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Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places? Sex and Race Differences in Mate Selection Through the Personal Ads
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by Connie C. Lyerly, Stephanie Mullis Smith, and Sheila Brownlow* - Catawba College
Categories: Gender | Social
To examine race and sex differences in mating preferences, we conducted a content analysis of a sample of 1,003 personal advertisements, examining what people offer and seek in a dating partner. The results confirmed both sociobiological theory and the matching hypothesis, indicating that women offered attractiveness and information about their appearance and sought older men. Men looked for young, healthy, attractive women. Women also articulated more personal qualities that they desired in a mate and specified that they wanted a similar partner. Ad placers who were Black were less particular about the age and hobbies of their desired mate, although Black women were most likely to provide a list of what they did not want in a partner. Black women were least likely to seek an attractive partner, stipulating instead that they sought a partner with financial and career status. By contrast, Black men offered their appearance to potential mates rather than their career and financial status.