13 Science-Backed Reasons For Physical And Sexual Attraction

Reasons For Physical Sexual Attraction

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. 

Related: The Psychology Of Olfaction: How Smell Can Influence Your Mood And Behavior

7. Touch

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. 

8. Genetics 

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.

Related: Why People Become Empaths: 4 Contributing Factors From Trauma to Genetics

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. 

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Louisa Davis

Hi there! I'm just a normal person enjoying the process of life. Practicing Buddhism, I believe in the law of cause and effect. Reading and writing is always a pleasure. I enjoy researching on a range of subjects – science, psychology, and technology. Nothing can satiate my soul than good music, horror movies, psycho-thriller, and crime stuff. I enjoy photography, music and watching comedy videos. Talking to people, learning new experiences, sharing my knowledge through blogs, motivating others are things that I always look forward to.View Author posts