2014. Vol.5, No.2, 134-141
Published Online February 2014 in SciRes (
Comparison of Partner Choice between Lesbians and
Heterosexual Women
Vivianni Veloso, Regina Brito, Cibele Nazaré da Silva Câmara
Post-Graduation Program in Theory and Behavior Research, Federal University of Para, Belém, Brazil
Received November 20th, 2013; revised December 18th, 2013; accepted January 14th, 2014
Copyright © 2014 Vivianni Veloso et al. This is an open access articl e distributed und er the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which pe rmits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
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Studies comparing preferred partner selection between homosexual and heterosexual women have shown
that homosexual women exhibit patterns of choice that resemble both the heterosexual men and hetero-
sexual women. This intersection between groups indicates that some characteristics valued by women
may be intermediate between homosexual men and heterosexual women. This selection appears to be in-
fluenced by the type of relationship of the individual. Heterosexual women emphasize preference for
characteristics related to physical health in short-term relationships. In long-term relationships, the em-
phasis is on the characteristics of good provision of resources and emotional investment. This study aimed
to compare the preferences of the two groups of women in partner choice in the types of relationships
mentioned. The participants were 100 homosexual and 55 heterosexual women in reproductive period. A
questionnaire was used to collect information. The participants were contacted by indication, in LGBT
bars or associations. There were similarities between groups with regard to the choices they made. The
Macro-category attachment formation was requested more in the long-term and good genes was more ap-
preciated in the short term. However, in both short and long term relationships homosexuals appreciated
good genes more than heterosexuals. Heterosexual women valued good provision of resources more in
long-term relationships. The reasons for these differences could be several, starting from social aspects all
the way up to biological ones.
Keywords: Partner Selection; Homosexuality; Women
Researchers in the field of Evolutionary Psychology have
been conjecturing for a long time now about the existence of
psychological mechanisms at work in the selection of partners
(Buss, 1989, 1995, 2006; Buss & Schmitt, 1993; Buss & Sha-
kelford, 2008). Due to the difference in parental investment
between genders, men and women display significant differ-
ences, like the high valuation of good provision of resources
and attachment formation among women, and the high apprais-
al of physical attributes among men (Altafim, Lauandos, &
Caramaschi, 2009; Buss, 1989, 1995, 2006; Buss & Schmitt,
1993; Buss & Shakelford, 2008; Campos, 2005; Carneiro, 1997;
Castro, 2009; Covolan, 2005; Cruz, 2009; Fiore, 2010; Furn-
ham, 2009; Greengross & Miller, 2008, Hattori, 2009; Lippa,
2007; Sadala, 2005; Stewart, Stinnett, & Rosenfelt, 2000).
However, the idea of a rigid neural structure or of a behavior
triggered by a specific stimulus, does not find any support in
the realm of psychological mechanisms, for the flexibility of
the human mind seems to be cru cial in order to b e able to adapt
to different environments (Gangestad, Haselton, & Buss, 2006;
Oliva, Otta , Bussab, Lopes, Yamamo to, & Moura, 2006). It is
thus generally agreed upon that the psychological mechanisms
at work in the choice of partners are constantly influenced by
conditions of various kinds, such as, ecological (incidence of
pathogens), social (socio-economic characteristics of a region)
and individual (physical properties, age, childhood experiences,
menstrual cycle) that, as a result, end up determining the kind
of sexual strategy an individual will adopt more often (Buss,
2006; Buss & Shakelford, 2008; Fisher, 1995; Gangestad &
Simpson, 2000; Pawlowski, 2000; Schmitt, 2006; Stone, Shack-
elford, & Buss, 2008).
The present study will give emphasis to the sexual strategies
in the short and long-term. These also influence the preference
of attributes among women (Campos, 2005; Castro, 2009; De-
Waal & Maner; 2008; Lucas, Koff, Gro ssmit h , & Migliorini,
2011). Generally speaking, heterosexual women appear to be
more attracted to attributes that relate to good genetic quality in
short-term relationships (Campos, 2005; De Waal & Maner;
2008; Lucas et al., 2011). Evolutionary Psychology explains
this penchant on the premises of the low probability that the
offspring of this casual sexual intercourse will be able to count
on care from the father, what would imply in a high cost of
female investment in that child (Schmitt, 2005).
