Sexual partner preferences: Evolutionary imperative, emotional attachment or hedonism?

Jake M. Najman*, Michael P. Dunne, David M Purdie, Frances M. Boyle, Peter D. Coxeter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Data are taken from a representative sample of the Australian population to determine the qualities that are desired in a sexual partner. These qualities are considered in three categories: those reflecting the perceived reproductive value of the partner (evolutionary imperative), the emotional attachment to a partner and the pure pleasure associated with having sex. Subjects completed a telephone-based survey 876 males; 908 females; aged 18-59). The qualities respondents report they most desire in a sexual partner are that the person is someone who cares about them, and whom they love. They also rank highly the criterion that their partner should enjoy sex, and much less highly that they themselves should enjoy the sex. Evolutionary imperatives are ranked fairly low as criteria sought in a sexual partner. Males and females generally exp1ressed similar preferences in a sexual partner, as do persons in different age groups, and persons in different marital status categories. Heterosexual males appear to place a higher emphasis on the physical appearance of a partner when compared with non-heterosexuals. © 2006 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-23
Number of pages19
JournalMarriage and Family Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


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