Exploring Attraction: What Do Women Want In A Partner? 

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated September 19, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Many believe that the mystery of attraction has intrigued humanity for centuries. Attraction can be the first sign of a spark that can lead to a long-term relationship. However, we still do not definitively understand what attraction is in a singular way, how it works, and why some people are or are not attracted to others.  Attraction remains highly subjective.  

At this point in time, many leading voices believe that attraction is made up of intricate connections between many factors that shape a woman’s preferences and desires. 

While this can be true, we do want to note — a range of attraction can be perfectly normal for some on a relationship-specific basis. There is not currently a concrete list of attraction-related elements that covers the needs of the sex and gender identity spectrum. Scientists do recognize that more research is needed in this area for those of every orientation, including genderqueer, nonbinary and fluid folks. 
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With this in mind, let’s explore what attracts women, including the possible causes of attraction, and possible factors that may come into a woman’s decision-making process when she’s considering possible partners.

What Causes Attraction?

Attraction is thought to have inspired poems, plays, and songs, generally remaining one of the most complex aspects of relationships. While some people believe attraction happens at first sight, there is no one singular cause that science has determined currently; however, it is generally thought to be a complex phenomenon that is specific to each individual and that is influenced by a range of factors.

Many people think that physical attraction is the most important feature when it comes to attraction across the gender and sexual identity spectrum. However, some women may want something more — such as a well-rounded and compatible partner with whom they can connect emotionally and intellectually, too. 

Physical attraction certainly plays an important role in overall attraction and attracting women. For example, some women prefer facial hair or a certain body type. Still, many believe that a strong relationship is built on mutual trust, respect, and communication — no matter with what gender or identities the relationship participants align.

Understanding some of the other factors that may attract women can help guys and other individuals better understand their own preferences and what they are attracted to and experience a higher degree of fulfillment in relationships. We’ve summarized some possible areas of interest below. 

Possible Qualities That Women May Want In A Partner

  • Humor - Time references research, stating that “While both men and women say they like a ‘good sense of humor’ in a potential mate, they differ in what they mean by this phrase. Women tend to prefer men who can make them laugh, whereas many men tend to prefer women who laugh at their jokes. Consistent with this, Robert Provine analyzed more than 3000 single ads and found that women were more likely to describe their good humor appreciation ability, whereas men were more likely to offer good humor production ability.” Laughing together, having fun, and expressing mutual humor can be an important part of relationships. Women may enjoy spending time with someone who can make them laugh and appreciate their unique sense of humor. 
  • Hobbies and Interests - Having hobbies and interests can be a great way for a female to get to know a potential partner. Learning more about someone’s passions can offer insight into their values and lifestyle. Having the same interests and hobbies can also be a great course for bonding and getting to know someone. For example: If a woman knows a potential partner has a hobby she enjoys, it can be a perfect first date. Participating in hobbies and interests may also indicate that a possible partner has a well-rounded life outside of romantic relationships.
  • Compassion - Compassion is a highly sought-after quality that can be equally attractive to women. Someone who is compassionate may also be empathetic, kind, and understanding. Women may romantically or relationally consider someone who can understand and connect with their feelings while offering support during difficult times as a possible partner. Having a partner who practices compassion can also lead to a deeper bond between two partners, possibly creating a greater sense of perceived safety for both. Compassion is also considered by many to be a valued communication element, as it can lead to more open and honest communication.
  • Emotional Intelligence – In a secondary piece on attraction, Time quotes Silke Anders, a professor of Social and Affective Neuroscience at the University of Lübeck, stating that "To accomplish a common goal, partners must understand and continuously update information about their partner’s current intentions and motivation, anticipate the other’s behavior, and adapt their own behavior accordingly". Emotional intelligence can offer a sense of relational resiliency and comfort to a woman who is looking for a supportive and communicative partner.
  • Respect - A woman might be attracted to a partner who treats them with respect. Exhibiting respectful behavior might include actions like listening to her opinions and treating her as an equal in the relationship. Treating a woman and a woman’s body with respect could, in turn, make her respect her partner more as well — possibly fostering a deeper bond and potential attraction.
  • Ambition - In this context, ambition may not always mean job success or money. Instead, ambition can simply indicate that a potential partner is motivated and goal-oriented. Women may value this in a partner, as this can promote a certain level of teamwork and comfort in a relationship.
  • Intelligence - Intelligence may be an attractive quality to women for many reasons. People with high intelligence may also be good communicators. Intelligent people also might be curious about the world around them, which can lead to a wide variety of possibly commong interests and things to talk about. Additionally, an intelligent partner may be more likely to have critical thinking skills, which can help solve personal and logical concerns in a relationship should they arise.
  • Trustworthiness - Trust and honesty can be considered crucial elements in many relationships. Most women likely want a partner on whom they can rely if they are considering a long-term relationship. A reliable and dependable individual could be viewed as a valuable companion. Additionally, prioritizing honest communication may indicate trustworthiness, a secondary trait that many women may be looking for in a romantic or relational partner. 

