A woman's face drives relationship length: study

June 21, 2013
A young couple cuddle while watching the sunset in the "Park of Love" in Lima, Peru on February 14, 2006. A British study released Thursday found a woman's facial features drive the length of a relationship, as men looking for quick flings prefer a woman with a more "feminine" face.

Men looking for a quick fling prefer women with more "feminine" facial features, said a study Friday that delved into the evolutionary determinants of the mating game.

Feminine features like a smaller or fuller cheeks are closely linked to a woman's perceived attractiveness, which in turn is taken as an indicator of health, youth and fidelity and other traits, it said.

Feminine features are associated with a higher level of the , which is also linked with .

Studies on factors that influence human mating mostly focus on women, who have shown a similar preference for a hunkier man for a fling but a geekier one to settle down with—possibly a more reliable bet for helping to raise children.

In a study with several hundred heterosexual male volunteers, a team of researchers made composite pictures of women's faces, and asked the men which ones they would choose for long- or short-term relationships.

There were two versions of each face—one with slightly more feminine and the other more masculine features. The faces were taken from European or Japanese faces.

They found that men rated women with more feminine features more highly for a fling.

The preference was especially high among men who were already in a steady relationship.

"When a man has secured a mate, the potential cost of being discovered may increase his choosiness regarding short-term partners relative to unpartnered men, who can better increase their short-term mating success by relaxing their standards," wrote the study authors.

But in making long-term choices, men "may actually prefer less attractive/feminine women," they added.

Previous research has found that are likelier to be unfaithful, particularly if their partner is ugly.

"If his partner cheats on him, a man risks raising a child which is not his own," explained the authors.

The study, led by Anthony Little from the University of Stirling and Benedict Jones from the University of Glasgow, appears in the British Journal of Psychology.

Explore further: People prefer leaders with more masculine voices, even in feminine leadership roles

Related Stories

Study: Men prefer women who look like them

November 29, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Men find women with whom they share certain facial features more attractive. This is the conclusion of a study carried out by a French team from the Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier (Isem, ...

Study finds men most attractive with heavy-stubble

April 29, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—A research team from the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre at the University of New South Wales has found that women find men most attractive when they have approximately ten days of beard growth. In ...

Recommended for you

Elderly may face increased dementia risk after a disaster

October 24, 2016

Elderly people who were uprooted from damaged or destroyed homes and who lost touch with their neighbors after the 2011 tsunami in Japan were more likely to experience increased symptoms of dementia than those who were able ...

Research examines role of early-life stress in adult illness

October 24, 2016

Scientists have long known that chronic exposure to psychosocial stress early in life can lead to an increased vulnerability later in life to diseases linked to immune dysfunction and chronic inflammation, including arthritis, ...

Plan ahead for successful aging, researcher says

October 20, 2016

For many people, the prospect of aging is scary and uncomfortable, but Florida State University Assistant Professor Dawn Carr says that research reveals a few tips that can improve our chances of a long, healthy life.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jun 30, 2013
While there may be some statistical correlation, I do not believe this to be predominant. More likely is it related to the personality and character traits the woman has. Especially if she uses her looks to control her environment. The more attractive she is, the greater the likelihood she does. In no way, am I saying this is an absolute, only more likely.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.