Does Everyone Have to be Muscular to be Considered Attractive?

For the past 15 years or so, there has been a desire for a muscular/athletic figure. For women, this means having a very low body fat percentage (women naturally have a higher body fat percentage than men, for biological reasons; even women who are very slim have a higher body fat percentage than men; women who are slim to even very slim can have a high body fat ratio in relation to their muscle mass.) Basically, nature is such that women naturally have 'softer', less angular bodies than men, and if they want to look hard and muscular, they need to keep their body fat percentage very low, and work very hard in the gym....Which is, of course, totally fine if that's what you want, and you like that look :)

However, something which annoys me (and perhaps other people too, I'll wait for the comments!) is the idea that if you are not muscular, if you are slim and healthy, but soft, you are somehow 'unhealthy, 'unattractive', or even sometimes, called 'fat', despite being slim, like Marilyn Monroe in the picture below, and in the link I posted. I can see a flat stomach, yes I know she didn't have abs, but that looks flat and slim to me, and we all know she had a very small waist measurement. She also has a rounded bottom/hips, because that was her body shape - lots of women have this small waist/round hips shape, even when they are slim.

There are a few things I want to consider here:

Firstly, 'fitness' (Ie ability to do physical exercise, endurance, ability to lift weights, run at a certain speed for a certain time) and 'health' are not 100% correlated. What I mean is, the fitter you are doesn't necessarily mean 'healthier'. A certain level of fitness is absolutely essential for good health, but being extremely fit (i.e. a marathon runner) isn't necessarily healthier in the long term - some of the requirements (very low body fat, pressure on the joints) can be damaging, especially for women. Some female athletes, who maintain very low body fat, can have trouble conceiving, or even be left infertile.

Secondly, you can have no or little muscle tone, but still exercise regularly and eat healthily, and be slim....Just because a woman doesn't have muscular arms or visible six pack abs, it doesn't mean that she's a couch potato, or that she eats junk. You can eat super clean and do cardio exercise, but not look muscular.

So, I just wondered what you guys think....

These days, does everyone have to be muscular to be considered 'attractive'?

http://www.thisismarilyn.com/yellow-terri-bikini-67727.photo


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Muscle is usually seen as more masculine, so it's viewed attractive on men, but on women? It's just the opposite. Even solid muscle bound guys I know find a curvy (more feminine) figure attractive. I think it looks too manly. I know a few guys who like the muscle look, but most guys I come across don't.

    Either way, people have a variety of preferences.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Personally I think men look great muscular (but they don't have to be to be attractive in my book) I think girls who are muscular are not so attractive, makes them look manly and not feminine. Feminine is what makes a girl attractive in my opinion.

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What Guys Said 70

  • I don't think most men prefer muscular women, just fit women who aren't too fat or too skinny. To me women with low bodyfat % look unattractive, it just doesn't look right and that's probably because it isn't healthy for the reasons you mentioned.

    As for men, I think the ideal body we're taught to want to aspire to achieve is too big and bulky, usually those kinds of male models are on steroids. They'll always say that that's just an excuse from weak people and that all it takes is hard work, but to get to the size they are, with such a low bodyfat % at least, is physically impossible. So then they sell their bullshit routines and supplements to gullible men.

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  • I know where you are going with this and yes a slim/fit even without major definition can just be as attractive to me as a really defined look in someways more so in fact a lot of guys would consider it a more feminine look. My preference is usually slimmer look but it doesn't have to be majorly athletic

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  • What bothers me most is how these muscular guys look strong and can't fight for shit.
    How does that happen? lol.

    Anyway, good take

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    • Muscles decrease mobility due to many of these guys not stretching during post workout.

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    • @GracefulCharm Yes, it is all for vanity - it's not for health, no matter what they say, because being overly muscular isn't healthy

    • @myTake Owner
      Ya the fitness industry has lost it's focus, it's more focused on what people look like, a lot of people who are the aspiring image of fitness are men on steroids, and women getting butt and breast implants. The whole thing has become tainted much like the beauty industry for women. They feed off people's insecurities and create images of attractiveness that is difficult to obtain while selling products that lie to you about achieving that attractiveness.

  • No you don't have to take it to the extreme where you're trying to get shredded, in fact I don't think it's as healthy as many people believe especially for women to have such a low body fat percentage for the reasons you mentioned. But having some muscle and a decent body fat percentage is good.

    Fitter people, while they aren't always 100% healthy, are much more likely to be healthy because in order to do what they do they have to eat right and obviously exercise regularly. It becomes more damaging when they take it to the extreme or they start using PEDs.

    As for having little to no muscle tone, it's just not as attractive as having a little muscle tone. People who do endless cardio and no kind of resistance training usually have no muscle, and no shape. Yes they might be healthy, it just doesn't look good. Plus endless long distance cardio isn't as good for you as people think, especially for men.

