Women are less likely than men to report having experienced love at first sight, although they tend to report having the same number of loves.
This finding comes from a study published in Evolutionary Psychology in 2010 that investigated sex differences in “falling in love.” The authors of this study distributed online questionnaires to 357 participants that assessed whether the participant was the first to fall in love in their current romantic relationship, the number of people they have been in love with, number of episodes of “love at first sight,” and other variables related to their experiences with falling in love.
The study was conducted by Andrew Galperin and Martie Haselton of the University of California.
The authors of this study did not find any sex differences in how likely the participant was to fall in love with their partner first. (The majority of those surveyed reporting that they and their partner fell in love at the same time.) Nor were there any significant differences found between men and women concerning the total number of times they reported being in love.
There was a difference between men and women concerning “love at first sight.” As Galperin and Haselton explain,
“The sex difference we found in the lifetime number of episodes of “love at first sight” (with men reporting more) is arguably an indicator that men are more susceptible than women to falling in love early on. However, as noted above, this effect became only a non-significant trend when controlling for sex drive, suggesting that some men might be reporting some episodes of sheer sexual desire as “love at first sight.”
Men also reported falling in love with a partner that did not love them back more than women. According to the authors,
“We found that relative to women, a lower percentage of men’s loves was reciprocated. This supports the idea that for men, falling in love might function as a signal of commitment that sometimes persuades women to enter a relationship and sometimes does not.”
Galperin, A. & Haselton, M. (2010). Predictors of how often and when people fall in love. Evolutionary Psychology, Vol 8, No 1: 5-28. Full text: http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/ep080528.pdf