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Most researchers interested in mate preference have focused on the desires of adult men and women. Few empirical investigations have been conducted on the preferences of adolescent boys and girls, despite the fact that this developmental period represents a time of awakening romantic and sexual interest. The authors asked 46 teenage boys and girls (average age = 15.09 years) to indicate their preferences for various characteristics in an ideal long-term romantic or short-term sexual partner (randomly assigned). Both sexes emphasized attributes related to physical appeal (e.g., attractive physical appearance, sexy appearance) and sexual drive (e.g., sexual passion, high sex drive, sexual responsiveness) when evaluating a casual sexual partner. Conversely, participants focused more upon intellect and other mentally appealing attributes (e.g., intelligence, humor) when considering a romantic partner. No sex differences were found, suggesting that teenage boys and girls share a similar conception of the “perfect” partner.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003

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