“Fulfilling each other’s evolved desires is one key to harmony between a man and woman.”– David M. Buss
You might have heard of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, but have you heard of sexual selection?
That is, the evolution of characteristics due to their mating advantage rather than survival advantage.
So, how does sexual selection work in the modern dating world?
Evolutionary psychologist Dr David Buss breaks it down by going back to the origins — Darwin identifying two causal processes by which mating advantage can occur:
- Intrasexual competition: In the animal kingdom, males engage in combat, with the victor gaining sexual access to the female. Whatever characteristics lead to success in these same-sex battles are passed on in greater numbers.
- Preferential mate choice: Where members of one sex agree with each other on the characteristics that are desired in the opposite sex, then those (in the opposite sex) possessing the same desired characteristics have a mating advantage. They are chosen over those lacking those desired characteristics. And, if there is some heritable basis to these characteristics, they are passed on.
With humans, these two processes of sexual selection are related to each other: The mate preferences of one sex determine the ground rules for competition in the opposite sex. If, for example, women preferred to mate with men who were able and willing to devote resources to them, this would create competition between men over which of them could provide the best and most resources.
Now, the criteria people use to select mates differ according to the type of commitment they are looking for. Are they are looking for a short-term or long-term commitment?
A large-scale study conducted by Dr Buss found that the qualities/characteristics people looked for in long-term mates can be divided into 3 clusters:
- Qualities both men and women wanted (universal desires men and women share)
- Qualities that were sex-differentiated (where one sex preferred a quality more than the other sex)
- Qualities that were variable across cultures (where some cultures desired a quality and others found it irrelevant)
According to the study, both sexes desire qualities like intelligence, kindness, mutual attraction, good health, dependability, emotional stability, and love.
Qualities women prefer in long-term mates
Women look for qualities such as good earning capacity, slightly older age (men that are 3.5 – 4.5 years older), high social status, drive, ambition, and ability to acquire resources long-term.
Because attention structure (how well others pay attention to a person) is a key determiner of status, women tend to focus on it when looking for a long-term mate.
Women also use “mate-choice copying” to identify suitable mates. Men who are approved/desired by multiple women are deemed to be more desirable than men who are not “approved” by other women.
While men focus more on physical cues, women pay more attention to what men smell and sound like (olfactory and auditory cues).
Qualities men prefer in long-term mates
Men tend to look for physical attractiveness and youth (at least 3 – 4 years younger) in potential long-term mates.
From an evolutionary standpoint, physical attractiveness provides information on women’s fertility and reproductive health. Qualities such as clear skin and eyes, symmetrical features, low waist-to-hip ratio, full lips, and lustrous hair have evolved to be part of society’s standards of attractiveness.
As men get older, they prefer even younger women. The age gap increasingly widens.
How do “mating” criteria differ when it comes to finding short-term mates/sexual partners?
Physical appearance becomes more important to women in short-term mating, whereas men are willing to drop their standards provided there is minimal risk and commitment involved.
Women tend to prioritize men with “bad-boy” qualities — men who are highly self-confident, slightly arrogant, and enjoy taking risks.
Women’s attraction to men is more context-specific than men’s attraction to women.
So, what are YOU looking for in a mate?
And what would you like the relationship with your mate to look like?
I believe that when you know exactly what you desire and are willing to take the action steps to co-manifest these desires, you are on your way.
Join me on Circle of Growth where I help you get clear on your heart’s deepest desires and show you how — using the tips, tools, and techniques I’ll give you — you can begin to co-manifest them.
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From my heart to yours,