“I’m not a good-looking person. I’ve struggled to get girls for most of my life, and then, suddenly, I win the casual-sex lottery by getting famous”. –
Frank Skinner

I believe this is the most sought after query, a dilemma men have been facing since ages and a challenge for all and sundry. From time immemorial, men have tried,worked on,wanted and often failed to answer or bring a hypothesis to ”What do women want?”. We have had so many philosophers and workers to have from times unknown indulged in understanding and trying to decode a woman’s desire-her actual needs.

“Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac”. Henry Kissinger.

There are several differences between the Male and the Female traits and preferences-biologically,psychologically and socially. One way to distinguish is by Evolutionary Psychology. As per Wikipedia, “Evolutionary psychology (EP) is a theoretical approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological structure from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations – that is, the functional products of natural selection or sexual selection in human evolution”.
Various workers,scientists,doctors, and psychologists have worked on studying female traits and preferences to come round to a common round for an explanation to what women actually want and why they do what they do while choosing partners. I wish to compile and bring forth what I extensively researched the topic and attempt to bring forth some lesser known facts henceforth.
In a SAPA Project Test(a test done for psychological traits), in a paper by Jennifer S. Denisiuk,Rochester Institute of Technology said-From the evolutionary perspective, human sex differences reflect the pressure of differing physical and social environments between females and males in primeval times.

It is believed that each sex faced different pressures and that the differing reproductive status was the key feature in life at that time. This resulted in sex-specific evolved mechanisms that humans carry with them these are the causes of sex-differentiated behavior. The two sexes developed different strategies to ensure their survival and reproductive success. This explains why men and women differ psychologically. Because women invest greatly in the reproduction of offspring, they have developed traits that help improve the chances that each offspring will survive.”
Females have a specific behaviour when it comes to their sexual preferences which are very well explained by the Evolutionary Psychology.
Due to inequalities in parental investment, females face several adaptive problems in finding the right mate.

Picture4Ancestral females who had the right psychological mechanisms to find mates of higher value more sexually attractive than those of a lower value would have been more reproductively successful.
Thus, females evolved preferences (information processing biases) that would enable them to assess such traits, and find them sexually and romantically attractive.
So what according to you could have been the traits in our ancestors-male counterparts ?
Well of course-
1.Ability and Willingness to Provide Resources.
2.Ability and Willingness to Provide Protection.

I’ll talk about both of them separately –

1.ABILITY AND WILLINGNESS TO PROVIDE RESOURCES
Human males can provide a range of resources for the female:
1.Food.
2.Shelter.
3.Protection from other males.

Females should have evolved preferences for males who:
1.Have good financial prospects.
2.Are older than themselves.
3.Have higher social status.
4.Display hard working and industrious characters.

Certainly,these are clear signs of resource acquisition.
If we talk about financial aspects, Kenrick et al. (1990) asked participants to indicate the minimum percentiles of characteristics they would find acceptable in a potential partner.
Females stated that the minimum acceptable earning capacity for a male partner is around 70% that of other men.

Women also had higher standards regarding financial prospects at all stages of a relationship. This certainly indicates financial status as a potent factor through which a woman’s interest can be judged.

There is ample evidence to this data-
Trivers (1985) found that American men who marry in a given year generally earn 50% more money than men of the same age who do not marry.
Buss (1989) showed that women valued financial prospects around twice as highly as men.
As far as job and educational rounds are concerned- As many women choose males that are still young and relatively lacking in social status and resources, a good cue to potential resource acquisition is education and willingness to seek resources.
Also,Women are significantly more likely to discontinue relationships with males who become unemployed, lack career motivation or show laziness (Betzig, 1989).
Status and Male Attractiveness is an another key ground in deciding the long-term partnership for women. Townsend and Levy (1900) conducted a study where individuals were shown various photographs of men from high,medium and low social status. Male targets were pre-rated for physical attraction and divided into two categories – handsome, and homely.
Women were more willing to engage in relationships with high status/homely males than with medium – or low status / handsome males at all levels of involvement

The Age Factor
When it comes to age, since older men mostly have attained higher socio-economic status and financial stability, women tend to prefer older men in most of the cases.
Buss (1989): In a cross-cultural survey female preference was for someone around 4 years older.

Picture5

2.ABILITY AND WILLINGNESS TO PROVIDE PROTECTION

Surveys consistently show that females prefer males who are socially dominant and have the respect of their peers.
Sadella et al., (1987) made video’s depicting males and females engaging in dominant or submissive behaviour with another male or a female.
Dominant behaviour increased the sexual attractiveness and dating desirability of the males.