Everyone Is Generally Considered To Be Unique

As you consider what affects attraction and what women find attractive, it can be helpful to remember that everyone generally has unique preferences. Additionally, attraction is thought to combine many factors — potentially meaning no two women will be exactly alike in terms of what attracts them. 

Several factors might affect attraction, beyond what we’ve listed above. These can include:

  • Life Experience - A woman’s past life experiences could influence who she is attracted to. For example, someone who had trouble with communication in a previous relationship might seek out someone with healthy communication skills in their next relationship. 
  • Personality - Women may be drawn to people who complement their own personalities. Expressing interests, humor, and beliefs can be an excellent way for both people to attract the other and feel comfortable and connected. 
  • Chemistry - Chemistry may play a role in attraction and can be influenced by a range of factors (such as those we’ve listed above). In this context, chemistry is not generally specific to physical chemistry — instead, it refers to how two people interact.

How Can Online Therapy Support Those Exploring Attraction? 

When discussing potentially sensitive topics and certain things like attraction, personality, and romantic relationships, some clients may feel more comfortable expressing themselves in a familiar environment. Online therapy can benefit those looking to increase their confidence and learn more about attraction and possible relationship dynamics, potentially allowing individuals to experience therapy from the comfort of their own homes.  

Another benefit when seeking online therapy can be the flexibility in scheduling. Individuals who have struggled to fit traditional therapy appointments into their schedule may have more success scheduling online sessions.

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Is Online Therapy Effective For Those Looking For Relationship Support? 

Many may wonder if online therapy is relevant to their relationship support needs. Ongoing scientific studies have explored this question, resulting in information that supports the efficacy of online counseling. 

One study published in Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy explored the ways online therapy can lead to a revitalization of the concept of therapeutic relationship. Researchers associated with the study were thought to have found “Growing evidence that the digital natives of the younger generation who have grown up with technology as an integral part of everyday life and interpersonal connectedness are increasingly demanding services that match their needs and the world as they experience it. Video therapy (in this sense) provides a powerful pathway for clients to experience enhanced opportunities for self-expression, connection, and intimacy, with potentially a greater sense of agency over their therapeutic journey”. 

Individuals who are interested in using therapy for increased connection and intimacy might find online therapy to be especially impactful for their needs.


The question, “What are women attracted to?” doesn’t have a simple answer. What women and girls want may depend on what specific factors of attraction and chemistry appeal to them. These two elements are generally made up of and influenced by many factors, including personal preferences, values, appearance and experiences. It can be helpful to focus on becoming a more well-rounded person when seeking a partner and paying attention to your own preferences. Whether you’re attracted to men, women, or someone of a different gender identity, you may consider online therapy if you’re looking to explore attraction in relationships. BetterHelp can connect you with therapists in your specific area of need.

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