Which hobbies make you attractive to the opposite sex?


men's hobbies

When it comes to bringing the opposite sex out in a sweat, which hobbies will make you most attractive? eharmony investigates

Women want a well-travelled fitness fanatic who loves the theatre while men desire a cosmopolitan photographer with a passion for exercise, according to our brand new research study.

We’ve analysed millions of communications[1] between eharmony members and found that men who list travelling, exercise, theatre, dancing and cooking receive most interactions from women online. Outdoor interests, politics, pets, photography and watching sport make up the remainder of the top 10 most attractive interests.

For women, exercise is the most desirable pastime, followed by photography, travel, art and dance. Politics ranked at number six, followed by outdoors interests at seven, cooking at eight and learning and music at numbers nine and 10 respectively.

The 10 most attractive hobbies and interests for men and women

Rank Most attractive interests for men to list on their profile Rank Most attractive interests for women to list on their profile
1. Travelling 1. Exercise
2. Exercise 2. Photography
3. Theatre 3. Travelling
4. Dancing 4. Art
5. Cooking 5. Dancing
6. Outdoor interests 6. Politics
7. Politics 7. Outdoor Interests
8. Pets 8. Cooking
9. Photography 9. Learning
10. Watching sport 10. Music

Exercise scores in the top two most attractive interests for both sexes – with men finding women with a love of football the most appealing. This is followed by swimming and sweating it out at ‘military style’ boot camps. When thinking about men, women deemed rugby the most attractive workout, followed by tennis and football.

Rank Most attractive exercise for men to list on their profile Rank Most attractive exercise for women to list on their profile
1. Rugby 1. Football
2. Tennis 2. Swimming
3. Swimming 3. Military bootcamp
4. Football 4. Rugby
5. Military bootcamp 5. Running

Travel also places highly across the board. Living (10%) and working (11%) abroad were both shown to boost levels of attractiveness and one in five Brits agree that the ability to speak another language adds allure.

As well as the most attractive interests, the research reveals the pastimes deemed less desirable. Though women like men who like the theatre, it doesn’t hold the same appeal for the opposite sex, who place this pastime among the bottom rated interests. Women who list ‘making a difference’ were also shown to receive 15% less communications from men online.

From a female perspective, men who describe going out with friends as a favourite way to spend their free time receive a 14% decrease in communications from women. Interestingly, the same rule doesn’t apply for women – with social activity appearing as the seventh most attractive interest in the eyes of men.

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The mention of hobbies more generally was also shown to impact interactions between singles online. The total number of hobbies and interests listed by men has a stronger effect on page views and invites, indicating that it is beneficial for them to feature six or more hobbies. The converse is true for women, revealing that more than four listed hobbies can make them less appealing to men.

eHarmony.co.uk’s lead data scientist Jonny Beber comments:

‘While there are some similarities, we do also see some marked differences between the sexes based on what interests they find “attractive”. One explanation for some of differences we see in what each gender is really attracted to can be linked back to evolutionary psychology.’

What men find attractive

Men find it most attractive when a woman describes herself as having an interest in health and exercise, food, family, and dancing. But why? According to evolutionary psychology, men look for women who will be a healthy and attractive partner to pass along their genetics with to create the best possible offspring. That’s why we’re attracted to good looks: we want to ensure that the offspring will be healthy and attractive as well. When men see that a woman is interested in exercise, food, dancing, and family, it suggests that she will be physically able to carry their offspring and provide good care for them as well.’

men's hobbies

What women find attractive

‘For men, women are more attracted to men who have interests in politics, travelling, health and exercise, food, theatre, and learning. The reasons behind this could go back to evolutionary psychology: women are looking for a potential mate that will be a good provider and protector of the family. Showing an interest in politics, theatre, and learning may indicate a higher intelligence, which in turn can mean that the men will be better caregivers, pass on the higher intelligence genes to their offspring, and be able to provide for the family with a better job. An interest in travelling can also be seen as a marker of being able to financially provide for a family, but it also shows a sense of adventurousness and curiosity of the world which are attractive in themselves.’

The similarities

‘But, you also see some similarities between men and women. Both sexes value health and exercise, indicating that they like to take care of themselves.

Nobody wants to be with someone who doesn’t have much drive in their life and is happy with mediocrity. Men and women both want someone to help them grow and to share their life experiences with. People are attracted to new and interesting aspects of experiences that they wouldn’t run into normally.’

Jemima Wade, spokesperson for eHarmony.co.uk, said: ‘As experts in relationships, it’s fascinating to see how members of the opposite sex view certain hobbies and interests when communicating online. At eHarmony.co.uk, we match our members on 29 key personality dimensions that form the basis of a long-lasting relationship. These include physical energy and artistic passion, alongside attributes such as shared values, character and social skills – helping us find you a truly compatible partner.’

[1] Communications refer to any communication between eharmony members, including ‘Icebreakers’, ‘Guided Communication’, ‘Open Communication’ and ‘eharmony Mail’

[2] According to research conducted by Atomik in March 2014, men rated football (12%) swimming (11%) and military boot camps (10%) the most attractive forms of female exercise. Women voted rugby (13%) tennis (11%) and football (10%) the most attractive forms of male exercise

[3] According to research conducted by Atomik in March 2014, 20% of people said that speaking another language makes somebody of the opposite sex more attractive, followed by working abroad (11%) and living abroad (10%)

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