What Science Says About Whether Or Not Women Are More Romantic Than Men

Photo: Studio Romantic / Shutterstock
woman and man wearing heart glasses and sharing a drink through straws

Falling in love is an emotional experience for almost everyone, whether it's exciting, thrilling, overwhelming, anxiety-provoking, scary, or joyful, among any number of feelings and combinations of them.

Many of the most acclaimed works of art and cultural relics, from movies to paintings to literature to music from countless genres, are centered around the idea and feeling of being in love and romance.

Throughout the course of evolution, as something that isn't even unique to our species alone, romance has taken many forms, customs, and its own trajectory of evolution.

But when does that falling feeling begin? When do feelings of romance start to blossom, and how do we identify them?

It's different for everyone, but there are certain differences that seem to be clearly associated with being male or female.

Are women more romantic than men?

Here's what science has to say about the question...

RELATED: 5 Differences Between How Men & Women Fall In Love (And Who Falls Faster)

Men fall in love at first sight more often than women

Let's start with what we notice first about a person: their looks, naturally. And sure, we can get blind-sighted by someone attractive.

But does that mean that love at first sight is a real phenomenon? Apparently, guys seem to think so.

One study claims men are therefore more romantic than women.

Of the people surveyed, 48 percent of guys tend to fall in love at first sight compared to 28 percent of women. But you have to wonder: is this really love at first sight ... or lust at first sight?

After all, I can't count how many times I've had male friends or simply observed guys at social events see an attractive woman, who proceed to all but throw themselves at her feet. And none of them thought to find out her name yet.

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That said, love at first sight isn't necessarily love

If recent science has taught us anything about dating, "love at first sight" is somewhat of a misleading concept.

Researchers have proven that romantic decision-making is actually performed by several different parts of the brain.

There's the medial prefrontal cortex region of your brain, which makes snap decisions about love (you can thank this part of your brain for "love at first sight") and deeper down is the rostromedial prefrontal cortex, a segment of the medial prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for determining your true compatibility with the other person.

The "instant attraction" mechanism doesn't always match you up with someone who will be the right partner for you in the long haul.

This is why we can have mind-blowing sex with someone, but later come to realize that after the fun is over ... there isn't really anything to talk about.

So, if our brains are wired the same way, why the difference between men and women?

I can't speak for all the ladies out there, but as one myself, I tend to see a guy for his poise and maturity, how we connect, and his looks are secondary. So if we go off this study, guys seem to (almost literally) take instant physical attraction at face value.

Let's consider this again; does that really mean they're so much more "romantic"?

I personally don't think so.

If you dig deeper into this study, you'll find a more shocking statistic: one-third of the men admitted to having an affair.

Well gee, guys! That's not very romantic!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a woman who thinks all men are dogs. In fact, most of my closest friends in life have been guys.

What's more, I have plenty of gentlemanly, stand-up men as guy friends who are true romantics at heart. I know they've had their hearts broken by girlfriends who cheated on them or took them for granted.



RELATED: What Couples In Extremely Romantic Relationships Do Differently

Cultural influences on the role of romance between men and women

Another study compared men and women from North America, and the researchers found some interesting results.

They analyzed data from the North American men and women (whose ethinicities were a mix of White, Hispanic, and Black, with a range of socioeconomic status), and found, as compared to North American women, that the men were more likely to marry without prioritizing a strong emotional connection or even being in love at all.

However, Chinese men were more romantic, so much that the researchers noted there was a common belief among the men that "love can overcome any obstacle." They also found that women placed more importance on "physical pleasure" than men.

So, maybe it isn't nature as much as it is nurture, despite whatever we've been socialized to believe.

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Romance and how it's connected to evolution

Yet another study claims that we're biased toward wanting to progress romantic relationships, even when it doesn't have that much to do whether we're in romantic love.

The researchers explain that we make decisions to further relationships as part of our intuitive search for a mate, which also explains why many of us would rather stay in an unsatisfactory relationship than have no relationship, period. However, there was no distinction between men and women in this study.

Personally, I've also seen how they've bounced back and moved on to the next relationship. There was a study that showed how romance at the start of a relationship is linked to the part of our brain associated with motivation and reward.

The researchers believe this is directly linked to our primal instincts in pursuing "preferred mates." They also claim "It has an important influence on social behaviors that have reproductive and genetic consequences."

So, romance during courtship throughout generations upon generations has relied upon those potential consequences.

When I think about my guy friends, especially the ones who were in committed relationships at the time, I'd hear them joke together about "the hot girl" down the hall in their apartment complex and I've seen them sneaking peeks at the female bartender. I don't ever really think much of it. I know that "guys will be guys," after all.

Maybe it's kind of like targeting a potential mate, and romance comes next, while women's romance is earned through emotional connections developed over time, as cited in the study on American and Chinese cultural influences on romance between men and women.

My point is, they seem to "fall in love" easily (definitely more easily than I do), but I don't actually consider it to be "love" at all.

Maybe It's not so much that men are more romantic — they just happen to like what they see.

RELATED: What Do Men Think Romance Really Means?

Alexandra Churchill is a digital editor who currently works for Martha Stewart Living. Her work has been featured on numerous sites including The Huffington Post, Her Campus, USA TODAY College, and Northshore and Ocean Home magazines.