Looking For A Date? Playful Nature Most Universally Desired Romantic Quality For Males And Females

The science of seduction can be a tough one to pin down, and society has its own ideas about what makes men or women tick (or tickled) when it comes to romantic partners — but while people may rate looks, wealth or charm and charisma highly, it turns out a “playful” demeanor is really what will get the opposite (or same, if that’s your bag) sex lining up at your door for a date.

Yes, playfulness has been pegged as the single most influential factor when it comes to landing a partner, edging out other, more traditionally thought to be valued qualities as the numero uno determinator of whether someone will dig you. A new study carried out by researchers at Pennsylvania State University found it to be the uniting factor between both sexes in what is sought in a mate.

Of course, the relative youth of the participants — 164 men and 89 women, between the ages of 18 and 26, all college students — may have been a factor in the findings placing playfulness at the top of the list for mate attraction.

But in a news release, the University’s Garry Chick explained why a playful demeanor may attract the ladies and fellas more than a banging body or large bank account:

“Humans and other animals exhibit a variety of signals as to their value as mates… just as birds display bright plumage or coloration, men may attract women by showing off expensive cars or clothing.”

Chick continues:

“In the same vein, playfulness in a male may signal to females that he is nonaggressive and less likely to harm them or their offspring… A woman’s playfulness, on the other hand, might signal her youth and fertility.”

Chick acknowledged that the relative ages of participants may have been a factor — but that it doesn’t mean lovers of all ages don’t value a playful mate:

“…the results may be skewed by the fact that most of the study subjects were college students from a western culture. Despite these caveats, it seems to us that signaling one’s virtues as a potential long-term mate through playfulness is not far-fetched. Our results suggest that adult playfulness may result from sexual selection and signal positive qualities to potential long-term mates.”

The study was published in the August issue of the American Journal of Play.