Do Women Trade On Their Looks To Get Men With Money?

Do Women Trade On Their Looks To Get Men With Money

Rich men, beautiful women. It’s sort of a cliche, right? Ugly old man, young blonde gold digger. The Millionaire Matchmaker. Men make money to get hot women. Women try to look hot to land men with money. What is there to argue with?

Evidently, quite a lot. A really interesting article by James Hamblin in the Atlantic goes deeper. Yes, “physical attractiveness is exquisitely, at times incomparably, important to both men and women. Status (however you want to measure it: income, formal education, etcetera) is often not far behind. In real-life dating studies, which get closer to genuine intentions, physical attractiveness and earning potential strongly predict romantic attraction…On these “consensually-ranked” traits, people seem to aspire to partners who rank more highly than themselves. They don’t want a match so much as a jackpot.”

Men make money to get hot women. Women try to look hot to land men with money.

But there’s a caveat, according to a study by Notre Dame professor, Elizabeth McClintock.

“Women spend a lot more time trying to look good than men do,” McClintock said. “That creates a lot of mess in this data. If you don’t take that into account then you actually see there’s a lot of these guys who are partnered with women who are better looking than them, which is just because, on average, women are better looking. Men are partnering ‘up’ in attractiveness. And men earn more than women—we’ve got that 70-percent wage gap—so women marry ‘up’ in income. You’ve got to take these things into account before concluding that women are trading beauty for money.”

It’s subtle but we’re talking about a controlled study here – and McClintock concludes that it’s a fallacy to suggest that dating is a straight-up trade of looks for money. “Rather, hearteningly, people really are looking for … compatibility and companionship. Finding those things is driven by matching one’s strengths with a partner who’s similarly endowed, rather than trying to barter kindness for hotness, humor for conscientiousness, cultural savvy for handyman-ship, or graduate degrees for marketable skills.”

Most men don’t want to be sugar daddies, most women don’t want to be gold diggers, and, as a result, the vast majority of us are not.

The fact is, reports McClintock, women value men’s attractiveness just as much their wallets. And men value women’s kindness and personality just as much as their looks. To suggest otherwise diminishes what happens in genuine happy marriages, which are based on much more than a mercenary exchange for looks and money.

Most men don’t want to be sugar daddies, most women don’t want to be gold diggers, and, as a result, the vast majority of us are not.

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  1. 1
    Tracy L.

    When most women are referring to high status/sough-after men, they usually if not always mean very good-looking/handsome AND wealthy/rich/famous.

    Rich men minus good looks don’t have beautiful women lining up to sleep with them. 

    1. 1.1
      JD in LA

      George Soros, Rupert Murdoch, Huge Hefner, J. Howard Marshall ….. Need more?

      1. 1.1.1
        Tracy L.

        Okay.  However, these men only seem to attract beautiful gold-diggers not beautiful high quality women who actually find them sexually desirable and love them. 

        Rather sad, in my opinion.

        1. Lee Jones

          What differentiates beautiful gold-diggers to “beautiful high quality women” (who are still gold diggers) if it’s the fact they find us attractive well we don’t give a fuck if they are or aren’t attracted.

          From a young age we loose that lust for love replace it with sex because we know how it works.

    2. 1.2


      I would have to disagree. I see unattractive but rich men all the time and 9.5 times out of 10, there wives are HOT (and most times, thin). This also happens in the media constantly. You will rarely see it the other way around. No man is lining up for Whoopi Goldberg but look at Donald Trump.


      1. 1.2.1
        Tracy L.

        In my comment, I stated that they are often with BEAUTIFUL gold diggers. I doubt those women get really excited at bedtime. However, I’m sure there is some young hot pool boy, limo driver or landscaper always around for them to actually get excited about. 

        1. marymary

          Or they look sexy without actually liking sex v much. 
          It’s such a vanishingly small percentage of men this rich, most of us will have to make do with less wealthy men who are younger and fitter. Oh well.

