Kiwi relationship experts have rejected Australian research showing cash-strapped women lust after meek men.

A study by researchers at Queensland University's school of psychology found Australian women struggling financially tended to prefer men with more feminine features over the alpha male-type.

The research, involving 400 women of low socio-economic status or financial security, concluded they saw softer men as less likely to stray, kinder and more willing to share their money, said lead researcher Dr Anthony Lee.

Participants were shown online dating profiles, which had been altered to create more masculine or more feminine facial features and rated according to who the women would prefer to date.


But the preference for more feminine-looking men isn't necessarily matched on this side of the Tasman.

Sasha Madarasz, owner of introduction service Two's Company, said Kiwi women preferred more masculine types.

"I would go as far as to say 80 per cent of my clients are looking for more of a Kiwi guy than a feminine European-type guy.

"I think women in the under 45 group are definitely wanting that guy who can fix the roof, fix the garage, change a lightbulb, go for a dive, get the crayfish and look after the baby as well,'' she said.

However, there was a limit to what masculine features women found attractive.

"My clients definitely don't want the beer-swilling, pub-going, sitting on the couch every Saturday and Sunday watching rugby all weekend, pot-belly macho guy. Maybe that's what's putting the Australian women off,'' said Ms Madarasz.

Rick Davies, manager of dating website, also said Kiwi women tended to prefer their men more masculine.

"It's fair to say the more rounded Kiwi bloke, leaning towards the macho side does get the attention. They look like the sort of blokes that could chuck up a fence on Saturday morning, play rugby in the afternoon and have a few party invites for the evening,'' he said.

"They get inundated with smiles and messages.''

Dr Lee said the results of his study supported international findings.

"The idea is that women who have financial difficulties are going for traits that signal this person would be a good parent or is more committed to a long-term relationship.

"When there are financial difficulties it's more beneficial for the woman to prefer a partner who is likely to stick around, help raise children and help with financial difficulties.''

Historically there was an association between masculine facial features and
"bad boys'', who were seen as less committed to a long-term relationship and more likely to cheat, he said.