What we say we want in a date, or mate, apparently doesn’t match up to what we actually want, according to new research. Many of us say that we want someone smart, funny — you know, the whole deal. Sexy. Thing is, “sexy” is something different for everyone, so when you say you want someone smart and funny, that’s “sexy” to you. But, we also have an unconscious desire to be with an attractive partner.

The researchers developed a word test to figure out how important physical attraction is to a person, on an unconscious level.

“People will readily tell you what they value in a romantic partner,” study researcher Eli Finkel, of Northwestern University, said in a statement. “But study after study shows that those preferences don’t predict whom daters are actually attracted to when they meet flesh-and-blood partners. Now we can get under the hood with this quirky methodology to see what people actually prefer in live-interaction settings.”

So, how did they do it? Undergraduate students were asked to take a computer-based word-association test to determine the correlation between physical attractiveness and what they imagined to be the ideal partner. And you know what? The two were linked. The students were asked to choose words on the screen that they associated with positive feelings, and they were more likely to prefer and consider words to be positive that are connected to sexiness.

When asked direct questions about the importance of looks in a partner, the group of students that stood by their assertion that looks aren’t everything were still proven wrong.

What does this all mean then? Well, thinking in terms of online dating, you may have to take things with a grain of salt. Although you may be perfectly matched with someone on paper, physical attraction is a big part of the equation. Online dating sites that include some kind of video chat could help, or even video chatting via Skype could help determine whether or not you’ll be a good match.

“If you are browsing a bunch of profiles you are assuming you can glean information from those profiles that is actually relevant to how attracted you will be to that person when you meet face to face,” study researcher Eli Finkel said. “People really don’t have that level of accurate insight.”

So, the next time you’re browsing on your favorite online dating site, keep this study in mind. I’m not personally taking it to heart, but reflecting on what I find attractive — and that’s great. We all have our own version of sexy.

The study was published in the November 2011 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

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eHarmony Free Communication Weekend

by Online Dating on December 30, 2011

It’s only on a few rare weekends per year that eHarmony runs their free communication weekend promotion, and that time is now! From December 30, 2011 through January 2, 2012 you can go one step further to get a taste of whether or not eHarmony is the right online dating site for you. Take this weekend to communicate and connect with your matches for free. Go check out our eHarmony review too!

Are you dating someone online that you haven’t yet met in person? Do you have something you need to reveal to them? We’re looking for stories for a national TV show, contact us ASAP!

To all the ladies out there who think they’re the problem when it comes to having a great sex life with your partner — think again. The blame doesn’t go to your partner either. According to a recent study from the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, the main component of sexual satisfaction in women is age.

Forty- to 70-year-old men and their female partners, either married or living together for at least one year, participated in the study and included about 200 couples from each country — Brazil, Germany, Japan, the U.S. and Spain.

The study is extensive, but interesting things to note include the fact that frequent kissing or cuddling predicted happiness in the relationship for men, but not for women, and women reported that their sexual satisfaction increased over time. Women were less likely to report sexual satisfaction if they had been with their partner for less than 15 years, but reported more satisfaction after 15 years.

But why would this be? It could either be that women’s expectations change, or that they’ve embraced life changes after the kids have left the roost. And on the flip side, it could be that those who weren’t so sexually satisfied didn’t stay married as long. Either way, I’m intrigued!

Sexual satisfaction differs for couples across all cultures, and even individually, so I’m looking forward to further research from the Kinsey Institute on how physical affection — like cuddling and kissing — our health, and sexual experiences relate to sexual satisfaction and happiness in a relationship.

[Complete study available here]

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Online Dating University Featured on TV!

by Online Dating on June 7, 2011

Online Dating University has been featured on Dallas-Fort Worth’s The 33 News for our infographic on how Facebook affects you and your relationships. Check out the full infographic after the jump!

How has Facebook affected your relationships?

See the Infographic →

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