At a time when more men are considering body contouring and gluteal enhancement, an Internet survey provides new information on the “ideal” appearance of the male buttock, reports the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

“Our results demonstrate that there is a preferred male gluteal aesthetic,” says ASPS Member Surgeon Ashit Patel, MB, ChB, of Duke University in Durham, N.C., lead author of the new study. “The findings suggest that a moderately enhanced, well-proportioned appearance is most desirable.”

Defining the Ideal Male Buttocks

Buttock enhancement refers to cosmetic procedures performed by plastic surgeons to improve the appearance of the buttocks, including gluteal augmentation (using fat grafting and/or implants) and buttock lifting procedures. These procedures are most often performed in women; previous studies have used survey methods to define the “ideal” female buttock.

Men are increasingly interested in cosmetic surgical procedures, including gluteal enhancement. “But while previous studies have evaluated the features of attractive female buttocks, no one has really studied the aesthetic of the ideal male buttocks,” according to Patel. The researchers performed a survey study to assess perceptions of the most attractive features of the buttocks in men.

The online survey was performed using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform. Participants were presented with images of a man’s buttocks from three views: from the side, from behind and from a three-quarters view. In each view, the images were digitally altered to change the proportions of different areas of the buttocks.

For each view, survey participants ranked the images from most to least attractive. They also provided information on demographic characteristics, sexual orientation, and geographic location. The analysis included ratings from 2,095 self-selected members of the public. About 60% of respondents were men; about one-half were 25 to 34 years of age.

Rating the Most Attractive Proportions

The responses provided information on the most attractive proportions for each of the three views. “In our survey, raters thought the ideal male buttocks shouldn’t be flat, but also shouldn’t stick out too far,” says Patel. “The buttocks shouldn’t be too wide and should retain the characteristic dimple on the sides.” The article includes illustrations showing the differing views, including the proportions rated most attractive.

These features contrast with previous studies of the “ideal” female buttocks, in which a rounder and fuller appearance was preferred. The authors note that the differences are an important consideration in gender-affirming surgery in transgender patients.

Ratings showed some variation by respondent characteristics, including race, region of residence and sexual orientation. The preferred proportions were similar for male and female raters.

“Our study is one of the first to really focus on what makes the male buttocks most attractive,” Patel says. “We believe the findings will be helpful in discussions with patients considering gluteal enhancement and provide guidance in achieving optimal results and patient satisfaction.”