A study in the journal Personal Relationships contends that women prefer men who are recognized by their peers for their skills, abilities, and achievements; while not preferring men who use coercive tactics to subordinate their rivals. Indeed, say the researchers, women found dominance strategies of the latter type to be attractive only when men used them in the context of athletic pursuits.
Researchers Jeffrey K. Snyder, Lee A. Kirkpatrick and H. Clark Barrett say the study was designed to examine the effects of men's dominance and prestige on women's assessments of men. What became apparent, they add, is that women are sensitive to the context in which men display domineering behaviors.
For example, the traits and behaviors that women found attractive in athletic competitions were unattractive to women when men displayed the same traits and behaviors in interpersonal contexts. Notably, when considering prospective partners for long-term relationships, women's preferences for dominance decrease, and their preferences for prestige increase.
"These findings directly contradict the dating advice of some pop psychologists who advise men to be aggressive in their social interactions. Women most likely avoid dominant men as long-term romantic partners because a dominant man may also be domineering in the household," the researchers conclude.
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Source: Personal Relationships