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I'd be curious to see whether there's any breakdown in age groups among women for what kind of physique they prefer in men. I like tall guys ('cause I'm tall and a bit traditional about the height difference thing), but I generally prefer ones that are at least a bit filled out because the real beanpole physique tends to indicate that a guy just hit his full growth and he's AT LEAST 5 years younger than I am. Most of the younger women I know/have seen seem to like hanging out with guys that I'd consider kind of skinny and bony.

If you're pretty young, Krattle, your perceptions of "what women want" are probably REALLY off, too, because a lot of younger girls aren't very assertive romantically and are mostly looking with a guy with a little self-confidence and some emotional maturity who will ASK THEM OUT. Have you actually had women refuse to go out with you on the basis that you weren't built enough to be their man-candy? Or was it more that your request just didn't wow them with suave?

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No, I'm 27. That's relatively young but I don't think it's young in the sense that you meant, Megansnow. There seems to be a misunderstanding that this (excessive musculature) is my perception of what women want...it isn't. It's a perception of what some women seem to want, or that many (immature) men seem to think women want, that I have never understood. I have never tried to look any way in particular just for the sake of women...I've just always been myself and that has attracted all the women I want - the right ones.

No, I have never had any woman refuse me because of my physique but then I don't date much. In my life I've had a few women ask me out and I have asked only a few out because I'm very picky.

I don't even subscribe to the idea of there being anything in particular that all women want. What I want is a woman who loves me for who I am; I'm not going to put on pretenses because of some misconceived notion of there being one thing that all women want that all men should have. I disagree completely with such notions...any notion that purports that women all think alike, or that women are something to "understand" as though they're a different species entirely from human males, or that women "want" something (like some kind of collective want that the entire female race wants) is...nonsense, to say the least.

I'm not asking for dating advice in this thread. I thought that was obvious. I have, or had, a genuine query about a perception that some women seem to hold or that many man think that women hold (that excessive musculature makes you sexy and that without it you aren't a man and can't compete with other men). It's not something I subscribe, it's not something I feel I have to conform to, and I'm not talking about myself at all in this thread! I'm talking about other people and this perception (as stated above) that seems rather prevalent in our society nowadays. I remember when, in movies, a man didn't have to take his shirt off and show his six pack abs or his huge pecs in order to be considered sexy, etc. etc. Not true nowadays. Just one example.

MoralParadise demonstrated my point VERY WELL. It's the kind of nonsense that he spewed out about men being like a wolf pack, and the concept of an alpha male, that I find so prevalent.

Men's magazines, books/movies/etc. on dating tips. All of them say you need to work out to be attractive. That's what I'm talking about here.

Edited by Krattle
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Mmm, I'm kind of losing interest in this thread I think. I seem to find the desire or message out there among numerous people or places that males should be really muscular indeed, particularly to be attractive and I just don't get it, it really doesn't make much sense to me even the way I can understand why other people may like a number of other things which I'm not a big fan of, that was mainly what I was posting about. I've said amounts and extents of musculature I can understand being desirable for various contexts, but what really just baffles me is the people who want amounts that easily go beyond what I could see being handy for their context. I expected coming into this I would not walk out of here suddenly enlightened and understanding, so I'm not disappointed if I do end up getting no more clarity from here on out in this thread. I just know for dang sure that MoralParadise's post is really inaccurate. That post says it's what women want - not most women, just women, like all of us - and I as one really do not want it as I've explained. He says he likes lifting weights, but doesn't really even say why, what there is he likes about it. And why oh why would any guy to date me ever be a closeted bisexual? There's no reason at all to be closeted with me. I'd be more than supportive, I'd enjoy them all the more for it and cheer them on. :P Also, the image I get in mind when I hear the phrase "alpha male" is just about the DEAD LAST thing I'd want in anybody to date me. I don't want somebody who would want to boss me around or treat me like a charge of theirs or be trying to establish dominance over me. No thanks, I'll pass on that and opt for a relationship with a free equal who can act like one with me.

