Women know how to judge men, but how do men judge women? Men who are looking for short-term companionship are more interested in a woman’s body than those looking for a long-term relationship, who focus on a woman’s face. So gals, if you want to understand your latest date’s motivation, pay attention to where he’s looking.

When a large group of male students were shown pictures of women, 25% of them who were told to consider the mate as a long-term partner looked at their potential partner’s body. In contrast, 51% of those who were told to consider her as a short-term partner chose to look her body.

Psychologists think that a woman’s body generally provides cues about her state of fertility while her face gives insight into her long-term reproductive value, so they say that men seeking a short-term relationship have psychological adaptations to look for partners who are fertile and can produce offspring.

Psychologist Jaime Confer says, “Men’s priorities shift depending on what they want in a mate, with facial features taking on more importance when a long-term relationship is the goal. Mating is central to the engine of natural selection. This research helps clarify people’s preference.” In contrast, men can relax: women show no significant difference in their interest in faces or bodies when looking for short-term or long-term mates.

The difference between the sexes is now known to be genetic. In the September 25-26 edition of the Wall Street Journal, Matt Ridley writes, “We would be a very peculiar animal species indeed if we did not have sex differences in behavior as well as anatomy.” He gives the examples of contrasting male-female pastimes: playing gold and buying shoes. He says, “In all hunter-gatherer societies, there is a sharp difference between the foraging strategies of the 2 sexes. Men generally gravel far in search of mobile prey that they need to bring down with will aimed-projectiles [like a golf ball]. Women generally go out in groups and search for good sources of roots, ripe berries or nuts, which they used their acute powers of observation to spot and collect [like shoes].”

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