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4 weird studies about the differences between men and women

November 9, 2015

I recently saw an ad for a play based on John Gray’s book, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” and it got me to thinking about the differences between the sexes.

So I did an exhaustive Internet search to determine exactly what we know about this phenomenon (well, not really—I came at it sideways by Googling “strange scientific studies” and cherry-picking what I found relevant and most interesting).

Here’s some of what I learned:

Men are more narcissistic than women

This may come as no surprise to many women, but according to a study in the March 2015 issue of the Psychological Bulletin (the journal of the American Psychological Association), men are more likely than women to demonstrate narcissistic behavior.

The study qualified narcissism according to three aspects: entitlement, leadership/authority and grandiose/exhibitionism. Men scored significantly higher than women in the first two categories (agreeing with such statements as “I like having authority over people” and believing they were entitled to special privileges). There was, however, little difference between the genders in the third category, which includes qualities such as vanity and self-absorption.

I showed this study to a friend of mine and she shared this anecdotal evidence to support its findings:

“The day I delivered my first child, my husband had pulled a groin muscle playing golf,” she related. “When I was in labor, the doctor came in and asked, ‘How are you doing?’ My husband went on to describe his groin pain in some detail while I suffered the next contraction.”

She and said husband are no longer married.

High heels sway men to do women’s bidding

In a study from France, four females were asked to wear flats or two- or four-inch heels and document their interactions with unfamiliar men. In one experiment, the women asked male passersby to complete a survey. In another, the women dropped a glove on the street to see if men retrieved it for them.

When the women wore flats, 42% of men agreed to take the survey. The numbers increased to 60% and 82% when the women wore two- and four-inch heels, respectively. A similar pattern emerged with the dropped glove: men played the role of gentleman 62% of the time when the women wore flats, and 92% of the time when they wore the highest heels.

The researcher’s explanation? High heels make women more attractive to men, and are associated with greater sexiness, beauty and willingness to date. Well, duh. Those are some pretty darn keen observations.

Conversely, I believe we can safely posit that men wearing high heels do not have the same effect on women—another example of the difference between the sexes.

Women don’t like beards on men; men think they look more masculine

Scientists from New Zealand and Canada found 19 men from New Zealand and Samoa with full beards and photographed them before and after shaving. The pictures were then shown to more than 200 women from both countries who were asked to rate them for attractiveness.

The women rated the clean-shaven look as significantly more attractive, according to the journal Behavioral Ecology. When other men were asked their opinion, they said the photographed men looked older and angrier when bearded. Both sexes said that facial hair added gravitas, with the bearded men perceived to have a higher social status and command more respect from other men.

The takeaway? Beards signal masculinity to other men but don’t do much to attract women. And while it wasn’t part of this study, I think it’s safe to assume that neither sex is keen on women with beards.

People without testicles live longer

In virtually every part of the world, women live longer than men—and medical science has sought to figure out why. Well, now there appears to be an answer.

Researchers in Korea have shown that eunuchs—castrated men who lived centuries ago and whose testicles were removed before puberty—outlived other men by a significant margin, suggesting that male sex hormones (particularly testosterone) are to blame for shortening men’s lives.

Studying the genealogy records of members of the imperial court of the Korean Chosun dynasty (AD 1392 – 1910), scientists found that eunuchs lived 14 to 19 years longer than other men, and were 130 times more likely to reach age 100 than other men at the time—longevity that remains quite rare even in developed countries today. In contrast, kings and male members of the royal family typically survived only to their mid-forties.

So, guys, we apparently now know a sure-fire way for you to live longer. Any takers?

Bottom line, men and women really do perceive certain things differently. It doesn’t make one gender right and the other wrong (most of the time, anyway). We’re just different. And if we can learn to understand, accept and appreciate these differences—along with our commonalities—life together really is much easier.

At our age, it’s time
for détente in the battle
of the sexes. Peace.

So, what do you think about the differences between men and women, especially as we’ve gotten older? Are they more pronounced or predictable? Does it matter as much as it used to? Or do certain things still drive you crazy? Please share!







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  • 28 thoughts on “4 weird studies about the differences between men and women

    1. Ellen Paris says:

      Still seems like high school!

      1. Roxanne says:

        Too true!

    2. Carla says:

      I have thought so much about this topic lately as my husband and I seem to have different perspectives on all things. From small stuff, two relationships, to work experiences.
      You lost me at the high heels one 🙂 but otherwise? I think I’m in.

