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Most men don't actually prefer dating conformist, submissive women

Charlotte Hilton Andersen is the author of the book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything and runs the popular health and fitness website of the same name, where she tries out a new workout every month, specializing...

Men prefer relationships with women who break the norm over women who conform to stereotypical gender roles

Picture the "most desired" woman on OKCupid, and what do you see? Long, blond hair? Barbie-esque proportions? Hobbies like "cooking for my man" and "giving foot rubs"? You couldn't be more wrong.

Lauren Uraseck, the 24-year-old with the most-contacted profile on the site, has black hair with straight bangs, pale skin, a self-described curvy figure and is covered with visible tattoos. Oh, and her sexy hobbies? Mostly related to astronomy. And she gets 245 messages a week on the site.

This isn't as surprising as you may think. According to a new study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, what we think (straight) men want isn't what they really like. While I doubt any man would kick a Victoria's Secret model out of bed for eating crackers, it appears that when it comes to looking for a non-fantasy relationship, dudes are into women who are, well, kinda weird.

More: Chubbier men do better with women than fit ones

After polling thousands of men and women who identify as either straight or bisexual, the study found that both genders preferred potential mates whose clothes, opinions or life decisions went a little outside the norm. And while the scientists weren't terribly surprised, the women sure were. They had assumed most men would want the women who stuck closest to the cultural ideals of a way a woman "should" be.

“The old-fashioned gender stereotype — that men go for conformist, submissive women — has been slow to die,” lead author Matthew Hornsey, Ph.D., a social psychologist at the University of Queensland in Australia, said to Scientific American.

But this old-fashioned idea should die, he added, because they also found that independent-minded people reported more long-term relationship success. Instead, he says women shouldn't be afraid to be themselves.

More: 6 Reasons it's better to date a nerd

“I'm intrigued by the notion of the ‘girls' night out’ and how many women feel as though they can be more unguarded without men around — more relaxed, more crass, more honest, more funny. And I keep thinking, ‘Why are you keeping this good stuff to yourselves? Men would love it!’”

So instead of wondering what men are looking for and trying to fit that mold, now you have permission from science to let your freak flag fly.

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