Women’s Mating Preferences

Evolutionary psychology suggests that a man's physical attributes may be more critical to women looking for a short-term mate than a long-term mate. Compared with women in the long-term, the women in the short-term context displayed better memory for their features and worse memory for their verbal statements.

Preferences on Women's Mating Behavior

Men differ in generosity and various other factors that influence partner selection. Males differ in physical strength, athletic ability, ambition, hard work, compassion, empathy, emotional stability, intellect, social skills, sense of humor, kin network, and place in the status hierarchy. Males also bear different expenses in a mating relationship: Some arrive with children, significant debts, a foul temper, a selfish attitude, and promiscuous tendencies.

Furthermore, guys differ in hundreds of ways that women may find uninteresting. Through hundreds of thousands of years, women's preferences were concentrated on the most adaptively beneficial qualities among the myriad ways males differ. Women who lack specific adaptively important tastes are not our ancestors; they were out-bred by more selective women.

Evolution has rewarded women who choose males with beneficial characteristics and detest men with disadvantageous characteristics. Each feature contributes to a man's worth as a mate to a woman. Each of her preferences is associated with one crucial component.

Key Factors of Women’s Preference

Following are the key factors that play role and help women in making decision −

Preferences for Physical Characteristics

In humans, when choosing a partner of the opposite sex, women prefer a physically attractive mate. This is consistent with the idea that women discriminate among men on putative fitness metrics. The more physically attractive a man is, the higher his physical condition and the better his genes. Women are attracted to male features marked by sexual dimorphism (e.g., stronger jaw, more muscular body, more considerable height). Indeed, more masculine men tend to have more sexual partners.

Males and females throughout ancestral history have faced unique adaptation challenges and have developed a complex set of mating strategies to help solve these repetitive adaptation problems related to mating. Females face the problem of adaptation in finding and securing a mate and assessing whether that mate is an investment partner for her and her children. Physical traits that signal increased investment may be preferred for long-term mating, while good genetic traits may be preferred for short-term mating.

Women's sexual preference preferences are driven by physical traits in men that provide both indirect (i.e., genetic) and direct (i.e., resource acquisition, protection). These preferences assessed men's overall quality and ability to invest. Research on female partner preferences has focused on the role of enhanced secondary sex characteristics on physical attractiveness. Men with masculine traits are preferred because they have desirable traits that indicate good health and high-quality genetics.

Sex selection proposes that traits that predict markers of reproductive health and quality in men are selected by female mate selection. Women who prefer men with masculine traits can pass these desirable qualities to their future children and improve their viability.

Preference for Good Financial Prospects

Our current partner choices give a window into our mating history, much as our phobias of snakes and heights provide a window into ancestral risks. Much research shows that modern U.S. women value economic resources inmates far more than men do. In a 1939 survey, men and women in the United States ranked eighteen criteria for their attractiveness in a marital partner, ranging from unimportant to necessary.

Women did not consider high financial prospects necessary, but they did consider them essential, whereas males considered them desired but not particularly vital. Women rated financially solid prospects in a mate almost twice as much as men did in 1939, a finding that was reproduced in 1956 and 1967.

The sexual revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s had little effect on this gender disparity. In an attempt to duplicate past findings, 1,491 adults in the United States were questioned using the same questionnaire in the mid-1980s. Women and men from Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, and California regarded eight personal characteristics as valuable in a marital partner. Women still valued high financial prospects in a mate nearly twice as much as men in prior decades. Women's preference for economic resources has been demonstrated in various circumstances.

Preference for High Social Status

Traditional hunter-gatherer communities, which provide the best indication of what ancestral conditions would have been like, imply that prehistoric males had well-defined rank hierarchies, with resources flowing freely to those at the top and trickling slowly down to those at the bottom. Those described as "head men" and "large men" hold immense authority and enjoy the resource benefits of status among tribes such as the Melanesians, early Egyptians, Sumerians, Japanese, and Indonesians.

Women want males with high social standing because social status is a universal indicator of resource control. With prestige comes better food, more excellent land, and better health care. Higher social standing provides children with social possibilities that the offspring of lower-ranking fathers do not have. Access to more and better quality mates is often associated with higher socioeconomic status households for male offspring globally.

Preference for Athletic Prowess

Physical traits are essential in female partner selection across the animal kingdom. Male gladiator frogs are in charge of building nests and guarding the eggs. A female contemplating him in most courtships purposely nudges an immobile male gladiator frog. She hits him with much power, sometimes enough to rock him back or scare him away.

If the male moves too much or bolts from the nest, the female leaves quickly to find another partner. A female seldom rejects a guy who remains securely placed after being bumped. Bumping assists a female frog in determining how successfully the male will guard her clutch. The bump test exposes the male's physical characteristics.

Women are occasionally subjected to physical dominance by larger, more muscular males, which can result in damage and sexual dominance. During primordial circumstances, these situations likely happened with some frequency. Moreover, investigations of several nonhuman monkey societies show that male physical and sexual dominance of females is a recurring feature of our primate ancestors.

Barbara Smuts, a primatologist, researched baboon mating behaviors while living among them on Africa's savanna plains. She discovered that females commonly created "special connections" with males who physically protected them and their infants. In exchange, these females gave their "friends" priority sexual access during estrus. Female baboons essentially swap sex for safety.

Preference for Humor

Having a sense of humor is an essential human hobby worldwide. The theory of sexual selection in mammals suggests that females, compared with males, invest more time and energy in reproduction and parenting. Therefore, females are more limited than males in the number of females they can conceive. This limitation often implies more excellent selectivity in mate selection in offspring, as they prioritize quality over quantity of offspring.

When applied to humans, one consequence of this theory is that men compete for women's attention. Moreover, that is where the humor can come in. Humor can serve as a mate selection tool because it provides women with information about the mating qualities of men beyond the obvious. Humor does not just mean "funny"; it is associated with more complex traits such as creativity, intelligence, resilience, and social skills. By choosing men with a sense of humor, women are likelier to choose partners who are witty, intelligent, adaptable, and social.

Finally, if humor is a tool for choosing a potential mate, women's and men's brains may have evolved differently to use this mechanism. Specifically, women's brains may have developed a predisposition to judge humor, while men's brains may have developed a different predisposition to produce humor. Evolutionary scientists have proposed that humor is a sex-selected trait in men that signals mate quality.

Indeed, women tend to like men who make them laugh, and men tend to like women who laugh at their jokes. Men consider the ability to absorb humor a necessity and the production of humor a luxury when asked to create an ideal long-term partner. For women, it is quite the opposite.

Studies have suggested that humor is a sex-selected trait, an honest signal of intelligence and creativity, created by men to be valued and valued by women. High. Therefore, humor production should be moderately correlated with creativity and intelligence, especially verbal intelligence. One trait men can advertise, and women can appreciate is a sense of humor. Humor production is defined as the ability to produce humorous communications or actions and be perceived by others as witty or humorous.


Women may exhibit preferences simply because they are inclined to do so, and preferences may have evolved through evolutionary mechanisms, such as natural selection or drift, unrelated to regarding sex selection. Sensory exploitation could not only drive the evolution of male secondary sexual characteristics but could also trigger other evolutionary mechanisms in mate selection.

Females who choose their mates carefully are less likely to lose their reproductive investment. Males can be subject to strong selection for specific traits favored by females. Most women consider these traits an indicator of their partner's fitness. On average, women show stronger preferences than men for partners with good earning potential.

Studies reporting lower sex differences in marital preference in countries with greater gender equality have been interpreted as evidence that these sex differences in marital preference are due to different roles that society imposes on men and women.

Updated on: 12-Apr-2023


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