A new study from a Harvard University researcher has revealed that gay men fall for the most masculine-faced men, while straight men are attracted to the most feminine-faced women.
Led by Aaron Glassenberg, the study indicates that irrespective of sexual orientation, men's brains are wired for attraction to sexually dimorphic faces-those with facial features that are most synonymous with their gender.
"Our work showed that gay men found highly masculine male faces to be significantly more attractive than feminine male faces. Also, the types of male faces that gay men found attractive generally did not mirror the types of faces that straight women found attractive on average," said Glassenberg.
"Men, gay or straight, prefer high sexual dimorphism in the faces of the sex that they are attracted to. Gay men and straight men did not agree on the types of male faces they considered attractive," he added.
The study is the first to examine the facial feature preferences of gay men and lesbian women.
Women's preferences are more complex than men's, as indicated by earlier study, which showed that ovulation, contraceptive use, self-perceived attractiveness, and sex drive all affect face preference.
In the current study, straight women preferred more masculine-faced men than lesbian women, while lesbians preferred slightly more masculine female faces than straight women or men.
Participants viewed images of faces that were digitally manipulated to be more masculine or feminine, and then indicated which face they considered more attractive.
The study was conducted online, and included over 900 men and women.
Sexually dimorphic features in male faces include a broad jaw, broad forehead, and more pronounced brow ridge, while a sexually dimorphic female face has a more tapered chin, larger lips, and a narrower forehead.
The study supports the idea that male attraction operates differently from female attraction, regardless of sexual orientation.
The study has been published online in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.