Do Women Actually Dig Beards on Men?

a simple black outline of a sunglasses and beard on a face
Image by Pixabay / CC 0

Man, I gotta tell you. I have a great love of reading research studies. But sometimes their native titles are a real hoot. Here’s an example. So I just read one today that basically is investigating whether women dig men with beards. Here’s what it’s called though:

“A multivariate analysis of women’s mating strategies and sexual selection on men’s facial morphology.”

Ah, academia. Never change. (Seriously, I love you.)

Anyhow… I was particularly interested in this issue. I’m primarily attracted to women, but because male partners are generally easier to find (lots of straight folks kicking around in those thar wilds), I’ve dated many men as well.

My ex-husband had a beard (he didn’t like his chin, thought it was weak so grew the beard to cover it). I dated one other fellow for a while who liked his beard very much and was proud of it.

I was attracted to them in general — otherwise, I never would have dated them. But I have what ranges from a neutral opinion to a slight aversion to beards. (This is an opinion I didn’t club them over the head with — and particularly not the fellow who was so proud of his. Also, I wasn’t the only person that particular guy was dating; we were both consensually non-monogamous the entire time we saw each other)

The answer for me is no.

But I’m also primarily attracted to women anyway and only tend to be attracted to men who look a very certain way (it verges on silly, like my male exes are a tiny Clone Army). So I really don’t know what women in general and ostensibly a predominantly straight sample of women would think.

It turns out that they are crazy about beards.

Women Overall Prefer Beards, But Especially Ones with Traditional Values Who Want Children

Here are the key findings:

  • A study of a group of women ranging from 18 to 70 generally found men with facial hair to be more attractive for both short-term and long-term relationships. Stunningly, the more facial hair, the more attractive they found them. (This is not me. So not me. My jaw dropped.)
  • Notably, however, not all women liked hairy faces. (It me!) The women who did dislike beards seemed to link them with hygiene concerns, a lack of cleanliness, and/or a sign that there might be poor grooming habits.
  • Interestingly, a preference for beards was linked strongly with moral disgust and traditional views of what masculinity is in sexual relationships.
  • They also found that women who wanted children liked beards more than women who didn’t want children. (Also consistent with me, I don’t want children.)

Anyway, cool study. Probably a million other factors, too. But fun to dive in. And oooh, that study name…

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This post is part of an ongoing Poly Land feature called Psyched for the Weekend, in which I geek out with brief takes about some of my favorite psychological studies and concepts. For the entire series, please see this link.

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Books by Page Turner:

Dealing with Difficult Metamours

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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