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Other factors come into play as we make choices about who we want to be with.
One factor that becomes important is women’s own height (Fink, et al., 2007).
In addition, if height signals physical dominance, it is likely that taller men make women feel smaller, protected, and perhaps more “feminine” as well.
In line with this idea, research has found that women with more “traditional” gender role expectations were less willing to date shorter men (Salska, et al., 2008).
Also as you might expect, height and physical traits are not enough to explain what women want, especially when looking for long-term romantic relationships.
More than physical appearance, which plays mostly in short-term relationships, women value personality, intelligence, and career choice (Braun & Bryan, 2006). Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 6, 396-401.
Instead of choosing the tallest of the bunch, many women use a step criteria, requiring that the men they are with are at least taller than they are (Hensley, 1994). Women’s preferences for sexual dimorphism in height depend on menstrual cycle phase and expected duration of relationship.
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Other factors that influence height preference So, if women have a general preference for taller men and if height is rewarding, then why aren’t we all dating basketball players?
Research shows that when it comes to selecting a potential romantic partner, taller is not always better.
With men being taller on average compared to women, you might expect that most women would end up with taller men just by chance.
However, researchers found that of the 720 couples in their study, only one was comprised of a taller woman and a shorter man (Gillis & Avis, 1980).