Love and courtship on Gender and Development Course
Characteristics Desired in a Mate
seeking men are providing information
about their physical attractiveness and
seeking men with education and a good
seeking women are interested in finding
an attractive mate and providing
information about their financial status
and work ethic.
which states that women and
men behave in ways that will
maximize the survival of their
Men value physical
attractiveness and youth in
their mates because these are
indicators of fertility
value physical attractiveness and
youth in their mates because these
are indicators of fertility.
The fact that people are better able to
recall attractive than unattractive female
faces has been considered evidence that
physical attractiveness has evolved as a
cue to fertility in women.
prefer mates who have a high
occupational status because financial
resources will help ensure the survival
of their offspring.
These ideas are based on the parental
investment model, which states that
women will invest more in their
offspring than will men because they
have less opportunity than men to
Because women’s reproductive
resources diminish with age, and
men’s financial resources generally
increase with age, evolutionary theory
also would predict that younger
women would be paired with older
social role theory
Eagly and Wood (1999)
provides a better explanation than
evolutionary theory for sex differences
in mate selection.
They suggest that a society’s emphasis
on a distinct division of labor between
the sexes will bedirectly linked to sex
differences in mate selection.
social role theory
females will value a mate with high
earning capacity and males will value
a mate with domestic skills in
men’s role is to work outside the
home and women’s role is to work
inside the home.
Social role theory would predict that
sex differences in mate preferences
ought to decrease as women’s and
men’s roles become more similar.
which argues that social norms
dictate what is desirable in a mate.
In general, men and women have
similar reasons for entering romantic
Support and companionship are the
primary motivating factors.
Women and men desire partners who
share their interests.
More attractive faces were associated
with the activation of areas in the brain
associated with reward for both men
and women. However, one of these
areas in particular—the orbitofrontal
cortex—was particularly active in
response to attractive faces for men.
The authors concluded that
physical attractiveness has
more reward value for men
One of the primary
objections people raise with
respect to gay and lesbian
relationship is that
it will have an adverse effect
on “family values.”
•Acceptance of homosexual relationships also has
gathered increasing support.
• In 2001, 40% of Americans approved of homosexual
relations; by 2010, the rate had increased to 52%
•Likewise, support for same-sex marriage is
gradually increasing—especially among younger
•Although the majority ofAmericans oppose same-
sex marriage, the opposition number has decreased
from 68% in 1996 to 53% in 2010 Jones, 2010).
•People who are opposed to same-
sex marriage tend to be
•less educated (Fleischmann &
gay men and lesbians look for the
same characteristics in a mate as do
interests, similarity, and
dependability (Peplau & Fingerhut,
Unlike heterosexual women, there is
no evidence that lesbians value a
status is less important to
relationships among sexual
Like heterosexual men, homosexual
men seem to value a mate’s physical
attractiveness, whereas lesbians do
One study showed that romantic love
and commitment were valued more
by women than men among
heterosexuals, but there were no sex
differences when gay men, lesbians,
and bisexuals were compared to each
other (Meier et al., 2009)
Traditionally, the male has taken the
initiative in romantic relationships.
Today, it is more acceptable for
women to invite men on a date, and
there are more forums set up for
female initiation; there are dances in
high school and parties in college
where females are intended to initiate.
The initiation of a relationship may be
more awkward for homosexuals than
One way that a homosexual
relationship may develop is out of
Lesbian relationships, in particular, are
likely to develop out of friendship
the early stages of
may be one
arena in which
men are less
Several differences in the way
heterosexual men and women behave
also appear in the way gay men and
For example, gay men place a greater
emphasis on the physical aspects of
intimacy (sex) and
lesbians place a greater emphasis on the
emotional aspects of intimacy, suggesting
that the sex differences observed among
heterosexuals is related to being male
versus female rather than status
both homosexual and heterosexual
men are more proactive than their
Romantic relationships are
expected to provide
closeness or intimacy, love,
and sexual exclusivity.
THE NATURE OF
One feature of intimacy that seems to
be central to women’s and men’s
definitions is self-disclosure.
Intimacy is by talking or self-disclosure
intimacy more as a feeling of comfort in
the other’s presence and physical
The role of self-disclosure in
intimacy is evolving as our access
to one another has exponentially
increased due to online
Even among teens, males are
more likely than females to
incorporate sex into their notions
of an intimate relationship
If men are more likely than women
to define intimacy through sexuality,
we would expect the most sexual
behavior to occur among two gay
men and the least to occur among
it seems likely that a romantic
relationship between two women
will be closer or more intimate than
a romantic relationship that involves
at least one man.
lesbians and gay men reported
greater intimacy than
heterosexual married people.
Despite the higher intimacy,
lesbians and gay men also
reported a greater sense of
autonomy than heterosexual
When it comes to matters
of the heart, who is more
romantic: men or women?
men view love as more central to
marriage than women do. In this
sense, men could be considered the
more romantic sex.
One reason men were more
romantic than women had to do
with the historical relationship
between the sexes.
Women were marrying not just a
man, but a way of life; thus women
were taught to be practical in mate
Men fall in love more quickly
compared to women
Women are more likely to have a
practical view of relationships,
believing that it is possible to love
more than one person and that
economic security is more important
than passion to a relationship.
According to Lee’s (1973) theory of
loves(3 Primary Love Styles):
eros, or romantic love;
storge, or friendship love
ludus, or game-playing love.
There are also three blends of these
mania, or manic love, is a
blend of eros and ludus;
pragma, or practical
love, is a blend of storge and ludus;
pure love, is a blend of eros and storge.
Women typically score higher
than men on pragma and
women are more practical than
men when it comes to love.
men score higher than women
men are less willing than women
to commit to a relationship
Ludus is associated
with lower relationship
satisfaction, and storge
and pragma are
Men seem to be more satisfied with
their sexual relationships than
one arena where men seem to
communicate more effectively than
Attitudes Toward Sex
Sexual attitudes and behaviors have
become more permissive over the
women have more negative attitudes
toward sex compared to men.
men have more permissive standards
compared to women, meaning men
find sex to be more acceptable in
Although attitudes toward sex in
general and sex before marriage
have become more liberal over the
past few decades, attitudes toward
extramarital affairs have not
changed and remain negative.
Motives for Sex
women have a relational
orientation toward sex in which sex
is integrated into the relationship as
a way to convey intimacy.
men have a recreational
orientation toward sex in which
physical gratification is the goal and
a relationship is not required,
Motives for Sex
Girls’ and boys’ reasons for having sex
love for their partner,
Boys and girls also agreed that having
sex increases a boy’s—but not a
Heterosexual and homosexual
women were more interested than
men in having sex to express
One way that couples maintain
relationships is via a series of cognitive
mechanisms that reflect both accuracy
In terms of bias, couples who view each
other more positively than they really are
and couples who perceive each other as
more similar than they really are
(similarity bias) are happier.
Although women show more biases than
men, the biases are equally associated
with marital satisfaction for both women
Gender Role Attitude
wives maintain relationships by
taking on more than their share
wives maintain relationships by
taking on more than their share.
wives sacrifice personal leisure time
refer to the management of one’s own
and one’s partner’s emotions during
Softening the delivery of a negative
message, being open and receptive to
others’ communication, anger directed at
the behavior rather than the person are
examples of emotion skills.
be construed as a maintenance
Sexual activity is both a source
of marriage vitality and a source
of marriage conflict.
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