Study: Yes, Height Makes A Difference In Dating

A study by Rice University and the University of North Texas has found that for lots of us, height does matter when it comes to choosing a partner.

Researchers set out to learn more about height preferences in the heterosexual dating world by conducting a study split into two parts. The first part compiled data from Yahoo! personal dating ads  and consulted the opinions of 455 heterosexual men (with an average height of 5’8″ and average age of 36) and 470 heterosexual women (with an average height of 5’4″ and an average age of 35). Only 13.5 percent of guys said they prefer to date women who are shorter than they are. The women in the study, on the other hand, were a bit pickier:  48.9 percent of women would only date men who are taller than they are.

The study’s second part enlisted volunteers from a U.S. university to take an online survey with open-ended questions. The survey included 54 men (who averaged 5’9″ tall) and 131 women (with an average height of 5’4″). Researchers found that 37 percent of men would only date women who are shorter than them, and 55 percent of women would only date men who are taller than them – very similar to the study’s previous findings.

The study’s lead author, George Yancey, is convinced that these height preferences are rooted in “traditional societal expectations and gender stereotypes.” You don’t say?  According to survey responses, the main reason women preferred a tall guys had to do with “protection and femininity.” One woman said that as a female, she likes “to feel delicate and secure at the same time” and that “there is also something to be said about being able to wear shoes with high heels and still being shorter. I also want to be able to hug him with my arms reaching up and around his neck.”

I definitely have a record of only dating people taller than me. But I’m not even 5′, so it’s not as if that took a whole lot of effort on my part.

[Rice University]
[Journal of Family Issues]

[Image of couple via Shutterstock]