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I'm not asking for dating advice in this thread. I thought that was obvious. I have, or had, a genuine query about a perception that some women seem to hold or that many man think that women hold (that excessive musculature makes you sexy and that without it you aren't a man and can't compete with other men). It's not something I subscribe, it's not something I feel I have to conform to, and I'm not talking about myself at all in this thread! I'm talking about other people and this perception (as stated above) that seems rather prevalent in our society nowadays. I remember when, in movies, a man didn't have to take his shirt off and show his six pack abs or his huge pecs in order to be considered sexy, etc. etc. Not true nowadays. Just one example.

I think the biggest difference is that nudity is more accepted today. Here are examples of Hollywood actors that women used to consider hot:

Marlon Brando:

http://imagecache5.art.com/p/LRG/27/2784/1...rlon-brando.jpg

Cary Grant:

http://www.michaeldeas.com/Mike%20Deas%20W..._Grant_High.jpg

Gregory Peck:

http://pici.se/pictures/iSWtZnhpM.jpg

Gary Cooper:

http://content.artofmanliness.com/uploads/...er-623-full.jpg

I believe even by todays standards they still look very good. There was just a different style back then. Other than that I don't see much difference from todays Brad Pitt's, George Clooney's, Daniel Craig's and Hugh Jackman's.

More muscular builds were of course pretty rare. This is because modern day bodybuilding started somewhere around the turn of the century and is often credited to a guy named Eugen Sandow. Physical culture in some way or form can of course be traces back atleast as far as ancient greece, but in modern days it started with Sandow who used to hold shows where posed his physique.

In movies I think one of the earliest shows of a real muscular physique was bodybuilder and actor Steve Reeves, most famous for his roles as Hercules.

http://elhijodelabohemia.files.wordpress.c...8/sreeves3.jpeg

This I believe was in the late 50's. The whole physical culture phenomen continued to grow in the 60's, 70's and 80's. A lot of the popularity was probably thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As the whole thing has grown in popularity buisnesses have of course also started making money out of it. More and more people have wanted to start develop their physiques, so obviously those who want to make money out of it have made sure to offer gym membership, exercise equipment, dietary supplements, personal trainers, diet books and all those things. Also the whole knowledge base around exercise has grown tremendously.

This has also made it alot easier to be in shape, and that makes the standards a little higher. However, I bet that if any of the old stars would take their shirts off in a movie today noone would raise an eyebrow. Women would still want to throw themselves naked at them. I don't think the general perception of what constitutes a good looking male physique has actually changed that much. It's probably more a case of liking BOTH things. Besides, far from every male hollywood-star today looks muscular. A few of them are, but they don't represent the whole population. And, you have cameras that add atleast 10lbs, lighting, make-up and a director who chooses every camera angle. You know, the oh so famous Brad Pitt in Fight Club weighed around 150lbs at 6 feet. Granted that was pretty ripped, but that's still more skinny than muscular.

Edited by Alfa
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You're right, all value depends on the context. I'm only suggesting that the achievement of either is primarily about intellectual achievement is an important part about how valuable something is, probably the most important thing for any rational person, particularly for attraction. Since reason is something *all* people need to survive, I would find a demonstration of intellect to be the most attractive, or at least it ought to be. If only your head grew bigger as you learned more!

I disagree. I think reson is necessary for survival because that is our means of aquiring values. However the intellectual achievment behind aquiring a certain value does not necessarily add to that value. Say for example you invent something that is tremendously complicated but utterly worthless. It doesn't do anything usefull for you or anyone else.. The achievemnt would pretty much just be, if you excuse my french, intellectual masturbation. On the other hand a very simple but usefull invention could make you a very rich man. Of course it means applying reason but it's not necessarily intellectually complicated.

When it comes to attraction I think it's important to look at what it is, instead of what it "ought" to be. I think attraction is a response to another persons femininity or masculinity and sense of life. That in turn should be based on a good sense of life and view on femininity/masculinity.

I like to make that distinction because often when people think about characteristics they think they ought to be attracted to it clashes with reality. The reasoning too easily becomes something like; X is good, therefore I should be attracted to X, thus I am attracted to X. Then the person meets someone he feels attracted to, but who does not really possess that trait, and thinks "this can't be right!". All the while that person can have values that, in reality, are MORE important than X.

I'm not saying this is what you're doing, I cannot possibly know that, I just want to point out the dangers in such a line of reasoning.

