Are Dominant or Prestigious Men More Attractive to Women?

How to be attractive to women by developing dominance or prestige.

Posted Mar 31, 2018

In past articles, I have reviewed the basic characteristics people want in a mate or lover in general. Specifically, I have also explored what women want in a partner—and how those desires may change over time. Previous articles have discussed some detailed male characteristics that may interest some women as well, such as their preferences in men’s facial hair.

Nevertheless, some confusion still remains about the specific male characteristics that are attractive to different types of women. For example, do women really favor dominant men, who take charge and lead? Or, are they more attracted to prestigious men, who are well liked and respected by others? What type of guy gets the relationship and attention they desire too?

Dominance and Prestige as Male Reproductive Strategies

To answer those questions, I reviewed a research article by Kruger and Fitzgerald (2011). The pair were interested in exploring the various reproductive strategies and relationship preferences associated with both prestigious and dominant men. They characterized the two types as follows:

  • Socially dominant men are competitive, assertive, and authoritative, using their strong social skills to exhibit power over others.
  • High-prestige men achieve status through social inclusion and special knowledge and capabilities, their peers elevate them to prominent positions.

To research these characteristics, Kruger and Fitzgerald (2011) provided descriptions of a dominant and prestigious man to male and female research participants. They then asked participants to match the descriptions to various men’s faces, differing in how masculine or feminine they looked. Participants were also asked to indicate how attractive they believed women would find the men described for a brief sexual affair, a sort-term (2 month) relationship, and a long-term relationship as well.

Findings from the study indicated that both male and female participants associated the description of the dominant man to a more masculine face—whereas the prestigious man was comparatively associated to a more feminine face. Also, both male and female participants believed that dominant males would be more appealing to women for brief sexual partners, whereas prestigious men would be more desired for long-term relationship partners. Generally, there was agreement between male and female participants—although men did tend to over-estimate the attractiveness of dominance to women, particularly for longer-term relationships.

Focusing on Dominance or Prestige

Overall then, dominant men were linked to successful short-term mating, whereas prestigious men were linked to successful long-term mating. Therefore, if men are looking for short-term mating (or women want a short-term fling), then focusing on male social dominance might be the way to go. In contrast, if men are looking for a long-term relationship (or women want a long-term partner), then focusing on male prestige might be more helpful.

Depending on your preference then, it might help to focus on the following:

Dominant Men are often characterized by behavioral attractiveness—making bold moves. They will often have open and expansive body language. They will also use strong and passionate eye contact and touch potential romantic partners confidently. They will further focus on the masculine features under their control, like physique and style—and will be curious and confidentasking for what they want directly.

Prestigious Men are often characterized by psychological attractiveness—creating connections. They will often have a unique and special style, demonstrating their skills and talents. They are also usually good conversationalists—developing strong rapport with others and knowing how to use words to build attraction. They will focus on being rewarding to a partner and being grateful back too. Also, they might ask for what they want a bit more indirectly, but will be persuasive in their approach nonetheless.

Given that, no matter what type of man you decide to be (or date), I hope you enjoy dating and relating!

© 2018 by Jeremy S. Nicholson, M.A., M.S.W., Ph.D. All rights reserved.


Kruger, D. J., & Fitzgerald, C. J. (2011). Reproductive strategies and relationship preferences associated with prestigious and dominant men. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(3), 365-369.

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