Did you just meet a guy and can’t stop thinking about him? Had a witty conversation with a girl in the party last night and you are already head over heels in love with her? Have you ever wondered what leads to such physical and sexual attraction?
You and your bestie may not find the same girl/boy sexy or hot. (Check out most physically attractive zodiac sign female.) Finding someone attractive or not is linked to biological, psychological, and experience-based factors.
Here are some science-backed reasons that make someone attractive:
1. Face shape
Men love women with big eyes, thicker lips, round cheeks and women love men with a strong jawline, flaring cheeks and large eyebrows according to researchers at the Natural History Museum. It means men love women with facial features that are classically feminine and women love men with facial features that are classically masculine. Faces of both men and women differ and this is known as facial dimorphism.
Some studies found that averageness (faces with not so unique features) and simple faces are often considered most attractive, possibly because standard faces represent a more diverse set of genes.
Facial maturity also plays a great role in physical and sexual attraction. In a study, participants rated younger looking faces as more attractive.
2. Facial scars (in men)
Hello gents! Do you curse yourself for that scar on your face?
Well, facial scars in men give them a certain ruggedness, making them more attractive to the opposite sex. Also, in some experiments, women with facial scars were judged to be as attractive as those without.
A scar can be due to fights, accidents, adveturous activities or any violent encounter. Scars on men’s faces indicate that you are active, risk-taker and leading an exciting life. Therefore a scar is a way to assess men’s masculinity.
“A large scar is unlikely to make you more attractive, but there are some scars that women do seem to find appealing” said Robert Burriss, a psychologist at Liverpool who led the study.
According to another study, women attracted to facial scars in men were interested in short-term relationships and preferred unblemished faces for long-term relationships. This could be because men without facial scars are seen as more caring and cautious.
Studies show that women prefer men with low voices and there is something inherently biological in this. It’s all about hormones. In the case of women higher voice is seen as feminine, but a lower voice in men is associated with more testosterone.
Researchers have found that people with symmetrical features are found more attractive. The majority of people don’t have left and the right side of the face looking like each other.
When you look at the pretty face with similar proportions on both sides, it looks normal and you tend to like it according to Anthony Little, a psychologist at the University of Stirling in Scotland. Also, it is easier for human brains to process symmetrical faces than asymmetrical ones.
Another study found that people with symmetrical faces tend to be healthier than asymmetrical people because they have lower levels of oxidative stress. So, a healthy and pretty face will always be attractive.
You must have heard people saying birds of a feather flock together. Right? Well, similarity in terms of physical appearance and personality is also linked to attractiveness in both genders.
Research from St Andrews showed that people are attracted to features like eye color if they are similar to their parents. Since people are most attached to their parents, they associate postive feelings with their features. The other reason behind attraction towards familiar facial features could be personal experiences in life and its influence on your mind.
Similar study published in Psychological Science showed that if someone looks similar to ourselves, we are more likely to trust them. Also, spouses are likely to be genetically similar than two individuals chosen at random according to research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
6. Taste and smell
When people kiss each other, a hormone called oxytocin (love hormone) is released in the body. At the same time the taste of another person intiates biological attraction. According to Sarah Johns, an expert in human reproduction and evolutionary psychology, “kissing allows you to smell and taste a person and see if you have different immune responses as we tend to feel more attracted to someone with a different immune response.”
A new study has shown that women with certain scents are more attractive to men. And this is because of high oestrogen and low progesterone levels in women – a stage that indicates high female fertility. So, naturally men are attracted to women with high oestrogen.
Also, certain body odour attracts us because the major histocompatibility complex or MHC is detectable in it. The complex genes are important for our immune system and plays a key role in sexual attraction via body odour. When we kiss and taste a person, MHC molecule help us assess how similar or different that person is to you biochemically.
Physical and sexual attraction is associated with several hormones. Dopamine is the feel-good hormone that is released when spending time with loved ones, hugging and having sex. Other hormones released are – oxytocin, serotonin and norepinephrine, which give a similar effect. This explains why touching someone you love makes you more attracted to them.
Mate choice is not always influenced by chance but genes play a great role. Humans have an innate tendency to be attracted to familiar things and people. This explains why in good old days people were drawn and married those of common ancestry. According to a study published in Human Nature, it is in your genes that make you feel comfortable interacting with familiar faces.
Another study found that physical attraction is linked to genes that control height. Lead author, Albert Tenesa, from the University of Edinburgh, says, “Our genes drive our attraction for partners of similar height to ours, i.e. tall people pair with tall people. There is a greater preference for partners of similar height.
9. Body mass index
Surprisingly, physical and sexual attraction correlates to body mass index (BMI), which is the relationship between your height and weight. According to a study on NCBI, men found those women physically attractive whose BMI at the lower end of what is considered healthy (18.5—24.9). However, women are attracted to men having BMI in a healthy range.
Scientists from the University of Aberdeen investigated the link between body fatness and perceived physical attractiveness found that people find thinness in females so attractive because they equate it with youth – a BMI of 17-20 corresponds to the average BMI of a young 18-20-year-old with maximal fertility and minimal risk of future disease.
10. Long legs
Men and women find longer legs more attractive! In research conducted at the University of Wroclaw, women found longer-legged men more physically appealing. The research team found that people whose legs were 5% longer than average were rated as the most attractive. Irrespective of culture, both men and women found excessively short or long legs unattractive.
The scientists believe that legs longer than the average length are sign of good health. Because earlier some researchers linked shorter legs with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes in both genders.
Women having long legs indicate she grew up in good environment and received adequate nutrition in childhood because their legs stop growing once they reach puberty. So, if their legs continue to grow beyond puberty, it has positive effective on fertility.
11. Altruistic behaviour
Do you know being altruistic may make you more attractive? If you are selfless towards others, your partner will be sexually attracted to you. According to three studies of more than 1,000 people, researchers discovered that women are more drawn to altruistic traits than anything else. So, if you are kind and involved with noble work like educating children or helping the needy then kudos to you. You are more likable.
Besides, altrusitic acts, if you are physical hot, then it’s like an icing on cake. Because your mate’s attraction becomes doubly strong.
Both men and women look for faithfulness and trustworthiness in their potential partners. These are ideal traits for long-term relationships according to a study by Cornell University.
“Good parenting, devotion, and sexual fidelity—that’s what people say they’re looking for in a long-term relationship,” says Stephen Emlen, PhD, the lead author of the study.
Beauty with the brain is the dream of every men and woman. But there are people really only sexually attracted to intelligence. They are also known as sapiosexuals.
People are sexually attracted to those with brains. In a study published in Intelligence, on average, those who scored IQ ≈ 120 was rated the most sexually attractive. Both men and women reported that being smart and intelligent was a sexual turn-on.
Another study, conducted by a UK sex toy retailer, found that high intelligence corresponds to high libido. This could be a possible reason why we are subconsciously attracted to a brainy guy or girl.
It is always good to look for intelligence in your partner especially when you are looking for long-term relationships because – unlike looks, intelligence lasts longer. Intelligent people are never boring, are good problem-solvers and are great money makers. Spending time with such people will expand your mind as well.
No two people are alike, so the debate of what is attractive and what is not is never-ending. Even scientists could not completely decode – what makes someone attractive. But, the existing literature gives deep insights into how men and women are drawn to each other.
Mysteries of attraction could not always be explained through logic. Sometimes the fractures in two separate souls became the very hinges that held them together. Lisa Kleypas
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