By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
The old joke about male sopranos having feminine proclivities may be just another cultural myth. Researcher Leigh Simmons has developed data which strongly suggests that basses have decidedly lower sperm counts. Working with volunteers at the University of Western Australia, the evolutionary biologist tested 54 heterosexual men. He first asked 30 female volunteers to rate the men’s voices for sexual attractiveness and masculinity. Not surprisingly, men with deep voices were uniformly rated the highest in sexual allure.
Armed with that data, Simmons asked the male subjects to harvest an ejaculate sample “in the privacy of their own home.” The samples were introduced to a computer-assisted sperm analysis system that measured the number of sperm and their propensity to swim to eggs. The results were counter-intuitive and surprising. Deep-voiced men had less sperm than their higher timbre contemporaries but their sperm was just as motile. Simmons reasons that testosterone, which helps produce deeper sounding voices, may be the culprit.
Biologist have known for years that heterosexual women typically favor masculine features like deep voices, prominent jaws and high muscle mass. The thinking is that such features fulfill the desire of those females to find a dominant male – one who will offer the best protection for her and her family.
Simmons concludes ” that men who evolutionarily invest most of their energy into making themselves attractive to females may suffer deficiencies in other areas—in this case, sperm counts.” He also suggests that the study might support the notion that masculinity has other purposes besides sexual attractiveness. One theory is that masculinity may aid males in competing with other males. Evolutionary psychologist Laura Dane supports this theory, “It’s equally likely (if not more likely) that males, in general, have bigger and more muscular bodies as well as lower-pitched voices because they had to compete with other males for dominance and status.” Dr. Dane agrees that more research is needed on this topic and it’s coming. “If masculine traits lead to higher dominance/status positions—even at the expense of some level of sperm quality—then the trade-off between masculine traits and fertility makes more sense,” she said.
Interestingly, heterosexual men prefer women with higher pitched voices. Research seems to suggest that men view the higher pitched female voices as presenting traits of youthfulness and fertility.
So, the research may mean that the best way for single guys and gals to get more dates is not losing a few pounds but merely a few voice lessons.
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger