INTRODUCTION The purposes of this study were to assess and determine the range of a well-balanced anteroposterior lip position as evaluated by orthodontic patients from a series of varying lip positions in facial silhouettes, and whether the rater's sex and age were factors in the assessment. METHODS The average profiles were constructed from 30 Japanese male and female subjects with normal occlusion. A series of 13 profiles was developed for males and females, respectively. The lips were protruded or retruded by 1-mm increments from the average profile. One hundred fifty Japanese orthodontic patients were asked to choose the top 3 most-favored, well-balanced profiles for each sex. RESULTS The orthodontic patients tended to prefer a slightly retruded lip position than the average facial profile for both the male and female profiles. There was no significant difference between male and female raters in selecting the top 3 most-favored profiles. In the comparison of age groups, the over 30-year-old patients significantly preferred a more retruded lip position than did the 15- to 19-year-old and the 20- to 29-year-old patients for the female profile. CONCLUSIONS These results suggest that, when we formulate a treatment plan, we should ask the patients about lip position before we start treatment.