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Low Voice, Low Semen; High Voice, High Semen

Tim Boyer's picture

It has been assumed that a deep voice, chiseled features and a handsome face are physical characteristics that indicate a man possesses superior semen as well. However, in a recent study where scientists analyzed the semen of relatively lower pitched versus higher pitched voice males, quality semen is not always what a girl finds in her choice of man.

Previous studies have shown that women have a preference for males with deep voices. It is believed that this preference is based on a subconscious (or not) desire by women to find a mate who is a good reproductive choice.

In a recent study published in the scientific journal PLosONE, researchers from the University of Western Australia decided to put to the test the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis that proposes that male secondary sexual characteristics such as build, beauty and a baritone voice are positively related to semen quality.

The researchers back up their scientific rationale for the experiment by telling us that male secondary sexual characteristics are an accurate predictor of semen quality in some non-human animal species. One example is a species of red deer, Cervus elaphus, where males with larger and more complex antlers also have larger testes and produce sperm with greater swimming velocity— a measure of ejaculate quality that predicts functional fertility.

In the study, 54 male volunteers were chosen and their voices recorded reciting the vowels a, e, i, o and u. The recordings were analyzed for tone and then rated by heterosexual females aged between 18 and 30 to provide ratings of voice attractiveness and masculinity. Half the participants rated attractiveness and half rated masculinity.

They male volunteers were also given a questionnaire about their lifestyle habits and then instructed on proper semen collection procedures and how to measure their testes using vernier calipers. They were then asked to abstain from sexual activity for a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 6 days prior to providing their semen sample.

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Semen analysis was conducted looking at a recognized standard of seven parameters that are used to gauge the functional fertility of sperm contained in a semen sample.

What the researchers found was that women rated voices of low pitch as being more attractive and more masculine than voices of a higher pitch. Furthermore, masculine voices also rated as being more attractive to the women participants.

Regarding the semen quality, however, the researchers found that men rated as to having more attractive voices by the women, actually had lower sperm concentrations than men with less attractive voices.

The researchers concluded that their findings were consistent with previous studies of voice attractiveness, where lower pitched voices were rated by women as being more attractive and more masculine than higher pitched male voices. Contrary to the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis, they determined that men with more attractive voices did not possess higher quality semen than men with higher pitched voices; rather, that higher pitched voices were associated with a higher quality of semen.

The authors of the paper attribute the semen quality differences between low voice males and high voice males with low sperm quality and high sperm quality respectively as possibly being due to a potential trade-off between a male expenditure on attracting females and sperm production.

To learn about the latest technology for measuring your semen quality, see this article about a sperm chip for men.

Image: Courtesy of Wikipedia

Source: Simmons LW, Peters M and Rhodes G, 2011 “Low Pitched Voices Are Perceived as Masculine and Attractive but Do They Predict Semen Quality in Men?” PLoS ONE 6(12):e29271.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029271