Women Prefer Men with a Deep, Masculine Voice

Yesterday the NYT reported on the results of a study that confirmed something that, if my memory serves me correctly, has also been found in previous studies: that women are attracted to a man with a deep voice. The researchers showed:

“women an image of an object while they listened to a computer-manipulated version of a high- or low-pitched male or female voice say the object’s name. They then repeated this experiment with real male and female voices.

In both cases, women expressed a clear preference for low male voices and had the best memory of the images whose names were spoken in low voices.”

Researchers say that the reason for this preference is that women want to mate with the best protector/provider possible, and that a deep voice can be a sign of a man’s masculinity.

Read: A Magnet for Women? Try a Deep Male Voice (@NYT)

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Cynic September 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Well, women want to *pair* with the best protector/provider possible. They want to *mate* with the most virile. If you’re a lucky man, you’re one in the same. If you’re not, you end up raising another man’s children.

Jake W September 23, 2011 at 5:07 am

Does the study assume that just because a woman prefers a voice she wants to sleep with the speaker? My experience of women is they’re a little more complex than that.

A deep voice might indicate a larger, stronger man who in theory is a better protector, but strength isn’t the whole story when it comes to survival or we wouldn’t be the smart apes we are.
To give an avian example, one trick some female birds use is to find a stand-up good nest-builder type of male, pair and mate with him, then hang around the hedgerows and find a crafty male who can keep a low profile to mate with. The ‘husband’ (to anthropomorphosise for sake of brevity) is suspicious but can never be sure the offspring isn’t his so he brings food, meanwhile the ‘lover’ knows there’s a good chance the offspring is his so he brings food too. The female and chicks have a distinct survival advantage due to a technique we would consider cunning, under-handed and sneaky.

Survival is about solving problems and neither brains nor brawn are the solution in every case. Out concepts of ‘masculinity’ and what attracts females are too simplistic. Sorry fellas, there’s no easy answer. What women want depends on many factors: e.g. what point they’re at in their menstrual cycle, how safe they feel, how accessible resources are to them, what their dad’s were like, how old they are, if they’re ready to start a family…
The best thing you can do to be attractive is to be confident, healthy and clean. Then it’s all down to meeting the right woman.

Tom Sawyer September 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Now what we need from AoM is an article about how to get this!

I think a low, slightly-raspy voice indicates that a guy has been through some tough-stuff and come out the other side. No coincidence that women find this naturally attractive!

Michael September 24, 2011 at 10:57 pm

It’s a good thing I like men then!

Margot September 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Ok, from the lady’s perspective. YES. I absolutely love a deep voice in a man (and prefer a lower pitch in my female friends, too, incidentally). A higher pitch in general has grating effect on my ears. But here’s the catch – as it were – and Jake is right on the money. As much as I may go “Oooh, sultry voice. . .”, a voice’s magnetic pull has about a 2 second lifespan. If it’s not immediately followed up with other attractive qualities – kindness, intellectual power, wit, self-deprecating humor etc. etc. – then this deep voice becomes a liability. It’s disappointing, and then . . . annoying.

Ilana September 26, 2011 at 9:25 pm

This might be true of speaking voices, but I don’t think it applies to singing voices. There’s a reason the romantic hero is (almost) always a tenor and the villain is (almost) always a baritone.

I think a strong tenor or baritone voice is the “sweet spot”. Contralto is too high; bass is unexciting.

claude September 29, 2011 at 2:36 pm

This doesnt explain why there hasn’t been a pop or even rock star for years that actually has a masculine voice.

Women seem to swoon over the more higher pitched singers for the last 20 years or so. And most “rock” singers are either nasally and whiney or they try to sound like Cookie Monster, which is just stupid.

And just NOW i read llana’s comments. I think we’re on the same page.

Ken February 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Oddly enough, research has shown that men with deeper voices also have lower testosterone levels…

John D. March 5, 2012 at 11:17 am

I’d like to see that research, Ken.

Noshi September 29, 2012 at 11:11 am

It’s actually very easy for males to identify their own kinship. Looks is obviously one thing. Pheromone smell is another. If someone you f***ed has babies and they smell nice you have a SERIOUS PROBLEM. Yeah. That is how animals decide to kill. You not my kid? YOU DIE.

christine July 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm

I’ve seen someone of interest on a dating site and we’ve really clicked in many ways. We found each other physically and text lots. Then we chatted on phone and I was gutted that his voice was quite high and slightly camp. I felt very disappointed which feels very shallow. I will meet him and hope it’s not as noticeable when surrounded by other personality traits and looks. Plus he’s tall which I do love.

I just seem to love the deeper voice. Suppose we can’t help who or what traits we find attractive. Lol.

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