Short-term and long-term mate preference in men and women in an Iranian population.
Mate preference in short-term relationships and long-term ones may depend on many physical, psychological, and socio-cultural factors. In this study, 178 students (81 females) in sports and 153 engineering students (64 females) answered the systemizing quotient (SQ) and empathizing quotient (EQ) questionnaires and had their digit ratio measured. They rated their preferred mate on 12 black-line drawing body figures varying in body mass index (BMI) and waist to hip ratio (WHR) for short-term and long-term relationships. Men relative to women preferred lower WHR and BMI for mate selection for both short-term and long-term relationships. BMI and WHR preference in men is independent of each other, but has a negative correlation in women. For men, digit ratio was inversely associated with BMI (p = 0.039, B = - 0.154) preference in a short-term relationship, and EQ was inversely associated with WHR preference in a long-term relationship (p = 0.045, B = - 0.164). Furthermore, men and women in sports, compared to engineering students, preferred higher (p = 0.009, B = 0.201) and lower BMI (p = 0.034, B = - 0.182) for short-term relationships, respectively. Women were more consistent in their preferences for short-term and long-term relationships relative to men. Both biological factors and social/experiential factors contribute to mate preferences in men while in women, mostly social/experiential factors contribute to them.