As the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What one person finds attractive, another finds the opposite. While some attractive features are nearly universal such as facial symmetry and healthy appearances, others vary by culture such as skin tone and body shape. However, the one truly unifying component of human attraction is the underlying biology that directly dictates why we find certain traits attractive and others a turn off.
Human attraction is influenced by the subconscious biological desire to reproduce. And since reproduction is such a difficult and lengthy process, we often look for the highest quality mate. Nearly every feature that we find attractive is a subtle indicator of the quality of a potential mate, especially their health and fertility. Below are 47 facts about human attraction.
Scientific studies have shown that one of the most attractive features to humans is symmetry, especially in facial features. Most celebrities that are widely considered extremely attractive have nearly perfectly symmetrical faces. (1)
During powerful times such as kissing, intimate conversation, or making love, the body releases a chemical called Oxytocin, which is also known as the love drug. The chemical helps people to feel closeness with each other and aids in bonding. (4)
45. Darwin is so beautiful right now!
Charles Darwin stated that there is universal drive to become as beautiful and attractive as possible. He said that animals will strive to be attractive even when experiencing “wonderfully great suffering”. (4)
44. Beauty bias
Studies show that many high-paying and high-level positions are held by attractive people. Hiring managers often have a preference for the more attractive employee when giving promotions to their employees. (4)
43. But politics are so ugly though!
Research shows that the more attractive politician often receives a greater amount of media coverage than their less attractive counterpart does. (1)
42. The media and self esteem
Research shows that the media greatly influences a person’s self-esteem when it comes to their own bodies and appearances. When shown people with ideal body types of the same gender, people often report lower satisfaction with their own self-image. (1)
41. Nice genes, where did you get them?
Physical attraction is linked to good genes. The more attractive a person is, the better their genes are perceived to be. The reasoning is deeply rooted in our biology. Males often prefer the most attractive female as it signals good health and fertility. However, since the task of reproduction falls almost entirely on the female, women generally are pickier when it comes to choosing a mate. Females often prefer a mate with the most attractive features as it signals that he will provide the best genes to their offspring. Interestingly, scientist have not found a direct correlation between physical attractiveness and the quality of genes. (18)
40. Wait, what is that called?
The theory as to why a woman desires an attractive mate is rooted in the belief that an attractive mate will yield and attractive son that will then be able to better find a mate to pass on the mother’s genes to his children. This theory is called the Sexy Son Theory. Yeah, you read that right. (15)
39. Oedipus Syndrome
Studies show that people are more likely to be attracted to people resembling their parents, especially when it comes to age. The older their parents were at the time of their birth, the more likely they find older faces to be attractive. (15)
38. Overlooked, not unseen
Limbal rings, or the dark outlines around a person’s iris, are a feature that often goes unnoticed but are subconsciously perceived to be attractive. Limbal rings fade with age, therefore the darker the rings the more youthful the person. Since youth is associated with health and vigor, limbal rings are a sign that a person is a better mate. (15)
The more attractive someone finds a sexual partner, the more likely they will be to be okay with forgoing contraceptives or taking precautionary steps to have safe sex. Yikes! (4)
Our hormones greatly influence whom we are attracted to and so anything that alters the body’s hormones, can change someone’s attraction. Since birth control pills and injections literally changes a woman’s hormones, it can also change whom the woman finds to be attractive. (10)
35. Maybe AXE was onto something…
Remember back in middle school when AXE body spray claimed it contained pheromones that would make women attracted to you? Well, as it turns out, fresh male sweat contains a chemical called Androstenol, a type of pheromone that truly attracts women to men. Just in case you were wondering, pheromones are chemicals that a person unconsciously emits that can cause a change in behavior in other people around them. Turns out, AXE body spray actually does contain pheromones. Good to know! (10)
34. Mood killer
Studies show that the scent of tears can cause a decrease in sexual arousal in men. (10)
33. The sexiest color goes to…
Studies have shown that the color red is the most attractive color for both men and women. The color red is often unconsciously associated higher status. Since people often want to choose a higher-status mate, a person wearing the color red can artificially give the impression of superior status, and thus appear more attractive to potential mates. (16)
32. Mirror image?
Research suggests that people are often attracted to other people that resemble themselves, be it similar facial features, hair color, fashion style etc. This is due to the unconscious belief that the more the other person resemble our self, the more trustworthy we find that person. What about my evil twin though? (17)
31. Smile or not to smile, that is the question!
Studies have shown that women are perceived by men to be more attractive when they smile. Conversely, men who smile less often are perceived by women to be more attractive than men who smile more often. (10)
30. Minnie mouse!
Women often speak in higher-pitched tones when speaking with a person they find to attractive. (14)
29. On your left!
According to an MIT study, emotional words and phrases such as “I love you”, have a significantly stronger response when whispered into the left ear as opposed to the right. (13)
Online polls have shown that when looking for potential dates, men are often most concerned about the weight of woman while women are most concerned about the height of a man. The poll revealed that women 20 lbs. overweight and men that were over an inch under the average, experienced a difficult time finding dates. (1)
27. Ideal body types
Studies have shown that both heterosexual men and women prefer particular body types of the opposite gender. Women often prefer men with a hunter’s physique; broad shoulders, a wide chest and a narrow waist. While men often prefer women with an hourglass figure; large breasts, narrow waist, wide hips and a large bottom which they subconsciously perceive to correlate with an increased reproductive ability. (1)
Humans are the only mammals that have permanently swollen breasts outside of lactation. Why you ask? One of the reasons is that breasts are sexually appealing, obviously, but the reason they are appealing is not so apparent. Swollen breasts subconsciously indicate to males the female’s ability to produce an ample milk supply for potential offspring. Wanting the best nutrition for their eventual children, males are often more attracted to females with larger breasts. However, studies have shown no correlation between breast sizes and the quantity or quality of milk that they may produce. Scientists have concluded that the purpose human female’s permanently swollen breasts are for sexual attraction. (12)