So, our ancestors that distinguished signs of good genetic
qualities in the casual partner and handed down to their child
the good genetic characteristics of the father, increased its
probability of survival in the event of the desertion of the father.
Successful choices in short-term sexual encounters probably
selected the female psychological choice mechanisms focused
upon genetic quality, in circumstances of scarcity of resources
and partners (Buss & Schmitt, 1993; Buss & Shakelford, 2008;
Schmitt, 2005).
In long-term relationships, heterosexual women have a ten-
dency to prioritize attributes related to good provision of re-
sources and emotional investment (Buss & Shakelford, 2008;
Schmitt, 2005; Stewart et al., 2000), and this importance is
seemingly due to the high probability of the presence of father-
ly care during the development of the offspring (Borrione &
Lordelo, 2005; Buss & Schmitt, 1993; Schmitt, 2006).
Other conditions, like acc e ss, or the lack thereof, to resources
by the female, may define the degree of appreciation of poten-
tial partners that signal attributes related to these conditions. In
other words, when there is a shortage of resources, there may
be an increased preference for partners with attributes that in-
dicate greater likelihood of meeting this shortage (Gangestad &
Simpson, 2000; Lippa, 2007; Wood & Eagle, 2007). According
to Lippa (2007) women in countries where they have no need
for their partners for subsistence showed that they prioritize
attributes related to the strengthening of the relationship.
As stated, many factors may be related to differences in how
women select partners: the kind of sexual strategy, access to
resources, and—why not—sexual orientation.
Most data on women’s partner selection come from studies
with heterosexual women. There are few studies that compare
the criteria for choosing partners among homosexual and hete-
rosexual women in literature. The studies that take on to this
kind of comparison, report likeness and disparity between the
preferences of these women (Bailey, Gaulin, Agyei, & Gladue,
1994; Corrêa, 2011; Ha, van den Berg, Engels, & Lichtwarck-
Aschoff, 2012; Lippa, 2007; Lucas et al., 2011; Kenrick, Keef,
Brya n, Barr, & Brown, 1995; Russock, 2011; Smith, Konik, &
Tuve, 2011). The reasons for the differences in the choice of
partners seem not to have been well understood, as yet.
Even fewer studies have been conducted about the prefe-
rences of homosexual women in short and long term relation-
ships. Up to now, only Lucas et al. (2011) did research with
lesbians in short and long-term relationships. Smith, Konik and
Tuve (2011) stated that their study was geared towards long-
term relationships. In the remaining researches, the results of
which are listed below, there’s no mention about the kind of
relationship. In all the studies the sexual orientation was indi-
cated through self-classification and in none of these the eco-
nomic level was stated (except on the whole, mixing men and
women), or financial independence of the partakers, with the
exception of the research conducted by Ha et al. (2012), which
reports that most of the participants were employed, 68% of the
homosexual women and 71% of the heterosexual women. Lip-
pa (2007) generally describes his sample (including men) as
well educated”, for 57% held a master’s degree or had a col-
lege education. Lucas et al. (2011) worked with college stu-
dents. The rest does not mention the education level of their
participants. A summary of the researches that will be de s cribe d
below, can be observed in Table 1.
Generally speaking, the similarities between homosexual and
heterosexual women identified by the authors were in line with
evolutionary forecasts. They resemble in the following aspects:
little interest in sex with no commitment, high concern with
emotional infidelity, low importance to the partner’s physical
attractiveness—in researches where the type of relation is un-
defined (Bailey et al., 1994). The low importance given to phy-
sical attractiveness has a different outcome in another research,
as we will see below (Ha et al., 2012).