    3. 1.3

      hhhhhhhh really ? :)

      and what the beautiful women who are not gold diggers want ?

      someone who is kind and has a cute smile ….etc ? :)

      well these type of men are all over the place and I’m sure that any beautiful woman had one like that in her life and ditched him for a wealthier and higher status man.

      I don’t want to convince you with my pov .you can fool yourself ,that is fine ,but you can’t fool others. :)

  2. 2

    This is what stood out for me: “The fact is, reports McClintock, women value men’s attractiveness just as much their wallets. And men value women’s kindness and personality just as much as their looks“. 

    1. 2.1
      Lee Jones

      Exactly yet were portrayed as the shallow gender… This may sound goofy but women have fooled us and are continuing to do so in genius ways.

  3. 3

    <em>“Women spend a lot more time trying to look good than men do,” McClintock said. “That creates a lot of mess in this data. If you don’t take that into account then you actually see there’s a lot of these guys who are partnered with women who are better looking than them, which is just because, on average, women are better looking. </em>
    That’s total BS.  The truth is, yes women do try harder to look good, mostly by putting on make-up.  Just yesterday, I knocked on the door of a girl in my building.  I thought she was very cute.  I had something I had to talk to her about, so I knocked on her door.  She opened the door, no make-up.  I was like, “Sheesh, where did the cute girl go?”  Really,, it was like that.  Not only was she not just even average, she just wasn’t good looking at all.
    Women have learned how to use make-up so well that they can actually camouflage many things that are not flattering.   This has been going on for years, and a famous Roman was once quoted as saying that his wife’s face did not sleep with him at night, it slept in jars.

    1. 3.1

      So what do you suggest ?  That women NEVER wear make up as sort of “truth in packaging ?”  Or that we ALWAYS wear make up, so no one ever has to look at the “unflattering” things about us ?
      Should we also dispense with shaving our legs, washing our hair ( & covering our grays) and wearing deodorant ?   All those things camouflage unflattering textures and smells.

    2. 3.2

      Oops Garett, I actually saw your reply AFTER I made mine where I was asking for

      The truth of the matter is, whether an illusion or not, women tend to invest in being better looking and they invest in being in better shape overall because the way a woman tends to predict what quality of man she can get and not the other way around.  Again, look in the media.  Unattractive men with money and their wives are always hot!

      1. 3.2.1

        “the way a woman looks tend to predict…”

    3. 3.3

      Well, this is one of those profound, consensus consciousness illusions that never fails to amaze me.
      I contend that if you actually LOOK at most Women when they’re wearing makeup (rather than being caught in the psychological associations that their makeup triggers) . . . you find they aren’t really good looking at all.
       It’s a massive illusion.
      The flip side of this kind of looking . . . is that you can learn to see when a Woman really IS good looking, because a healthy, happy, and generous personality invariably manifests in physical appearance and movement.
      But you have to get over the “good looking” nonsense . . . to have any opportunity to see that (if in fact it’s there . . .). 
      This is advice for Men.  I’ll not venture what the consequences of these facts . . . might be for Women.  But I’ll bet they’re not trivial.

  4. 4

    I value my boyfriend first and foremost because he is my best friend. There is no one who makes me smile/laugh/feel comforted more than him. He is incredibly kind and affectionate. It doesn’t hurt that I think he’s handsome as hell. I think we are pretty compatible and we both feel like we are dating up.

