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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Report: Playing Hard To Get Works!

All that advice your mother told you about “playing hard to get” if you want a boyfriend turns out to be true, at least according to a recently published study. Psychology researchers Peter K. Jonason and Norman P. Li completed four studies at four different American unversities. What’s interesting is that they framed their work from a sexual economics model. The game of romance is all about exchanges!


Study 1: How do men and women play hard-to-get, and how often do they do it?

Collegiettes are more likely to play hard to get than their male counterparts. We do this by not being readily available by phone or text. Guys, on the other hand, amp up the romantic talk but hold back on the actual romance. Sometimes this means they’ll act like jerks. (Uh, guys, don’t do that.)

Study 2: Why do we play hard-to-get?

In the economy of sex and love, it’s all about supply and demand. The researchers discovered that we play hard-to-get to increase our demand in the sexual economy. If the guy has to work to get with you, then he thinks of you as a prize. He knows that he’s lucky to be in your good graces and will work to maintain the relationship. It’s interesting to note that collegiettes also like a man who isn’t so easy. If he’s choosy, then we believe that he chose us because we’re special.

Study 3: Does playing hard-to-get work if you want casual sex?

The researchers learned that casual sex is easier to get if you’re not so hard to get. So, ladies, if you’re just looking for a one-night stand or a casual fling, just say so. If you want something more, hold back. Guys have to do the opposite if they want casual sex. According to Jonason and Li, college women like to score with the unattainable male. 

Study 4: How much money and time do we like to spend on the people we want to date?

According to the results of the study, both sexes will spend more time and money on the one who is hard to get. This makes sense. Time and money are all part of the exchange when we want to impress a prospective partner. If the one we want takes more effort, we will do what we think is necessary to win them. 

The study was first reported by The Body Odd and you can read more about it there. 



Roxanna Coldiron is a recent graduate of Hiram College with a B.A in Communication and is a current master's student at The New School in NYC. She likes to be busy, so she often works several jobs at once and takes an overload of interesting classes. Time management is her specialty! Her goal in life is to tell stories through a variety of media platforms. Follow her on Twitter @roxanna_media!