What Women Want... According to Science

Does biology make women gold diggers by nature?

When it comes to finding a good partner, there are biological differences between men and women. Then there is the case of what we think we want versus what we truly need in a harmonious relationship. First and foremost, I will come out and say it: Women go for looks, wealth, and status while men offer wealth and status and seek out looks (Baise and Schroeder, 1995). This is not inherently a bad thing, it is biologically based. As the gatekeeper of children, women require a sense of security along with the ability to produce good offspring.

Going after attractive men is biologically imperative for better genetics as attractive characteristics are linked with better genetics. This obviously goes for both sexes. While this might seem a daunting fact for people who do not think of themselves as attractive, please do keep in mind that this is a preliminary characteristic that can be improved upon through personality and continued interactions. Even the most attractive women can start to become boring through repetition and less attractive women can become more attractive.

It is also good to keep in mind that your looks will not last forever. This should solidify the concept that your main priority in becoming a better version of yourself is to focus on the way in which you come off to others and how you make them feel.

After looks, socioeconomic status and ambitiousness are of a high importance to most women, according to Feingold’s 1992 article published in the Psychological Bulletin (Feingold, 1992). This doesn’t automatically mean that women are “gold diggers” or that they are only after men for their money. It is important as being the one who will potentially be the stay at home parent, women do require a certain sense of security and ability to have someone provide for them. Of course, many women do parent while alone and are able to provide for their children, but this is of course not the best way to go about child rearing. Biologically, women are programmed to find a mating partner, whether or not they choose to reproduce with their mate. Being able to provide through their current financial status or their potential status (via ambition) is sought after on a subconscious level.

Denying this biologic imperative will not do you any good. What is best is to accept that this is a predetermined way of thinking—actively or subconsciously—and that it is something that can be worked around. You can very easily have a good relationship with someone who is of lesser status without a lot of ambition. You can also have a relationship with someone of a higher socioeconomic status without taking advantage of their status. Do not rely on your man for supporting yourself and should you leave the relationship, do not take his resources nor his finances with you. Even if the laws where you live lean towards you being allowed to take a portion of their finances, you are not morally or ethically entitled to destroying what he has worked hard to accomplish… Even if this man has wronged you. A portion can go towards child rearing, of course, but to take half of what he has worked for is cold-hearted and is a good testament to your character… or lack thereof.

Character and intelligence are other features of men that women look for. You cannot have a worthy relationship without being with someone whose character you admire and respect. Intelligence also leads lends itself to this portion of the relationship. The meat and potatoes of the relationship, or what is left after the appetizer has landed you in their arms.

There is of course more to say about this topic, but perhaps it’s best left for a separate article. Numerous ones, actually! In summation, biology compels women to be attracted to a man’s ability to provide for them through ambition, socioeconomic status, and wealth. We need not ignore this fact, but embrace it in such a way that we do not allow ourselves to take advantage of those we love. Let’s not deny our biology, but let’s also not deny that these items do not always makes a good relationship nor a good partner. It is easy to fall in love with a man who has nothing but the clothes on his back and he is still worthy of a relationship just the same.

Biology attracts us to status and ability to provide, but this does not speak to sexual attraction, nor personality, needs, nor wants. Those articles are to come!

Further Reading

“factors usually influencing mate choice decisions are reliable cues of biological value”

“women accorded more weight than men to socioeconomic status, ambitiousness, character, and intelligence, and the largest gender differences were observed for cues to resource acquisition (status, ambitiousness).”

Feingold, A. (1992). Gender differences in mate selection preferences: A test of the parental investment model. Psychological Bulletin, 112(1), 125-139.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.112.1.125

Boguslaw Pawlowski (2000). The biological meaning of preferences on the human mate market. Anthropological Review, 63, 39-72.