How much power does attraction really hold? A lot, it turns out. While a relationship’s flame may flicker, 90 percent of men and women believe that dwindling attraction in a relationship can be rekindled, according to a new survey of over 20,000 people. Results were released by MSN lifestyle website Glo.com, YourTango.com and Chemistry.com, and analyzed by leading biological anthropologist and relationship expert Dr. Helen Fisher.
“The common belief is romantic love dies and most people in long-term relationships are unhappy—but our melancholy myth is simply not true,” Dr. Fisher said. “People are quite optimistic that they can build, or rebuild, a good relationship.”
“The study ultimately points to the inherently resilient and hopeful human spirit—the deeply ingrained belief that true love really can endure,” adds Glo Editor in Chief Anne Weintraub. “You just need to weather a relationship’s ebbs and flows and be willing to put in the necessary work. It’s romantic love grounded in reality.”
The survey also debunks long-held gender stereotypes about attraction and relationships. Eighty-one percent of respondents cited “talking about the relationship” as a way to reignite attraction, making it the most popular choice among both men and women—and upending the common belief that women put more emphasis on communicating than their male counterparts do.
Additionally, men and women are attracted to the same characteristics. Both genders place the most weight on kindness, sense of humor, smile and sexual chemistry when meeting someone for the first time. Sexual chemistry ranks the highest for men (68.4%), while women value kindness (85.4%) but also believe sexual chemistry plays an important role (67.5%) in initial attraction. Over time, both genders believe kindness is the most important trait.
“Men may be from Mars and women from Venus, but when it comes to attraction they are on common ground,” said Andrea Miller, CEO and founder of YourTango.com. “While 63 percent of people believe men care more about sexual attraction than women do, our survey shows that both sexes find it almost equally important, putting a common misnomer to bed.”
Other key findings from the survey include:
• Sex matters: Not surprisingly, respondents said that sex is important, both in the beginning of a relationship and in the long-term. Eighty percent report that sexual attraction is necessary to fall in love; 88 percent report that it is necessary for a successful marriage.
• Cleanliness is next to attractiveness: Poor hygiene was the factor most frequently cited as reducing initial attraction (94 percent) and long-term attraction (87 percent).
• Romantic love becomes more important as you age: When asked how attraction changes over time, the greatest single turn-off cited by respondents over 50 was a partner’s “lack of romantic love,” which shows that the desire for intimacy and sexual chemistry does not diminish with age.
Additional information about the survey can be found at the Power of Attraction epicenter RekindleAttraction.com. YourTango.com will also host an array of original content, including tips, quizzes testimonial apps and videos.
*Conducted on YourTango.com, Glo.com, Chemistry.com and SurveyMonkey.com, the survey questioned a national sample of 22,619 people. Polling took place from Jan. 7 to March 2, 2011. The margin of error is +/- .65 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.
About Glo: In April 2010, MSN, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. and BermanBraun launched Glo, a lifestyle site that focuses on style, beauty, living and relationship content through a uniquely engaging and dynamic experience. Glo provides users with everyday inspiration and practical ways to attain their best lives. It combines the imagery and feel of a magazine with the appeal of a dynamic site to offer an online destination that is neither traditional Web nor print, but a unique escape for women on the Web. Glo is already one of the top online lifestyle destinations, averaging 5 million unique users monthly per comScore. In addition, Glo is #1 in engagement in its category.
About YourTango: YourTango is the leading lifestyle brand focused on love and relationships. With a mission to help users live their best love lives, YourTango provides award-winning content, community, tools and connections to relationships experts. YourTango caters to women in all love stages: single, taken, engaged, married, starting over and complicated. Whether you are in a relationship, looking for love or mending a broken heart, we invite you to join the conversation wherever you are: YourTango.com, twitter.com/yourtango, youtube.com/yourtango or bit.ly/yourtangofacebook.
About Chemistry.com: Launched by Match.com in February 2006, online dating site Chemistry.com was created to bring together singles that are looking for ways to discover if true chemistry exists before meeting on the first date. Based on the research of renowned biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher, Chemistry.com uses a proprietary test to get to know each individual and their ideal match. This approach makes Chemistry.com the ideal place for singles to empower their love life and find the relationship that is right for each individual, whether it’s marriage, romance, a partnership or a long-term commitment.