What Women Look For In A Mate

  • Better Man in brief ...
  • You probably don't have much control over the biological selection criteria.
  • Women are programmed to look for traits that imply virility.
  • In addition, women frequently seek out intellectual and caring partners.
"Men primed to consider mating preferred to purchase goods that others would notice."

In the mating game, men and women most likely have access to a variety of conscious and unconscious strategies that they employ to secure both short-term and long-term partners. These strategies were developed over millions of years of evolution, and we’re still programmed to use them today. Although science is far from having all the answers to why we behave in the ways we do, hypotheses and theories to explain our desires abound. Here are a few of the physical and psychological traits that research suggests women are looking for in a man.

1- Bad boys

In 2009, a study by Peter Jonason of New Mexico State University and his colleagues found that men who rated higher on measures of narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy, or what is often referred to as the “dark triad” of traits, are likely to have more sexual partners than other men. David Schmitt, an author on this study, reported similar findings after he surveyed over 35,000 people across more than 50 cultures. While it is unclear exactly why women might be interested in these men, one possibility is that they represent a short-term mating strategy for cavewomen. For example, if the quality of a bad boy’s genetic material is perceived by a woman to be higher than that of her present partner, pursuing a secret sexual encounter with such a man may be appealing. Another option is that because extroversion and the ability to be charming tend to accompany the “dark triad,” a woman may be deceived into thinking her new lover plans to stick around when in fact he has no such intention.

2- Material support

In 2007, Vladas Griskevicius of Arizona State University and his colleagues published a study in which they demonstrated that men in a romantic mind frame were more likely than men in a neutral mind frame to spend a fictional $5,000 on luxury items. The interesting point here was that these luxury items were conspicuous -- that is, men primed to consider mating preferred to purchase goods that others would notice. The interpretation of these findings is that if women have a biological bias toward men that can provide for them, in the modern world, one way for a man to signal his ability to provide is via conspicuous consumption.

3- Great conversationalist

For women, relationship building happens with everyone all the time. To our ancestors, the ability to form social networks was vital to ensuring the survival of one’s self and children. Furthermore, the way women tend to solidify social ties is by discussing their daily lives and personal struggles. Men, on the other hand, are more hard-wired than women to problem solve and therefore often don’t understand women’s need to feel close through discussion of hardships. Should you be able to suppress your urge to fix her dilemmas, however, she’ll wind up feeling emotionally closer to you, which for many women translates to physical intimacy. If you’re not sure how to be a great conversationalist, don’t worry, because it basically involves being a good listener rather than doing much talking yourself.

4- Feminine and masculine faces

Depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle, women show a preference for different types of male faces. During ovulation, it appears that women favor masculine male faces with such features as a robust jaw line. At other times of the month, however, women indicate they find more feminine male faces, such as those with softer features, more attractive. Evolutionary psychologists have interpreted this data to mean that while women may seek out males with a high degree of facial masculinity for short-term sexual prospects, they tend to form longer-lasting relationships with men that have softer facial features because these men may have been more likely in prehistoric times to hang around and help raise children.

Your natural smell is hugely important to women."

5- Systematizing abilities and extraversion

Men who are extroverted and good with manipulating tools or technology may have an evolutionary advantage, as their ancestors might have been better at mastering their environment. As a result of the higher social status and increased chances for survival that these abilities conferred back in the day, women are programmed to be drawn towards these traits in a man.

6- Intelligence

Online daters, take note! A recent study by Monica Whitty and Tom Buchanan, published in 2010, examined the appeal of a screen name in both men and women when it comes to internet dating. While men were more likely to contact women with screen names that were suggestive of physical attractiveness or sex appeal, women went more for men whose handles were indicative of intellectual characteristics.

7- Low anxiety

A man’s attachment style can have an effect on his ability to find and keep a mate. In a study on speed dating, men with an insecure or anxious attachment style were less successful in finding a match than men with secure attachment styles. In adults, researchers have discerned four attachment styles that are largely derived from an individual’s childhood experiences.

8- Smell

Your natural smell is hugely important to women. Many studies have found that women not taking the pill are more attracted to the scent of men whose major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is extremely different from theirs. Essentially, if she likes the way you smell, it is nature’s way of telling her that the two of you will make a good genetic match.

9- Face symmetry

While facial symmetry is a physical trait that both men and women find desirable in the opposite sex, a study by Randy Thornhill, Steven Gangestad and Randall Comer has reported that women are more likely to orgasm during sex with a man whose face is symmetric.

Evolved to mate

Many of the mate selection factors listed here are beyond an individual’s control, pointing perhaps to the notion that we have less power over our desires than we tend to believe. At the same time, huge variations in individual preferences and the fact that we’re far from understanding the intricacies of human mating behavior mean that you should take heart; you’re probably doing more things right when it comes to attracting women than you'd think.

See you at the finish line!