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A comparison of heterosexual and homosexual mating preferences in personal advertisements.

Lawson, J.F. and James, C. and Jannson, A.-U.C. and Koyama, N.F. and Hill, R.A. (2014) 'A comparison of heterosexual and homosexual mating preferences in personal advertisements.', Evolution and human behavior., 35 (5). pp. 408-414.


Human heterosexual mating preferences have been shown to conform to predictions drawn from evolutionary theory, with men and women adopting broadly distinct strategies. Attempts to reconcile sexual selection theory with homosexual behaviour have been less consistent, however, and have largely focussed on addressing two alternative perspectives: (i) that gay men and lesbians display phenotypic traits in common with opposite sex heterosexual individuals or (ii) that homosexual individuals display sex-typical, or exaggerated sex-typical phenotypes. Testing these hypotheses is complicated by sampling issues involved in the study of human sexual orientation, since obtaining standardised and comparable samples of heterosexual and non-heterosexual mating preferences is a prerequisite to analysis. Here we present a comparison of homosexual and heterosexual mating strategies in men and women using a sample of 1733 personal (‘lonely hearts’) adverts gathered from a single source. We used principal components analysis in order to expose underlying structure of the advertisements, and identify three components involving relative emphasis placed on resources, physical attractiveness and personality when offering or seeking mate characteristics. While homosexual individuals are shown to resemble their own-sex heterosexual counterparts in terms of emphasis placed on partner physical attractiveness relative to partner personality, no clear pattern emerges in other aspects of advertisement strategy. Nevertheless, there we find no evidence in support of the hypothesis that homosexual men and women are intrinsically opposite-sex typical in terms of mate preferences.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Mate preferences, Personal adverts, Homosexuality, Sexual orientation, Sex differences, Mating strategy.
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Publisher statement:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Evolution and Human Behavior. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Evolution and Human Behavior, 35, 5, 2014, 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2014.05.006.
Record Created:17 Sep 2014 11:20
Last Modified:17 Sep 2014 13:29

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