Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 673–682 | Cite as

Effects of Attractiveness and Status in Dating Desire in Homosexual and Heterosexual Men and Women

  • Thao Ha
  • Judith E. M. van den Berg
  • Rutger C. M. E. Engels
  • Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff
Original Paper


The present study examined partner preferences of homosexual and heterosexual men and woman, focusing on attractiveness and status. Homosexual (N = 591 men; M age = 28.87 years, SD = 10.21; N = 249 women; M age = 33.36 years, SD = 13.12) and heterosexual participants (N = 346 men; M age = 39.74 years, SD = 14.26; N = 400 women; M age = 35.93 years, SD = 13.72) rated the importance of attractiveness and social status of potential partners and then, in a vignette test, expressed their desire to date hypothetical potential partners based on photographs that varied in attractiveness and status-related profiles. With ratings, heterosexual men valued attractiveness the most, followed by homosexual men, heterosexual women, and homosexual women. Heterosexual women rated social status as most important. When status profiles were manipulated and accompanied with photographs of faces, the pattern of differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals supported the self-reported results. Overall, homosexual men and women have similar mate preferences to heterosexual men and women by showing more dating desire for attractive and high social status persons. Compared to attractiveness, status played a smaller role in dating desire.


Sexual orientation Homosexuality Heterosexuality Mate preference Attractiveness Status 



Thao Ha was supported by a Mozaiek grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research during the preparation of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thao Ha
    • 1
  • Judith E. M. van den Berg
    • 1
  • Rutger C. M. E. Engels
    • 1
  • Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Behavioural Science InstituteRadboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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