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The perfect partner: how age affects what men and women find attractive | relations


The characteristics that attract people to an ideal partner vary between men and women, but become more age-appropriate, has revealed a survey of more than 7,000 Australian online dating users.

The researchers asked 7,325 Australians aged between 16 and 65 to rate the importance of the nine characteristics of potential partners on a scale of 0 to 100.

Characteristics fell into three categories: aesthetics (age, attractiveness, physical build); resources (intelligence, education, income); and personality (trust, openness, emotional connection).

The study, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, found that both genders rated physical build, attractiveness and all three personality traits as very important. Revenues were rated as less significant.

Men aged 18 to 25 gave higher priority to traction and physical build, but as men got older, these factors became less important.

Women placed significantly greater weight on age, education, intelligence, income, trust, and emotional connection.

Younger women aged no more than 25 ranked personality factors much more important than men of a similar age, but the gap narrowed for adults over 30 years old. For adults 60 years and older, men rated personality factors higher than women.

Both genders gave greater importance to openness and trust with age.

The study’s lead author, Stephen Whyte at Queensland University of Technology, said the survey showed that the traits people attracted to a partner complemented their age-related lifestyle choices.

[Older respondents] care less about aesthetics and more about personality, he said. Maybe there is something to be said about age wisdom.

Whyte suggested that differences in preferences between men and women could be attributed to a theory in evolutionary psychology known as parental investment. She claims that women are more selective when choosing partners because they invest more reproductively in the survival of the offspring.

Beatrice Alba at Deakin University, who was not involved in the research, said that although many gender differences are the effect of socialization, some are driven by evolutionary demand.

Men can have large amounts of children, for the fact that they do not need to get pregnant and breastfeed, Alba said. They have the opportunity to mate with many females and also become partners with young females who have a greater reproductive potential throughout their lives.

Although parental investment theory is widely cited in evolutionary psychology, it has been criticized as a contributor to persistent sexism by certain scholars.

The study found that people who expressed an extremely high preference for a particular trait were more likely to care too much about multiple traits.

If one thing was very important to you, everything was very important to you, Whyte said.

This pattern was more prevalent among men in their peak years of fertility and income in men between the ages of 25 and 40 and women between 35 and 45 years old. Whyte attributed this to individual variations in the intensity of preferences.

Brendan Zietsch, from the University of Queensland and who was not involved in the study, said the study reinforced previous findings that men and women differed somewhat in their stated preferences for a potential partner.

But he said a growing body i INVESTIGATION suggested that what people said they wanted in a partner did not necessarily correspond to the choices they made.

Basically, we do not know the extent to which these stated preferences are meaningful. This is an ongoing area of ​​research, Zietsch said.

The study was part of Australian Sex Survey, a broader research project on sexuality and gender identity.

The survey was conducted in 2016 and surveyed Adult Match Maker users and its dating companion sites, but did not specifically ask if users also used other dating apps like Tinder or Bumble.

Whyte noted that because the study findings were obtained from users of online dating services, they may not be fully representative of the wider society.

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