Skip to main content
  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Gender differences in the perceptions for the ideal sex partner


How accurately do men and women perceive the preferences of the other gender? Researchers have long been interested in interpersonal perception within relationships. McGuirl & Wiederman [1] found that men and women under- or overestimated the ratings of the other gender with regard to several characteristics.

Materials and methods

The aim of the current study was to investigate the gender differences in preferences for particular characteristics of an ideal sexual partner, and also to search the degree men and women accurately estimate the preferences of the other gender. A sample of 289 men and 137 women, (age: 22-25) completed a questionnaire [1], about what they believed the ideal sex partner's characteristics were, as well as what they thought the other gender would answer to the same set of questions.


Relative to women, men valued more highly the preference of a sex partner who is physically attractive, experiences orgasm easily, and likes erotic videos or books. Women, more higly valued the preference of a partner who is knowledgeable about sex and takes the dominant role during sex. The comparison between men's reported preference and women's rating regarding what they thought men prefer, showed that women overestimated the degree to which men like a partner saying compliments during sex, and like erotic videos and books. The comparison between women's reported preferences and men's rating regarding what they thought woman prefer, showed that men underestimated women's preference for a partner who clearly communicate desires, and experience orgasm easily.


The findings of the present study can be discussed in relation to previous findings which have shown in general that, compare to men, women seem to desire more nongenital expressions of affection as well as romantic settings for sexual activity. Finally, the findings may have implication in sexual counceling or education.


  1. McGuirl KE, Wiederman MW: Characteristics of the ideal sex partner: Gender differences and perceptions of the preferences of the other gender. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. 2000, 26: 153-159. 10.1080/009262300278551.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Giotakos, O., Tsiliakou, M. Gender differences in the perceptions for the ideal sex partner. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S173 (2008).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: