Why is it that Barry White is seen as a quivering mass of concentrated sexiness, yet poor Joe Pasquale is resigned to the shallow end of the genetic swimming pool?
Well, new research, published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, has shown that men with deep and manly voices are more likely to be judged as more sexually attractive. The voices of 49 males were digitally altered to create masculine and feminine versions, which were then rated by female volunteers. Much more interestingly, however, the study also found that women viewed those sexy deep voices as more likely to belong to a man who would be unfaithful.
It has been known that high levels of testosterone produce characteristics that woman find attractive. Testosterone causes the development of muscle mass in pubescent boys, causes their chins and brows to grow, and forces their voice to break. More testosterone in development equals a deeper and more sonorous tone.
These sexy, testosterone fuelled males are also more likely to play the field – thanks in part to their good looks, but also to the behavioural changes testosterone causes.
So, its no wonder that woman will have put together these two bits of information – testosterone causes low voices and causes men to play the field.
Interestingly, the study also showed that women were judged as more promiscuous if their voice was altered to appear more high pitched. Oestrogen, like testosterone, is positively associated with attractiveness, and affects the pitch of the voice.
It seems men and women are both, subconsciously, judging their partners to make sure they aren’t the sort to cheat – for good evolutionary reasons. For males, a woman who cheats could result in a lifetime of looking after someone else’s child. And for women, a male who sleeps around brings back all sorts of STIs, which can result in infertility.
Everyone hates the sound of their own voice when they hear it played back to them. This study is just going to add to our worries, for now we have to worry that we either sound like a sexy bastard, or a sexless gent. Thanks science.