Lordotic Curve: Bringing Sexy Backs

By Bill Andrews | October 30, 2017 2:08 pm


When the new release accompanying a science paper immediately alludes to lap dances and twerking, attention must be paid.

That doesn’t happen all the time. And, incredibly, the study in question, which appeared last week in Evolutionary Psychological Science paper, actually lived up to the hype! It really does mention “female erotic lap dancers” and “twerking, which appears to be a simulated copulatory act, performed while dancing,” all in the service of mathematically determining just how sexy an arched back is. We get it; it’s not curing cancer or devising methods to travel to deep space, but who are we to determine which questions are worth asking?

Sex Posturing

Let’s back up a moment. Biologists have long known that many mammals, from ferrets to primates, curved their spine a certain way when they were ready to procreate. That curve, the lordotic posture, also occurs in human women, when their hips pop out a little more and the lower spine curves toward the belly—too much curve, however, can be a problem. Perhaps, wondered study leader Farid Pazhoohi of the University of Minho in Portugal, when women took on the posture, it was a signal they might be up for some action?

To test this, Pazhoohi’s team gathered 82 undergraduate men and women and showed them the upper bodies of six computer-generated women with differing back postures, and each in three viewing angles (front, side, behind). Amusingly, they used a simple sine wave (y = a*sin(x)) to model the back curves on their CG models, keeping the a variable within actually possible body shapes.


I only read Evolutionary Psychological Science for the articles, honest! (Credit: Pazhoohi, et al.)

Each of the 82 participants (heterosexuals all, the study points out) rated which models were most attractive, using the 1-10 scale, natch. The researchers also tracked subjects’ eye movements, which the paper notes is “considered a robust method to study human physical attractiveness.”

Hot or Not?

And what were the results? Pretty much what you’d expect. Curvier backsides did indeed get higher marks. The front side view, which didn’t show off the goods quite as much, got the lowest relative scores. Men overall rated everything more highly. The eyeball tracking backed this up mostly, with all participants generally staring longer at the models’ backsides, though men seemed to linger on the hips while women focused on the waist.

So yes, basically, everyone apparently finds arched backs more attractive. Pazhoohi and colleagues argue that this is consistent with their hypothesis that a nice curvy back is an indication that a human female is ready for procreation, though they stop short of stating it outright. Still, it looks like the arched backs aren’t the only ones ready for a stretch here.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, top posts
MORE ABOUT: sex & reproduction
  • OWilson

    This is a new finding, only to naive and perhaps gender confused humans., and the politically incorrect!

    It has long been known that wearing high heels, female posture is changed to emphasize ans arched back, a forward thrusting chest and pelvis, and a booty that prrutudes artificially.

    Women are quite prepared to tolerate pain and safety to achieve this what the author, not me, calls “up for some action” look. :)

    • jonathanpulliam

      President Bill Clinton broke his leg mis-judging pro golfer Greg Norman’s front steps.

      A former co-worker of mine broke his leg in 5 places after running backwards to catch a fly ball in a softball game and stepping in a gopher hole.

      • OWilson

        All while wearing heels? :)

    • Erik Bosma

      So that’s how she snagged Bill.

      • OWilson

        Maybe she was running and dodging sniper fire from Sir Edmund and the Great Right Wing Conspiracy? :)

  • jonathanpulliam

    the ratio men seem to favor is .7

    • TLongmire

      Which is the golden ratio stated in a different way. Almost everything is considered more attractive/beautiful the closer it approximates the golden ratio.

  • jonathanpulliam

    Pazhoohi doesn’t explain why Chinese girls have no butts.

    • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

      North American Asians have curves and they are tall – nutrition. Dairy (calcium), beef, chicken, and calories to satiety make a big difference. Replacing rice with wheat significantly lowers phytic acid ingestion, making iron and zinc bioavailable. Absence of soy phytoestrogens allows males to fully masculinize.

      Folic acid suppiementation of bakery products increases intelligence, starting in the womb.

      • Erik Bosma

        You really should think about starting a web site or Youtube video channel called Ask Uncle Al. Seriously, I would subscribe. Yes, there are a lot of people of Ukrainian descent in the Canadian prairies. Of course, it has everything to do with evolution.

      • jhewitt123

        Excellent points Al but do you think it is more than just phytic acid metal chelation, unless one imagines these traits were evolved recently when when rice began to be polished, which drops content way below that of wheat or even corn. Nutrition obviously an enabling factor (does corn make red skin?) but more important may be simple evolutionary sexual arms race, missionary style not supported

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    High heels bunch the calves, tighten the buttocks, and curve the back, each and all whispering “yummy.” Statistics show hourglass figures more often deliver boys. A wave of intense beauty arises in Persia, writhes up through the Ukraine, then into Eastern and Northern Europe. Manitoba, Canada was initially largely filled by Ukrainians.

    Stroll the U/Manitoba campus on that odd pleasant day and your breath repeatedly catches in your throat. If you prefer short, dark, furry Mediterraneans, shop elsewhere.

  • Not_that_anyone_cares, but…

    Perhaps just a response bias.

  • chad hatten Albuquerque

    great article, very interesting


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