What Role Does Gender Play in Determining Modern Love Styles?05 April 2023 / By Megan Malone Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on March 02, 2023
Truity data shows what gender stereotypes hold up in modern relationships, and which don’t.
Growing up in the nineties, I remember my mom and her girlfriends poring over self-help books that promised to bring them ultimate fulfillment in all areas of their lives—spirituality, relationships, career, sex, weight loss! You desire it, and there was a guru with a book deal out there to help you find it. One of those books was “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” which claimed that the challenges in heterosexual relationships boil down to the simple fact that men and women are just living on totally different planets!
Many things have changed since the nineties, while others have stayed the same. We’re still obsessed with self-improvement and there is still a never-ending number of self-help books and resources available for anyone who seeks them. Meanwhile, views on gender and gender roles in relationships have become less rigid, and we continue to close traditional gender gaps as workplaces and domestic partnerships become more equitable.
So when it comes to what people need in modern romantic relationships, how big of a role does gender actually play? Based on a large-scale, global survey, Truity created the 7 Love Styles Test, which determines how people prefer to give or express love to others, and how they prefer to receive love. Here is a quick overview of each of the 7 Love Styles:
- Activity: This Love Style involves expressing genuine interest in your partner’s work, hobbies, and interests; supporting and participating in the things that matter to them.
- Appreciation: This Love Style is about expressing genuine praise, compliments and appreciation to your partner; recognizing and expressing how their presence matters to you.
- Emotional: People with the Emotional Love Style feel loved when their partner is able to connect with them and support them through tough emotions.
- Financial: People with the Financial Love Style feel loved and valued when their partner shows generosity with finances in order to bring them joy.
- Intellectual: This Love Style focuses on a meeting of minds, having thoughtful discussions and valuing your partner’s intelligence.
- Physical: People with this Love Style feel cared for and supported when they are being touched and held by their partner; they love the sensate experience of physical intimacy.
- Practical: This Love Style is about going “above and beyond” with practical help and doing actions that are unexpected, specifically for the benefit of your partner.
We recently took a deeper look at the results of Love Styles test takers and found that while some of the old gender stereotypes hold up—men are much more likely to prefer the Physical love style, for example—there are also strong commonalities across genders when it comes to what people prefer to give and take in their relationships.
What does the data tell us about modern relationships?
While some believe we originated on different planets, the data suggests we’ve all been living together on Earth long enough to adopt some similar preferences when it comes to love.
Survey results show that the top Love Style preferences—both in terms of how we show love and how we want to receive it—are actually the same across genders (men, women and nonbinary people). What people desire most from their partner is an Intellectual mind-mate who values their intelligence, respects their opinion, and takes part in thoughtful conversations about important issues. When it comes to how we express love, test takers were most likely to prefer the Emotional Love Style, which focuses on deep emotional intimacy and vulnerability.
While the top giving and receiving styles are the same, there are also clear gender differences in preferences for some of the other Love Styles. Below are some of the highlights from Truity’s research.
How do people want to receive love?
- Men are 26.27% more likely than women to desire the Physical love style.
- Men are 5.59% more likely than women to desire the Intellectual love style.
- Women are 93.18% more likely than men to desire the Financial love style.
- Women are 37.01% more likely than men and nonbinary people to desire the Practical love style.
- Women and nonbinary people are more likely than men to desire the Emotional love style
How do people show love?
- Men are 37% more likely than women to express the Financial love style.
- Women are 10.15% more likely than men to express the Emotional love style.
- Women are 3.77% more likely than men to express the Intellectual love style.
- Women and nonbinary people are more likely to express the Appreciation love style.
A Love Styles disconnect?
- People of all genders in relationships with men are less likely to express love through the Intellectual love style, despite it being men’s top receiving preference.
- People of all genders in relationships with women are less likely to express the Emotional love style, even though it is the second-highest receiving preference of women (following Intellectual).
- People in relationships with men were most likely to express the Emotional love style, while it is men’s fourth preferred receiving style (after Intellectual, Physical and Activity).
“This data may suggest that as a whole, we are not giving our partners the type of love and affection that would be most helpful,” says Molly Owens, CEO of Truity. “By spending some time learning about your partner’s Love Style, you can become more conscious of expressing love in the way they prefer to receive it.”
Applying the seven Love Styles to modern relationships
Whether you feel like you’re living on a different planet than your partner or just want to dive deeper into forming a strong and meaningful romantic relationship, understanding Love Styles can help.
Truity’s 7 Modern Love Styles test reveals your top Love Styles—how you prefer to give and receive love. The report also includes tips on how to express your needs and how to speak your partner's Love Style.
By openly communicating what you need, and listening to what your partner needs, you can develop a more fulfilling relationship. Here are some tips for expressing each of the 7 Modern Love Styles.
How to express the Intellectual Love Style:
- Ask your partner for their thoughts and opinions on important topics; involve them in making big decisions.
- Express verbal appreciation for your partner’s knowledge.
- Learn about the subjects your partner is interested in and make time to discuss those topics with them.
How to express the Emotional Love Style:
- Always be ready to listen, especially when your partner is upset.
- Allow your partner to be vulnerable in front of you and practice expressing vulnerability.
- Encourage your partner when they are having a hard time with something.
How to express the Activity Love Style:
- Support and be part of your partner’s hobbies and interests.
- Prioritize one-on-one time doing things that you both love.
- Invite your partner to join you in events and activities that you are interested in.
How to express the Appreciation Love Style:
- Praise your partner for their personal qualities and accomplishments.
- Compliment them on the small things they do that you appreciate.
- Dial up kind words and encouragement when your partner is working especially hard.
How to express the Financial Love Style:
- Spoil your partner with small gestures of generosity to show that you are thinking of them.
- Put thoughtful effort into birthdays, anniversaries, and other special gift-giving occasions.
- Treasure anything your partner gives you, no matter how lavish or small.
How to express the Physical Love Style:
- Use touch and body language to emphasize feelings.
- Prioritize physical intimacy in the relationship.
- Initiate intimacy instead of waiting for your partner to take the lead.
How to express the Practical Love Style:
- Pay attention to things that need doing and quietly do them.
- Focus on picking up chores that your partner really does not enjoy doing.
- Acknowledge what your partner is doing—say thank you.
In modern relationships, most people want an intellectual equal, but also desire emotional support. While these two styles may have traditionally been assigned to masculine or feminine preferences, what we’re seeing now is more of a focus on each among all genders. At the same time, there appears to be a disconnect between what people most desire and what they are receiving in their relationships.
All seven Love Styles have a place in romantic relationships. To get the most satisfaction out of your relationship, it’s essential to understand what you need—and what your partner needs from you.
Want to learn more about Truity’s 7 Love Styles test? Read our blog on how we developed the test based on a survey of more than 500,000 people, which found similarities as well as significant differences between what modern couples say they want in love compared to Dr. Gary Chapman’s original 5 Love Languages.