Do men and women want different things?

  • Dating Advice
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3 min read

Understanding the innate differences between men and women within heterosexual dating is essential. Many couples anticipate their partner will mirror their own attitudes, values, perceptions, and behaviours, yet these expectations often clash with gender disparities. Rather than expecting these differences to vanish, it’s important to acknowledge and embrace them. By doing so, you can use ...

Understanding the innate differences between men and women within heterosexual dating is essential. Many couples anticipate their partner will mirror their own attitudes, values, perceptions, and behaviours, yet these expectations often clash with gender disparities. Rather than expecting these differences to vanish, it’s important to acknowledge and embrace them. By doing so, you can use these distinctions to strengthen your relationship.

Despite generalisations, overall, men typically have needs for status and independence whilst women have needs for intimacy and connection. Women need to receive caring, understanding, respect, devotion, validation and reassurance and are motivated when they feel cherished. Men on the other hand need to receive trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval, encouragement and are motivated when they feel needed. Their deepest fear is not being good enough or not competent enough (Relationship Institute).

According to one study conducted, women who considered themselves highly desirable tended to have higher expectations regarding their potential sexual and romantic partners. On the other hand, men’s perception of their own desirability didn’t impact their partner preferences.Top of FormBottom of Form These findings indicate that women might have a heightened awareness compared to men regarding their own value or desirability as a partner. This awareness may shape the type of partner they anticipate attracting and maintaining in a relationship (Susan Sprecher and Pamela C. Regan).

Research examined the agreeableness of undergraduate men and their actual dating experiences, comparing them with women’s assessments of the men’s attractiveness based on photographs. Women rated niceness and physical attractiveness as factors that enhance men’s desirability. They found that attractive macho guys (e.g. less agreeable but more attractive) were more successful in casual dating and one-time sexual encounters, whilst kind-hearted men (e.g. more agreeable but less attractive) were equally successful in casual and committed relationships.

In contrast, some aspects of partner preferences and behaviours weren’t strictly divided by gender lines. Perrin et al. (2010) discovered that women and men shared certain common ideals. Both genders reported similar levels of desire and loving behaviours from their partners, albeit with women expressing a stronger desire for relationship support than men.

Moving on to dating advice literature from 2010 reveals that gender roles in dating have remained largely unchanged. A study surveyed seven popular books aimed at providing general dating guidance for heterosexual adults. For instance, in the chapter titled “Getting Him to Ask You Out” (Titus and Fadal 2008), women were advised to subtly manage their relationships from the background, as men were perceived to “need to feel like the leader in relationships” (McGraw, 2005). Much of the advice given in these books reinforced traditional gender stereotypes. For example, women who initiated a date were cautioned to consider that the man might perceive them as too “hot to trot” (Browne 2006). In essence, the continued cultural norms regarding gender roles in dating appeared heavily influenced by traditional gender expectations.

If heterosexual couples aim for equality, they must alter gendered power dynamics within relationships, even during the dating or initiation phase. Research on dating indicates this could be challenging, especially during first dates or initial encounters. People tend to adhere closely to cultural norms in situations of uncertainty, such as when interacting with someone new and striving to create a positive impression. Consequently, the prevailing gendered dating norms are likely to be most strongly observed during a first date.Top of Form

It’s crucial to acknowledge and respect the substantial differences between men and women without judgments of superiority or inferiority. These differences are inherent and shouldn’t be disregarded or altered. While recognising that some of these are generalisations and individual variations exist, accepting and respecting these differences is essential for harmonious relationships.

Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning introductions agency with offices in London, New York, New Jersey, and California. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles within our vast network of attractive, intelligent professionals, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today, and prepare for genuinely meaningful dating—just like you deserve.

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About the Author

Ozora Sakayam

Ozora’s background is a testament to her diverse origins. Born in Germany and raised in the UK, she embodies both German and Sri Lankan heritage. Her academic journey led her to London, where she began her career in fashion, showcasing her flair for creativity. For over a decade, Ozora honed her skills in various client-facing roles within the luxury fashion retail sector. Her ability to connect with people and provide exceptional service was evident in every role she undertook. Combining her passion of working with people and an interest in dating and relationships, Ozora transitioned into matchmaking. Ozora’s knowledge, expertise and passion align perfectly with her role as an Assistant Matchmaker for Maclynn. Her journey reflects the power of a diverse background, a commitment to client satisfaction, and a genuine interest in the art of matchmaking. Through her work, she continues to foster meaningful connections that transcend borders and cultures.

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