If we consider attractiveness from an evolutionary perspective, then we make choices based on attractive attributes that we believe will confer some benefit to us in mating. A male might prefer a woman with curvy features because those curves suggest the women may perform better at producing and rearing children. Women may prefer taller men, because taller men can provide more security and protection. What follows here is a brief discussion of several aspects of male attractiveness, from the attractiveness of different male body parts to the attractiveness of flirtation techniques.
The Male Face
There are many contributing factors to male attractiveness and many of which are nebulous. For example researchers have sought for decades to understand whether the 'ideal' male face is more masculine or feminine, which is a concept called sexual dimorphism. Interestingly, the ideal male face depends on a few variables. Firstly women's preferences for masculine faces was shown to change depending on the hormones present in the body. Work by Voak-Penton showed that women in the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle preferred masculine faces much more than women in the menses and luteal phases. Their work suggests that women,
"...are attracted to relatively exaggerated male traits when conception following coitus is most likely (days 6–14 of the follicular) and not at other times of the menstrual cycle."
Interestingly, the work also found that women on oral contraceptives did not have cyclic preference for Masculine faces were also found to be more desirable among female respondents in Canada and China while neutral faces were most desirable in the UK. More feminine male faces were more desirable among women from Ecuador and Nicaragua.
Bigger is Better
In a study published in PNAS, researchers found that penis size interacts with shoulder size and height to determine male attractiveness. The researchers found that attractiveness increased linearly until approximately 11.6 cm (4.56 in), that is penis size increases attractiveness linearly and then only very marginal increases in attractiveness are seen for penises large than 11.6 cm. The below figure shows the interaction of penis size with with height where the value '1' is set at the mean attractiveness.
Male v Female, Mate Ideals
In new research investigating a few mate qualities that are attractive, it was shown that both wealthier men and more attractive men and women preferred slender, better looking mates. More than 90% of men and 84% of women find it desirable or essential that their mate is good looking. Women's preferences exceeded that of men's in the 'resource' categories where 97% of women, compared to 74% of men, find steady income to be desirable or essential. Only 33% of men and more than 61% of women state that a successful career is very important.
Perceptions of Male Body Perfection
A survey of 19 graphic designers from 19 different countries sought to identify the ideal male form of their respective countries. The designers were sent the same image and asked to redesign the figure to reflect an attractive man from their respective countries. While the samples size of n=1 for each country is statistically worthless, the 'shopped' images shown below offer a glimpse into male body ideals for 19 different countries.
Male Body Image: Hetero and Homo
In work published late 2016, researchers investigated the role sexual orientation plays in body image. The researchers found several statistically significant body image perceptions between male hetero- and homo- sexuals. Among the interesting findings were that heterosexual men reported higher values only for concerns about weight and pressure from their female partners. Homosexual men were more likely to be dissatisfied with their physical appearance, muscle tone but not their weight. In addition, gay men were nearly 4 ties more likely to consider plastic surgery, 2.5 times more likely to use diet pills and more than 6 times more likely to avoid sexual relations due to body dissatisfaction.
Attraction via Flirtation: Buy Her Flowers
Beyond physical, financial and other resource attributes, the manner in which males interact with females can also increase attraction. In a piece of very important research published a few months back in mid 2016, researchers determined the most effective flirting strategies. For men, the most effective strategy is to ask her out, not to exciting, but other flirtation techniques like compliments or flowers are highly effective strategies.
Taller men with larger penises and more money are more attractive to women.