“Help! It seems like no matter what I do, I can’t shrink my thick thighs. Whenever I try to diet, I’m just hungry all day. I’ll drop a little bit, but it’s never in my bulky thighs. I keep in great shape by working out, but the size of my thighs never budges. If anything, working out makes them even more solid! I don’t know if I should play up my thighs or try to hide them. Do guys like skinny thighs or thick thighs? I can’t tell how I’m supposed to feel about them. I’m getting so many mixed messages and I don’t know what to do!”
We’ll talk about your question in a minute, but first, let’s talk about YOU.
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You know how some people can seem to eat whatever they’d like and never put on a pound while other people seem to have to stay constantly vigilant lest they slip up in a diet or workout plan? This is your body type, sometimes referred to as your somatotype.
The three major body types are:
- Ectomorphs, who tend to be long-limbed and lean. They don’t put muscle or body fat on easily. Ectomorphs tend to have a very even distribution of body fat and muscle and faster metabolisms.
- Endomorphs, who tend to maintain a higher body fat percentage and shorter limbs. Women with the endomorphic body type tend to retain body fat along their lower body, with fuller hips, thighs, and booty. Endomorphs aren’t necessarily overweight— a lot of small-waisted but “curvy” women fall into this category. But of the three, endomorphs are the ones who tend to watch what they eat and stick to a workout plan.
- Mesomorphs, who are the most naturally athletic of the three. They can gain and lose body fat without much effort, but they have a naturally dense musculature. For the majority of women with a mesomorphic body type, this shows up in strong, developed calves and thighs. A lot of women with this body type are constantly watching their upper body workouts, trying to avoid looking too ripped. Mesomorphs can adapt to a new exercise plan pretty quickly and a little gym goes a long way.
It sounds like you’re probably on the mesomorph or endomorph side of the spectrum, and that’s perfectly fine! You shouldn’t feel too bad for yourself for being in the same body type as Beyonce, Sofia Vergara, or Marilyn Monroe. They seem to be catching men’s eye just fine.
While you can definitely expect to see some changes in your body when you make lifestyle changes, some things, like your bone structure and general body composition will never change. And that’s perfectly okay– each body type has its own advantages and disadvantages. One of the things you should certainly come to terms with is the shape and composition of your legs. If you’ve got leg muscle, it’s unlikely to go anywhere. If you have a propensity toward thicker, stronger legs, it’s very unlikely that you’ll ever get the thin limbs of an ectomorph. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, doing regular cardio for at least 30 minutes, at least five times a week can help give you definition and tone without bulking up. This includes the gym classics like the treadmill, the elliptical and the stationary bike, but it’s also important to shake it up with some variety. Pilates, dance, cardio barre, and martial arts would be excellent choices to try out. Keeping it fun and challenging is also one of the most important factors in creating an overall lifestyle plan that you can stick with over time.
Remember that even though it seems like exercise is the enemy, it’s more about doing it correctly. If the bulk of your thigh muscles bothers you, you’ll want to work on building lean muscle mass which will tighten the thigh muscles and make them appear firmer. Regular cardio and a high-fiber, healthy diet will also help cut back on your overall fat percentage, including any surface layer fat on your legs. But again, keep in mind that there is no one size fits all in changing your body. What worked excellently for a friend might not make as much of a difference for you. Just be patient and work to find something sustainable and healthy.
Now— back to your question. The real answer is… YES. Men love women with skinny thighs. Men love women with thick thighs.
One of the biggest turn-ons for most men is a woman who knows what she’s got and rocks it with confidence. They like a woman who saunters into the room loving her body and dressing in a way that makes her feel sexy and good about herself.
But as to getting a definitive answer on what kind of body, and thighs, guys find attractive? Two scientists at the journal Evolution and Human Behavior conducted a study last year to find out what kind of kicking curves are really doing it for the fellas. The researchers found that in well-nourished societies (that is, where food is generally available and relatively easy to come by), men favored women with smaller waist sizes and larger hips.
Now here is where it gets weird— women with a smaller waist and larger hips and thighs tend to have higher blood levels of a fatty acid that is good for fetal brain development. So some part of his reptile brain is looking at bigger hips and thighs and thinking that you are one hot mama (literally). In cultures and time periods where food is scarcer and obesity is a sign of prosperity, the tables shift and men start going for larger women with fuller bellies and greater fat reserves. The theory is that, just like the waist-to-hips ratio, somewhere deep in their brains, they know that a larger woman will have the reserves needed to carry a pregnancy even if the food sources aren’t reliable.
Of course, most guys aren’t conscious of why big hips and thighs really get them going. They just know what they like. And they also don’t develop preferences out of thin air either— as the concept of “the ideal body” changes, more men claim it as the body type they’re attracted to. Go figure!
To make it even more maddening, if we take a look at the “ideal woman” decade by decade, you’ll start to see a bit of a yo-yo effect. Big shapely hips, butts and boobs are in for awhile, then it’s a more androgynous look, then it’s back to a more voluptuous frame. Look at the spell the stick-thin Twiggy cast over the 1960s compared to the trim-and-toned Farrah Fawcett craze of the 1970s. The 1980s and early 90s had women huffing and puffing away at aerobics classes to try to escape the very same round booty that would be in style, thanks to Sir Mix-a-Lot and J. Lo, by the mid 1990s.
But the truth of the matter is that these beauty standards have always been almost impossible for most women to achieve. These standards don’t reflect the average woman by any means, so cut yourself some slack! Over the years, both your own body and the overall cultural beauty standards will change over time and go through a myriad of phases, so don’t stress too much.
The best thing that you can do is let go of obsessing over the body type you don’t have and make it work for the body type you’ve actually got. Don’t try to hide behind unflattering clothes to camouflage the parts of your body that you don’t like. Instead, play up the whole hottie package and flaunt what you’ve got!
Not to mention, thick thighs give you a ton of sexy wardrobe options. A wrap dress will give you that classically curvy va-va-voom silhouette, while a pair of form-fitting skinny jeans will catch the attention of the loyal members of the thick-thigh fan club. And a pencil skirt is perfectly appropriate for work or school, while still accentuating your beautifully feminine frame. If you’re a little body conscious right out of the gate, try a maxi dress that’s tight on top and flowing in the bottom. Just don’t fall into the trap of wearing a long, baggy tunic top or oversized t-shirt to hide your legs. This can have the reverse effect and make you appear shapeless all around. In general, you are going to want to look out for outfits that have a clear line– either a tapered waistline or two pieces of clothing like a top and skirt combination– across the smallest points of your waist. (Yep, that’s a call back to that waist to hip ratio study we talked about earlier! There’s a reason these things creep into our fashion choices!)
And remember that the key top dressing for your body is to attract guys who are really into your body type as it is– not somehow pull off some trick of the eye for guys who aren’t. Definitely don’t think of your thighs as your weakness. Look at your thick thighs as your superpower. Go out there and kick ass!