Men Find Women Attractive When They Arch Their Backs, According to Science

Standing up straight may be the key to good posture, but new research suggests when women slightly curve their backs, they also get all the dates. There may be a scientific explanation. IM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Standing up straight may be the key to good posture, but new research suggests when women slightly curve their backs, they also get all the dates. The study conducted at the University of Portugal determined that men and women are inexplicably attracted to a slightly curved female back, a finding that may explain the lure of everything from belly dancing to high-heeled shoes.

In the most recent venture in female anatomy, researchers at the University of Minho in Portugal investigated whether slightly curving the back could be an evolutionary tactic that women use to imply that they are willing to be courted by a man.

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In order to study this, the team created six computer generated 3-D models of women's upper bodies, and manipulated the models so that the spine was slightly curved at different angles, all while keeping a natural posture (no horror movie poses here). They then asked a group of volunteers made up of men and women to look at the models and tracked their eye movement while they did this.

Results showed that both men and women looked at the models longer when their spines were more curved, suggesting that increased spine curvature was related to our perception of attractiveness. While both sexes were equally fascinated by the curved female back, eye tracking revealed that women looked longer at the waist area, while the men focused their attention on the models' hips. What this means, we aren't quite sure.

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According to lead researcher Farid Pazhoohi, these results demonstrate "the unique influence of an arched back on the perception of attractiveness," and may also explain why women wear high heels and why we associate high heels with beauty.

Apparently, this fascination with arched backs isn't only a part of human courtship: Other animals such as cats and primates also slightly arch their backs to show males that females are willing to mate. Research in stickleback fish suggest that animals evolved a preference toward mating with females who display this position because it is a "reliable" and "relatively honest" indication that a female would be willing to mate.

So there you have it, the pain of stilettos isn't completely in vain: They may subconsciously increase a female's attractiveness. Of course, even women in ballet flats still get asked out, so really it's best not to let biology dictate your shoe selection.