How many guys out there have obsessed about six-pack abs? Come on you know who you are. You've read the magazines, spent hours online and entirely too much money on supplements. You've spent so much time at the gym you might as well live there... all for some rippling abs and pulsating pecs.
Maybe it's not the great turn on you thought it would be?
New research from Australian's Flinders University (published in Body Image) shows that the average sized male body is every bit as good as the muscle-bound one.
The researchers showed mock-up advertisements for jeans, skin-care products and cologne - featuring muscular male models and men of more average dimensions - to more than 600 students in their late teens. (source)
Neither women or men respondents found the muscular models any more appealing than average men. Lead researcher Diedrichs suggests that participants may have associated the muscular models with vanity, femininity and homosexuality, and dismissed them as suitable comparison targets.
Women reported a more positive body image state after exposure to male models, regardless of their body size or muscularity. In other words, advertising images of ripped guys and muscle-bound hulks didn't result in any increased pleasure or positive affect over the average-sized guys.
In case you're wondering what is average-slim and average-large used in the process, I've obtained a sample picture (from the journal article). The researchers constructed advertising imagery using Photoshop.
Diedrichs, P. C., & Lee, C. GI Joe or Average Joe? The impact of average-size and muscular male fashion models on men's and women's body image and advertisement effectiveness. Body Image (2010), doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2010.03.004