Sometimes people do stupid research. I don’t know how this came about but it might have been they realized the question they really wanted answered was too difficult and they settled for something that was easier and was similar. Or it could have been any number of other things including just total crap for brains. I used to be research scientist for the government and I understand how these things happen. But still, I’m annoyed with this:
When two researchers at Chapman University in California began to study whether tall heterosexual men have had more sex partners than other heterosexual men, they assumed the answer would be “yes.” There was already extensive academic literature showing that height signals dominance, physical (and hence heritable) fitness, and social status to women who are seeking sex partners.
What I suspect they really wanted to measure was whether tall men had a larger selection of sexually interested women. Or that the women interested in them were of higher “quality”. But measuring those items would be much more difficult than asking people how many sex partners they have had. In essence, I suspect, they ended up using quantity as a proxy for quality.
As a result they ended up with rather uninteresting results:
To their surprise, that’s not what they found. Tall men don’t have a history of more sex partners than men of average height or most short men, according to their study in the latest online issue of Evolutionary Psychology. After dividing respondents into different height groups, the researchers found that every group of men taller than 5 feet 4 inches had the same median number of sex partners: seven. Only men classified as “very short,” or between 5 feet 2 inches and 5 feet 4 inches, had a significantly different sexual history. They reported a median of five sex partners.
Because they are using quantity instead of quantity there are numerous other factors that enter into the result. They hint at this some:
There’s another important thing to keep in mind when interpreting this data: The number of sex partners people have had might not be the best indicator of how desirable they are. It’s possible that someone might be highly sexually desirable but choose a monogamous or celibate lifestyle for an extended period of time. Also, “sex” was not defined in the survey, so participants might have differed in their interpretation of “sex partner” when providing their responses.
And there are other things as well.
What about men who find their mate “settle down” quickly? If tall guys have a better selection of quality women to choose from then might not they have fewer sex partners in their lifetime? Or at least the higher quality available early in life counteracts the increased availability of potential sex partners to the point the substitution of quantity for quality renders the results meaningless?
And what about men who pay for play? If short men have trouble finding willing sex partners might they not pay for someone that was more interested in the money than in the height of their customer? That could counteract the expected results as well.
If they really wanted to explore the height issue I would suggest they do some sort of “speed dating” testing. Or a test where two or more groups of women were given the same “online” profiles of men but the groups were told different heights for the men. Then see how many women were interested the men of the various heights.
I do know this, several women have agreed with Barb that it is important their man is as tall or taller than them. Barb is 6’ 1” and that severely curtailed her selection of men. This explains how I, being 6’ 3”, lucked out and she settled for me.