General Question

delirium's avatar

Do you select against specific traits when looking for a mate?

Asked by delirium (13669points) June 28th, 2010

I can’t avoid thinking like this. Biology is in my blood. It doesn’t even matter that I am not planning to have a kid for almost a decade.
I know that I am a carrier for colorblindness, and therefore avoid colorblind men. That is the only time when it is possible to have a colorblind girl, with the crossing of a carrier and an individual with colorblindness.
I always attempt to select for diverse genetics and preferentially opt for heritage other than my own.
I try and select for good metabolism because I am not blessed with one.
And so on and so forth. Make Note: These aren’t traits that I find sexually attractive and are instead criteria for mates with the intent of protecting future offspring.
Anything that narrows down the possibilities is nice, too.

Do you have anything you select against because of genetics? Do you keep in mind what you’re a carrier for when dating? Do you even know what you’re a carrier for?

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35 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yeah, I’ve never gone through this process – always figured my good genes will win out and they have. :)

Coloma's avatar


Now days they must have four legs, lots of fur, and hooves and wings are good too! lol

Facade's avatar

If I were planning on ever having children, I would, but since I don’t, I don’t.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I’ve seen many scientific documentaries that suggest that people already do this on a subconscious level; I remember seeing a video of an experiement where various men slept one night in identical white T-shirts; the next day, women were asked to pick out the shirts that smelled best to them. All the women chose the shirts of men with very different genetic traits than themselves. It’s fascinating to me.

As for myself, I’ve only had one real relationship, and I think it works out because of certain points you make in your post. I have a history of mental illness in my family, but my boyfriend does not have any hint of mental illness. I avoid men who seem to have anger or jealousy issues since that has been a problem with my own father’s side of the family. I find men of different ethnicity more attractive for some reason (even though my boyfriend is also Caucasian and we coincidentally have a common distant ancestor). I also tend to pay a lot of attention to noses on guys, since I inherited the large nose of mother’s family tree, something I’ve been kind of self-conscious of for a long time.

That being said, I’m not aiming to have kids any time soon. Like @Facade said, if I was aiming to marry and have children when looking for a relationship, I may more actively look at certain genetic traits when choosing a partner. Buuuut that’s not in the cards for me right now, so probably all the genetic picking and choosing is done without me realizing it.

jazmina88's avatar

i dont do alcoholics.

but I dont think I can spawn anyhow.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t know what I’m a carrier for, but I would like to find out. As others have stated, I feel we do this subconsciously because we strive to pass on good genes and have healthy offspring.

PandaMonium's avatar

I’ve always wanted a guy with blue eyes, I know if I marry a brown-eyed man our kids will surely have brown eyes. I think having a baby with my tan skin and his blue eyes would be adorable. Plus I just have a thing for eyes. I can’t say that I would eliminate a good guy for having bad genes though.

Zaku's avatar

It’s generally too late by the time I have that information. I tend to fall in love first, though then I may think about such things a bit, but such thoughts are weak compared to love, attachment, and other personal forces.

beccalynnx's avatar

naw. I just kinda take what I can get.

I don’t really care what could happen, I plan hope to have quite a few children eventually, but everyone will have their good traits and bad traits. I just care about getting along with my mate.
Amazingly, though, the only trait I could be worried about is diabetes. It runs on both my side of the family and my SO’s. but then again, diabetes runs in everyone’s blood these days…
I guess I was blessed with a great partner.

nikipedia's avatar

I have said for many years (including on what may have been a date last night) that I will only procreate with men who are tall, thin, and good at math in order to make up for my only deficiencies. This way, my offspring will be flawless.

That said, I consider it reasonably unlikely that I will ever have biological children.


Yes, I wouldn’t select anyone who exhibits a natural inclination towards stupidity. Lol.

nikipedia's avatar

@ParaParaYukiko: That t-shirt/smell/genetic diversity thing falls apart when women take birth control pills. True story.

ragingloli's avatar

A good natured, healthy female feline with shiny fur.

delirium's avatar

@nikipedia The number of times that I’ve had that repeated to me by guys I was curled up with (and made the mistake of saying how good they smell) is in the double digits now.

This is the problem with dating scientists.

delirium's avatar

@ragingloli I select against those too.

ragingloli's avatar

Actually that is what I select for

h3llolim3's avatar

Ever since I’ve taken Biology, its always had an input in my decision. But usually I’m looking for the basics, I prefer someone that doesn’t smoke (hate it), someone that’s humorous, easy to get along with—although shy isn’t that bad, someone that has an edge—but not too much, somewhat attractive.

Coloma's avatar

Thank god I reproduced myself splendidly with my daughter. She’s the best!

Her father on the other hand should never have reproduced…a long and distinguished line of raging narcissists! lol

YARNLADY's avatar

No, I fall in love with them first, and then discover the rest after the fact.

Coloma's avatar


You’re a gamblin’ gal ey? haha

Your_Majesty's avatar

I want to choose the one with caucasian heritage since it’s considered as rare and valuable in my country. Actually,I don’t really care about the genetic issue. I just need the one who definitely understands me and has enough money to share.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I selected against myself reproducing. I don’t want to pass on Aspergers Syndrome.

kenmc's avatar

I’m a carrier for red-headism, so I plan on never reproducing~

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@boots Sacrilege! Red heads are superior (at least the ladies).~

BoBo1946's avatar

@delirium never give that one minute of thought! If there is an attraction, i go from there!

eden2eve's avatar

Interesting question. I think that we select FOR some traits as well as against others.

I have found myself selecting against Diabetes in a partner, because of how prevalent it is in my family. Also, poor vision. Now, with greater knowledge, I can see that I’m selecting against persons with Alzheimer’s in their families. Alcoholism or any addiction (including smoking) is a big red light for me.

I think because of abuse in my background, being that I see patterns of abuse among these families, I would not wish to perpetuate that pattern. I’m very sensitive to certain factors in a man’s personality. Even now, when reproducing is not an option, I am wildly attracted to men who are very devoted to their offspring. In fact, a lack of that quality is a deal breaker for me. I also am very attracted to those who are very protective of their women and children. Big and strong is a huge plus. <grin>

I seem to select against physical traits shared by someone I know well who I consider to be a very poor father. In fact, I’m almost violently repulsed by these physical characteristics.

delirium's avatar

@boots ACK! But red-heads are wonderful. In fact, I’m dying my hair a natural red in a few days!

kenmc's avatar

@delirium Heh, I actually like red-headed women… and therein lies the danger!

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

Yes ,I do. I’m not really into muscles like my friends are. Smarts, a sense of humour, and certain kind of nerdiness are always welcome.

delirium's avatar

Right, but the question is what you select AGAINST because you wouldn’t want to pass it on to an offspring and you know your own genes.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

Sorry, I’m kinda scatter-brained today.

I don’t like alcoholics or anyone with addictions. I guess I’d want to be aware if there’s a history of mental illness or depression in their family.
I do have phsyical traits that I prefer, but I’m going to pay attention this time and keep them to myself. ;)

perspicacious's avatar

I didn’t do this myself. bet you are a blast on a first date

Aster's avatar

I seem to be drawn to well educated men (husbands). They have to be more knowledgeable than I am . that would be easy.

kbee1123's avatar

doesnt matter because if Im in love with that person and we decide too have a child, my love for that child is unconditional regardless of the traits.

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