People largely date and marry people in their own “league,” as far as beauty is concerned, a new review finds.

Men and women are fairly accurate at rating their own physical attractiveness, and they tend to choose mates who have similar views of their own beauty, researchers report.

For example, fellows who rated themselves as attractive tended to date ladies with similar self-ratings, researchers reported recently in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

These results come from more than two dozen studies involving nearly 1,300 opposite-sex couples dating as far back as 1972.

In the studies, members of couples were asked to rate their own physical attractiveness. Their pictures were then shown to strangers, who provided an outside rating on their beauty.

People’s own assessment of their attractiveness largely tended to align with the rating provided by a stranger, results show.

“The fundamentals of what humans consider to be attractive across cultures and across time are pretty consistent,” said lead researcher Gregory Webster, a professor of psychology at the University of Florida.

The review also allowed researchers to track how these self-ratings change at different points in long relationships.

Some studies focused on young dating couples, while others involved long-married spouses.

Among people who had been together longer, men were more accurate at judging their own attractiveness, researchers found.

That might be due to the overconfidence of youth waning, allowing men to view themselves more reasonably, researchers said.

“Men might be getting more realistic,” Webster said. “Nobody’s usually getting more attractive over time.”

More information

Harvard University has more on the science behind attraction.

SOURCE: University of Florida, news release, June 27, 2024