Why Australians value laughter over looks

Attraction  |  September 20, 2023

Good news for budding comedians – 73% of Aussies care more about laughter in a relationship than good looks, financial status or being good in bed.

That’s according to research commissioned by eharmony, which questioned people about their ‘must have’ qualities in a partner. Following a good sense of humour (27%), personality (25%) and intelligence (11%) came in second and third. Physical appearance (10%) and personal values (7%) rounded out the top five.


of Aussies would choose sense of humour over looks, money or sex when looking for a partner

While many people searching for a relationship may feel that prospective partners are sizing up their financial standing, career, physique and face, our results show otherwise. People are far more interested in what lies beneath the surface.

Top 5 must-have qualities in a partner

% of people

Good sense of humour



Physical appearance

Personal values

n = 1,001; Percentages rounded; supported

Even though both sexes rate sense of humour as their top trait, women are more likely to understand that looks fade but laughs are forever, with 45% choosing humour over looks. Men were divided with 30% specifying a good sense of humour was more important than appearance, while another third said when given the choice between a beauty or a belly-aching laugh, they prefer a woman who looks good.


of women would choose humour over looks


of men would choose laughter over looks (while 30% said they’d prefer to choose a woman who looks good)

Overall, 75% of us believe the ability to tickle our funny bones makes a partner more attractive, and more than half (55%) specifically find it a turn on. But it’s not just any type of laugh we’re after, with a quick wit deemed to be the most appealing type of humour (41%) followed by observational humour (24%) and slapstick comedy (10%).

Meanwhile, toilet jokes should be given the flush on a date, the survey found with only 2% of Aussies finding them funny.

% of people

Feel the ability to make someone laugh makes a person more attractive

Find a sense of humour to be a specific turn on

Find quick wit to be the most attractive type of humour

Find observational humour to be the most attractive type of humour

Enjoy slapstick humour

Find toilet humour funny

n = 1,001; Percentages rounded; supported

“It’s human instinct to be drawn to people who make us feel good, make us laugh and fill our lives with joy, so it makes sense that we want that in a relationship,” said eharmony relationship expert, Sharon Draper. “The ingredients that ultimately make a partnership work long-term are more than skin deep, as lust and chemistry can quickly burn out. Sharing the same sense of humour and being able to laugh about daily life and each other’s little foibles can help a relationship and marriage last the distance. But it’s important to understand your partner’s sensitivities which often means laughing with each other – and not at each other.”

Despite the hunger for humour, males on average only rated their partner a 6.4 out of ten on the funny scale, while females gave their blokes a slightly more generous 7.4.


The average score men give their partner’s sense of humour. Women think men are funnier, with an average rating of 7.4/10

Men regard themselves to be quite the comedians, with nearly a quarter (24%) rating themselves a seven out of ten, and 22% awarding themselves an eight. Females seem more modest, with most women (21%) scoring themselves as a seven, while 19% thought they were only a five out of ten.

% of men
% of women

Rated their own comedy skills a seven out of 10

Rated their own comedy skills a seven out of 10

Rated their own comedy skills a five out of 10

n = 1,001; Percentages rounded; supported

eharmony’s Rachael Lloyd added: “We’ve done a lot of scientifically-based research via our members about humour and attraction. We know that it’s super important and we’ve established nine different types of humour from witty word play to toilet humour. Essentially what people mean when they say they want someone with a good sense of humour is that they want someone with their sense of humour. All of this contributes to compatibility – the core foundation for lasting love.”

Study information
  • Study typeSurvey
  • Sample Size1000
  • Reference PeriodMay-June 2019
  • Region/City/CountryAustralia
  • LanguageEnglish