Eye of the beholder

Study finds men and women want very different things from their partners

Susanne Nilsson (Flickr)

A new cross-cultural study from psychologists at The University of Texas in Austin finds that men and women look for strikingly different ideals in their desired partners. “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,” says David Buss, one of the study’s co-authors. “The same holds true in highly sexually egalitarian cultures such as Sweden and Norway as in less egalitarian cultures such as Iran.” The study considered 19 possible mate preferences, of which five varied dramatically by gender: good financial prospects, physical attractiveness, chastity, ambition, and age. Results showed that men preferred partners who were younger and physically attractive, whereas women preferred older partners with good financial prospects, higher status, and ambition. The differentiation between men and women was such that if the researchers knew a person’s preferences in a partner they could predict the person’s sex with 92 percent accuracy. Individuals all have their unique preferences in partners, but this study suggests that at least certain preferences are largely divided along gender lines.

Read the full story at UTexas.edu.

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