Other similarities between the two groups of women are:
preference for older partners (Bailey et al., 1994; Kenrick et al.,
1995) and general alikeness for character traits (like honesty
and values) (Lippa, 2007). There is also greater appreciation of
physical attributes when the relationship is in the short-term
(Corrêa, 2011; Lucas et al., 2011), as specified in research with
only heterosexual women (Campos, 2005; Castro, 2009; De-
Waal & Maner, 2008).
The results of studies like Bailey et al. (1994) and Russock
(2011) show that there is no difference in the valuation of the
term physical attractivenessbetween the two groups of wo-
men in the search for a partner. Only the results of Ha et al.
(2012) pointed out, through a questionnaire, that the term “at-
tractive lookwas more valued by heterosexual women than by
homosexual ones. Within the comparison between the two
groups of women, these and other researches revealed that ho-
mosexual women appear to be less demanding of partners with
resources (Bailey et al., 1994; Russock, 2011; Smith, Konik, &
Tuve, 2011) and more attracted by visual sexual stimuli (por-
nographic products, for example) (Bailey et al., 1994). Accord-
ing to Bailey et al. (1994) the relatively high responsiveness to
sexual stimuli in men is related to the increased probability of
reproduction, given that, for men, being always ready for sexual
and reproductive activities does not cost as much as it does for
women. For a woman it wouldn’t be very beneficial if she were
extremely sensitive to these stimuli, since she’s more selective
due to her big investment in her offspring (Bailey et al., 1994).
It’s important to highlight that in the study conducted by
Russock (2011), homosexual women are more attracted by
resources than heterosexual men, and in the research by Bailey
et al. (1994) they have measures of valuation that are equivalent
to those of men of both kinds of sexual orientation. These wo-
men may have preferences that take on levels that are halfway
between heterosexual women and men.
Kenrick et al. (1995) account that, w hen asked a bout the mi -
nimally acceptable age of a partner, homosexual women tend to
be more lenient towards this minimum as they grow older,
which differs from what’s happening in the heterosexual camp.
This is not to say that homosexual women do not value older
partners as heterosexual women do, or at a level closer to theirs.
Nor does it mean that homosexual women value youth as much
as men do. According to Russock (2011), this differential as-
pect is also present on an intermediary level of preference for
age between men and heterosexual women, as does the valua-
tion/devaluation of resources and responsiveness to sexual sti-
muli (Ba iley et al., 1994; Russock, 2011).
Russock (2011) explains that the differences found in his re-
search are due to the differences in need between women of the
two sexual orientations. For heterosexual women, the choice of
a partner with resources and more advanced age could be an
element that maximizes reproductive success. This conclusion
seems to prove the part played by ecological components in the
modulation of phylogenetic selection mechanisms of partners
as such.
Lippa (2007) reports that homosexual women attach more
value to the intelligence of the partner than do heterosexual
women, and these latter value more aspects like ambition, trust
and resourcesor proof of the potential to get resources. The
demand for honesty was higher among homosexuals (Smith,
Table 1.
Similarities and differences between homosexual and heterosexual women in different studies.
Similariti es between homosexual and heterosexual women
Differenc es between homosexual and
heterosexual women
Bailey et al. (1994)
Little interest for sex without comm itme nt/More concerned
with emotional infidelity/Less importanc e to the physical
attractiveness of the partner/Preference for older partners.
Homosexuals showed less interest for partners with resources and
responded more positively to vis ual sexual stimuli.
Kenrick et al. (1995)
Acceptance of older partners on the same level.
The older the homosexual woman, the more she’s lenient about the
minimum age a partner should have.
Lippa (200 7)
General appreciation for character traits/Low importance to
physical attractiveness.
Homosexuals consider ed the partne r
’s intelligence to be more import ant
than did the heterosexuals/Heterosexuals attached much more value to
ambition, trust and money.
Lucas et al. (2011)
Higher preference for physical attractiveness in short-term
relationships, compared to lon g-term.
Russock (2 011)
prefer older partners and with more resources.
Smith et al. (2011)
Heterosexuals attach more importance to financial status and
security/Homosexuals of both types demanded more sincerity.
Ha et al. (2012)
In the questionnaire, heterose xual wome n attache d more value to
, completed education, high salary and ambition than did
homosexual women.
