(Relaxnews) - A new study confirms a truism in the dating world: when it comes to love, size -- or more specifically height -- matters.
This is particularly true for women, who expressed a preference for taller men as a matter of protection and femininity in a new study published jointly out of Rice University and the University of North Texas.
Researchers conducted their study in two parts. For the first experiment, they looked at the dating preferences of men and women using data from 925 personal dating ads posted Yahoo!.
Of the 455 men, the average age was 36 and the average height 5 feet 8 inches (177 cm).
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The sample of 470 women averaged a height of 5 feet 4 inches (165 cm) and age 35.
Asking open-ended questions in an online survey to ascertain height preferences, researchers concluded that 14 percent of men expressed a desire to date exclusively shorter women.
But when it came to women, nearly half or 49 percent of females said they only wanted to date men who were taller than themselves.
“As the girl, I like to feel delicate and secure at the same time. Something just feels weird in thinking about looking 'down' into my man's eyes," said one female participant.
"There is also something to be said about being able to wear shoes with high heels and still being shorter. I also want to be able to hug him with my arms reaching up and around his neck."
The second part of the study involved 54 men and 131 women recruited from a US university whose answers to an online survey corroborated the previous findings, with more than half (55 percent of females) expressing a preference for taller men, and 37 percent of men preferring shorter women.
For men, a preference for shorter women comes from the mechanics of physical intimacy.
"I like it when the body of your partner fits yours," said one man. "It also makes it easier to kiss, hold hands and do other activities with your partner."
The findings were published in the Journal of Family Issues.
According to science, tall men with low voices have hit the biological jackpot, as another study out of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario found that women found low-pitched male voices sexy, but also less trustworthy.
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