Dads feel sexier after having a child, study says; TODAY dads discuss

April 23, 2013 at 1:02 PM ET

While you may have enjoyed the glow of pregnancy, the post-partum months aren’t always when you feel your prettiest. But did you notice your husband strutting his stuff?

A study published in the Journal of Gender Studies finds that men feel more attractive in the year after their child is born.

TODAY’s Willie Geist and his panel of dads, or as he calls them, “esteemed beefcakes,” pondered the study results on the show Tuesday.

Marriage and family therapist Hal Runkel said the research made sense; he called it “validation your boys can swim.”

“You create a new life and so you feel like hey, oh!” Runkel said. “But then it kind of sets in, like, oh crud. Now I’ve got to provide, now I’ve got to do lots of things.”

The study found that women's perception of their physical attractiveness declines in the year after giving birth, while new dads are more likely to like what they see in the mirror. The men’s heightened perceptions of their looks went back to normal after a year, according to a report in the Calgary Herald, but Geist’s guests shared their ideas for how men can keep up their game over the long-term.

Men need to take care of their bodies, and that, according to Runkel, married 20 years, includes grooming.

“I’m plucking, waxing stuff,” he said. “My number one goal is to still be attractive to my wife.”

Runkel, also a sex therapist, says when men tell him they want to have more sex, he prescribes manscaping.

“If you’re asking your wife to navigate your jungle in order to get close to you dude, you’re asking way, way too much,” Runkel said, to laughs all around.

Terry Crews, an actor, former NFL player and father of five, agreed that it's important to look spiffy.

He quoted Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders as saying: “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.”

“It’s the truth,” Crews said. “I find that the reactions I get when I’m dressed like this or I feel fit, it’s just a different reaction from other people. It’s always a positive reaction.”