Note: Dashes within cells indicate that these data were not mentioned. In all studies the women were aged between 18 and 40 years, with the exception of the studies by
Kenrick et al. (1995) and H a et al. (2012) in which ages were up to 50 and 71 years, respectively.
Konik, & Tuve, 2011).
According to Bailey et al. (1994) certain differences between
homosexual and heterosexual women are not purely social. If
the form of early socialization among women is the same (re-
gardless as to whether they’ve defined their sexual orientation),
it would not be consistent to explain that the reason why ho-
mosexual women have certain preferences that lie between the
standard preferences of heterosexual men and women is only a
consequence of social influence. The authors hypothesize that
exposure to prenatal androgens in homosexual women can be
one of the variables responsible for the enhancement of visual
stimuli and less appreciation of partner’s social status.
According to this hypothesis a higher/lesser exposure or sen-
sitivity to prenatal androgens (for example, the greater/smaller
amount of receptors for these hormones) may be one of the
variables that contribute to homosexuality (Balthazart, 2012;
Brown et al., 2002; Kangassalo et al., 2011; Rice, Friberg, &
Gavrilets, 2012). The exposure of the female fetus to high doses
of testosterone, or their great sensitivity regarding this hormone,
would influence a differential development of physical traits,
especially in regions of the brain (like the suprachiasmatic nuc-
leus, larger in homosexual men, when compared to heterosex-
ual ones), that can also be brought back to differences in sexual
behavior (Balthazart, 2012; Brown et al., 2002; Kangassalo et
al., 2011; Rice, Friberg, & Gavril ets , 2012). This influence pos-
sibly occurs after the forming of the sexual organs and therefor
does not affect the fetusdevelopment (Balthazart, 2012;
Brown et al., 2002; Kangassalo et al., 2011). These differences
end up being irreversible (Balthazart, 2012; Brown et al., 2002;
Kangassalo et al., 2011). The discrepancies in concentrations of
testosterone in the uterus cannot be detected in the adult, tha t ’s
why we infer their prenatal influence through measurable signs
in adulthood, like the difference of the proportion of the annular
and index fingers (2D:4D proportion), since the growth of these
bones seem to suffer influence of prenatal steroid hormones
(Balthazart, 2012; Brown et al., 2002; Kangassalo et al., 2011).
Heterosexual men and women show differences in the 2D:4D
proportion, bei ng that men are disproportionate in this measure,
compared to women (Balthazart, 2012; Brown et al., 2002;
Kangassa lo et al., 2011). Homosexual women, compared to he-
terosexual women, present greater disproportionality, resem-
bling men in this aspect (Hall & Love, 2003).
Kenrick et al. (1995) point to the possibility that sexual pre-
ference mechanisms are different between homosexuals and
heterosexuals, the same way that they are different between
heterosexual men and women. Despite this hypothesis, t hey did
not specifically discuss the differential pattern of age preference
between homosexual and heterosexual women in their research.
To the authors it seems plausible that the same process that
causes the modification of the sexual orientation is also respon-
sible for changes in mechanisms of partner choice. The re-
maining authors reviewed do not offer very clear accounts
about the collected data.
Our goal here is to contribute to the discussion about the si-
milarities and/or differences in choosing partners for short and
long term by comparing two groups: lesbians and heterosexual
women. Our main hypotheses are:
1) Both homosexual and heterosexual women value more
physical attractiveness in short-term relat ionships and attributes
related to the formation of good bonding and providing re-
sources in long-term relationships.
2) Homosexual women may have greater preference for
attributes that are generally more valued by heterosexual men.
This research has been approved by the Human Research
Ethics Committee registered under the number 045/09.
Parti cipa nts
The data collection was accomplished with the participation
of 100 Brazilian women, from the age of 18 to 40, of reproduc-
tive age (meaning they were still having their periods), having
at least completed secondary education and which considered
their sexual orientation to be homosexual or homosexual with
intermittences of heterosexuality, after the adapted Kinsey
Scale (Menezes, 2005).
