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New dads feel sexier, study suggests

Fatherhood boosts men’s perception of how good they look – especially when their wives give birth in the first year of marriage.

By Joy Jernigan - MSN Living Editor Apr 26, 2013 9:22PM

Man and babyGuys, here’s one more reason to get busy: A new study suggests that becoming a father makes men feel more attractive.

Researchers examined the effects of parenthood on how newly married couples feel about their bodies. While new moms felt less attractive after the birth of a child, the study found, fatherhood boosted a man’s perception of how good he looks – especially when his wife gave birth in the first year of marriage.

The study involved 182 couples in the United States and was published in the Journal of Gender Studies.

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The researchers did not identify the cause of the difference in perceptions but noted that a woman’s body goes through many physical changes during pregnancy. In the first few months after the child is born, the study suggested, a new mom often has little time for exercise or putting on makeup, which may negatively impact how she feels about her physical attractiveness.

The data did not suggest a reason for why fatherhood makes men like what they see in the mirror, but Susan D. Stewart, an associate professor of sociology at Iowa State University and a co-author of the study, said evolution could possibly play a factor.

“Becoming a dad is very import to men’s identity because it means here I am, the head of the family,” she said. “His role becomes much more defined.”

But Bruce Feiler, the author of “The Secrets of Happy Families” and father of 8-year-old twin girls, said he didn’t initially feel more attractive when his daughters were born.

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“First of all, I walked around exhausted, overwhelmed and playing defense,” he said. “I think I did that for about a year.”

However, part of what made him feel good about his role as a new dad, Feiler said, was the positive responses from women in his family.

 “You get flooded by approval, especially by women,” he said. “You do something that makes women happy by bringing a baby into the world.”

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Photo: Tom Merton/Getty Images

Apr 27, 2013 3:52PM
Very true.  Most definitely my own opinion.
Apr 27, 2013 10:08AM

183 males out of approximately 120.6 million married men in America?  Excuse me?

The study was flawed from the beginning.  This tiny number does not give an accurate picture of anything.   That is like looking at a candle and drawing the conclusion that all flames burn like that.


I took statistics in my Masters work, and the professor gave us a couple of quotes at the beginning of the class. “'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”  Mark Twain. The phrase, was amended by Robert Giffen in 1892 to, “there are three types of unreliable witnesses, a liar, a damned liar, and an expert.”


 She went on to say that you must have a large enough sampling size to get an accurate picture.  Or the study must be run many times using different geographical samples by different individuals and the information correlated before even attempting to draw an accurate conclusion.


I am sorry to report that at 183 out of 120.6 million is a sampling number so small it gets lost like a blind country bumpkin in New York City. 


Only a fool would believe this report, and shame on you for printing it.

While this may be true for some, for me I just felt tired.
Apr 27, 2013 6:53AM
The first year after our daughter was born, I was too exhausted from nonstop work, care-taking at home and 4 hours a night of sleep to feel sexy...  
Apr 27, 2013 6:21AM
What a crock of $_it !!!  A pile of dog poop!!  PLEASE note the study was done by a woman and the story is done by a woman.  A crock of bulls__t.  I would love to get my hands on the study, see how the questions were designed and solicited.  This smells like an ALL female hit piece.  Men feel like peaCOCKS and women have low self esteem because of body issues.   Remember the co author Susan D. Stewart name.  Remember the story teller of this garbage By 
As a father of two, the mother was honored after giving birth, our collective attention was sole focused on our beautiful children.  At NO time did I feel I looked better.  I was solely focused on caring for my wife and our new arrival.  This made up study belongs in the garbage. I hope taxpayer dollars were not used in this so called study. 
Apr 27, 2013 5:19AM
In my experience other women find your husbands very sexy after childbirth so be careful who you expose your husband to.  Home wreckers are a dime a dozen.  Still hurting after many years.
Apr 27, 2013 1:00AM
The boomer generation wants to be reincarnated . . .

Jay Leno will never retire.

And The Dancing With the Stars theme song will play on forever.

But you will never buy a 25,000 housing property again.

Apr 27, 2013 12:18AM

This article is incredibly silly.  Of course new moms feel less attractive, due to weight gain and having their bodies stretched out of shape from pregnancy and childbirth, and then being sleep-deprived and having no time to take care of themselves with a newborn calling the shots.  And O.K., sure, men might feel a boost of self-confidence from taking credit for something that they had comparably nothing to do with, and fulfilling the biological imperative of passing on their genes, but so what?  What is the point?  Did the researchers think our society was suffering from a problem of new dads' body image not being high enough?     

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