Are Sex Differences in Mating Preferences Really “Overrated”? The Effects of Sex and Relationship Orientation on Long-Term and Short-Term Mate Preferences

  • Sascha SchwarzEmail author
  • Lisa Klümper
  • Manfred Hassebrauck
Research Article


Sex differences in mating-relevant attitudes and behaviors are well established in the literature and seem to be robust throughout decades and cultures. However, recent research claimed that sex differences are “overrated”, and individual differences in mating strategies (beyond sex) are more important than sex differences. In our current research, we explore between-sex as well as within-sex differences; further we distinguish between short-term and long-term relationship orientation and their interactions with sex for predicting mate preferences. In Study 1, we analyzed a large dataset (n = 21,245) on long-term mate characteristics. In Study 2 (n = 283), participants indicated their preference for long-term as well as short-term partners. The results demonstrate the necessity to include both intersexual as well as intrasexual differences in mating strategies. Our results question the claim that sex differences in mate preferences are “overrated.”


Sex differences Mate preferences Sociosexual orientation Long-term relationship orientation Short-term relationship orientation Online dating 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict(s) of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Statement of Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants. The participants were encouraged to contact the authors for any questions.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bergische Universität WuppertalWuppertalGermany

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