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The Attractiveness of Gender-Typed Traits at Different Relationship Levels: Androgynous Characteristics May Be Desirable after all
Previous research and theorizing have suggested a 'fundamental paradox" in that individuals appear to be predisposed, both culturally and genetically, to be attracted to traditionally gender typed members of the other sex even though pairings between gender-typed persons are less than optimal for long-term relation-ship satisfaction. Two studies were undertaken to clarify the relationship between gender-typed traits and heterosexual attraction. Male and female subjects indicated how desirable opposite-sex targets would be for a date, a one-night sexual encounter, and/or marriage. The gender-typing of the target was manipulated such that each target was perceived as androgynous, masculine, feminine, or undifferentiated. Results indicated that both sexes perceived opposite-sex androgynous targets to be more desirable for each type of relationship. Further, for both sexes, possession of feminine/expressive characteristics was more important than possession of masculine/instrumental characteristics.