The data of the present research was compared to the data
collected in the research by Cruz (2009), using the Partner Se-
lection Instrument (PSI) and applying changes relative to the
gender of the chosen partner. The participants in this study
were 55 Brazilian women, heterosexuals of reproductive age,
between the age of 20 and 50 and had at least completed sec-
ondary education. The data from the research of Cruz (2009)
was reanalyzed statistically in the present study.
Sample Sel ec t ion Instrument (SSI) Based on Garc i a (2005)
The instrument was composed by a brief presentation of the
research project, followed by four questions, the last being of
the multiple-choice type: 1) Place of Birth; 2) Age; 3) Educa-
tion level; 4) Table relating fantasy and desire for person (of the
same or opposite sex), sexual activity, self-classification in
terms of hetero/homosexual orientation and their variations.
Partner Selection Instrument (PSI), Adapted from Cruz
This instrument has been tested with 600 heterosexual wo-
men since 2005 and got concordance rates of over 85%. The
applied adaptations were restricted to only the necessary ones
for the data collection with gay women. e.g. Changing the word
“partners” in the Portuguese language from the masculine form
(parceiros) to the feminine form (parceiras).
It came with a term of free and informed consent and was di-
vided in five sections, being that in the study at hand only the
following sections were used:
Section 1—Demographic data about the participant.
Section 2—General information about the relationship and
the current/last partner. In this section questions were asked
about the period of the relationship, if the participant lives or
lived with their partner, their partner’s age , their income, etc.
Section 3—Information about the characteristics of a poten-
tial mate (not differentiating between short and long term rela-
tionships). The following request was made to the participant:
Indicate with an ‘X’ how important you consider these cha-
racteristics in a man/woman to get involved with this person.
The characteristics were pre-set and the participant had to give
a weight (unimportant, a little important, more or less important,
very important and extremely important) to the following at-
tributes of the potential partner: sincere, responsible, beautiful,
companion, expansive, stable, attractive, uncommitted (some-
one who does not accept serious commitments), understanding,
voluptuous (good sexual performance), affectionate, funny, edu-
cated, independent (financially), inconstant, enamored, deter-
mined, considerate.
Section 4—Criteria for choosing a long-term and short-term
partner. The following request was made to the participant:
Put an ‘X’ on the frequency with which you use the following
criteria when selecting a fixed partner(the same request was
made for a casual partner). Under each question there was a
listing of some attributes (described in section 3) in which the
participant had to indicate how frequently she employed those
criteria when choosing a partner (never, almost never, some-
times, almost always, always).
The research was conducted in the city of Belém, Pará
Brazil. The invitation to participate was done by approaching
potential partakers in bars and associations where homosexual
women gather.
The procedure to contact the participants was:
Bars and Associations Where People of Various Sexual
Orientations Come Together
The contact was made in two steps:
a) Invitation:
In bars and associations, the researchers would inform the
potential participants that they were conducting a study about
partner choice, and ask those interested to take part later on, to
fill out the SSI and leave their contact info at the end of the
Bar owners and those in charge of the associations, were
contacted days before the collection of data. Their permission
was collected in the form of a term of authorization.
In the bars, the data collection would start when business is
slow. The clients were approached within the first fifteen mi-
nutes since they arrived at the establishment.
b) Submitting the PSI:
After classifying and selecting the participants that met the
requirements to take part in the research, these were contacted
by telephone, and during the call it was explained to them that
the research consisted in submitting a questionnaire, on which
they had to point out how much importance they attached to
certain traits in a potential partner.
Collection of Data through Approachability and Referral
In this case, the contact was made by telephone with the po-
tential partaker, and during the call it was explained that the
research consisted in submitting a questionnaire, on which she
had to point out how much importance she attached to certain
traits in a potential partner. The PSI was handed over together
with the SSI, with the aim to confirm that the person met the
conditions required for taking part in the study. Under these
circumstances the participant would not leave her contact info
on the SSI.
In both methods for recruiting participants, these were able to
choose where they wanted to respond to the questionnaire
(home, work or public places) and whether they wanted to do
that in the presence of the researcher or not.
