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What Men and Women Want


Explanations > Evolution > What Men and Women Want

What men want | What women want | So what?


One of the basic and perhaps most degrading tenets of Darwinian evolution, which was expounded by Richard Dawkins in 'The Selfish Gene', is that we are little more than 'gene machines'. Seen from a fundamentalist evolutionary sense, our sole purpose in life is to propagating our genes, and our needs are honed to relentlessly drive us in this direction.

Please note that what men and women want as described below is archetypal and evolutionary. In practice, desires are somewhat more complex. What is important is that these evolutionary drives still affect us.

What men want 

Men and women look for different things in their partners. Men look for women who seem likely to be able to bear plenty of strong children. They thus look for women who:

  • are young and healthy and have many childbearing years ahead of them.
  • have large breasts for feeding their children.
  • have wide hips so they will not have delivery problems.
  • have rounded bottoms that show structural ability to carry children.

Men are also easily fooled by symbolism such as red lipstick that reminds them of a full vagina and make-up that fills in the cracks and makes the woman look younger than she is. Even though they know it's make-up, the appeal works at a deeper, unconscious level.

Research, in which different body shapes are shown to men, has identified ideal proportions. For example the perfect bottom has a radius of 45.5 degrees between backbone and buttocks. They also like a rounder body than some women who believe thinness is ideal. Note also that ideal proportions are affected by the fashion of the day, from the slender 1920s 'flapper' to the 1950s 'hourglass'.

For themselves, men want to be what women want them to be, so like to think themselves strong and powerful. They want access to fertile women, including taking them from other men, and to be able to keep other men away from their wives and families.

The fact that the male is larger than the female is a common sign that humans are naturally a male-dominated society. The larger male is not only better able to fight off other males, but they are also able to keep women in their place. The force of genetics sadly does not know about Political Correctness. 

Given that men want to propagate their genes, there are two ways they can do this: spread their seed as far as possible by having multiple affairs or support one family, putting a high amount of effort into giving fewer children a better chance of surviving and thriving. There is also a mid path where they stay in one family but also have covert affairs, hence trying to get the best of both routes.

What women want

Women are not like men. A major difference is that they are generally left to bring up the children, giving them ten to twenty years of work after their debilitating nine months of pregnancy. When looking for a partner, they hence look for men who:

  • are strong and powerful and can feed and protect them and their children.
  • are kind and thoughtful and will stay with them.
  • are high status to boost the woman's social standing.

Women may consequently settle for older men who have gained affluence and position in society and who may be less likely to stray. They fight other women not with strength, but with cunning and carefully-placed words (which they also use to great effect with men).

Women are often slower than men in forming mate relationships as they first want to be sure the man is right for them. This can lead to tensions when women see men as shallow while men find female games frustration.

For themselves, they want to be attractive to men. Even when they are older, they will dress provocatively and use make-up that suggests they are young and fertile.

Women are less predisposed toward sleeping around, as any resulting pregnancy cannot be hidden from their mates and having too many children may kill them or otherwise reduce the chances of their children surviving. However, before they settle down they may want to play the field in order to find the best mate (and practice their attraction skills when the best mate appears). In such situations they seek men who are attractive and fun.

So what?

Remember that these are desires that are instinctive and programmed. We also have conscious thought and free will, which means anyone can choose to act in a wide range of ways, including directly counter to these basic needs. Women in particular who feel oppressed by the male-dominated paradigms may rebel, either acting more masculine or avoiding traditional female actions such as using make-up.

And yet sex still sells. This is because it appeals to this most basic of needs. Use sexy women to sell to men and powerful men to sell to women. Create tension by showing the opposite sex being won away by another person. Show perfect bodies and promise 'you, too, can have a body like this'.

See also

Gender, The CIA Needs Model


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