    1. 4.1

      This post made me smile !  :)  This is the BEST type of relationship AFIC, one where BOTH partners feel like they’ve won the prize.  All this yammering about who’s the prize to be sought, who has more SMV, who has the upper hand, yadda, yadda, yadda.
      How about instead of each person insisting on “being the prize” we start regarding LOVE as the prize that a man and a woman as a TEAM, seek together ?  How about a win-win ?  How about instead of both people trying to gain the “upper hand” you have 2 little love birds walking hand in hand ?
      How about instead of debating which is more important, chemistry or comfort, let’s just admit that it takes BOTH !  If the chemistry isn’t there, (to any degree) no amount of kindness will make a difference.  If someone is mean and nasty, they could be Miss Universe or a Rock Star and it would make no difference.
      SE aka FJ

    2. 4.2

      :) well you can’t attract wealthier higher status men , so you settle up with the second best option. Believe me my dear , the second you find a rich higher status man you will ditch your bf like a bag of dirt.

  5. 5

    Nowadays, not only do we older chix have to look good we also better have a certain degree of status, money, etc. A good many men also skate by on their looks. Yep, women want to be attracted to their partners; actually tis nearly impossible for a woman to be physical with someone she isn’t attracted to.
    There is zero relationship between looks, status, education , and kindness, functionality, etc which are attributes that, unlike looks, manifest themselves or dont, over time. Good looking folk can be kind, some unattractive folk are downright vicious. Folk with PhDs may be great with power tools whereas some uneducated folk can barely use a screwdriver. Julia put it well, folks should complement one another, it SHOULD feel as though both parties are “dating up”. If not, you don’t belong together, period.

  6. 6

    I have to admit that I do look for a guy who makes a good living, mostly because it shows me that he has goals and is willing to put in hard work to achieve them. That tells me that he is likely to continue to work hard providing for his family and that is a very attractive trait. I’m not so concerned with the actual dollar amount though. In fact, I shy away from guys who make too much money because I worry that their expectations might be too high. I have to admit that even at 33 and with my considerable imperfections, I still fit the stereotypical buxom blonde, hourglass figure “trophy” type that many older, moneyed guys seem to like. I hate the idea of being someone’s arm candy though, so on principle I usually stick to guys who make a more modest income.

  7. 7

    Why can’t people just be themselves and quit playing all these stupid games?  It isn’t sincere and it doesn’t last.  There’s nothing wrong in taking pride in your appearance, but to do it as a marketing ploy to attract certain status of men or women, what you put out is what you get back. 

  8. 8

    I hope Garret is reading this forum. NOW do you believe me when I say that women tend to outweigh men in the looks department?

    In any event, the clearly unattractive rich man with the hot woman  knows he would not be able to get her if he wasn’t rich.  However, he is getting what he wants and it’s a trade off, and he knows it – nothing deceptive about that.

    And of course women are attracted to men who have jobs, and if those jobs make a higher income, then it is a selling point. Women are naturally attracted to powerful men as well just as men are attracted to beautiful women naturally.  Nothing wrong with that.  However, there are many other qualities we also find attractive. I think you enter the gold digging arena when the gold is the most important thing and damn his qualities.    However, I hardly feel sorry for men with gold diggers because it IS obvious when a woman is a gold digger but he decides to put up with it for the sake of beauty.

  9. 9

    According to

    “Women seeking a lifelong mate might do well to choose the guy a notch below them in the looks category. New research reveals couples in which the wife is better looking than her husband are more positive and supportive than other match-ups.
    The reason, researchers suspect, is that men place great value on beauty, whereas women are more interested in having a supportive husband.   ”

    Not sure if I can post the link here but I will be more than happy to.    

  10. 10

    I dated a neuro-surgeon 16 years my senior; 6 in looks, 8 in chemistry, 7 compatibility. I broke up with him after 6 months due to his temper, control issues; narcissism in a nutshell. Lavish gifts, spontaneous trips and all that jazz were great. However, his true character undermine his social status and earning power. 

    I am now dating a man my age; 9 in looks, 9 chemistry, 10 compatibility.  Albeit, I make slightly more money than him, we treat each other as equal. He is a very nice man with an edge. And that is what I need.

    1. 10.1


      You have found the holy grail.  You are a lucky girl!  

  11. 11

    on average, women are better looking.

    What does this even mean?  The only way I can see this make any sense is because women are more likely to use makeup.

