Partner preferences: What characteristics do men and women desire in their short-term sexual and long-term romantic partners?

Pamela C. Regan, Lauren Levin, Rodney Gate, Susan Sprecher, F. Scott Christopher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

121 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current investigation extends recent studies that have examined the degree to which various traits are preferred in a short-term sexual relationship versus a long-term romantic relationship. College students (N = 561) expressed their preferences for 23 traits or characteristics in a “short-term sexual” or a “long-term romantic” relationship partner (randomly assigned). Across relationship types, participants preferred internal qualities (e.g., personality, intelligence) to a greater degree than external qualities (e.g., wealth, physical attractiveness). In addition, two sex differences were found. As expected, men emphasized attributes related to sexual desirability more than did women, and women valued characteristics pertaining to social status more than did men. Finally, both men and women focused upon sexual desirability (e.g., attractiveness, health, sex drive, athleticism) when evaluating a short-term sexual partner, and placed more importance on similarity and on socially appealing personality characteristics (e.g., intelligence, honesty, warmth) when considering a long-term romantic relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Psychology and Human Sexuality
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 5 2000

Keywords

  • Attraction
  • Male selection
  • Partner preferences
  • Sex differences
  • Short-term and long-term relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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