A new study from researchers in the U.K. showed that people tend to prefer partners that have the same eye color as their parent. That is, heterosexual men and lesbian women tend to partner with women who have the same eye color as their mothers, and heterosexual women and gay men tend to partner with men who have the same eye color as their fathers. And the reason, they say, is something called “sexual imprinting.”
Researchers from the University of Glasgow and the University of Bath asked 300 men and women about their partner’s and parent’s eye color.
They found that the people were twice as likely to end up with a partner whose eye color matched that of their gender-correlating parent.
Although the study has not yet been peer-reviewed (and 300 people is hardly a representative sample of any population, let alone the whole world), it does raise interesting ideas about the life experiences that influence our sexual attractions.
Many sexual psychologists agree that our sexual desires are created by formative experiences with parents, peers and media throughout our lifetimes. When people say that their preference for a particular body type, skin color or personality is “just a preference,” they’re actually saying that their exposure to certain types of people have biased their sexual tastes in one direction of another.
In this case, researchers consider their findings a case of “sexual imprinting,” a psychological process in which animals choose mates based on “attributes exhibited by their parents.”
Considering how much time you spend looking into your parents’ eyes during your childhood and adolescence (“Look at me when I’m talking to you, young man!”), it makes sense that we might find love and comfort peering into eyes that look a lot like theirs.
Featured image by coffeekai via iStock