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I disagree. I think reson is necessary for survival because that is our means of aquiring values. However the intellectual achievment behind aquiring a certain value does not necessarily add to that value.

I would not say a worthless and complicated invention is an intellectual achievement anyway. A simple invention that makes you a rich man is quite the intellectual achievement.

When it comes to attraction I think it's important to look at what it is, instead of what it "ought" to be. I think attraction is a response to another persons femininity or masculinity and sense of life. That in turn should be based on a good sense of life and view on femininity/masculinity.

I think attraction is just an emotion-based response to a person's sense of life. I don't think 'femininity' or 'masculinity' really matters. It only matters to the extent that people choose conform to specific gender roles rather than live according to their own values. That is probably the main reason we are having any disagreement. Since I only emphasize sense of life, which is based upon your chosen values, I think we can say if being attracted to something is good or not, just as we can say certain values are bad (say death, religion, collectivism, etc). I think being attracted to musculature is a sort of upside down hierarchy of values. It's not the muscles or physical condition that should matter (I emphasize that I'm talking about attraction to another person here), but intellectual achievement or how that person uses their intellect. That's why I say that having a good sense of style (clothes/hair/maybe body art) should be a standard of attraction.

Edited by Eiuol
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I would not say a worthless and complicated invention is an intellectual achievement anyway. A simple invention that makes you a rich man is quite the intellectual achievement.

I see what you mean, but I think there's a difference between reason and intellect - or rationality and intelligence.

I think attraction is just an emotion-based response to a person's sense of life. I don't think 'femininity' or 'masculinity' really matters. It only matters to the extent that people choose conform to specific gender roles rather than live according to their own values.

But that is part of their values. It's an identification of what constitutes 'man' and 'woman', what they could and should be and what relationship it has to your own life. Also concluding that "it doesn't really matter" is such a value judgement.

However I think a more correct description would be saying that views on masculinity/femininity are part of a persons sense of life, not as something separate from that as I wrote previously.

That is probably the main reason we are having any disagreement. Since I only emphasize sense of life, which is based upon your chosen values, I think we can say if being attracted to something is good or not, just as we can say certain values are bad (say death, religion, collectivism, etc). I think being attracted to musculature is a sort of upside down hierarchy of values. It's not the muscles or physical condition that should matter (I emphasize that I'm talking about attraction to another person here), but intellectual achievement or how that person uses their intellect. That's why I say that having a good sense of style (clothes/hair/maybe body art) should be a standard of attraction.

I also do think we can say certain things are good or bad to be attracted to. It's just that we have to first look at those values in reality. This is done by first asking "what am I attracted to?", "what is it that I value about it?", "why?" and "is it something good or bad?"(ie "will pursuing this make me more happy or miserable?"). The other way around would be first asking "what should I be attracted to?" and then try to make that answer fit to reality. To try and illustrate it more concretely:

Let's say I find the looks of a woman attractive and arousing. It can be the slender elegant curves of her body, the shape of her butt, her pretty face and long hair; everything about her tells me this is how I think a truly beautiful woman should look. If I understand your argument correctly here, this should not matter - just like a muscular physique shouldn't. But I look upon her as glorious, radiant, beautiful and sexy. To me, that is a woman! The values I see reflected in her are a concretization of what I find feminine, beautiful and sexy. I may even wonder what she would feel like, smell like and taste like.

I would argue that this is a perfectly rational evaluation of what she is physically, and that to me it can be of great value. To pursue that would be the right thing to do. If I instead told myself that it should not matter I would deny myself that value, and it would certainly not make my life any better. Heck, if I found the greatest intellectual achievment in a brawny man with a hairy chest I can't preted it's something i'd want physically.

Now of course people are more than looks. You can't pretend that a brainless slut is an intelligent and virtous woman just because she looks pretty, and a relationship with such a person would be very unfulfilling. Therefore we also need other values, and those values need to be placed in proper order according to their importance. Having a bad value hierarchy will lead to trouble.

That value hierarchy is personal though. For example, someone with a need for deep intellectual discourse would do well to look for a partner with great intellectual achievments. But I don't think that should be the standard of attraction for everyone. I don't think style should be that either(I personally do like style but I find other things more attractive; if I like someone but think she's got poor style I can always see if she's interested in go shopping). Someone else might be happier with a more easy-going, adventurous and practical minded person instead of a stylish intellectual.

