New Survey Reveals What Women Want in a Short-Term Partner

Looking for a fling? A recent survey says this is what women want.

what women are looking for in casual sex

Recent research has shown that what women want in a short-term partner and a long-term partner often differ. One 2018 study in the journal Psychological Science found that when it came to casual encounters, women were more likely to choose men with "masculine" facial features, which are indicators of high levels of testosterone. Similarly, the research showed that women prefer more "feminine" facial features when choosing a husband, as they connote positive character traits like trustworthiness, sensitivity, and reliability. Now, a new study conducted by the female health app Clue sheds further insight into what women want exactly when it comes to casual sex partners. The survey used data from 68,000 users of the app, and it turns out, the following six traits are key.

1. You need to be taller than her.

Sadly, height bias is still very much real: 89. 5 percent of respondents said their short-term partner had to be taller than them, and only 11.9 percent viewed height as unimportant.

The good news is that "taller" might not mean as tall as you might think, given that the average adult American woman is only 5'3". A 2018 survey by the dating website E-Harmony found that 5'8" was considered to be the ideal height for men, which is actually slightly shorter than the 5'9" that has been deemed the average height of an adult American man.

2. But you don't necessarily need to be smarter.

While having similar education levels may be important for women seeking a lifelong mate, only 46.7 percent of American women thought intelligence was an important trait in a casual partner.

3. Hair is great, but only if it's on your face.

While bearded men are still beloved around the world, most women said they'd prefer a short haircut and a hairless chest for a fling than luscious locks and a virtual forest of upper body hair.

4. You don't have to be buff.

Unsurprisingly, about half (51.8 percent) of all women surveyed considered body type to be a very important factor when deciding on a partner for a casual encounter. But if you don't have a six-pack or bulging biceps, don't fret. Fit, athletic physiques were found to be the most popular among women (50.3 percent), followed by "average" body types (29.1 percent). Only 7.8 percent said they wanted someone who was very muscular.

5. Your ethnicity and religion don't matter.

In what one might be tempted to consider a sign of progress, only 9.9 percent of women believed finding a partner with the same ethnicity was important for a fling, and only 11.6 percent thought you needed to have the same faith. This aligns with a recent survey from The Wall Street Journal and NBC News, which found that millennials care less about religion than previous generations. 

6. And don't forget to smile!

Having an attractive smile was one of the most important factors for women from almost every country in the Clue survey. So, when you're on your date, remember to show that you're enjoying yourself by flashing those pearly whites!

And for more great advice on what women want, check out The 10 Sexiest Things to Say to Her on a First Date.

Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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