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Men who date women with slim waists are less likely to have performance issues in the bedroom - regardless of age

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  • Researchers found the slimmer a woman's waist, the better a man's sexual function and satisfaction
  • It may be that we are programmed to see partners with abdominal fat as at higher risk of disease
  • Or, more likely, 'slimmer women are more attractive'

By Anna Hodgekiss

PUBLISHED: 06:50 EST, 15 January 2013 | UPDATED: 07:05 EST, 15 January 2013

A waspish waist has been the desire of women the world over for decades.

Now, new research has unveiled the reason why men too prefer women with a slender middle.

Scottish researchers have found that the slimmer a woman's waist, the more satisfied her partner and the less likely he is to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Men find women who have smaller waists - such as screen legend Audrey Hepburn - more physically attractive and say their sex lives are more satisfying

Men find women who have smaller waists - such as screen legend Audrey Hepburn - more physically attractive and say their sex lives are more satisfying

They say previous research has indicated that men generally rate slimmer women as more sexually attractive.

This may be because in evolutionary terms, we are programmed to associate people who are overweight with an increased risk of health problems.

To assess the link between women's waist size and her perceived sexual attractiveness to her partner - and their general sexual satisfaction - they rated a man's sexual function using a questionnaire called the International Index of Erectile Function.

They also recorded how often the study participants - 700 Czech men aged 35-65 years - had intercourse.

Men who suffered the least performance issues were younger, had younger partners and their partner had a slimmer waist. They were also more sexually satisfied.

Lead researcher Stuart Brody, professor of psychology at the University of West Scotland, said it was 'noteworthy' that a woman with a slim waist was regarded as more attractive in all measures of sexual function independent of both partners' age 

He said there were two main possible reasons for the 'waist effect'.

One was that women's abdominal body fat decreased their own desire on a hormonal level - perhaps hampering libido.

The researchers said it was 'noteworthy' that a woman with a slim waist was regarded as more attractive in all measures of sexual function independent of both partners' age

The researchers said it was 'noteworthy' that a woman with a slim waist was regarded as more attractive in all measures of sexual function independent of both partners' age

Another reason was that the man simply found slimmer women more attractive.

He said: 'The most compelling explanation was that slimmer women are, on average, more sexually attractive to men (resulting in more frequent sex, stronger erections, and greater satisfaction).

He said: 'This is not surprising, given evolutionary selection pressures, because accumulation of excess body fat, especially abdominally, is associated with elevated risk of metabolic,
cardiovascular, and neoplastic disorders (Singh, 2002).

'The elevated risk of such disorders could result in poorer fitness and hence less desirability as a mating partner.'

With regards to waist measurement being used as the definite measurement, the researchers pointed out that waist circumference is often a better measurement of health than Body Mass Index (BMI) - particularly the risk of heart disease in women.

The good news for women? Men have an incentive to not have a muffin top, either. The researchers noted the larger a man's waist size, the lower his sexual satisfaction.

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