redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
While men tend to be attracted to ladies who seem nice on a first date, women seem to prefer guys who play hard to get, according to new research appearing in Friday’s edition of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
According to Sarah Knapton, Science Correspondent for The Telegraph, the study found that men who were responsive to women during a first date were more likely to seem “unmanly” or “manipulative,” while pleasant women appeared to be “more feminine in the eyes of the opposite sex.”
She also noted that women are typically “suspicious” of a man who is too attentive, viewing him as too “vulnerable” and “less dominant.” While people seeking romantic partners often claim to be looking for someone who is “responsive to their needs,” Knapton said that women appear to prefer unresponsive men at first.
In the study, experts from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, the University of Rochester, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted three studies involving heterosexual couples in order to determine how emotional reactions and desires in an initial romantic encounter impact the fate of a potential relationship.
“Sexual desire thrives on rising intimacy and being responsive is one of the best ways to instill this elusive sensation over time,” lead author Gurit Birnbaum explained in a statement. “Our findings show that this does not necessarily hold true in an initial encounter, because a responsive potential partner may convey opposite meanings to different people.”
Birnbaum and his colleagues conducted one observational study and two experiments to explore why men and women have divergent sexual reactions to “nice” members of the opposite sex. The first two studies revealed that men perceived a responsive stranger as more gender typical and thus more attractive, but women did not.
The third study, on the other hand, demonstrated that responsiveness increased a man’s perception of their partner’s femininity. This, in turn, was associated with higher sexual arousal, greater partner attractiveness and increased desire for a long-term relationship. These findings suggest that the association between responsiveness and perceived partner attraction depends upon the contextually based meaning of responsiveness.
A total of 112 undergraduate students volunteered for the study at IDC Herzliya, said Newsweek’s Paula Mejia. The number of participants was divided evenly between males and females, and each of them was randomly paired with a stranger of the opposite sex. Birnbaum and his fellow investigators observed the levels of potential sexual interest and possible long-term relationships between the partners and the responsiveness personality trait.
“We still do not know why women are less sexually attracted to responsive strangers; it may not necessarily have to do with ‘being nice.’ Women may perceive a responsive stranger as less desirable for different reasons,” said Birnbaum. “Women may perceive this person as inappropriately nice and manipulative (i.e., trying to obtain sexual favors) or eager to please, perhaps even as desperate, and therefore less sexually appealing.”
“Alternatively, women may perceive a responsive man as vulnerable and less dominant,” he added. “Regardless of the reasons, perhaps men should slow down if their goal is to instill sexual desire.”