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Prospective Fling Brings Facial Features Front & Center

Prospective Fling Brings Facial Features Front & Center  Apparently, facial features are important when a man or a woman considers a fling, according to a new study.

UK psychologists investigated if the expected length of a relationship would influence a man’s preference for different women’s faces. The work by Drs. Anthony Little and Benedict Jones from the University of Glasgow is published in the British Journal of Psychology.

The study investigated whether considering partners for long-term or short-term relationships would affect men’s preference for different women’s faces.

One of the experiments was conducted online with 393 heterosexual men. From this group 207 stated they had a current partner.

Participants were shown 10 paired images of pictures of women and in each pair of composite images one had been further transformed to possess masculine traits and the other feminine traits.

The men were asked to rate which of each pair they found most attractive, indicating the most attractive for short-term relationships and long-term relationships.

The results showed that men in relationships were more likely to find women with feminine faces most attractive when they were looking for a short-term relationship.

Anthony explained: “It’s interesting that these findings are comparable to previous research that indicates women’s preference for masculine male faces are higher if they were judging for short-term relationships. Our findings point to a similar preference in men. When they already have a partner, men find more feminine women more attractive for short-term relationships.”

Anthony suggested several possible explanations; perhaps some men are inclined to take a long-term partner while still attempting to cheat with other, more feminine, women.

“Or maybe once a long-term partner is secured,” he said, “the potential cost of being discovered may increase a man’s choosiness regarding short-term partners relative to unpartnered men.

“In another part of the study we also showed that men who think themselves attractive have stronger preferences for femininity than those who think themselves less attractive.

Again, Anthony said, this effect appears similar to an effect seen in women, whereby attractive women are choosier in their preferences for men. Across the two studies attractive men were found to be more discriminating in their preferences for a woman’s facial femininity.

Source: British Psychological Society

Prospective Fling Brings Facial Features Front & Center

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Prospective Fling Brings Facial Features Front & Center. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 24 Jun 2013)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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