January 27th, 2011
Guys, actually Girls I will give you a hand-reader tip to be able to know if a guy want only short-term-relationship. Well it is not really that, and my title is too much and not exact, so let´s see what this scientific paper of Schwarz et al. says: “Short- and Long-Term Relationship Orientation and 2D:4D Finger-Length Ratio”.
Briefly the article says that prenatal androgen (like testosterone) influence brain development and one possible indicator about this prenatal androgen level is the 2D:4D finger-length ratio (ratio between the length of the 2nd and 4th finger of the hand). More testosterone is present in amniotic fluid during pregnancy, lower is the 2D:4D finger-length ratio. If I badly resume this sentence, it means more testosterone was present when you were inside your mother, more your 2nd and 4th fingers are the same size, and as you know testosterone is associate to male characters (well you have to know that women also have testosterone but in lower quantity than men and testosterone is a precursor for estrogen). So the 2D:4D finger-length ratio is higher in women than men (this week-end I will check that with my friends…).
The correlation between this 2D:4D finger-length ratio and the kind of relationship wanted or sociosexual behavior and attitudes is controversial. A recent paper says there is no correlation between the sociosexual behavior (assessed by the Sociosexuality Orientation Inventory, which assess the sociosexual attitudes, desires, and behaviors) and the ratio between the 2nd and 4th fingers. The paper of Schwarz et al. agrees with that but also says that there is a correlation between Short-Term Relationship and 2D:4D Finger-Length Ratio only in man.
How and what they have found?
They have asked to 91 men (mean age = 24.3 years old) to fill the Relationship Orientation Questionnaire (assessed short / long term relationship orientation ; see the end of article) and their 2nd and 4th fingers were measured from the baseline to the top of the finger.
The results are: There is a negative correlation between the 2D:4D ratio of the right hand (but not the left) and short-term relationship orientation, but there is no correlation with the long-term relationship orientation.
They have asked to 207 participants (142 women, 65 men), with a mean age of 23.89 years to complete several questionnaire related to sexual behavior and relationship including the Relationship Orientation Questionnaire and the Sociosexuality Orientation Inventory (SOI) and their fingers was also measured.
The results are: Left 2D:4D ratio is lower in man than women but not the right 2D:4D ratio. Women have higher long-term relationship orientation and social desirability score than men, and men have higher score in short-term relationship orientation and SOI than women. Finally the only correlation that they have found is a negative correlation between the 2D:4D ratio of the left hand in men and the short-term relationship orientation. No correlation with the other questionnaires, neither with the right hand men and no correlation at all with women.
What they have concluded? I will just copy past the conclusion:
“Taken together, these findings might indicate that men’s desire for sexual variety (Short-Term Relationship Orientation) is related to early androgen activation, while the desire to engage in long-term committed relationships (Long-Term Relationship Orientation) is not.”
They had weird result because in one case the correlation is shown only with the right hand and in the second case only with the left hand in men. So they say more studies and replications are needed to understand why they have this difference.
Here the questionnaire before to start to speak about my opinion.
Relationship Orientation Questionnaire
Short-Term Relationship Orientation
1. I want to conquer as many partners as possible.
2. I would like to respond to every flirtation.
3. I can easily imagine having sex with somebody I won’t see again.
4. For me, there is nothing to be said against having sex with a stranger.
5. I want to have as many relationships as possible.
6. If I could, I would have sex with as many people as possible.
7. I can easily imagine having sex with an unknown person, if he/she is physically attractive.
Long-Term Relationship Orientation
1. My partner has to want children.
2. When I have found the right partner, I would like to settle down with her/him.
3. My partner must be able to handle children well.
4. Warmth and comfort are necessary parts of a relationship.
5. I would like to have a partner with whom I can get old.
6. My partner should give me a certain feeling of security.
7. It is important for me in choosing a partner that she/he could be a good mother/father.
What is my opinion about this paper?
I agree with:
They say something that I agree in their conclusion:
“From our point of view, androgen influence primarily psychological attitudes and desires and do not influence whether a person is able and has the opportunity to fulfil these attitudes and desires, i.e., to actually engage in sexual activities with different partners.”. In my opinion I also understand the possibility that our desires and attitudes are affected by prenatal hormonal level, but of course this desires and attitudes are achieved or not, are maintained during life or not, are changed or not according the external/internal environment and social conditioning. It is like genetic VS environment, there is no supremacy of one of them, and environment will modify the gene expression and so one.
I don’t agree with:
But concerning the questionnaire I am quite skeptical. Because, and I will again use my case in example and I am not the only one who think like that, it is possible to have a high score the Short-Term Relationship Orientation and also wanted a long-term relationship. I mean both questionnaires could be compatible. It is really possible to want having sex with unknown person, having one-shot night partners, friend with benefits, changing sexual partners often, and when the good one is found or wanted to find the good one to have a long-term relationship forgetting one-shot, ending to want to conquer many partner and sexfriends become friends. That is the reason why I think this relationship orientation questionnaire doesn’t reflect the real feeling/wanting about relationship.
More studies are really really really needed to know more about this potential corelation and also about this possible marker (2D:4D ratio) of prenatal endrogen marker.
So, do woman have to check the fingers of a guy before to start a relationship with him or choose only guy with a high 2D:4D Finger-Length Ratio?
I say no! This paper says clearly that the desire to engage in long-term relationship is not correlated with this finger ratio. Actually it is more related to oxytocin, vasopressin and NGF which are involved in love, falling love and long-term commitment.
Conclusion: Even if apparently guys want more short-term relationship than women, and mainly those with short finger ratio, they can fall in love or want to start a serious relationship with someone. Also and remember it all of your life: Correlation doesn´t mean Causation!!!
Schwarz S, Mustafić M, Hassebrauck M, Jörg J., Short- and Long-Term Relationship Orientation and 2D:4D Finger-Length Ratio., Arch Sex Behav. 2010 Nov 10.
Charles NE, Alexander GM., The Association Between 2D:4D Ratios and Sociosexuality: A Failure to Replicate., Arch Sex Behav. 2011 Jan 4