    So basically no you don't need to be shredded, low bodyfat, or go to the extreme. Just working out regularly and not being under/overweight is good.

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  • No not at all, because physical attraction is subjective.

    What's attractive to one person may not be attractive to another. Now, some people may only like muscular women/men. Are they right or wrong? Nope, that's just their preference.

    Personally, I prefer if a woman is not muscular.

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  • Im i the only one here, who thinks that low bodyfat, "athletic" women are unattractive?
    I like skinny women and a bit chubby women and average women..

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  • Possibly for guys but definitely not for women. I don't want to see muscle definition on a woman and a lot of guys would agree with me. A turn off.

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  • Yes you do

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  • My take... most people are brainwashed lol... Here is why.

    Many people believe working out, being toned, slender or trying to be fit means the person is motivated, desirable , attractive, healthy... BUT.. reality is as follows:

    Healthy - Someone who has NO physical or mental health issues. This does not mean someone that works out, that has muscles or someone that may be fit. I seen many times gym rats that have great bodies go do lines of COKE and drink like booze like water... i'm sure a burger is healthier... thats considered healthy? Um no. years back there were some athletes that LITERALLY died while doing their sports in training or during competition... SAFE to say they may have been fit and muscular, but obviously NOT HEALTHY!

    Fit- someone that has agility, mobility and no physical issues. may or may not have a muscular body. again... being fit does not mean healthy!

    Muscular / toned - this means either born with the body or work out on it... again, doesn't mean FIT or HEALTHY! just means muscle with low fat percentage.

    for someone that is HEALTHY, FIT and Muscular... well that's optimal physical and mental success!!!

    So many people need to get their facts straight.. just saying:)

    i rather be fat and healthy than be muscular and unhealthy.

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  • On what plant do you live? women are not expected to be muscular to be considered attractive, men are expected to be muscular to be considered attractive, women are only expected to not be too fat, and not too skinny, but I still appraise athletic women. Being muscular is healthy for both men and women, at long as they don't use steroids. Slim women has more body fat then average or fat men? it's don't make much sense, and it's not true, and I am sure that being too skinny is lowing an woman fertility more then being fit. The main difference between men and women when it's comes to strength, is that men are usually stronger then women, both by default and by potential, that's why even muscular women have less muscle mass then men, unless they use steroids.

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  • you don't have to be but I mean lets be honest here muscles will usually always win out over scrawnyness or fatness. Muscles mean more then just being attractive they mean patience, discipline, and consistency among other things.

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    • Or genetics building those muscles naturally for some who like to pretend to have those traits you listed.

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    • Western soccer 0_0 wut? Those guys are not muscular they are just lean.

    • @Nomad787 the asker has no clue what she's talking about just ignore her.

  • These are the body types the media wants us to find attractive. Because to get this body type you need to spend money and time, lots of both. and in a way they are succeeding in their effort. They aren't making us want these body types, research has shown that men want women to be curvier than what women think they should be and women want men less muscular than what men think they should be. But they are succeeding in making us more superficial, and to extend, less patient with out partners. We are being told that people are okay and should be accepted the way they are, but when it comes to a life partner, we can find better around every corner. Do while we don't feel the need to change our partner into something better, we do feel the need to simply change partner.

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  • So you took all that time to explain why women don't have to be muscular to be attractive (and you're right), but what about us men?

    The fact that you completely neglected to defend us implies that you DO believe men have to be muscular in order to be attractive. Am i correct in this assumption?

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  • I don't really like it when girls are muscular, and as a bi dude I don't really like it when guys are either 😂 I mean I'm not the slimmest of dudes and I have a girlfriend who liked my body so I guess it doesn't matter, there'll be someone for you ☺️

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  • Generally, not individually.

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  • Guys look more attractive with Muscle. Girls just ahve to be slim and toned.

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  • I love girls who are skinny, fit, average, thick, chubby, fat and bbw. Only girls I dont like are muscular ones

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  • Women should be slim with tone, men should be muscular. The easy thing about being a man is that we can be really big and strong and have a bit of muscle on us. As long as we're also confident and can back up what we've got going on, we'll get women.

    With women, you'll get men at any size but no guy is going to keep you very long if you don't keep putting effort into your body. Men train for life, women train for partnering.

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  • Yeah fit girls are not in season. Plumpers and thick cuddly girls are. As for guys I feel like the muscular thing is pretty accurate but at the same time I had a girl compliment my slight belly. She started dating a thin guy who is pretty lean though so I'm not sure.

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  • It all comes to down the preferences of the beholder. I've heard that women tend to be intimidated by guys that look like the hulk. I personally don't find huge muscles on women attractive, I'm impressed by "buff" women but not attracted to them. I prefer women who have a toned and lean body.

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What Girls Said 38

  • I think you're overthinking things. I don't think society is shoving being fit and muscular down people's throats (maybe for men, but they still have other options)

    For women the craze right now is being curvy with a tiny waist and a big ass, nowhere do they encourage a six pack or muscles.

