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Women Rank Rock Climbing as the Sexiest Sport

by Adam Roy Aug 13, 2010
A study by a University of Hertfordshire professor suggests that women are especially attracted to men who rock climb.

WORKING WITH FITNESS expert Sam Murphy, Prof. Richard Wiseman polled over 6,000 people to find out which of 15 sports they thought would make a member of the opposite sex more attractive. Climbing topped the list for women with 57%, edging out extreme sports, soccer, and hiking.

I can’t say I’m surprised. Climbing is just a sexy sport in and of itself. It’s adventurous, acrobatic, and takes place in some of the most beautiful spots in nature. Climbers themselves tend to be trim, muscular, extremely flexible people with a penchant for taking their shirts off. Who wouldn’t want that?

Men, apparently. Among the survey’s male participants, climbing didn’t even make it to the top five. Men overwhelmingly picked aerobics (70%) as the sexiest activity, followed by yoga/pilates, going to the gym, and running.

On his site, Wiseman offer a possible explanation for the gender gap:

Women’s choices appear to reflect the type of psychological qualities that they find attractive – such as bravery and a willingness to take on challenges – whilst men are more shallow, looking for a woman who is physically fit but not challenging their ego by being overly strong.

If it’s true, it’s disappointing. I have to imagine that most of the men polled for the survey didn’t climb. In my experience, most male climbers think it’s a huge plus if a woman is into their sport. For serious gym rats, dating another climber may be the only way to get a girlfriend that they’ll ever see.

My gender’s poor taste in sports aside, I’m pretty happy with the results of the survey. It’s nice to see my climbing addiction validated by members of the opposite sex.

Golf is unsexy

Golf didn’t fare quite as well. The sport came in second to last in women’s estimation, just above aerobics. According to Aspiring Golfer, Wiseman suggests three reasons that women find golf so unattractive:

1. Golfers don’t have to be fit.
2. They keep their clothes on while playing.
3. They frequently wear plaid and Pringle jumpers.

As unsexy as these are, I’m not convinced that fit, scantily-clad golfers would be enough to make golf interesting. It would probably boost the PGA Tour’s female audience, though.

Whether we’ll now be seeing more golfers swapping their plaid pants for climbing harnesses is hard to say. I don’t know if it would make a difference for them anyway. To me, the sexiness of climbing is less about muscles and super-hard moves, and more about the passion and commitment that climbers have for their sport. If you’re not feeling it, it’s awfully hard to fake.

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