What women want: Females rate age, income and personality highly when it comes to sexual attraction, while men are more focused on LOOKS
- Study surveyed 7,325 dating app users about what they look for in a partner
- Women rated age, intelligence, income and trust higher than men
- Men assigned higher priority to attractiveness and physical build than women
It’s a question that has baffled most men for years – what do women want?
Now, a new survey has revealed exactly what females rate the highest when it comes to sexual attraction, as well as what men’s priorities are.
The findings suggest that while women rate age, income and personality highly, men are more focused on looks.
The researchers suggest that these differences may occur as a result of the fact that women’s window for reproduction is more limited than men’s, so they ‘can’t risk choosing poorly.’
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The findings suggest that while women rate age, income and personality highly, men are more focused on looks (stock image)
The results from the older participants suggest that while men tended to place a higher importance on looks than women, that gap narrowed with age
Each participant was asked to rate on a scale of 0 to 100 the importance of nine traits:
– Physical build/features
– Emotional connection
In the study, researchers from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane surveyed 7,325 users of dating websites about what they look for in a potential partner.
Each participant was asked to rate on a scale of 0 to 100 the importance of nine traits.
Dr Stephen Whyte, who led the study, explained: ‘We asked participants to rate the importance of nine characteristics associated with sexual attraction – age, attractiveness, physical build/features, intelligence, education, income, trust, openness and emotional connection.’
The results revealed similar priorities for men and women, with both rating physical build, attractiveness, and all three personality traits as important.
However, women rated the importance of age, education, intelligence, income, trust and emotional connection about nine to 14 points higher than men.
Meanwhile, men assigned higher priority to attractiveness and physical build than women.
The researchers specifically included people of a range of ages in their study, in the hopes of understanding how preferences change with age.
‘Most studies on sexual attractiveness rely on limited age distribution skewed to the younger population,’ Dr Whyte explained.
The results showed that women rated the importance of age, education, intelligence, income, trust and emotional connection about nine to 14 points higher than men (stock image)
‘We have taken data from a much larger age range to judge how the pattern of sexual preferences may differ with age.’
The results from the older participants suggest that while younger men tended to place a higher importance on looks than women, that gap narrowed with age.
And while younger women put more importance than men on personality, older men and women prioritised personality more similarly.
Dr Whyte said: ‘It is as men and women age their preferences come closer together, with both sexes placing greater importance on openness and trust while the relative importance of emotional connection is as important for males and females across all age groups.’
While the reason for the findings remain unclear, the researchers suggest that these differences may occur as a result of the fact that women’s window for reproduction is more limited than men’s, so they can’t risk choosing poorly.
‘Numerous scientific disciplines have long demonstrated the human preference for attractive mates and the ability to quickly identify attractiveness in others reflect a preference to reproduce what are considered good genes,’ Dr Whyte added.
‘And while both sexes prefer a physically attractive mate or potential partner, males have been shown to report stronger such preferences for attractiveness.
‘Females are more selective about other characteristics because their time for reproduction is more limited so they can’t risk choosing poorly.’
Beyond dating, the findings could have important implications in a broad range of situations, according to the team.
‘Micro level decision making on sex, reproduction and relationship formation influences a wide variety of macro trends and social norms, including gender roles and equity, labour market dynamics, fertility rates, wider sexual liberalism, politics, religion and the broader institution of marriage,’ Dr Whyte concluded.
HOW DID ONLINE DATING BECOME SO POPULAR?
The first ever incarnation of a dating app can be traced back to 1995 when Match.com was first launched.
The website allowed single people to upload a profile, a picture and chat to people online.
The app was intended to allow people looking for long-term relationships to meet.
eHarmony was developed in 2000 and two years later Ashley Madison, a site dedicated to infidelity and cheating, was first launched.
A plethora of other dating sites with a unique target demographic were set up in the next 10-15 years including: OKCupid (2004), Plenty of Fish (2006), Grindr (2009) and Happn (2013).
In 2012, Tinder was launched and was the first ‘swipe’ based dating platform.
After its initial launch it’s usage snowballed and by March 2014 there were one billion matches a day, worldwide.
In 2014, co-founder of Tinder, Whitney Wolfe Herd launched Bumble, a dating app that empowered women by only allowing females to send the first message.
The popularity of mobile dating apps such as Tinder, Badoo and more recently Bumble is attributable to a growing amount of younger users with a busy schedule.
In the 1990s, there was a stigma attached to online dating as it was considered a last-ditch and desperate attempt to find love.
This belief has dissipated and now around one third of marriages are between couples who met online.
A survey from 2014 found that 84 per cent of dating app users were using online dating services to look for a romantic relationship.
Twenty-four per cent stated that that they used online dating apps explicitly for sexual encounters.
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