Do Women Prefer Hairless Men’s Bodies? How Body Hair Shaving Can Affect Attractiveness


Q: On TV and movies, it seems like the most attractive men shave most of their body hair off. Do women really care about this? Should I be doing this to look attractive?

A: One study confirmed that women do find a hairless or nearly-hairless body as more attractive, but considered both hair reduction and retention as socially acceptable. Additionally, they found that men are aware that women prefer hairless men and don’t think their bodies are ideal in this respect.

man on the beack with no body hair

Do Women Like Men’s Body Hair: INTRODUCTION

For many years, it has been socially required of women to remove their body hair in various ways to look attractive.

Historically, men haven’t been held to the same standard. A certain amount of hair on men has been considered both attractive and masculine.

But what about today, and in the future? Where are the trends going?

Many male movie stars feature “manscaped” bodies with relatively little body hair. Is this really what women go for? If a man keeps his body hair, will women think he’s disgusting?

These are questions asked by researchers at Lafayette College, and published in the journal Body Image in 2014.

Do Women Like Body Hair: HYPOTHESES

man in rolled sleeves shirt with no hair on his chest

In previous research from the ‘90s and ‘00s, a few conclusions were made regarding men and body hair removal.

Most of men engaged in some form of body hair removal.

The most common areas that had ever been trimmed were:

  • Pubic area (75%)
  • Chest (60%)
  • Abdomen and back (50%)

In those studies, men reported the following motivations for trimming body hair:

  • Cleanliness
  • Sex appeal
  • Body definition/muscularity
  • Better sexual experience
  • Sports performance

Since both men and women tend to groom their body hair for attractiveness, the researchers made a hypothesis: Both men and women will rate relatively hairless bodies as more sexually attractive.

However, they made an interesting second hypothesis. Previous research showed that men will think that women prefer a more muscular body than they actually prefer, showing that men’s perceptions of what women actually want are not quite accurate. So, for Hypothesis 2, the researchers suggested that men overestimate how attractive hairless bodies are for women.

Finally, for Hypothesis 3, the researchers suggested that men would assume that they themselves are hairier than the ideal. This reflects the researchers’ hypothesis that men will be generally dissatisfied with their own image.

Do Women Like Body Hair: EXPERIMENT

man in swim trunks

The researchers recruited 84 men and 154 women from an undergraduate university in the United States to participate in the study.

The volunteers were shown six images of a man’s body from the neck down to the pubic area (but not the whole package, because this is a family-friendly study, folks).

The image was digitally altered and randomly presented in six degrees of hairiness, from completely shaved to completely natural.

The image was black and white to remove judgements regarding complexion.

Then, the volunteers (both male and female) were asked to rate which of the images was most sexually attractive.

Afterward, the volunteers were asked to rate which of the images was most attractive to the opposite sex (men guessed what women would find most attractive, and vice versa).

The volunteers also answered questions on their own attitudes toward body hair, for instance, whether body hair is masculine, attractive, and whether removing body hair is part of good grooming.

Then, volunteers rated their own levels of body hair grooming, as well as their own degree of body hair.

Do Women Like Body Hair: RESULTS

Hypothesis 1. Which body did the men and women rate as most attractive?

The hairless or nearly hairless body.

  • This was true of both men and women.
  • 74% of men chose the completely hairless body or the nearly hairless body.
  • 81.3% of women chose the completely hairless body or the nearly hairless body.
  • The more hair the body had, the less women and men found it attractive.

Hypothesis 2. Did men assume women like more hairless bodies than they actually do?

  • This hypothesis was not supported. Men had a pretty accurate sense that women preferred hairless bodies.

Hypothesis 3. Did men sadly assume that the ideal is more hairless than their current state? Yes. Men were more likely to say that women are more attracted to men that are less hairy than they are.

  • Other interesting results.
    • The researchers found some other interesting results that weren’t part of their main study.
    • They found that the most popular places to have ever removed hair were:
      • Pubic area (64.6%)
      • Eyebrows (31.7%)
      • Abdomen (30.5%)
      • Chest (29.3%)
    • They also found that, of those that manscaped in the pubic area:
      • 61% completely shaved all of it
      • 25.6% just shaved from the base of the shaft
      • 22% just shaved the scrotum
    • The most common instruments of manscaping were:
      • Scissors (56.5%)
      • Electric razor (56.5%)
      • Regular razor (55.1%)
      • Trimmers (47.8%)
      • Electric clippers (34.8%)
      • Plucking – OUCH! (24.6%)
    • Most men waited to see some growth before shaving again.
    • They also found that, while women preferred the hairless body, there was also a fair mix of attitudes regarding whether body hair removal was necessary to be socially acceptable.

In other words, women considered body hair retention as nice and more attractive, but not a complete necessity.

Do Women Like Body Hair On Men: CONCLUSION

Look, I know this is a weird topic for a lot of guys. But this study shows that men really do remove, trim, and/or shape their own body hair.

It also shows that hairless male bodies are indeed more attractive to women – at least, college-age women!
Therefore, it stands to reason that a man will improve his sex appeal to women by trimming his body hair.


Basow, S. A., & O’Neil, K. (2014). Men’s body depilation: An exploratory study of United States college students’ preferences, attitudes, and practices. Body Image, 11, 409-417. Link:


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