By: Natasha Archary
Chiseled torsos, ripped pecs and that “V” – that makes even this smart woman question her intellect – have for a long time been linked to a man’s sex appeal. Do six-pack abs hold the same attraction for women as breasts have held for men since the beginning of time?
From magazines to movies, scuplted abs are everywhere and are often said to be a reflection of overall health but this could not be further from the truth. Experts calculate that a man has to get down to about 10% of body fat in order for his abs to start peeking out. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) released a guideline on essential fat and suggests that men should retain between two to five percent of fat. This is tough on the body.
Dropping below the 10% body fat ratio can put undue strain on your body. Six-packs don’t necessarily mean you’re a lean, mean, fit machine. A rigorous training programme aside, abs are made in the kitchen and pursuing the challenge of attaining a six-pack requires cutting out almost all foods (including happiness). It means saying no to nights out with friends because you’re busy with workouts or meal preps.
Remember the time when lean legs and a slender waist were considered appealing to men? Thank goodness for women embracing their curves because it freed the thick thighs, big busts and curvy rear for every women who did not fit into this mold. So too are abs losing sex appeal with women.
It’s great to look at and run your hands over but what else? Many confuse a six-pack with sex appeal. Granted appearances drive most of our decisions, especially around attraction. We associate happiness with the how our bodies look. Measuring physical attraction according to this vanity metric. And yet, would you still be interested in him if he were ripped for days but had the personality of a doorknob?
In a survey of heterosexual women, from different age groups, only two percent of the two thousand odd respondees cited visible abs as a must-have with men they would consider dating. Twenty eight percent said they didn’t care and rated a personality and a “to-die-for” smile as the top traits in a possible partner.
Is a man’s sex appeal centered around his core? Not according to this survey. Women prefer a man who can hold a conversation and a sense of humour. Finding intellectual stimulation or a connection to be more of a turn-on than abs. While a six-pack could get you noticed, most women prefer a man who doesn’t look like Hercules.
However sex appeal, like attraction is subjective. The important thing is whether a six-pack defines you, as a man of the millenium. Does it build your confidence, make you feel better about your self-image, give you a sense of pride? Because if it does, then go for it. We certainly won’t mind looking.