Why does a tiny waist have sex appeal?

Many medical studies show that men find sex appeal with women who are not overweight, have a tiny waist, and larger hips.  This was thought to be because it was an indication of health and fertility.  But there is plenty of evidence that a small waist on a woman does not affect fertility.  So the question still stands…why are men attracted to skinny waists, and does this have an impact on intelligence?

A tiny waist reflects a maturing woman, who has not given birth yet.  This means she has many years of potential childbearing years ahead of her. Understanding this is a lesson in human evolution.  Females who have the lowest waist-to-hip ratio, body mass index (a measure of obesity), waist/thigh ratios are those in the age group of 15-19.  After this, these measures start to creep up.

Sophia Loren in bathing suit
Sophia Loren was not skinny, but she was sexy!

Do you have to be skinny?

No.  A low waist-to-hip ratio does not necessarily mean a woman is not slightly overweight.  Many of the classic beauties of all time, like Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren where not considered skinny around the hips but they did have a thin waist.  Especially by today’s standards.  It is all about the size of your waist in proportion to the size of your hips.

What about intelligence?

There is actually some convincing evidence that women with a small waist have higher intelligence scores.  And believe it or not, their children too.  The journal Evolution and Human Behavior published this.  This does not mean that these women were skinny, as some could be considered “heavier”.  It all boils down to the difference between your waist and your hips.

ashanti has small waist
Ashanti has a thin waist and larger hips.

Different body shapes
Apple, triangle, pear, and square.

Is a thin waist a sign of health?

Certainly a thicker waist, especially as it approaches obesity, is linked with many health problems.  The area around your waist has many of your vital internal organs, and if you have fat surrounding these organs, the probability of many diseases increase.  So if your body shape is an apple, you have increased risks, in comparison to a pear shaped body.

There is also substantial research that shows as your waist expands, your brain get smaller. This is especially true in middle and old age.  Obesity has already been linked to possible increased risks of Alzheimer’s.  Both Ageing Research Reviews and American Academy of Neurology have stated that a rising Body Mass Index and Waist-to-Hip ratio in directly correlated to lower brain volume.  What they do not know is if obesity leads to lower brain volume, or if lower brain volume leads to obesity.  This is an important question to answer.

A human brain

In summary…

A thin waist has been proven to be an indicator of good health.  This is simply because so many vital organs are found in this area of the body, and storing fat there dramatically increases your risk of health problems. A thin waist is also shown to be a significant factor in attractiveness and intelligence, according to multiple studies, often regardless of weight.

You simply can’t pack your heart, lungs, liver, etc. in a blanket of fat and expect to go through life with the threat of heart disease, diabetes, or other nasty fat related diseases.

It is optimal to have a waist significantly smaller than your hips.  As the waist grows as big or bigger than the hips, like those that have an “apple” or “muffin” shape, the health risks grow as well.  Some experts prefer using a waist-to-hip ratio in determining obesity, over the widely accepted body mass index.  You can find charts on body mass index and waist-to-hip ratios by simply Googling them.

Although they were not considered petite women by any stretch of the imagination, sexy symbols Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren both were women with a small waist in comparison to their hips.

The Journal of Biological Psychology, stated “Hip size indicates pelvic size and the amount of additional fat storage that can be used as a source of energy. Waist size conveys information such as current reproductive status or health status … in westernized societies with no risk of seasonal lack of food, the waist, conveying information about fertility and health status, will be more important than hip size for assessing a female’s attractiveness.”

If health and sex appeal is not enough, you now know that a small waist in comparison to the hips, has also had direct links with higher intelligence.  Interestingly, both women with small waists and their children, scored significantly higher on intelligence tests.  These women were not necessarily skinny, but had a waist 60-70% of the size of their hips.  Again, weight is not a factor.

Whether your motivation is to be healthier, smarter, or to be more attractive, it looks like keeping an eye on the size of your waist might just be in order.  A tiny waist never goes out of style.


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