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Gender Differences in Mate Selection


I have studied gender differences in mate selection from advertisements from the personals columns of the newspaper. They contain advertisements of ‘men seeking women’ and ‘women seeking men’ adverts. In this case, questionnaires were used as a method of data collection in the field. I generated and created random matching and variation of subjects respectively. This design helps to evaluate and analyze the characteristics that men and women seek when selecting a mate. Women prefer financially secure and caring men while men are attracted to physical characteristics. Many men and women seem to be looking for passion companionship and commitment. The findings vary across generations, cultures, and age differences.

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Gender refers to biological and social characteristics or traits by which men and women are defined. Gender differences are normally attributed to cultural and social factors surrounding human beings. The social and cultural factors can be changed as opposed to biological factors. These factors may include presentational styles of girls and boys and gendered perceptions of a subject. These factors influence how men and women select their mates.

Also, there are individual differences that determine what one looks for when selecting a mate. In Driver’s model of parental investment, women are more likely than men to select a mate who can increase the reproductive likelihood of their offspring. Women give more weight than men to socioeconomic status, race, character, Intelligence, and ambitiousness. Men, on the other hand, respond more to physical characteristics. Moreover, when women’s intelligence surpasses that of men, they don’t value it.


I employed a descriptive survey method. “These methods aimed at describing the relationship between variables and other factors of interest as they exist in a specified population the study sought to establish gender differences in mate selection”. The population studied contained people with different cultural backgrounds, ages, and different generations. We conducted random sampling where everyone had equal chances of being studied.

This sampling method helped in obtaining a sample that is both representatives of gender and population. I took ten percent of individuals in each culture; age and generation Gay (1981) observed that a sample of ten percent of the population is considered adequate. So, the total sample size was one hundred and fifty participants who were young, old, and of different cultures.

I used questionnaires that were best in conducting this study as they encourage an easy and cheap way of data collection. They are also convenient for both the researcher and the respondents. Questionnaires economically enabled the collection of data and accurately. The questionnaire was divided into five sections. The first section sought personal details of the respondents. For example, their gender; whether male or female, age in years; below eighteen years, eighteen to thirty-five, thirty-five to fifty and fifty and above and their cultural background; Americans, Asians, Africans, African Americans, Europeans.

The second section sought information on whether men liked women who possess youth, health, and what attributes do most men prefer in women. The third section asked questions about whether women seek men based on earning capacity or material possessions. The fourth section sought information on what types of love do people look for; passion, companionship, and commitment, and if there are gender differences in this regard. The fifth section asked whether men and women seek partners their age. Also, I looked for gender differences between men and women from pages of adverts from the personals column of a newspaper.

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Twenty percent of men and sixteen percent of women specified the partners they were seeking. 80% of men and 70% of women specified their age. The average age of men was forty-seven years and the average age of women was fifty years. The ideal partner’s age for men and women was thirty-five and fifty-two respectively. These data are represented in the table below.

Gender % age of mates % age of own Average age Ideal age
Men 20 80 47 35
Women 16 70 50 52


Advertisements from the personals column of the newspaper, there emerges gender differences between the page containing ads of a group of ”Men Seeking Women” and the page containing ads of a group of ”Women Seeking Men. From the group of ”Men Seeking Women,” it is evident that men seek women who possess personal attributes of being pretty, attractive, younger, or of the same age and those with a healthy lifestyle.

In most cases, there are major qualities that men categorically look for in women; they include honesty, faithfulness, open-mindedness, intelligence, kindness, patient, and maturity. For example, a forty-two years old man is looking for a woman who is creative, kind honest, and lives a healthy lifestyle. Another group of men seeks women who are compassionate, sexy, sense of humor, creative and think critically, close to their families, ready for companionship, willing for a long term relationship, and those who know what they want in life and are ready to go for it.

On the other hand a group of ”Women seeking Men” shows that ladies seek men based on the material they possess and earning capacity. In that regard, they look for men who are financially and economically stable. For instance, A lady aged forty-nine years, interested in a man who is independent, financially secure, easy to wake up to, and love to have fun.

