Helen Fisher, PhD

Myths and Men

We’ve been busting myths about women since the 1960s; it’s time we bust our myths about men.  Single in America, a 2011 national study of Singles based on the US census and conducted by Match.com (and myself), does this in spades.  This study clearly shows that men are just as eager to marry; 33% of both sexes want to say “I do.” Moreover, men in every age group are more eager to have children: 51% of men aged 21 to 34 want kids, while 46% of women in this age range yearn for young.  Men are less picky about a partner, too.  Fewer men “must have” or regard it as “very important” to have a mate of the same ethnic background (20% of men vs 29% of women); and fewer say they “must have” or regard it as “very important” to have a partner of the same religion (17% of men vs 28% of women).  And get this:  Men experience more love at first sight; just as many men under age 35 believe you can stay married to the same person forever (84%); and in a committed relationship, men are less likely to want nights out with friends (23% vs 35% of women); less eager to own their own bank account (47% vs 66% of women); and less keen to take a vacation on their own (8% vs 12%).  And as for men’s mythic obsession with sex, men are more willing than women to enter a committed relationship with someone whom they do not find sexually attractive, as long as this partner has everything else they are looking for in a mate.  I study the brain in love.  My colleagues and I have put over 80 men and women into a brain scanner (fMRI), and we found no gender differences in romantic passion.  This Single in America study tells it like it is:  men are just as eager to find a partner, fall in love, commit long term and raise a family.  And the sooner journalists (particularly those writing for women’s magazines), social scientists (particularly those convinced that men are evil), TV and radio talk show hosts, and all the rest of humanity that berates men begin to embrace these findings, the faster we will find—and keep–the love we want.