Evidence to Suggest that Women’s Sexual Behavior is Influenced by Hip Width Rather than Waist-to-Hip Ratio
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- Simpson, V.J., Brewer, G. & Hendrie, C.A. Arch Sex Behav (2014) 43: 1367. doi:10.1007/s10508-014-0289-z
Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is an important ornament display that signals women’s health and fertility. Its significance derives from human development as a bipedal species. This required fundamental changes to hip morphology/musculature to accommodate the demands of both reproduction and locomotion. The result has been an obstetric dilemma whereby women’s hips are only just wide enough to allow the passage of an infant. Childbirth therefore poses a significant hip width related threat to maternal mortality/risk of gynecological injury. It was predicted that this would have a significant influence on women’s sexual behavior. To investigate this, hip width and WHR were measured in 148 women (M age = 20.93 + 0.17 years) and sexual histories were recorded via questionnaire. Data revealed that hip width per se was correlated with total number of sexual partners, total number of one night stands, percentage of sexual partners that were one night stands, number of sexual partners within the context of a relationship per year sexually active, and number of one night stands per year sexually active. By contrast, WHR was not correlated with any of these measures. Further analysis indicated that women who predominantly engaged in one night stand behavior had wider hips than those who did not. WHR was again without effect in this context. Women’s hip morphology has a direct impact on their risk of potentially fatal childbirth related injury. It is concluded that when they have control over this, women’s sexual behavior reflects this risk and is therefore at least in part influenced by hip width.