Addicted to novelty since 2001

The Chest Hair Postulation

Here’s a frivolous question: at what age do women begin to prefer hairy chests to bare chests in men? I’ve observed, in casual conversation and in our culture, that women my own age, in their mid-thirties, tend to like a hairy chest. On the other hand, our television and movies are flush with young men with nary a chest hair in sight. From Top Gun to Twilight to The Old Spice Guy, it’s been the case for about 30 years. The same, of course, is true in magazines like Details or Esquire.

It’s my theory that at some point, women start to–at least in the personal lives–prefer a little hair on their man’s chest. This seems to make sense from an evolutionary biology perspective, as it’s an indication of maturity and correlates to testosterone levels (or, rather, a lack of chest hair can be an indication of low testosterone).

So here’s today’s question. If you’re female, when did you start to prefer chest hair on your mates? Or possible you still don’t? Take part in the poll below, and pick the closest age:


UPDATE: I remembered why this was on my mind. I passed a salon this weekend and they had a sandwich board out front. It featured a scrawny, hairy chest and read (something like) “Get him to wax it!” I thought that it was interesting that they were marketing men’s waxing services to their partners.

19 Responses to “The Chest Hair Postulation”

  1. Beth

    I’m in my early-mid 30s (not quite ready to call myself “mid 30s”) and I’m not a fan of chest hair at all (though, I’m sure you aren’t surprised by this, given that my hockey pool pics do tend toward the young side).

  2. alexis

    For me, it’s not just an age thing, it’s an ethnic thing. I spent most of my 20s in relationships with Asian or half Asian men. (Just 2 guys, but long relationships)

    So I never really experienced chest hair until I was in my 30s and ended up dating white dudes. It was a new experience for me.

  3. Derek K. Miller

    There’s a general fashion trend here too which might skew the results. Women in their late 30s or older will recall childhoods where many male sex symbols (Tom Selleck, David Lee Roth, Burt Reynolds, Sean Connery) had chest hair. So their impression of adult manliness would easily include hairy chests.

    As the trend to six-pack abs and hairless chests (Matthew McConaughey, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg) emerged, younger women may have “imprinted” on that, so their preference may still be for hairlessness as they get older. Maybe your poll will help elucidate that.

    (Disclosure: yes, hairy-chested. Even chemo didn’t change that.)

    Derek K. Miller Reply:

    Incidentally, your title sounds like an episode name for “The Big Bang Theory.”

    darren Reply:

    That’s what I was going for.

  4. Erika Rathje

    I can’t really answer the poll, because the answer is… it depends. I’ll go for both, as long as the hairlessness is natural. I haven’t really experienced carpet-thick chest hair. What “manly” is and how manly a woman likes a guy to be is a matter of personal taste.

    Erika Rathje Reply:

    P.S. I’m 25.

  5. Adriana

    I think it is an age thing – for example at 15, I didn’t really like it – or in my case the idea of it (chest hair seemed really weird). However by 20 I was starting to prefer it over not, and at 31 I definitely prefer it but I am fickle enough that whole lot would probably bother me a bit.

  6. christine

    I’ve never been a fan of chest hair. I don’t care if it means less testosterone. I prefer my men with nice smooth chests. Maybe it’s because I grew up as a swimmer. I did synchro, swam competitively and life guarded for many years. Nothing is more beautiful than a clean shaven man standing on a diving block wearing a speedo. Yes, that’s right, speedo!

  7. gillian

    I’m with Adriana, I don’t think it’s an age thing so much either. I suppose as a preteen and young teenager I might’ve preferred Bieber-esque boys but I don’t know if my preferences have changed all that drastically since I became an adult.

    I happen to like chest hair, maybe because it’s a contrast to my own non-hairy girl chest. I don’t like pretty boys either, I want to look better in a dress than they do.

  8. Karen

    I think women start liking chest hair around the same time they get fed up with boys/guys/dudes and want to be with a proper man, they kind that is actually useful. The kind that can pay their share. The kind that know how to fix stuff.

    There’s an age when responsibility becomes HOT!

  9. Helen

    I’m a bit ambivalent about this entry. I’m the opposite of your theory.

    My father had chest hair and I assumed all men did. For a while on TV, all men did. Then, I moved to Japan where most men don’t have a lot of chest hair.

    I met my husband who doesn’t have chest hair. I married him. I like to think I’m in love with him, not his chest hair, or lack thereof. I prefer the hairless look now and honestly, can’t see myself changing.

    So, originally I preferred a more hairy chest and now I don’t.

  10. Roshan

    All this debate over one of my fav hates – body hair and in particular, chest hair.

    I’m a 34 year old guy and I’ve hated body hair for as long as I can remember. Legs, torso, arms, chest – wherever! I even had an incident with shaving my legs at the age of 14, which still haunts me. Although I’m not what people would consider ‘hairy’, I do not like it on me and hope to get rid of it soon.

  11. Jeff

    As a guy with a hairy chest, I have to admit that fir the longest time, I wished I was smooth. But I started to get over that in my late twenties when a women I was sleeping with ran her fingers along me and said something to the effect of ‘I love your hairy chest!’ I think she was about 25, and I was actually surprised that this was a plus for her.

    For years I always wore clothes that concealed that I had a hairy chest (kept second button from the top buttoned…) but more and more I became comfortable with it, and realized that I actually look pretty good (At least in some women’s eyes…)

  12. BayAreaGuy

    I think heterosexuals are bizarre. I view their interactions with an fascination only birdwatchers could understand.

    Case in point: When it comes to women’s bodies, we encourage them to love themselves, whatever they are. Fat or thin, short or tall, blonde or brunette. They’re all supposedly beautiful, and no one DARES ask questions about what MEN prefer when discussing the matter, lest they be torn apart by the masses, professing that “A woman’s body is her own!”

    In the case of me, however, they are asked to bow to the whims of their partners (or at least, their potential partners); no one even stops to consider whether this might be an offense, or mentions that a man has a right to be proud of his body type, regardless of what some women think of it.

    Women don’t complain about this state of affairs because, after all, it gives them all the power. Men, in turn, don’t complain because a) they’ve been raised to believe that women are in control of the society, and b) they want to get laid so badly, they’ll paint themselves blue and green it that’ll help.

    Incidentally, I’m a gay man and I’ve always preferred a hairy chested guy. All that testosterone often leaves them coming up short in other ways, however, so I try to be reasonable in my pursuits of the hirsute.

  13. david

    am 19 years old and chest started to grow when i was 16 and still at school now my chest is all hairs and my girlfriend thinks it is sexy

    ron Reply:

    david (and others) I’m like you, about the same age and stuff. My dad and uncles are hairy-chested and they kind of encouraged / approved when I got some chest fuzz at 15 and hairs at 16. I think that helped me at lot to like it on me. I was never shy about it like some guys are. With dad/uncles, it was not a big topic of conversation at all, just a couple of mentions. Same thing with my younger bro, he’s not shy about his chest hair. Hairy men (me) get occasional negative comments, but f*** them. Some women like it and some don’t. Some don’t like men. Nothing I can do about any of that. I’m happy bein’ (hairy) me.

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