      1. Roxanne says:

        I know…I keep thinking those bumps in the relationship road will smooth out, yet every now and then I’m reminded how differently Hubs and I perceive certain things. But I’ve learned not to take it personally (and not get my back up QUITE so much!). Thanks for commenting, Carla.

    3. Interesting…Men may be more narcissistic because they have gotten away with it easier in the past! I read a study last week that said men with beards are more likely to be unfaithful… that has definitely been my life experience!

      1. Roxanne says:

        Another reason to not like beards! Thank you for commenting.

    4. DJ says:

      Sure, take my testes if it will get me to 100. Better keep track of your high heels, though. Maybe it’ll make me kinder, too.

      1. Roxanne says:

        Well, neutering does seem to calm down male cats and dogs, so you may be on to something there. But if you start wearing heels into your dotage, you’ll have some ‘splaining to do!

    5. I always knew having ovaries was an advantage and you’ve confirmed it. When someone speaks of a man having balls it now has a new meaning! I like neatly trimmed beards but bushy ones are a huge turn off. Good thing I’m married because if I had to wear heels to get male attention my relationship days would be over. Interesting material!

      1. Roxanne says:

        I know what you mean about the high heels, Molly! As always, I appreciate your commenting!

    6. Hi Roxanne! I so agree with the man and the beard study. Most of the time my husband of 38 years is clean shaven but every now and then he wants to grow some hair….I just don’t care for it. But interesting that other men think is signals masculinity. And no, I’m not wearing heels even if it does make me look sexier! Thanks for the info…you KNOW I like this stuff too! ~Kathy

      1. Roxanne says:

        Thanks for chiming in, Kathy. Yeah, every now and then my husband wants to grow a beard, too; after a few days, it just looks scraggly and, IMO, ages him. A comment about the latter usually gets him to shave it off!

    7. T.O. Weller says:

      Love this Roxanne!
      Will it convince me to wear high heels? No.
      Will it convince me to grow a beard? No.
      Thankfully, my hubs won’t be doing those things either. 😉

      1. Roxanne says:

        But did it convince you to remove his cojones to keep him around longer? 🙂

        1. T.O. Weller says:

          😀 😀

          I’ll throw the idea out there at the right time and see what he says. I wonder … is there a right time?!?

          1. Roxanne says:

            Hmmm…wonder what Miss Manners would say about that one…!

    8. Victor Carr says:

      I’m surprised that all married men don’t live to be over 100. After all, isn’t that what wives do? But on the other hand, married men don’t live as long as women, because they don’t want to. LOL.

      1. Roxanne says:

        “What wives do”…are you suggesting that we castrate our husbands? Or that our tender, loving care helps extend your lives?

    9. Adrienne says:

      Hey Roxanne,

      I always find these types of articles interesting. Of course we all know there is a huge difference between the way men think and act, and women. I read that book, by the way, and nodded my head all the way through.

      I’m not surprised by any of these findings but I will admit really loving a man with a beard. Clean cut, of course, not shaggy and down to their darn stomachs but I love them myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t find men without them less attractive, it’s just a preference.

      Thanks for sharing this interesting observation from these studies.


      1. Roxanne says:

        I’m glad you found the post interesting, Adrienne, and I appreciate your taking the time to comment. I guess it just affirms the saying, “Vive le difference!” huh?

    10. Katy Kozee says:

      I love a man with a beard! Otherwise, I think this is spot on. Is anyone in the working world surprised that men are more narcissistic?

      1. Roxanne says:

        Not surprised at all! Thank you for taking the time to comment, Katy.

    11. Laurie Oien says:

      Not surprised by the narcissistic behavior in men. I deal with one every day and it can be exhausting! However, I’ll have to agree with your ending comments…accepting, understanding and appreciating the differences are key to getting along and co-existing. It’s either that or he might wake up one day as an Eunuch! Ouch! Great article!

      1. Roxanne says:

        And if he ends up as a eunuch, then he’s likely to be around even longer! Thank you for commenting, Laurie.

    12. Anna Palmer says:

      I loathe heels. At least now I have one reason to wear them.

      1. Roxanne says:

        If you’re like me wearing heels, you may have to ask the guy(s) to help you walk…Thanks for commenting, Anna!

    13. Queen Jamma says:

      I recently wrote a piece on the difference between men and boys. I am pretty sure it is tongue in cheek true and I am holding out for the man 🙂

      1. Roxanne says:

        Good luck with that…I think they all retain some little-boy qualities, regardless of age! Thank you for commenting!

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