    Men and women are good looking in different ways.  A man who’s a 5 and a woman who’s a 5 should be equally good looking.  The only way to raise the average is that women use makeup to hide some things or enhance others.  So a woman who’s a 5 temporarily becomes a 6.  That’s the only way “on average” that women can be better looking.

    1. 11.1
      Eder Rosa

      I agree. Both can be equally good-looking and physically attractive

  12. 12

    Like the woman said, if most women are unattractive without make-up. how come they still go after attractive men, while they could be honest with themselves and just date the average guy and be a lot happier. 

  13. 13

    The fact is, reports McClintock, women value men’s attractiveness just as much their wallets. And men value women’s kindness and personality just as much as their looks“.
    so that study show its actually men who place more importance on the human being, e.g. kindness and personality while women are only interested in money and status.

  14. 14

    It is fact that most women nowadays want a man with money.

    1. 14.1

      You don’t have to make more or even as much as I do. But I’m not going to subsidize you either. I have no problem picking up the tab sometimes or going on inexpensive dates. But if you’re looking to me to provide a living for you, sorry, can’t help you. I don’t need you to support me either.

    2. 14.2

      Being a woman who is climbing the ladder, yes it is nice to go out with a guy who makes more money. This definitely is not always the case, but most men who make more money than I do, and even what I intend to make, tend to be more secure with the fact that I’m going for a Masters degree. Yes, my professional accomplishments are proving to be an issue with some man, even when I don’t talk about them. Furthermore, I enjoy cuisine and a culture that requires a higher income level to truly enjoy. I’ve noticed that guys who make $40,000 per year or less tend to prefer dates where I would have to wear blue jeans, which is fine, but I love to rock a sexy dress (not slutty, but classically sexy) and the blue collar guys don’t seem to know what to do with that. What I’m saying is that cultural lines really are drawn along income brackets in my area, and it just so happens that the men I can be myself around are the guys who make more money. That’s just how it is. Would I rule a guy out for only making $40,000? Not if he treated me right and was adaptable. Would I choose a guy for exceeding 100k? Not if he didn’t treat me right and I wasn’t attracted to him.

  15. 15

    There is nothing wrong with a woman wanting a guy with a career who is successful just like there is nothing wrong with a man wanting an attractive woman. But men who date women only for their looks are disappointed in the long run and the same with women who date men primarily for their money.

    I live in LA and beautiful women come here from all over the world. Sadly far too many of them have the SAME plan. They think, I’m so beautiful, I’ll marry a rich guy. Sadly for them, this almost never ends well. Their are only a handful of guys that are rich and those that are both handsome and rich are a small minority indeed. And both types have TONS and TONS of attractive women chasing them. Rich men in LA and New York can have any number of beautiful women.

    See ladies, what you don’t understand, is if you are relying on your looks to snag a guy, you are overplaying your hand if you have nothing else to offer. Rich guys can get any number of hot women. The question you have to ask yourself, is what do I have to offer besides my looks because a rich guy can get any number of girls as hot or hotter than you any day of the week. In fact, some rich guys have harems, where they rotate five or ten hot women and sleep with them whenever they want to.

    1. 15.1

      I agree with you Adam. Anyway looks fade, we all get older. Money come also come and go. Financial crisis, bad investments, etc. So do gold diggers break up with men when their wealth is gone or do men break up with women when her looks fade?

      I still believe we are all looking for happiness at the end of the day and you can only attain this happiness if there is something enduring about your other half that not just make you want to brave the storm but add emotional value to your life in the long run.

      That person that loves your character, essentially you, that person who thinks you are good looking without make up and that person who will be there for you when you lose your wealth. You are better as a team than when you are apart, you motivate each other to be better people, inspire each other to the best you can be.

      An emotionally intelligent man, not to be confused with a wealthy one knows this. He is playing the field until he meets a sincere woman to call his wife. Similarly, an emotionally intelligent woman knows looks good will increase her chances of meeting more men but is actually looking out for the person who will be supportive and sincere in the long run.

