What do men and women want - psychologically
What do men look for in a woman? What do women want in a man?
These are questions a frustrated single might ask after failed attempts at dating. Oftentimes it's best to take an irrational, natural approach to the problem, but it's also interesting to look at things with more thought, perhaps even scientifically.
The biological approach in psychology can provide a way to figure out the dynamics behind what men and women look for in each other instinctively. According to evolutionary personality psychologists, people choose mates based partially on what serves the needs of the human race.
What men look for in women
From an evolutionary perspective, men can best serve the needs of humankind by, well, reproducing as much as possible. Thus, men naturally are attracted to women with "high reproductive value"; they like ladies who can have lots of babies.
What outward signs do women give off of this quality? Age is a big factor. Of course, older women can't have children to the extent younger women can. The younger a woman looks, the more capable she appears of producing offspring. This said, men prefer younger women to older women. Even teenage boys desire older women for this reason; extremely young girls seem less capable of reproduction. Worldwide men prefer younger women; in studies of 37 different cultures males have shown they prefer women lesser in age (0.38 years in Finland to 6.45 in Nigeria).
Men are also attracted to the physical features associated with youth: smooth skin, good muscle tone, lustrous hair, and full lips. Features such as these are considered universal attributes of beauty.
Men are more likely to use physical attractiveness as a factor for considering marriage. Men are also more likely to try harder in relationships with more beautiful women. They are more likely to rate this factor higher in selecting mates.
This has an effect on women. Studies show that women feels worse about themselves and their marriages when shown pictures of more beautiful women. This is due to intrasexual selection - women get competitive with other women when it comes to certain features.
What women look for in men
Women have a little more at stake than men; while they want to reproduce as well, but they cannot have an infinite number of children. Also, traditionally (and based on biological psychology approaches) women are more responsible for remaining with children and raising them. Thus they cannot roam around for men, but must seek someone who can provide for their offspring. Men also differ in the ability to nurture children and pass on status or power.
Women are more likely to identify qualities such as dependability, ambition, and career-orientation as important in seeking a mate. Things like sense of humour are not so important.
Similar to women, men get competitive as well; they are aware of female preferences for good providers and may naturally boast of good earning power on dates.
While being a good worker, dependabile and ambitious, is important to a woman, mere dominance is not so preferable. If a man is unwilling to share with or invest in children, that is looked down upon by women.
These preferences are also universal.
Interestingly, women indicate a desire for mates older than they are in first marriages, from 2.26 years older for Great Britain to 5.10 years in Iran.
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