Data Mine: Sexual Strategy

The poker face and sexual goals, and the pros and cons of the office romance.

By PT Staff, published November 1, 2008 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

Eyes on the Guise

Relationship goals are in your face.

It's hard to hold your cards close to your chest when they're reflected in your face. Research published in Evolution and Human Behavior reveals that people can predict your "sexual strategy"—how open you are to casual hookups—simply by viewing your headshot. "Although we know that observers are sensitive to subtle correlations between behavior and appearance," Lynda Boothroyd of Durham University in the UK says, "I was very surprised that people could pick up on sociosexuality so well."

In women's faces, one strong indicator of sexual strategy is attractiveness. The more beautiful they are, the more sexual opportunities they have, which may condition their sexual attitudes to be less restricted—a pattern people pick up on.

In men, the key visual clues remain a mystery. But one result is clear: Women prefer—for both long-term and short-term relationships—men who appear to avoid sex without love. Ben Jones of Aberdeen University in the UK says that, considering the possibility of conception, "it would be risky for a woman to pursue a relationship of any length with a man who is unwilling to commit."—Matthew Hutson

Relationships: Punching In and Hooking Up

What are the pros and cons of office romances?

  • 33% would like the personal and professional convenience of sharing an office.
  • 65% feel their coworkers would look down on an office romance.
  • 90% are most worried about the awkwardness of a breakup.
  • 17% have had an office romance.
  • 42% would enjoy work more if they dated a colleague.
  • 80% are concerned about office gossip.
  • 47% want someone who understands their work issues.
  • 15% of office romances end in engagements.