There are so many articles titled “Size Matters!” in about as many creative ways as there are… penis sizes. Some of the articles touting the proof that women think bigger is better are missing an important fact about this research. The study itself was examining how pre-clothing humans with a visible non-retractable penis (oh my, now I have “non-retractible penis” to the King Missile tune in my head now) would be conspicuous to potential mates. The study was looking at this as a possible factor in mate choice. When it comes to proving that size matters to women, it’s not exactly the whole package.

An Australian study (found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) made 41 versions of these “lifelike” men using different height, weight and shoulder to hip ratios. By showing women all these variations they could determine which was more attractive to them. They were asked to rate each one for attractiveness. The study noted that the women found men who were tall with narrower hip to wider shoulder ratios more attractive. They also found a larger penis made them even more attractive, although the ratio of penis size to body size mattered too. In fact, they would gaze longer at the figures with the preferred height, weight and shoulder to hip ratio combined with a larger penis. Overall, shoulder to hip ratio was more important than penis size. I’m not entirely sure this is absolute evidence that women, particularly modern women, prefer bigger penises. Researchers in the study noted the actual size of the penises that were preferred where not much bigger than the average size.

When I saw the images these women were shown I was instantly skeptical until I realized the study was looking at pre-clothing era men and set about proving evolutionary evidence as to why humans have the largest penis in the primate family. This study did not go out to prove that women in general only want men with a body like Ryan Lochte and a penis like a porn star. Modern women in real life respond to a great many things, not just size and shape. When it comes to making a mate choice, the men in our lives don’t look like unclothed idealized silver painted men with no hair. Well, at least most that I am aware of. The Silver Man Group in this study doesn’t account for personality, chemistry or if they make the ladies laugh. When you’re deciding to date someone, or even when you’re deciding it’s the right time to get sexy, you’re not examining the man of choice in his birthday suit up against a blank wall. The choice is usually made while the man is still wearing pants, or a variation thereof. Women’s preferences are far more complex than “size matters.”

A larger penis may have been important in evolutionary matters when we were concerned with survival of the species but most of those advantages are irrelevant today. The study really just proved that somewhere back in our evolutionary process women may have used overall physical proportions along with penis size in the mate choosing process when we encountered each other unclothed. Back then our mate choices may have been driven by more practical matters like health and strength for survival, the larger penis may have been a factor in choosing a prospective mate.