Several considerations influence a person’s selection of a suitable mate. Evolutionary psychology indicates that characteristics that people seek inmates depend on their sex and whether it is a short-term or a long-term mating.
Physical appearances play a big part in mate selection. Women prefer men with more symmetrical features; clear, unblemished skin; and white sclera of the eye, because these features indicate good health, which also means “good” genes.

Women also prefer that men have masculine features, such as the strong jaw, facial hair, broader shoulders, narrower hips, and a muscular build, because these indicate sufficient testosterone for fertility.
Males with facial hair are rated as being more masculine, strong, potent, dominant and courageous, but also as lacking in self-control, dirty, aggressive and reckless (Reed & Blunk, 1990)

When it comes to age, most women prefer older guys who are intelligent, have high social status, and have money, because these indicate that they have enough power to obtain resources that are needed for survival or offspring. All these things come into consideration as a woman proceeds to select a mate because a long-term commitment is what she has in mind. (Eagly & Wood1990)

Herz & Inzlicht (2002) asked males and females to rank various physical characteristics in a potential partner.While males were primarily concerned with physical attractiveness, females considered a man’s smell to be more important than ‘looks’, ‘money’ or ‘ambition’.

When it comes to sex, common wisdom holds that men roam while women crave closeness and commitment. We have several workers continuously working to clear out the dilemma and bring forth the real truth.
Daniel Bergner, in his book ”What Women Want” turns everything we thought we knew about women’s arousal and desire inside out. Drawing on extensive research and interviews with renowned behavioral scientists, sexologists, psychologists, and everyday women, he forces us to reconsider long-held notions about female sexuality.
Meredith Chivers, Professor of Psychology,Queen’s University,Ontario ,a high regard scientist and a member of editorial board of world’s leading journal of sexual health-Archives of Sexual Health conducted a test on several males and females-straight,homosexual and heterosexual. In her study, the genitals of volunteers were connected by Plethysmographs to gauge blood flow to the genitals.Each of the individuals was shown 4 pictures, a well-built sparsely clad muscular man, man having sex with man, woman having sex with a woman and a woman doing strenuous exercise. In surprising finding-while straight men were barely affected by a man having sex with man, women who claimed themselves to be straight were found to be aroused with lesbian sex as well as men having sex with men !
Another groundbreaking study done by her was women’s desires and needs in respect to forced sex or sexual assault by the same worker. She arrived at an evolutionary hypothesis that the lubrication produced at the time of intercourse is a protective mechanism to avoid injury during the process. In an upcoming paper for Archives of Sexual Health she has written “ancestral women who did not show an automatic vaginal response to sexual cues may have been more likely to experience injuries during unwanted penetration that resulted in illness, infertility or even death and thus would be less likely to have passed on this trait to their offspring”

Psychological evidence suggests that sex differences in morphology have been modified by sexual selection so as to attract mates (intersexual selection) or intimidate rivals (intrasexual selection). Women compete with each other for high-quality husbands by advertising reproductive value in terms of the distribution of fat reserves and by exaggerating morphological indicators of youthfulness such as a small nose and small feet and pale, hairless skin.

Men’s physical appearance tends to communicate social dominance, which has the combined effects of intimidating reproductive rivals and attracting mates. In addition to their attractiveness and intimidation effects, human secondary sexual characters also provide cues to hormonal status and phenotypic quality consistent with the good genes model of sexual selection (which includes parasite resistance). The low waist-hip ratio is sexually attractive in women and indicates a high estrogen/testosterone ratio (which favors reproductive function).

Facial attractiveness provides honest cues to health and mate value. The permanently enlarged female breast appears to have evolved under the influence of both the good genes and the runaway selection mechanisms. The male beard is not obviously related to phenotypic quality and may have evolved through a process of runaway intersexual selection.

So,if we put forth in a nutshell, what all the above and other studies decipher , what exactly women want- here is your checklist ! Don’t call me sexist. Evolution speaks for itself.

1. Show evidence of ambition, hard work, and intelligence.

2. Be generous (buy gifts, give to charity etc).

3. Dress well.

4. Be confident and assertive (around other males).

5. Be taller than the woman in question.

6. Be clean shaven and have a full head of hair.

7. Have broad shoulders, be moderately hunk and have no beer belly.

8. Be facially and physically symmetrical, and show good health.

9. Be athletic and sporty.

10. Smell ‘right’.

11. Be nice to babies and children.

And,unfortunately if you fail to acquire any/all of the above….
Be absolutely filthy stinking RICH !

http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/denisiuk.html

http://www.cns.nyu.edu/events/spf/SPF_papers/20090215nytimes_bergner_chivers_women_want.pdf

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