      There isn’t much point going against social construct but you can choose to navigate intelligently and have a better chance at mutual happiness.

  16. 16

    Is this even a question? Of course they do. All people of BOTH genders will always play to their strengths in the mating arena. If you call *her* behavior superficial or shallow, then his will be too, and vise versa.

    Sure, you can make generalizations: men place a higher value on physical appearance and youth and women place a higher value on certain personality traits and “resources”. Sure there are exceptions, and yes many more women have good careers and financial dependence is hardly a factor, if at all. YET there is still a trend where women, regardless of their income, marry up. There is also a trend where young men who have opted out of the “career and self betterment and initiative” thing are wondering why they can’t meet women, despite living in their mother’s basements, wearing the same housecoat all week and getting accomplishments like “most consecutive hours playing their favorite video game”.

    Mother nature does not care whether we humans believe mating selection and criterion are looked upon favorably. The simple fact is that *she* wants the best human males to mate with the best human females. Appearance is linked to genetics, health, wealth and other factors. Wealthy people don’t often have bad teeth. If they have a bad diet, it’s because of bad choices and not poverty. If they are overweight it’s for lack of drive and not lack of time.

    Being honest, it’s nice when successful, attractive, thin, toned, people with wonderful personalities and few if any flaws meet and fall in love. This is the stuff Disney cartoons are made of – the entire “Princess Series” my daughter loves. True love’s first kiss. Perfect princess. Perfect prince. Perfect marriage. Perfect life.

    Then there is the rest of us.

    I don’t like all of the “rules” of the mating arena, but I too, like everyone else, prefer attractive people over less attractive ones, and prefer people with a healthy weight over people who are too heavy or downright or obese. Am I wrong to have such “standards”? Is a person with higher standards than mine a “shallow” person?

    I say find what makes you happy and don’t worry about what other people use for judging their would-be partners. If you think someone is too choosy, then fine – don’t date them. But don’t demand they change either – who’s to say YOUR criterion is fair or just?

    Rant over.

  17. 17

    I just had a 73 year old man contact me (I’m mid 50s) and he said he realizes he’s not in my age range but he expects his wealth to make up for it. It didn’t. He looked too frail.

    Its seems both sexes can leverage their looks for money . There seems to be a growing number of hot looking boy toys who target women my age. They do seem to be looking for sugar mommas. Since women’s earning power and education is higher than ever I expect we will see more of this trend.

    1. 17.1

      I target women like you for sex not money and it’s because I find a lot of you attractive, but I know it isn’t food for a long term relationship.

  18. 18

    Most women these days want a man with money since they Can’t like a man for himself anymore like the old days, and most women are very selfish and spoiled too now.

  19. 19

    Just an observation. I’ve never seen a beautiful woman with with a low earning for even a middle class man. It seems like the better looking women are, the more their husbands make. If you go to the ghetto, you see mostly overweight and unattractive women. Move up a notch and it’s not as bad. Middle class, a lot of women look decent. Go to a high end area or walk into a fancy hotel and there are hot women everywhere. Then come the celebs and pro athletes and they have the most objectively attractive women.

  20. 20

    Today many women are very Devious and want the best and won’t settle for less. Just too many very high maintenance women now that are also very independent, very selfish, very spoiled, and very greedy, which speaks for itself.

  21. 21

    This is the truth .Men take notes.

  22. 22

    Fact is women are attracted to men with wealth. Simple truth even if  women won’t admit that. Look at dating sites that actually admit that higher income males are more appealing. But men never sink to that level. No man ever chase women with money, never happen. Apparently men earn more, well we should considering we invented everything, even makeup haha.

  23. 23

    My dad keeps reminding me every day that women want to find a man so they can “suck his blood like a mosquito and when he dries up, they go to the next one”.

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