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Study: Women Prefer 'Feminine' Men for Long-Term Relationships

Do women view "macho" men as unsuitable for the long-haul?

Yes they do, according to a new study that says women prefer men with feminine facial features for long-term partnerships.

The study, published in the current edition of Personality and Individual Differences, asked more than 400 British men and women to judge digitally altered pictures of male faces made to look more masculine or feminine.

Participants predicted personality traits including sexual behavior and parenting skills based on what they saw.

Men with masculine faces, with features such as a square jaw, larger nose and smaller eyes, were described as significantly more dominant, less faithful, worse parents and as having personalities that were less warm compared to their "feminine" counterparts, who had finer facial features with fuller lips, wide eyes and thinner, more curved eyebrows.

The study found that women believe men with feminine features to be more caring and less likely to cheat on their partners.

Scientists say the research, partly funded by the Medical Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, backs up earlier research about masculinity and perceptions of personality and gives further insight into what people see in others when choosing potential partners.

“This research shows a high amount of agreement between women about what they see, personality wise, when asked to ‘judge a book by its cover,'" said lead author, Dr. Lynda Boothroyd, a lecturer with Durham University’s Department of Psychology, in a news release.

The survey also found that faces which appeared healthier, such as those with better complexions, were seen as more desirable compared to those who looked unhealthy. Older faces were generally viewed more positively compared to younger ones.