Variable preferences for sexual dimorphism in height as a strategy for increasing the pool of potential partners in humans

Boguslaw Pawlowski


Human mate preferences are known to be related to a number of morphological traits. Those relating to female waist–to–hip ratio or body mass index and to male height appear to be distinctive mate–choice criteria and are known to be related to reproductive success. In addition to absolute height, a possibly important mate–choice criterion may be relative height, i.e. the extent of sexual dimorphism in stature (SDS = male height/female height) between oneself and a potential partner. Here, I demonstrate that people adjust their preferences for SDS in relation to their own height in order to increase the potential pool of partners. This causes nonlinearity in assortative mating in relation to height and shows that in relation to intrapopulational SDS both men and women are responsible for stabilizing selection.

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