In this amazing The Next Big Idea podcast on Voice, author John Colapinto talks about how genetic selection has favored males with thicker vocal cords because their deep voices indicate more testosterone, an immunity-booster. So women find deep-voiced men more sexually attractive due to the perceived immunity that they will pass down to offspring.
But here's the really interesting twist. Testosterone also goes hand-in-hand with traits like promiscuity, aggression, dominance and violence. In lab tests, women preferred men with deep voices up to a point, but were turned off by men with super deep, gorilla-like growls (even these guys??), suggesting that they were avoiding super-high testosterone levels due to the dangers they posed. And here's the real kicker: the women's preferences depended on where they were in their menstrual cycle. While they were ovulating (and biologically ripe for pregnancy), they found deeper voices more lust-worthy. But after ovulation, the same women preferred higher-pitched male voices. The researchers posited that through evolution, women have come to understand that deeper voices (and more testosterone) come with less-desirable traits when it comes to selecting a mate to do the job that comes after pregnancy -- raising children. After all, promiscuity, aggression and dominance are not ideal characteristics in a daddy or long-term mate. Fascinating, right?
Here are three more links:
Men (but not women) with deep voices are more likely to cheat on their partners
The "NPR voice" used by every white dude with a podcast
Every reason why Elaine from Seinfeld broke up with her boyfriends