Women with wide hips usually have more sexual partners: that’s what a recent study shows. How can it be explanated? Probably, these ladies are less anxious about giving birth, because of those childbearing forms.
However, some anthropologists say they can’t supports the results of the study, explaining that the measurements used in the course of it aren’t a good indication of a woman’s likelihood of having difficulty giving birth. Which is more, there’re a lot of factors that can also affect the results of calculations.
“In order for this to really be supported, somebody has got to test this same kind of thing in a lot of populations,” said Wenda Trevathan, a biological anthropologist at New Mexico State University, who was not involved with the research.
The study began with an a theory called the “obstetrical dilemma, which holds that humans sacrificed relative ease of childbirth for standing upright,” said Colin Hendrie, a professor of human and animal ethology at the University of Leeds in the U.K. and researcher on the new study.
Women with narrower hips might feel comfortable when walking, but wider hips are better for giving birth; so women’s hips strike the balance between the two needs.
“There is a prediction that says childbirth is more dangerous for smaller women than larger women,” Hendrie explained. Thus, the second category of ladies might subconsciously realize that childbirth is less risky for them and be “a lot more relaxed in their social behavior,” he said.
To conduct the study Hendrie and his group of researchers recruited women aged between 18 and 26 from the University of Leeds and areas nearby. The scientists took into consideration distance between each woman’s iliac crests, the bony protuberances of the hips that can be felt on the front of the body. Later participants were asked to fill the profiles and to mention some important information.
“What we found is that women that had narrow hips had fewer sexual partners, and most of those were within the context of a relationship,” Hendrie said.
The women who have wider hips — more than 14 inches (36 centimeters) across — had the same number of sexual partners as the women with narrow hips, but also had more one-night stands and hookups in their past. The findings are detailed in the April issue of the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.
Hendrie also suggests that the conclusions are a strike back against the “sexist” theory that a woman’s forms determine her sexual behavior, as the opposite sex is attracted to the combined small waist and curvy hips.
“What these studies are actually saying is that women are in control of their own destinies,” he said: “They gauge their own personal danger from childbirth and adjust their sexual behavior accordingly.”
But anthropology researchers remained skeptical.
“I honestly think there are some, I’m just going to say it, pretty shameful omissions in this paper,” said Holly Dunsworth, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Rhode Island.
“They don’t give you the body mass of the women or the height of the women,” Dunsworth added, while Hendrie argued that the breadth between the iliac crests is a “fairly good approximation of what we’re after.”