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And the interesting thing about quite a few of the bad guys is that they spend an inordinate amount of time in jail or prison working out. For some bad guys, it would seem to offer them character improvement and self-esteem. In other cases, it just means cops and correctional officers have to deal with larger, stronger angry men.

Reminds me of a documentary I saw a while ago of american high-security prisons. Part of it was about the inmates working out which, as you say, seemed to be a very good thing for them. I guess it gives them some achievment to be proud of, character and self-esteem. Heck, it has helped shy geeks fend off bullies and gain confidence since time immemorial, so i'm sure the positive aspects apply to others as well. The problem is just who want's to wrestle with the ones who misbehave. Violent criminals with incredible strength is no joke.

That's also part of the problem I have with the idea of martial arts and strength training for self-defense. I mean, the bad guys have made it their career being bad-asses. Kind of hard to compete with that for normal people. Thankfully criminals are dumb. :P

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Why do people read fiction books? What's the point -- they're not really learning from reading certain types of fiction books... Why do people participate in sports? They're not amazing at it, they have dreams of going into scholastic studies, not becoming an olympian -- why do it? Why make friends?

Anyways. It takes years and years to get those "big bulging muscles" just as it took years and years for Ayn Rand to construe Objectivism.

Think: It takes more than 100+ pounds of muscles to get to where Arnold was as a bodybuilder. The body only allows for 1 pound of pure muscle a month.

It's attractive because it took so much hard work, and when you see the result, you are proud of your own body's achievement. Truly proud, like Howard Roark. Not proud that other people find you attractive, or a hard working person--no, you are proud because you know how long you labored, how hard your fingers' skin tore, and the discouragement from people who labeled it insane.

Proud = Confidence.

However, people who are obsessed with image based on their peers could be considered immoral. People who are obsessed with their own image honestly, and not giving any significance for others' opinion, might as well just be the same as how Howard Roark was obsessed with architecture. No difference.

Edited by Egosum—
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'd just like to point out that: "and the discouragement from people who labeled it insane" is not a justification for anything. Most people think jumping off a cliff is insane, and they'd be right. Just because people think something is insane doesn't automatically make it rational or a worthy thing to achieve (and nor does it necessarily mean it's insane). This is called social metaphysics, doing something just because other people don't want you to do it.

And to Alfa:

"That's also part of the problem I have with the idea of martial arts and strength training for self-defense. I mean, the bad guys have made it their career being bad-asses. Kind of hard to compete with that for normal people. Thankfully criminals are dumb."

That's why you own a gun and maybe even a knife and learn how to use them. That's also why you just avoid that part of the world. I don't plan on winding up in dangerous back alleys anytime soon.

Edited by Krattle
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  • 3 weeks later...
excessive musculature

What would be your standard for determining whether a man's musculature is "excessive" ?

Men's magazines, books/movies/etc. on dating tips. All of them say you need to work out to be attractive. That's what I'm talking about here.

I think I might now be getting an idea of what you're asking. "Why are most women, other things being equal, more attracted to stronger men?" Is that it?

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Speaking of which, I stumbled upon a study recently where they had tried to assess the ideal male body. Apparently what women had found most attractive was a chest-waist-hip ratio of 100-80-100, and a BMI between 19-23.

I think however the women were just afraid to admit they prefered the silverback alpha-male physiques. :P

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This isn't about me, but a general question I've had lately.

Why do we have this current obsession in our culture with gaining muscle mass?

So, first off, I have a pretty normal body. I'm blessed with high metabolism and I'm normally pretty active, so I have very little fat. But I don't have huge amounts of muscle. I don't have gigantic biceps, six pack abs, etc. etc. And I don't care about having those things. Nonetheless, I am fairly strong and have decent muscle tone.

What I fail to understand is why anyone would *want* bulging muscles. Why would you want to look like that? Just personally, I find the bodybuilder look grotesque. I don't understand why six pack abs are considered sexy. Again, I think they look grotesque.

What's wrong with having some fat on your body? I don't mean being overweight, but I mean, what's wrong with having even 10% body fat?

Why would you want to weigh 200 pounds? I don't understand the obsession with ridiculous amounts of muscle mass...

