Maybe Men Are From
Venus After All

Are you and your partner worlds apart on what you think gives someone sex appeal? Maybe not, according to a new study that suggests men and women largely agree on the qualities important to being a "sexual" person.

In research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (April 1999, vol. 76, no. 4), men were asked to rate 27 words on a scale of zero to seven, with seven indicating "very much descriptive of a sexual man." As expected, stereotypically male traits — aggressive, powerful, experienced, individualistic — rated high; however, data also showed that men didn't consider these the most important traits of sexual self-identity. Rather, characteristics generally associated with women — loving, warm-hearted, passionate, compassionate — topped the list for men of all ages as most descriptive of a sexual male. Separately, women also rated traditionally female traits as being most descriptive of a sexual woman.

"Clearly, men and women agree that the primary characteristics of a sexual person are that they are loving and compassionate and sensitive," says Barbara Anderson, co-author of the study.

— Elisa Bosley