Genders Differ in Mate Preferences


Source: University of Texas at Austin
Published: 2015-08-09
Summary: Study of male and females shows sex differences in mate preferences much larger than previously appreciated and stable across cultures.


Men's and women's ideas of the perfect mate differ significantly due to evolutionary pressures, according to a cross-cultural study on multiple mate preferences by psychologists at The University of Texas at Austin.

The study of 4,764 men and 5,389 women in 33 countries and 37 cultures showed that sex differences in mate preferences are much larger than previously appreciated and stable across cultures.

"Many want to believe that women and men are identical in their underlying psychology, but the genders differ strikingly in their evolved mate preferences in some domains," said co-author of the study and psychology professor David Buss. "The same holds true in highly sexually egalitarian cultures such as Sweden and Norway as in less egalitarian cultures such as Iran."

Mating is multidimensional and requires matching a pattern of mate preferences to a pattern of potential mate features. The researchers suggest that these patterns of mate preferences are far more linked to gender than any individual mate preference examined separately would suggest.

Researchers found that they could predict a person's sex with 92.2 percent accuracy if they knew his or her mate preferences.

"The large overall difference between men's and women's mate preferences tells us that the sexes must have experienced dramatically different challenges in the mating domain throughout human evolution," said lead author and graduate researcher Daniel Conroy-Beam.

According to the study, men favor mates who are younger and physically attractive. Women seek older mates with good financial prospects, higher status and ambition.

"Because women bear the cost of pregnancy and lactation, they often faced the adaptive problem of acquiring resources to produce and support offspring, while men faced adaptive problems of identifying fertile partners and sought cues to fertility and future reproductive value," Conroy-Beam said.

Of the 19 mate preferences that researchers considered, five varied significantly based on gender: good financial prospects, physical attractiveness, chastity, ambition and age. Four other preferences -- pleasing disposition, sociability and shared religious and political views -- were not sex-differentiated.

"Few decisions impact reproduction more than mate choice," Conroy-Beam said. "Mate preferences will therefore be a central target and driver of biological evolution. We have found some promising initial results, and we think this holistic approach will help answer a lot of questions in mating research in the future."

The study "How sexually dimorphic are human mate preferences?" was published in the August 2015 issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

This information is from our Sexual Diversity and Sexuality Information section - Full List Here.

Related Topics

  • Male Preference for Female Body Type has Evolutionary Roots - Study shows standards of beauty, attributing modern male preferences for women with a curvy backside to prehistoric influences - By: University of Texas at Austin - Published: (2015-03-20)
  • How do Men and Women Respond to Gender Bias in STEM - Research reveals gender biases limit opportunities for women within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines - By: SAGE Publications - Published: (2015-01-08)
  • Perceptions of Sexual Deviance - Sexual expression viewed as being abnormal including sexual sadomasochism, fetishism, cross dressing, rape and incest at the extreme end of the range - By: Thomas C. Weiss - Published: (2015-02-27)




Send us your coming events & LGBT related news stories for publishing on SexualDiversity.org

Neurological Research Supports Existence of Disorders Due to Addictive Sexual Behavior


Those Sensitive to Sexual Disgust More Likely To Be Kantian


Female Equality in the Workforce: Rising Fast or Falling Short?



In July 2017, President Donald Trump announced, "After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military..."


While non-LGBT students struggle most with school classes, exams, and work, their LGBT peers say the biggest problem they face is unaccepting families.


District of Columbia residents can now choose a gender neutral option of their drivers license.


80% of gay and lesbian youth report severe social isolation and 42% of people who are LGBT report living in an unwelcoming environment.


According to the Williams Institute about 46% of those in same-sex relationships have college degrees. This may not sound particularly surprising until you consider that the number for heterosexual couples is close to 30%.


80% of gay and lesbian youth report severe social isolation and 42% of people who are LGBT report living in an unwelcoming environment.

Survey Results of Sexual Behavior in Germany


Gay Daughter Unmasks Her Coming Out Story


Sexual Pleasure - Women Report Diverse Preferences


Cite This Document