TIME

What Happens When Men Try to Sound Sexy

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Piotr Powietrzynski—Getty Images

Thanks to mate selection, women may be better sweet talkers

A low, breathy voice is what we’ve decided as a society is “sexy,” whether you’re male or female. But according to a new study, men are not very good at it.

In the study, published in Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 20 men and 20 women were asked to use a sexy voice, and 40 people listened to determine whether they were successful. Women were much better at it than men, by lowering their voice and adding a touch of hoarseness. Men could not achieve that. “In fact, although not significantly, it got a bit worse when men tried to sound sexy,” said study author Susan Hughes, a associate professor of psychology at Albright College in a statement.

So, why is it so hard for men to turn women on with their voice? Well, the researchers think it may have to do with mate selection. Men tend to care more about attractiveness when it comes to finding the right partner, so women have evolved to learn to play up their attractive qualities–like their sexy voice–in order snatch a mate and beat out the other competition.

The research also looked at other voice manipulation abilities and found that both genders are successful at making their voices sound smarter, but men outperform women when it comes to making their voice sound more confident.

To attract women, men may just need to lower their voices instead of trying to sound sensual. Other research suggests that women like men with deep voices because it makes them sound bigger.

 

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