    With men they get a LOT more pressure to be muscular BUT they also have the advantage of women not being superficial enough for that to really matter (girls like slim rocker guys, nerdy hipster guys, etc and then there was that dad bod craze... you never saw a mom bod craze). Girls overall, care much more about personality for muscles to be a deal breaker or something to push onto a boyfriend.

    I myself am a girl and by my own choice am pretty muscular. I even posted a pic on here a while back b/c with my pride in my physique comes a little insecurity and while a lot said they liked my body a good handful said I was too muscular for their preference and thats perfectly fine.

    These "issues" aren't real, all people like different things, no one needs to be muscular, or slim, or curvy.

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  • Personally, I don't like muscular guys to the point where they're considered beefcake. For example, I don't find the guys in the pics you posted attractive at all. That type of muscular is too much in my books. I prefer guys who are slim/on the skinnier side but are nicely toned.

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  • While being fit, toned or "ripped" is the current popular trend, I do think a lot of guys still appreciate women who are not muscular or toned at all but still of average size or slim...

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  • There is a difference between a fit body and a muscular body. A fit body is something you need for a healthy life. A muscular body is a choice and you do it because you like it yourself. If you want to get muscular, you have to accept that you will loose a lot of female curvature. There is no need for that if you want a fit body.

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  • It all depends on preferences for femininity and masculinity.

    I personally prefer my SO (male or female) to be slim, curvy, chubby rather than athletic/muscular

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  • I've only found big jacked guys attractive which is why i work to keep myself trim so I'm not being a hypocrite.

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  • Media is basicaly trying to give people something hard to achieve but people do (still) have preferences. I personally don't like muscular people (not even men.)
    But muscular women are USUALLY seen as more masculine therefore less attractive.

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  • I think the popular preference changes over time, just like hair styles and fashion. Sure, it will always be more ideal to have certain features that we are genetically programmed to prefer, but the details of what is considered ideal will ebb and flow. It's also wise to consider that advertisers are big promoters of what is "ideal", so it doesn't always reflect what people really prefer.

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  • I like a little bit of muscle of men, but it doesn't really matter at all as long as he's HEALTHY. Healthy to me is more of what you eat than what you do (exercise) because trust me, what you eat has such a big impact on your entire life! Healthy to me is also how mentally healthy you are (happy, etc) if you're a gym rat, but always unhappy or depressed or eat tons of junk, but look "fit" - you're not healthy. I wish more people understood this concept. As with women, I think more men prefer a little meat honestly...
    Lastly, skinny people can be just as unhealthy as obese people depending once again, on their food intake. This is too broad of a question but I hope I tackled some of the issues and made some things clear!

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  • I like muscles on a man myself but not the "buff" look. I'm into a more lean physique, where it's obvious he lifts weights and takes care of himself but he's not downing tubs of protein powder and grilled chicken breast every day to look like that.
    And Marilyn sure was gorgeous wasn't she? Damn...

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  • Not for girls.

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  • No but a healthy lifestyle is attractive. Besides there has been a growing trend with big "squatbutts" the past year and that requires some work out, it's trendy to build muscle but it's not a deal breaker if you don't have abs for most guys. Maybe the guys who work out every day and have a six pack want their girl to have the same priorities but normal guys don't have that preference.

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    • You're right but there is something nice about touching a guy's muscles.

  • you can disagree with me all you want, but too much muscle on anyone gets to a point where it's unattractive. i'd say both genders, especially us girls though, looks best when they're toned but not rippling with muscle. excess fat definitely does not look great though.

    (just to clarify, by "excess fat" i mean if your bmi states that you are overweight and in risk of heart disease and other stuff which im not going to pretend i know.)

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  • I like this I think everything you said is so true. I think this is just another fad everyone is doing right now. I don't wants abs that u can see not muscular arms, but that's just me. If someone else that is a woman had that good for them. Just don't judge the people who don't want to do that and we won't judge you either

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  • Not everyone needs to be muscular to be attractive, many people have different preferences on what's attractive and what isn't. Sure, some guys like muscular girls and some girls like muscular guys but some people don't prefer muscular people of the opposite gender. Personally, I don't tend to like muscular guys. What people find attractive varies.

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  • Maybe moreso for men, but women, definitely not.

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  • Most men I know prefer a little meat on the bones when it comes to their girls. My boyfriend likes muscular legs on a girl but that's where it ends.

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  • I'd rather know he was healthy. Muscles are like an added bonus. They aren't necessary. And there is such a thing as too much muscle. I go to the gym and eat healthy for the most part but my goal isn't to be muscular. I like my soft parts and feeling womanly haha.

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  • yes... muscular people means they work hard to get muscles and that means discipline, hard work and patience and that is attractive

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  • No, and forget the people who say you have to.

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