Biological Sex Differences in Attraction and Proof of Worth

Ethan O'Neal, The College of Wooster


Human attraction and mating strategy is an important and prevalent topic of study within psychology. As a species, one of the greatest differences between the sexes is the mating strategy that each sex pursues and the traits that they find desirable. Evolutionary psychology asserts that relationship strategies differ between the sexes as a function of parental investment (Buss, 2008). The current study seeks to examine a potential biological sex difference in attraction behavior based on the relationship history of a potential mate. The study hypothesizes that: (1) Females perceive greater spousal, provisional, and parental quality from a male that has historically had a long-term relationship when compared to a male with a history of only short-term relationships and (2), that males show greater willingness to date those females with a history of short-term relationships over those with a history of a long-term relationship. The study found that people exposed to a long-term relationship history exhibited a greater willingness to date, while those exposed to short-term relationships perceived greater spousal, provisional, and parental quality.