The dimples on your back might actually say something about you.
Well, they definitely say one thing about you: You’ve got something in common with the ancient Greeks.
That’s because back dimples—also known as Dimples of Venus for women, or Apollo dimples for men—have been around for centuries. They don’t seem to serve any biological purpose, of course, and not everyone has them (more on this a little later). They’re merely indentations created by a ligament stretching across part of your spine; if you don’t have them, that ligament simply isn’t as pronounced, and your back doesn’t seem to have those indentations.
The Dimples of Venus are also widely known as a “beauty mark,” something that isn’t too surprising given their informal nickname.
But could dimples really mean something for your overall health? Yes…and no.
One of the most common ideas associated with the Dimples of Venus is that they indicate a healthy sex life. Yes, you read that correctly. The supposed science behind the claim suggests that the dimples are a sign of good circulation, which could explain why they’re seen as desirable in so many cultures; maybe, on a primal level, we recognize that they’re a sign of fertility.
We found a few sites referencing that claim, notably the Sun, a popular British tabloid. However, we couldn’t actually find the referenced study. There’s not much research on dimples—even the ones on your face—because they’re seen as something of an open-and-shut case, scientifically. They’re an anomaly caused by muscle structure, but not something that imparts any sort of an advantage. In a sense, they’re a deformity (although we’d argue that they’re pretty adorable for a deformity).
Is there nothing to the claims? We’re not anatomy experts, but while it makes sense that a stretched ligament (in other words, a dimple) could mean better circulation in a particular part of the body, we’d take the claim with a grain of salt.
So, can a person who doesn’t have dimples get them?
In a word, no. Back dimples and cheek dimples are thought to be entirely hereditary. If you’ve never had them, you’re not going to get them.
If you had them, but they disappeared, you may be able to get them back by exercising a bit, but probably not; facial muscle structure changes as people age, and many people lose their dimples permanently during puberty or during their late teenage years. That could be another explanation for why dimples are seen as attractive—they’re a sign of youthfulness, which is, in turn, a sign of fertility.
Ultimately, facial dimples probably don’t do a thing for you, either, but they’re seen as desirable in many cultures. In some Persian literature, for instance, the chin dimple is referred to as the “chin well,” since it’s where poor lovers are trapped.
For the most part, you’re stuck with what you were born with. Dimples are caused by a dominant gene, but they can skip a generation; if your partner has dimples and you don’t, your children will have a decent chance of getting them, but there’s no guarantee. That might be bad news for some dimple fans, but sadly, that’s the way it is.