From the newspaper articles on the two groups, it emerges that people seem to be looking for different types of love that is passion, companionship, commitment. In terms of passionate love, men and women are looking for intense love that is sexual or an enthusiasm that is intense for love as well as controllable emotion that is strong and bare. This is shown in people who advertise they want partners for hanging out, short term relationships, enjoy hiking, living life to the fullest, swimming, and photography.

This is evident in men and women who ask for partners for rock climbing, listening to music, traveling, swimming, friendship, casual dating, dancing, adventure, companionship, and photography. The other category is the ones who look for the type of love that involves commitment. Commitment is a situation whereby a person is engaged or has an obligation that restricts any freedom of a certain course of action. It is also a state of deeply-felt loyalty to a person. It is a promise or a responsibility to abide by certain beliefs that a person thinks are right for him or her. This is evident in the advertisements for people who are seeking partners that are compassionate, loving, committed, and ready for a long-term relationship, caring, faithful, and honest.

Regarding the types of love aforementioned in the ads of both men and women seeking mates gender differences are portrayed to some extent. For instance, most men are looking for women who are committed, honest, friendship, companionship, and friends with benefits, watch movies, and likes to cook. On the contrary, women seeking men look for qualities like; socio-economic stability, ambition, honesty, faithfulness, caring, loving, casual dating, genuine, intelligent, loyal, dependable, compassionate, hardworking, financially secure, and smart.

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Most men and women do not seek partners of their age. Some men are interested in partners who are younger than them. For example, a man at the age of fifty-five, who likes music, fishing, skiing is seeking a woman who is twenty years and above, a thirty-three years old man is looking for a sweet, loving lady, eighteen and above. However, other men do not specify the age of the mates they want to have.

For instance, a forty-one years old man, father of one daughter, down to earth, fun-loving, honest, creative, not into the bar scene is looking for a loving and committed relationship. Some women want someone a bit younger or older than them, for instance, a lady who is forty-two years of age, pretty, intelligent, fun, financially stable, well-traveled, and educated is seeking a nurturing, fun-loving, positive, active, and successful man who is between the age of thirty-five and forty-five. On the other hand, some women prefer not to specify the age of their men of interest. For example, a lady who is sixty-six years who loves her life seeks someone to walk through life with.


Gender differences influence who men and women seek to be their mates. Social, cultural, and biological factors in individuals also affect what they choose to be of importance while selecting a person of their interest. The majority of men seem to be interested in physical characteristics like sexy ladies. Women, on the other hand, want a man who is hardworking, ambitious, and financially stable.

Passion, commitment, companionship seem to dominate in both men and women, in mate selection. Age factor is also a determinant that males and females look for, in their spouses, fiancés, and lovers to be. In the study, the majority of men were interested in women much younger than them, while the majority of women do not specify the age of their mates.


Abrams, R. M. (2003). The successful business plan: Secrets & strategies. Palo Alto,CA: The Planning Shop.

Aronson, J., & Aronson, E. (2007). Readings about the Social Animal. New York: Worth Publishers.

Babbie, E. (2002). Survey research methods Belmont: Wodsworth.

Baron, R. A., & Branscombe, N. R. (2011). Social Psychology. New Jersey: Pearson Education.

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Buss, D. M. (1995). Psychological Sex Differences. Origins Through Sexual Selection. American Psychologist, 50(30), 164-171.

Appendix I: Questionnaire

Section I: Personal details

  • Gender
    • Male
    • Female
  • Age in years
    • Below 18 years
    • 18-35
    • 35-50
    • 50 and above

Section II: Attributes that man seek in women

  • Youth
  • Health
  • Others (specify)

Section III: Socioeconomic factors by women in selection of mates

  • Earning capacity
  • Material possessions

Section IV: Types of love influencing mate selection

  • Passion
  • Companionship
  • Commitment
  • Are there gender differences in these types of love(specify)

Section V: Age preferences in mate selection

  • Gender
    • Male
    • Female
  • At what age would you like your mate to be?
  • What is your age?

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