The data will be presented using the macro-categories ob-
tained by Cruz (2009) in part of his research. The characteris-
tics put forward by the participants of this study gave birth to
four macro-categories. The major part of the attributes corre-
sponded to the macro-category Attachment Formation (com-
panion, sincere, expansive, affectionate, understanding, f unny ,
considerate and enamored), followed by Good Provider (stable,
responsible, educated, independent and determined), Good
Genes (handsome, attractive and voluptuous) and Transient
(uncommitted and inconstant).
General Description of the Res ults
a) Homosexual participants: 84% were attending college, had
already graduated or held a post-graduation, 74% were em-
ployed and 69.4% were absolutely or quite independent of the
partner, financially speaking. Their partner’s age ranged be-
tween 18 and 44 years, 71.5% were attending college, had al-
ready graduated or held a post-graduation, 11.1% did not have
an income. In regard to the affectionate relationship, 76% of the
participants claimed to be involved in a serious relationship,
46.9% were in a relationship of 1 to 5 years, only 8% had chil-
b) Heterosexual participants: Data of 55 women of Cruz’s
data collection (2009) was re-analyzed. All were properly em-
ploy ed , were between 20 and 50 years old and of reproductive
age. 66.7% were attending college, had already graduated or
held a post-graduation, 100% were employed and were abso-
lutely or largely independent of the partner, in financial terms.
Their partner’s age ranged between 21 and 59 years, 61.8%
were attending college, had already graduated or held a post-
graduation, 6.3% did not have an income. Regarding the affec-
tionate relationship, 51% said to be involved in a serious rela-
tionship, 27.3% were in a relationship of 1 to 5 years, 23.6%
were in a relationship of 6 months to1 year, 21.8% were in a
relationship of 5 to 10 years, 56% had children.
Differences between Homosexual and Heterosexual
Parti cipa nts
By means of descriptive statistics, using the median, a com-
parison was made between the attributes in long- and short-
term partnerships within both groups. The results are shown in
Table 2.
With the statistical test Mann-Whitney, a comparison was
made between the attributes in long-term partnership within
both groups, and the same in short-term. This revealed signifi-
cant statistical differences:
a) Long-term: among the statistically significant attributes,
handsome was more important to homosexual women; respon-
sible, independent, single and inconstant were more relevant to
Handsome was seen as almost alwaysimportant for ho-
mosexuals. Responsible and single were rated as “always
important; independent and in constant as, respectively, “al-
most alwaysand “almost neverimportant among hetero-
sexual women. Table 3 shows the results of the Mann-Whit -
ney test .
b) Short-term: Of the statistically significant attributes, at-
tractive and handsome were given more importance among
homosexual women, while determined, single, independent, re-
sponsible and enamored were found to be more relevant among
In short-term, even though the attribute handsome was more
relevant to homosexual women, it was classified as almost
alwaysimportant for both groups.
Determined was likewise almost alwaysimportant for both
groups, despite having more relevance for heterosexuals. Table 4
describes the results of the Mann-Whitney test.
Comparison between Homosexuals and Heterosexuals
without Children
Using the Mann-Whitney test to compare all homosexual
participants with childless heterosexual participants (24 women)
it was noted that in long - and short-term relationships t he attribute
handsome had more weight for homosexuals (Medianhomosexuals =
40,000 and heterosexuals Medianheterosexuals = 30,000, U =
785,000, p = .00 5, r = .61) and that in the long-term deter-
mined had more weight for the heterosexuals (Medianheterosexual s
= 50,000 and homosexuals Medianhomosexuals = 5,0000, U =
1,095,000, p = .001, r = .16).
