like her) to be called “a fat woman” than it is for an underweight man (like me) to be called “a skinny man”. Being the tall skinny man that I am, the average American woman, who some would call “a short fat woman” (at 5-foot-3), is exactly the type of woman I go for. And I let such a woman know it!!! That is why, as a rule (exceptions notwithstanding), my girlfriends were not above 5-foot 3 (short and sexy!!!) and were at least 165 pounds (big and strong!!!) who could easily bench more than I could bench. A woman like the average American woman knows that her being bigger and stronger than I am, while being considerably shorter than I am, doesn’t make me any less of a man simply due to my being smaller in size than she is. And (thank goodness for me!!!) there is, indeed, the average American woman who is short (in the 5-foot-3 range), who is sexy (yes indeed!!!), and who is big and strong (in the 165+ pound range), who prefers a skinny man like me who is quite a bit taller than she is, who she outweighs considerably, and who she can easily outbench. Judging from my own personal experiences with such ladies, I say: OPPOSITES MAKE THE BEST LOVERS!!!
With all the comments I read here, I found that there are people, both male and female, who are self-conscious about their weight or about their stature (or about both) with comments such as (not limited to): “I’m too tall.” “I’m too short.” “I’m too fat.” “I’m too skinny.” or “I wish I could change my (whatever).” I have been a tall skinny man throughout my entire adult life (almost five decades and still going JUST LIKE A DURACELL!!!), at 6 feet tall and 125-140 pounds, but usually at 130-135 pounds which I still am right now. I like being tall and skinny as an adult but it was not that way while I was a kid in school. I was extremely self-conscious about being so tall and so skinny, especially after I lost during a physical confrontation I had with a short stocky girl who was very large (weighing far more than I weighed). I stood over a head taller than she did but that did not matter because with her size, weight and strength advantage, she easily overpowered me. Whatever self-confidence I might have had surely plummeted after I was so easily defeated by that girl. I walked away in total defeat without saying a word. I eventually conquered my self-consciousness about being so skinny, especially after graduating from high school. I believe my loss to that short stocky girl is what helped me along, as a tall skinny man, toward my becoming physically and sexually attracted to short stocky women, especially to women way bigger and stronger than I am while I tower way over them!!! I began pursuing such women who I believed would be just as much turned on by having a tall skinny man like me as I am by having such short stocky women like them. I succeeded long enough to continue pursuing such women which is why I kept a barbell set at home where such a lady and I engaged in clean and jerk weightlifting contests (I always lost!!!) along with wrestling matches (again, I always lost!!!). Each time, my having lost to the lady turned the both of us on!!! One such lady and I (soon after she and I first met) were kissing each other passionately and caressing each other (almost uncontrollably!!!) while she and I were laying on my carpet when she suddenly said to me: “You like stocky women.” I exclaimed: “YEP!!!” Everyone is different. We all have our own physical and sexual preferences so, then, why should people be self-conscious about their weight or about their stature (or about both)? Tall, short, fat or thin, someone, somewhere, is going to go for you!!!
Anja Brown says
I think women of all sizes , heights etc are attractive , there’s someone for everyone , the importance is not having tunnel vision , I myself find personality much more attractive than looks and humor plays a huge factor as well one should never limit his or her choice to a person’s financial picture or looks nor height but in their character , I’ll be 55 and no spring chicken but happiness can be found regardless if that person fits your requirements I think having an open mind and just being oneself is what’s the deciding factor ( money may make life a bit easier but it surely will not make one happy unless money in itself is all u are interested in .