We’ve talked about human attraction between men and women in the past here and here. Previous researchers argued that what women value depended on the type of relationship they were looking for. Women looking for long-term partners want someone who will be a good provider for them and their children, but women seeking short-term flings care more about masculinity and physical attractiveness, features that may be passed down to children.
New research, however, has identified four categories of characteristics women seek in a partner:
* Good genes, reflected in desirable physical traits
Women look for attractiveness because it means the person has “good genes” (whether or not they actually do).
Who doesn’t like a person with good resources — a home, money, a stable good-paying job — that can help provide for them and future children?
* The desire to have children and good parenting skills
This, of course, only applies to women who are actually looking to have children (or more children).
* Loyalty and devotion
Not much point in getting involved in a relationship if the person you’re interested in being involved with isn’t able to be loyal and committed to you.
Most women attempt to secure the best combination of the qualities they desire from the same man. A small portion of women who do not find a partner with all the qualities may trade some characteristics for others.
We don’t think any of this is rocket science or particularly new. Although women’s selectivity across categories reflected how attractive they appeared to other people, the researchers found the characteristics men desired in a partner did not vary based on their own physical attractiveness.