Science: Men Like To Look At Women

Obama Sarkozy Ogle

In yet another ground breaking scientific study, a University of Nebraska study confirms that men do look at attractive women when they see them:

The eyes don’t lie: Men really do look at women’s bodies more than their faces, according to a new study that used eye-tracking technology to prove what many women have long observed.

But it’s not just men who do it — the study found that women look at other women’s bodies, too.

“We live in a culture in which we constantly see women objectified in interactions on television and in the media. When you turn your own lens on everyday, ordinary women, we focus on those parts, too,” says lead author and social psychologist Sarah Gervais of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“Until now, we didn’t have evidence people were actually doing that to women’s bodies,” she says. “We have women’s self-reports, but this is some of the first work to document that people actually engage in this.”

The participants – 29 women and 36 men – were outfitted with the eye-tracking system, which measures in milliseconds how long the eyes are fixed on certain spots. Their gazes reacted to photographs of the same 10 women, each with three different digitally manipulated body shapes – curvaceous, much less curvaceous and in-between. (Only women’s bodies were viewed by study participants.) Both sexes fixed their gaze more on women’s chests and waists and less on faces. Those bodies with larger breasts, narrower waists and bigger hips often prompted longer looks.

Coming next week: Men also like to drink beer and watch football on the weekends.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Bob Beller says:

    I’m guessing this was done with government funding

  2. john personna says:

    There are lots of interesting studies about how we respond to beauty. In one they sent out women to do door-to-door collections for charity. Similar to above, beautiful women got more donations from men … but from women as well.

    FWIW, I don’t think it’s “culture.”

    I think it’s human nature, spanning cultures.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna:

    I think it’s human nature, spanning cultures.

    But the definitions of beauty vary with culture. So maybe it is both.

  4. john personna says:


    Possibly, but if you check out the ladies holding up the porch of the Erechtheion (420BC), they’re pretty fit.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    News Break! Really, does any one really think that it’s an accident that many sales reps are young good looking women?

    I’ll never forget my first week at a new financial management position about 25 years ago. I received a call from a business sales rep with whom we had done business with many times in the past. She introduced herself and asked if she could come by the office and introduce herself. Two days later she came by the office, I stepped into the reception area to meet her … she was drop dead gorgeous. Unfortunately we did not have the need to purchase or lease office furnishings from her at that moment – otherwise I might have refurnished the entire office. So, yes – if the sales rep looks like Charlize Theron or Rachel Weisz, I might very well be influenced.

  6. John Peabody says:

    It’s human nature, no matter how many times people try to deny it.

  7. rodney dill says:

    @Bob Beller: probably during the sequester.

  8. rodney dill says:

    @john personna:

    I think it’s human nature, spanning cultures.

    I think we’ll need another study to determine that.

  9. john personna says:

    @rodney dill:

    Don’t get me started on ancient Indians.

  10. rodney dill says:

    @john personna: I can’t stop staring at that temple.
    (…and I have the eyes for it.)

  11. C. Clavin says:

    OK…that’s settled.
    Now can Science explain Republican fascination with male genitalia?

  12. Ron Beasley says:

    My X-wife used to tell me you can look all you want just don’t touch!

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ron Beasley: My mother always said, “I don’t care where he gets his appetite, so long as he eats at home.”

    A family friend who was a priest liked to say, “Just ’cause I’m on a diet, doesn’t mean I can’t look at the menu.”

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna:

    But if you look at them women of the Baroque you find an entirely different concept of beauty.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What I find interesting is that women look too. All this time I thought my wife was just especially insecure. Sad that we have inflicted this insecurity on most women.

  16. rodney dill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Baroque? more gov’t deficit innuendo?

  17. Socrates says:

    Love beautiful women, hate beer and sports.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    Speaking of Baroque…it’s coming back…if I believed in God I would thank her for that…

  19. john personna says:


    I am starting to think that period was more an anomaly. If you go back to truly ancient art, you find beauty that would fit right in today. See also Thai statues, or Minoan frescos.

  20. Gromitt Gunn says:

    A followup study on what self-identified gay men and lesbians look at would be interesting.

  21. C. Clavin says:
  22. Pen44 says:

    @C. Clavin: Exactly, C. Clavin, look at Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey…….

  23. Rob in CT says:

    It’s more “Science: men and women look at women’s bodies more than their faces.”

    Of course, face is one part of the body. One might expect, when looking at someone’s picture, people might look at all of them. 3 seconds on face + 3 on upper body + 3 on lower body = a “more time on non-face than face” result.

    And as the article says, they didn’t look at men. So it doesn’t tell you much.

  24. Franklin says:

    @C. Clavin: Hmm, I think the women in the Baroque era could use a little exercise or something …

    But if it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it!

  25. C. Clavin says:
  26. bill says:

    @john personna: and people wonder how there’s a billion plus over there?

    @OzarkHillbilly: women dress for women, from what i hear.

  27. Paludicola says:

    They also like to stuff their gobs with fat and sugar.

  28. Lounsbury says:

    does seem a bit banal but if this is part of a research program that intends to look at cross cultural, could be interesting. Of course rarely do journos do proper justice to research papers so there is a chance the research is less obvious than it would appear. A chance.

    BTW re images there is already good research showing that for men the body proportion *ratios* (for any given weight of a woman) seen as desirable are remarkably consistent. Size, cultural, ratios, perhaps hard wired.

  29. ADT Calgary says:

    Seems to me the scientists will research anything these days

  30. the Q says:

    Like I keep telling the girls, “Uh, my eyes are up HERE”