In the present study, the macro-categories Attachment For-
mation, Good Provider and Good Genes were , to some extent,
valued by homo and heterosexual women. This given is in line
with the literature (Altafim et al., 2009; Buss, 1989, 2006; Buss
& Schmitt, 1993; Buss & Shakelford, 2008; Castro, 2009; Cruz,
2009; Carneiro, 1997; Greengross & Miller, 2008; Lippa, 2007;
Stewart et al., 2000), as is the case of the great importance at-
tached to the first two macro-categories in long-term relation-
ships, and t o the las t in short -term relationships, as predicted in
the first hypothesis (Buss & Shakelford, 2008; Campos, 2005;
Castro, 2009; DeWaal & Maner; 2008; Lucas et al., 2011;
Schmitt, 2005; Stewart et al., 2000).
On the whole, characteristics related to Good Genes” (long-
term: handsome and short-term: attractive and handsome) had
more weight among homosexual women, in both types of rela-
tionships. It would be possible to conjecture that the inclination
of homosexual women towards characteristics related to “Good
Genes” is some kind of “luxury” as a result of the lack of social
demand or the lesser chance at having children, compared to
heterosexual women, leaving their priorities open in other di-
rections, as pointed out by other researchers, like Lippa (2007).
The author puts forward the hypothesis, that the high preference
of women for emotional investment, at the expense of invest-
ment in resources, occurs when the gender equality index is
higher in their countries.
It is important to stress that the studies of Kenrick et al.
(1995), Russock (2011) and Bailey et al. (1994), the differences
between homosexual and heterosexual women do not make
direct mentioning of differences in preference for physical at-
tractiveness. In search of Bailey et al. (1994), the ter m physical
attractiveness is used and no difference was detected. However,
there is a difference in preference for visual sexual stimuli (e.g.
Table 2.
Percentage of preferences between the groups in the macro-categories between short- and long-term.
Macro-categories Attributes “always” and “almost always” important
Long-term Short-term
Homosexuals Heterosexuals Homosexuals Heterosexuals
Attachment formation 53.33% 50% 50% 46.7%
Good provider 26.7% 31.25% 20% 26.7%
Good genes 20% 12.25% 30% 20%
Transient - 6.25% - 6.7%
Note: Dashes within cells indicate that these data d oesnt exi st.
Table 3.
Statistically significant attributes in long-term relationships.
Attributes U P R N
Responsible 2,251,000 .038 .46 154
Handsome 1,986,000 .007 .6 153
Single 777,000 <.001 1.7 151
Independent 1,948,000 .002 .68 154
Inconstant 2,109,000 .018 .53 153
Table 4.
Statistically significant attributes in short-term relationships .
Attributes U P R N
Responsible 1,929,000 .002 .68 153
Handsome 1,520,500 <.001 1.03 152
Attractive 2,103,000 .037 .46 150
Single 1,533,500 <.001 .93 150
Independent 2,145,000 .030 .48 153
Inconstant 2,142,000 .036 .47 152
Enamored 2,144,500 .029 .48 153
Determined 2,036,500 .007 .6 154
pornography). The characteristics of these stimuli are not
clearly defined in the study, which does not make it safe to
assume that this term refers to the attractiveness. Furthermore,
in Kenrick et al. (1995) and Russock (2011), the preference for
younger women among homosexual women, both in general
and in the course of aging, could be an indication of greater
preference for attractiveness.
It’s not possible to maintain that the results of the present
study confirm the differences of preference for younger part-
ners and for visual sexual stimuli between homosexual and
heterosexual women, given that the terms employed for evalu-
ating attractiveness in this study are attractive and handsome.
It’s possible that these two terms are very general for evaluating
this kind of attribute, and that the results would be different in
case these attribute options were subdivided in subcategories,
like age, for example. Furthermore, it may be that the thing
which the homosexual participants evaluated as attractiveness
is closely related to age. It is therefore essential that the notion
of attractiveness be subdivided into more specific subcategories
in subsequent studies.
In any case, a priori, this research disagrees with the disclo-
sures of Bailey et al. (1994) which conclude that there is no
difference between women of both sexual orientations regard-
ing the preference they have for the attractiveness of their part-
ner, since the two groups of participants in this research pre-
sented significant differences in this aspect. Moreover, this
study also dissents from the research by Ha et al. (2012) which
displayed different valuing of physical attractiveness of the
partner, with heterosexual women giving more importance to
this attribute.
