Do Short Men Actually Have More Sex?

A new study says short men have more sex than tall ones. Tom Holland can confirm.

Zendaya and Tom Holland attend Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man: No Way Home" Los Angeles Premiere held at The Regency Village Theatre on December 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. A recent study suggests short men, like Holland, may have more sex than tall ones.
A short king and his queen
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Just a few days after defending short kings everywhere by publicly slamming gendered height standards, Tom Holland is doing his part to spread the message that short guys also fuck.

Last week, Holland, who is 5’8″ and just barely makes the “short king” cutoff that usually falls around 5’9″ or so, drew attention to a scientific study claiming short men have more sex than their taller counterparts after liking an Instagram post from LadBible about the research. The tell-tale like made headlines shortly after Holland shot down speculation that the two-inch height difference between himself and his 5’10” beau Zendaya was cause for concern, calling such gendered height expectations a “stupid assumption” at an event earlier this month.

At this point, the whole thing is starting to feel a little, “We get it, Tom Holland, you’re a hot movie star who has a lot of sex with your hot movie star girlfriend despite suffering the grave tragedy of being an inch or two below average height.” Still, the study to which he gave his double-tap of approval does seem to revise a widespread cultural assumption about male height and sexual prowess. Spend any time at all on a dating app and you’ll find at least as many men flaunting their over-six-foot status as there are women demanding partners who meet that standard. Naturally, this would seem to suggest that taller men are playing the game with a significant advantage, and are probably more likely to end up in bed with the women of their choice.

According to the study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, however, the data does not support this widespread hypothesis. The (admittedly small) study of 531 straight men actually found that “coital frequency” was higher among men with a height under 5’9″.

While this may seem surprising, we might reasonably attribute these higher levels of sexual activity among shorter men to a little thing often referred to as the “Napoleon complex,” or the notion that short men may be driven to compensate for what they lack in height through other means of asserting their masculinity. For some men, this may mean driving fast, fancy cars; for others it may mean racking up sex partners. This might mean that short men spend more time and energy actively seeking sex partners, or it might just mean that the other compensatory traits they adopt to boost their masculinity — confidence, nice cars, great style, etc. — simply make them more attractive options to potential mates than some 6’3″ lunk relying entirely on his height.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that for the shorter men in this particular survey, the “Napoleon complex” manifested in a greater tendency to exaggerate their “coital frequency,” but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s also worth noting that the entire concept of the “Napoleon complex” is retrograde and heteronormative, relying on the insulting assumption that short men must (or at least should) be insecure about their height, and any confidence they have is simply an overcompensatory projection rooted in that insecurity.

I don’t actually know whether short men have more sex than tall ones, and if they do, I can’t say for sure why. Maybe it is overcompensation to some extent, or maybe it’s just that short men are less likely to be entitled assholes who think being a certain height is all they need to do to impress a partner. Call it overcompensation if you want, but as a woman who has had sex with short men, tall men and mid-size men, I can promise you that whether you’re 5’3″ or 6’3″, effort is always sexy.

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