Why would you want gigantic muscles? To what end?

Why are muscles even considered sexy in our culture in the first place? I don't find them sexy. Some muscle tone, yes. But when your muscles bulge, when you have six pack abs...WHY IS THAT SEXY?! I honestly don't understand. My girlfriend doesn't either.

I can understand wanting to be fit (fit is not the same as ripped) to avoid loss of bone strength later in life, and just so that you live longer. But do you really need six pack abs and big biceps to live longer? I don't think so...

Pardon me if there's little organization to my post. It's kind of a smattering of questions, but they are still legitimate. Maybe this is just a personal preference issue...but I just can't understand why anyone would want that look. Am I just an idiot? Am I failing to see something important here? Am I supposed to have bulging muscles? Is that what I'm supposed to want? Am I supposed to think that's sexy? (I'm very happy with my own body; I'm just asking in general here).

What would you prefer in art, a statue of a man who is just capable of lifting something off the ground, or someone who is capable of handling physical tasks with ease?

Take this statue for example:

372px-greek_statue_discus_thrower_2_century_ac.jpg

How much of your enjoyment would be taken away if this guy had flat muscles? How about if he had so much muscle mass that his head would look like a little raisin?

There is, IMO, a certain level of muscles which appears attractive. In our modern age we normally don't require the amount of muscles that this discus thrower has (unless you do sports more intensively) but the look of a skinny pale nerd sitting at the computer is not exactly my idea of an attractive fellow, if you know what I mean.

Our mind requires some material evidence of spiritual perfection, since there is no way to "see" such things as strength of character, bravery, pride and so on. A physical body and the way that body moves and looks is the only way that those traits can be brought into view.

So solid muscles can stand in our mind for strength. This is the phenomenon you see in art and why it is important to make the discus thrower well built, even though it is possible to throw a discus well and still have a belly and less muscle mass.

So by investing in our body we allow others to enjoy us as if we were a piece of art.

I personally do work on my body for this reason - go to the gym, do sit ups, push ups and so on.

Another relevant thing is that physical activity is important for an active mind and for a good feeling, so it makes sense from an evolutionary point of view that people would see physical fitness as a sign of an individual fit to live.

I also wrote a blog post about it currently discussed here: Good looks as a rational value (link to the thread).

Edited by ifatart
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  • 2 weeks later...

My take on it comes back to "of value to whom, and for what?"

Forget "admirable traits in society". People who work out to look good for other people are really second-handing it with their self-esteem in that respect. If you are doing it for yourself, then that's an excellent start. But then the question is "why?". Apparently, the OP has no use for big muscles, and he doesn't find them aesthetically pleasing, and that's perfectly fine.

My own personal view is that-in some respects-form follows function in the muscles department. If you end up getting bulky as a result of your training because you are training to be a power-lifter, then so be it. If you get super-cut because you are trying to train for the Olympics, so be it. If you are getting toned and defined in your home gym because you are building functional strength to help you as part of your self-defense training, then so be it. You are accomplishing a goal, and the muscles and definition are the result.

I also think there is an aspect of muscle definition that is aesthetically pleasing. Just as intellectual strength is an attractive quality, I think physical strength is an attractive quality (even in women, to a point).

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  • 1 year later...

Just been reading this topic. I have now realized that almost everything imaginable has been posted on this site and been discussed at length.

This weekend, reading Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff and the following hit me hard:

P232, “Life requires that man gain values, not lose them. It requires assertive action, achievement, success, not abnegation, renunciation, surrender. It requires self-tending – in other words, the exact opposite of sacrifice”

And also the following:

P233 “Rationality requires that a man be able righteously to say: my mind is my means of achieving my goals in accordance with my judgment of fact and of value.”

You know that this was the first time I had some understanding of rational selfishness. I read the whole book of the Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand and although I did understand the concepts it is only now that I am starting to have a glimpse of what it really means. I never knew that growing up in a very religious household and even pursuing the value of altruism would have had such a very profound effect on me but it had. So much so that I would read an entire book on Rational Selfishness and not even really get it. Perhaps I will have to study this much harder to integrate it in my life.

I also wonder how deeply the philosophy of altruism and guilt has prevented me from achieving goals.

Superman

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