How does thinking about parenthood change what men and women look for in a mate?

This study tested an evolutionary hypothesis that the mere prospect of caring for a child will increase sex differences in human mate selection criteria. That is, women would adopt a stronger preference for socially dominant men when parenting had been primed and men would adopt a stronger preference for physically attractive women when parenting had been primed. Male and female university students were randomly assigned to be exposed to a parenting prime or a nonparenting prime. Following the priming procedure, participants rated the romantic appeal of a target person of the opposite sex. Exposure to the parenting prime, the target’s social dominance, and the target’s physical attractiveness were orthogonally manipulated. As predicted, women adopted a stronger mate preference for social dominance when parenting was at the forefront of the mind. Contrary to predictions, the parenting prime had no effect on men’s mate preference for physical attractiveness.

Source: “The Effects of a Parenting Prime on Sex Differences in Mate Selection Criteria” from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 32, No. 11, 1459-1468 (2006)

For an amusing look a sex check out Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex. This documentary about a porn star was pretty sad and disturbing. This documentary about a porn film was phenomenal.

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