The effects of female control of resources on sex-differentiated mate preferences
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A number of sex differences in mate preferences have been reported across cultures. Women prefer partners who are older than them whereas men prefer partners who are younger than them. Women have stronger preferences for resource-acquisition characteristics whereas men have stronger preferences for physical attractiveness. Recently, studies have reported shifts in female preferences with increasing female empowerment and associated female attitudes. Other studies, however, report opposite effects of female wealth and income. In this study, we investigated the effects of female control of the resources necessary to raise offspring successfully on mate preferences. We developed measures of resource control at the level of the individual and investigated relationships between these and mate preferences using an internet survey. Resource control was associated with preferences for physical attractiveness over good financial prospects and greater maximum partner age tolerated. Resource control, however, was also associated with tolerance of younger partners. The results implicate the role of constraints on female access to and control of resources in sex-differentiated mate preferences and highlight differences between resource control and wealth.