In the results of the studies by Bailey et al. (1994), Kenrick et
al. (1995), Russock (2011) and the present study, homosexual
women tend towards characteristics which were widely ob-
served in researches conducted with heterosexual men (charac-
teristics which have greater preference among men when com-
pared to heterosexual women), as predicted in the second hy-
pothesis, even though these women present less interest for
these preferences, when compared to those men.
Other researchers, like Balthazart (2012) and Bailey et al.
(1994), have been stressing the fact that feminine preference for
physical attributes may not be of a purely ecological or social
Bailey et al. (1994) point out the importance of the influence
exerted by intrauterine testosterone on the behaviour of the
individual in adult life. If some women were exposed to this
influence, as is common among male fetuses, it’s possible to
assume that some of their physical structures (like brain differ-
ences) predispose them to behaviours that are more commonly
masculine, and probably a lso determine their predisposition for
certain preferences in relationships. It has been disclosed that
there are differences in the 2D:4D proportionality between
homo and heterosexual women (the former being more dispro-
portionate), what would indicate, in last instance, that the for-
mer suffered more influence of testosterone than the latter
(Balthazart, 2012). Investigations are necessary at this level,
aiming to throw out, reassert or round out other theoretical
Confirming the studies of Bailey et al. (1994), Lippa (2007),
Russock (2011) and Smith et al. (2011) the data of the present
study shows that heterosexual women value traits related to
good providing of resources, much more than do homosexual
women. In this case, regardless of the type of relationship and
income, given that the women from both groups were rather
financially independent from their partners. In the studies by
Bailey et al. (1994), Lippa (2007), Russock (2011) and Smith,
Konik and Tuve (2011) these women valued social status and
resources, and in the present study they attached more impor-
tance to the attributes responsible and independent.
We could justify the higher appreciation of attributes related
to the macro-category Good Provider (responsible and inde-
pendent) among heterosexual women, in both types of rela-
tionship, by the need of providing a living for their children,
since only 8% of the homosexual women have children, against
56.36% in the heterosexual participantscamp. The fact that a
big part of the heterosexual women have children, could have
contributed to this valuation, for in the comparison between
homosexual and heterosexual women without children this
divergence did not occur. The data seems to reveal the impor-
tance of the influences from the outside of the organism in the
process of partner choice, as well as the malleability of its me-
chanisms, as underlined by Gangestad, Haselton and Buss
Meanwhile, in the same comparison above, between homo-
sexual and heterosexual women without children, it was noted
that the difference remained the same for the attribute hand-
some, in both types of relationship (similar to the male hetero-
sexual characteristic). In other words, this result may possibly
not be justified by the exi stence of a child and its al so possible
that it cannot be justified by the perspective of having a child
either. The why of this difference not being very clear at the
moment, it’s possible that one of the main factors contributing
to it is being epigenetically influenced (Rice, Friberg, & Gavri -
lets, 2012), especially through physical alterations brought
about by prenatal androgenic hormones or more/less sensitivity
to these, as pointed out by Bal thazart (201 2), Bail ey et al. (1994)
and Rice, Friberg and Gavrilets (2012). However, researches on
partner selection associated to these comparisons have yet to be
accomplished. The authors of the present study will proceed to
comparisons, associating these variables in ulterior studies.
Acknowledgemen ts
We thank Marilu Cruz for giving us part of her data. We
thank Mauro Dias Silva Junior for his help in the general for-
matting aspects of this manuscript and Giovanni Taytelbaum
for his care with translating this material. We thank our friends
who helped us make contact with many of participants, spe-
cially Elaine Nunes, Keila Rebelo, Aline Menezes and Mauro
Silva Junior.
We are grateful for the support of Coordenação de Aper-
feiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), through
the award of PhD scholarship for the first author. We thank to
the Pró-Reitoria de Pesquisa e Pós-Graduação from Federal
University of Para (PROPESP/UFPA) and to the Fundação de
Amparo e Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa (FADESP) by the fi-
nancial support to the translation of this manuscript.
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