What is an attractive body? Using an interactive 3D program to create the ideal body for you and your partner

PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e50601. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050601. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Abstract

What is the ideal body size and shape that we want for ourselves and our partners? What are the important physical features in this ideal? And do both genders agree on what is an attractive body? To answer these questions we used a 3D interactive software system which allows our participants to produce a photorealistic, virtual male or female body. Forty female and forty male heterosexual Caucasian observers (females mean age 19.10 years, s.d. 1.01; 40 males mean age 19.84, s.d. 1.66) set their own ideal size and shape, and the size and shape of their ideal partner using the DAZ studio image manipulation programme. In this programme the shape and size of a 3D body can be altered along 94 independent dimensions, allowing each participant to create the exact size and shape of the body they want. The volume (and thus the weight assuming a standard density) and the circumference of the bust, waist and hips of these 3D models can then be measured. The ideal female body set by women (BMI = 18.9, WHR = 0.70, WCR = 0.67) was very similar to the ideal partner set by men, particularly in their BMI (BMI = 18.8, WHR = 0.73, WCR = 0.69). This was a lower BMI than the actual BMI of 39 of the 40 women. The ideal male body set by the men (BMI = 25.9, WHR = 0.87, WCR = 0.74) was very similar to the ideal partner set by the women (BMI = 24.5, WHR = 0.86, WCR = 0.77). This was a lower BMI than the actual BMI of roughly half of the men and a higher BMI than the other half. The results suggest a consistent preference for an ideal male and female body size and shape across both genders. The results also suggest that both BMI and torso shape are important components for the creation of the ideal body.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Size
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Software*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult

Grant support

The study was funded by internal Newcastle University grants. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.