Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 297–304

Success Is All in the Measures: Androgenousness, Curvaceousness, and Starring Frequencies in Adult Media Actresses


The debate of whether body-mass index (BMI) or waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is the primary visual cue to female physical attractiveness (FPA) has generated considerable interest. However, experiments addressing this question typically have limited ecological validity and do not capture the ultimate goal of FPA, which is to elicit male sexual arousal. Hence, using an unobtrusive measures design, we retrieved movie and magazine starring frequencies of 125 adult media actresses from a company's database, operationalized starring frequencies as FPA measures, and tested their relationship to actresses' anthropometric data. Low BMI was related to frequent movie starring, while WHR, waist-to-bust ratio (WBR), and bust size were not. Conversely, low WHR, low WBR, and larger bust size were related to frequent magazine starring, while BMI was not. Visual cues to FPA might be domain-specific, with androgenousness cues salient for attractiveness evaluation of moving bodies and curvaceousness cues salient for posing bodies.


female attractiveness waist-to-hip ratio body-mass index pornography. 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Basic Psychological ResearchSchool of Psychology, University of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySt. Mary's University HalifaxNova ScotiaCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologySt. Mary's UniversityHalifaxCanada

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