Sex Differences and Similarities in Married Couples: Patterns Across and Within Cultures

Weisfeld C. C., Dillon L. M., Nowak N. T., Mims K. R., Weisfeld G. E., İMAMOĞLU E. O., ...More

ARCHIVES OF SEXUAL BEHAVIOR, vol.40, no.6, pp.1165-1172, 2011 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10508-011-9790-9
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1165-1172
  • Keywords: Cross-cultural research, Sex differences, Female choice, Marital satisfaction, Division of labor, MARITAL SATISFACTION, MATE PREFERENCES, JEALOUSY, EVOLUTIONARY, PERSONALITY, ORIENTATION, ANXIETY, TRAITS, WOMEN
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


In this study, we examined the patterns of sex differences in men and women married to each other in five cultures (China, Russia, Turkey, UK, and the U.S.) to look for universal patterns in behavioral dimorphisms and for cultural variability in those patterns. Over 400 couples in each cultural group completed the 235-item Marriage and Relationship Questionnaire on various aspects of marriage, appropriately translated for each culture. Sex differences were anticipated in responses related to female choosiness, labor performed, emotional expressiveness, interest in sex, physical attractiveness, and jealousy. To measure male-female differences in each culture, t-tests were utilized, and effect sizes were calculated. Significant sex differences (p < .05, two-tailed) emerged in all six areas examined, although cultural differences were also seen in the patterns. For example, on items relevant to female choosiness, women in most, but not all, cultures were more likely than their husbands to endorse these statements: "I have thought of divorcing my spouse" and "My parents played a role in choosing my spouse." In China, where scores on emotional expressiveness were low, sex differences disappeared in the category related to emotions. Results suggest that long-term marriage exhibits a balance between homogamy and dimorphism serving reproductive interests. Moreover, culture may moderate this balance for particular sex differences.