“New studies” can run twice around the entire internet while the fact checkers are still getting out of bed and suited up. In that established tradition, a new study with an intriguing finding started making the rounds in January of 2017.
It started out with a headline on a Spanish language Argentinian site: “Study Confirms that Chubby Women Make a Man Happier than a Skinny Woman.” The article was then picked up by several English language sites.
Now, to be honest, the study has been rated "unproven" by Snopes. The department of psychology and the two doctors referenced in the article don’t seem to exist.
Still, there could be some truth in the idea expressed in the headline, and I’ll tell you why:
First of all, who has time to be in a chirpy cheerful mood when you’re starving? It just makes sense that women who aren’t hungry are less irritable and therefore better company. (Only half joking when I say that.)
Second, body confidence. Constantly worrying about how you look, if any muffin top is showing, how much weight you’re gaining, how to lose the weight, what’s on the approved list to eat, what’s not – it all adds up to a lot of stress and anxiety. What that study might have measured, and then decided was the result, was women who are comfortable with their curves.
Women who are secure about the way they look are probably a lot less tense, not to mention more interested in sexy time. Nothing kills your libido like the certainty that no one wants to see you with the lights on. That certainty can also kill a relationship. In this case, confidence really could be the key.
Have there been any actual studies done on how body confidence affects a relationship? Yes. "Body Image and Marital Satisfaction," by Andrea L. Metzler & James K. McNulty, April 2010, is a notable one. Even better, inside the write-up of their findings Metzler & McNulty cite dozens of other studies on the subject.
The clear findings: Women who have a positive body image also have happier partners.
So does this mean only chubby women can make a man happy? No. Does it mean only skinny women are bliss material? Again, nope. Regardless of pant size, it’s confidence in her body that predicts a happy relationship. What the 2017 “study” got wrong was trying to link that happiness to one body type.
The good news to take home is that if you are satisfied with the way you look, everyone wins. Embrace your appearance, because when you do it makes you and your relationship happier. It’s sometimes hard to have that attitude – Lord do I know the struggle. After three pregnancies the confidence does not come easy. It’s worth working on it to be that happy partner, though.
Confidence is sexy. Science says so.