attractiveness of men with varying lengths of facial hair to both straight women and gay men.
The researchers photoshopped varying levels of facial hair – clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble and full beards – onto photos of male faces for the study and found facial hair produced a stronger sexual response in participants than the clean-shaven stimuli.
But among the women, length seemed to be important: they preferred light stubble on men for a fling or one-night stand.
A full beard was judged as less sexy but ranked far better for a long-term mate, which the study’s authors theorised was because on a primal level it indicates a male’s ability to compete for resources.
But the gay men the researchers surveyed reported an even stronger preference than the women for facial hair.
“Homosexual men preferred hairier stimuli than heterosexual women, supporting past findings that homosexual men have strong preferences for masculine traits,” the researchers wrote.
“Including homosexual individuals provides a unique opportunity to investigate whether evolved mating psychologies are specific to the sex of the individual or sex of the partner.”
The gay men indicated an attraction to partners with a “self-similar degree of beardedness,” but the quantity of facial hair they said they desired was thicker than their actual partner’s.
Generalizations like these are pretty worthless. Gay men are individuals with individual tastes, likes and dislikes. Some of them like beards. Others not. Some of them like a long-bearded look. Others a short-bearded look. Some a no-bearded look.
There isn’t an all-gay standard of what is appropriate — though there are some subcultural groups more accepting of facial hair and others less so. But even then: Gay people are people and people are different from each other.
All we gay guys as a group have in common is that we like men, rather than women. Otherwise we’re just as diverse in our tastes, preferences, habits and points of view as straight guys are.