Sex Roles

, Volume 23, Issue 9–10, pp 501–513 | Cite as

Sex differences among partner preferences: Are the sexes really very similar?

  • Robin Goodwin


The question as to what type of individual we prefer in a “romantic” partner has stimulated a long history of research, with much of the present debate centering around the issue of the sex differences in partner preferences. In the studies described in this paper, two groups of participants completed a variety of different questionnaire schedules indicating their preferences for a partner. In study 1, 216 single students demonstrated a prevailing desire for a kind, considerate, and honest partner who displayed a keen sense of humor. Consistent with the hypothesis, there were no clear sex differences evident in these results. In study 2, 76 dating agency members completed a similar schedule examining partner preferences. Here again, preferences were similar across the sexes, although men preferred the submissive and introverted partner and stressed the importance of physical appearance in a mate. The general discussion considers the implications of these findings in the light of previous research on partner preferences.


Social Psychology Physical Appearance Present Debate Partner Preference Agency Member 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Goodwin
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of KeeleKeeleEngland

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