Date of Award

Spring 2002

Document Type



Communication Studies

First Advisor

Charlotte Jones

Second Advisor

Brent Northup

Third Advisor

Bob Piccolo


Not all men and women prefer all of the same qualities when searching for a prospective mate. Some individuals only look for a few characteristics, while others have endless lists of categories a person must meet to be considered as a prospective partner. For many individuals, personal advertisements open a window of opportunity for meeting their prospective mate. Personal advertisements not only include characteristics an advertiser seeks in a partner, but they also include qualities of the advertiser. Personal advertisements allow the advertiser to explicitly state what he or she is interested in, and thus allows researchers to get to the heart of what attracts couples without everyday distractions. Not only do personal advertisements allow the advertiser to choose exactly the type of person he/she wants, but also the reader is able to pick and choose between those that placed ads. Thus, personal ads also lend valuable information about social roles, gender stereotypes, and judgments of attractiveness in heterosexual and homosexual samples (Gonzales & Meyers, 1993). Personal advertisement studies have only been around for the past twenty years, and further research needs to be done in order to uncover distinct patterns that males and females follow. For example, the impact of sexual orientation has not often been researched. Furthermore, few studies have been done on lesbian attraction, thus there is only a small amount of information on the mating habits within the lesbian community. There is also a need to look further into the heterosexual population. It is important to do other studies to investigate if heterosexual advertisers, and those they are seeking, have changed over time. Even though these studies have only been around for a short period of time, there still have been changes within society over that time and those changes may contribute to differences in findings. The purpose of this research is to advance our understanding of heterosexual and homosexual male and female attraction towards an ideal mate, as evidenced in newspaper advertisements across the United States.