25. Being average is actually an advantage!
According to evolutionary biologist, being an average-looking person may actually be beneficial. The reason is that average looking people often have a much more diverse set of genes, and therefore have better reproductive health. (1)
I guess he’s not very diverse
24. Setting the mood
Studies show that “chill-inducing” music can arouse a person more than the touch of their partner. The reason being that music that causes the listener to have chills, releases small amounts of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that is released during times of happiness and fulfillment (i.e. while eating or having sex).The amount of dopamine released while listening to “chill inducing” music has been measured at higher concentrations than when being touched by a partner. (10)
23. Beards are sexy!
Studies have shown women perceive bearded men as more attractive, more responsible, and potentially better parents. Time to throw away those razors! (11)
22. What a beautiful world!
Research suggests that beauty standards and attractive qualities are often regional and dependent on cultural norms. However, some beauty standards are cross-cultural and international. Generally, beauty standards shift over time and change as cultures mix across geographic boundaries. Beauty standards range from every skin tone, eye color, hair color, size of body, and facial features. Odds are you are one of the most attractive people in the world to someone! (3)
21. Beauty fades over time
Our faces change as we get older. That’s obvious. However, that also means that a person’s attractiveness also changes over time. This is due to skin aging and wrinkling, the continued growth of our noses and ears, and the loss of bone density in our skulls as we age. This results in continual changes in appearance that can dramatically impact a person’s appeal to others, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. (9)
Three generations of women
20. Age is nothing but a number. Or is it?
In heterosexual couples, studies have shown that men often prefer younger-looking women, while women often prefer older looking men. Scientist suggests that the reasoning due to men perceiving younger women as being more fertile, while women view older men as being more responsible and more capable of providing care for them and their potential offspring. (1)
19. Mixed priorities
Every year, Americans spend more on beauty care products than they do on education… Wow. (8)
People often perceive others to be more attractive when they see other people looking and or smiling at them. (1)
Research has shown that mothers tend to devote more attention and give disproportionate affection to their most attractive child. (1)
16. Oh baby!
Studies show that nurses tend to spend more time with attractive and healthy babies than they do with unattractive or ill ones. (4)
15. The ugly truth
Research has shown that while in court, attractive defendants are found to be innocent more often than unattractive defendants are. Additionally, when attractive people are convicted of crimes, they often receive less harsh punishment than unattractive people do. (4)
14. Pot-belly, more like not-belly!
Studies have shown that heterosexual women are generally less attracted to men with a large belly. Research suggests that men with ample belly fat typically have decreased testosterone levels, which signals a lowered sex drive and decreased fertility. (4)
13. Who would’ve thought!
Studies found that heterosexual men find the mixture of lavender and pumpkin as an attractive scent on females. While heterosexual women find a mixture of cucumbers and licorice to be attractive scent on males. (7)
12. Mirroring behavior
Studies have found that when people are attracted to each other, they will often mirror each other’s movements and body positioning when speaking or being in close proximity to each other. (2)
11. Inequalities in education
Teachers have been shown to favor students that are more attractive over their less attractive pupils, often giving them preferential treatment, which in turn allows them to perform better in school. (1)
Why do people wear makeup? Well, obviously it makes them look better and appear more attractive. However, there are underlying reasons that are not that obvious. Many of the most classic makeup styles mimic natural indicators of health and arousal. For example, red lipstick mimics and enhances the natural red hue of a healthy person’s lips. Blush indicates youthfulness and simulates the natural blushing that occurs during arousal. Foundation covers up any imperfection such as blemishes, dark eye bags and a acne scars that may indicate poor health. Lastly, eyeliner and mascara enhances the whiteness of eyes to make them appear healthier and more youthful. (6)
9. Money and resources
Studies show that women often find a person’s wealth more important than their physical appearances, while men generally care more about their partner’s appearance than their income. The reasoning is biological in base. Men are generally attracted to more youthful looking women as it signals health and fertility, meaning more potential offspring. While women are often more attracted to a person that will be able to provide for them and their offspring. Since wealth is an indicator for the ability obtain resources, women often prefer a wealthier partner than an attractive one. (5)
Recently, many women have chosen to go under the knife to enhance the appearance of their vaginas by cosmetically altering their labia’s (the fleshy outer layer covering the vaginal opening). Many feel that the elective surgery improves the overall attractiveness of their genitals. (1)
Or any kind of cosmetic surgery
7. Looks can be deceiving
Studies show that attractive women often have a difficult time obtaining jobs associated with masculine qualities, such a hard labor. Research shows that less attractive women, and women with masculine features, are preferred for those positions instead. (1)
6. Make the first move.
People that make the first move often appear more attractive to a potential partner and often feel more attracted to their prospective partner. (1)
Research shows that people often find others more attractive when experiencing an adrenaline rush. Guess I’m off the Six Flags! (1)
4. Beer goggles
People under the influence of alcohol often find others more attractive, as drunk people often do not notice small details about people that they may normally find to be unattractive. (1)
3. Hunk or nice guy?
Studies show that women are often attracted to more masculine-looking men during ovulation. However, at other times of the month they may find less-masculine men to be more attractive. This is largely due to the subconscious association with masculine-looking men having higher testosterone levels and therefore being more fertile. (1)
2. So mysterious…
It is scientifically proven that a woman will find a man sexier if he wears a pair of sunglasses. This is because sunglasses make your face appear more symmetrical and can make you appear mysterious. Both of which can increased your perceived attractiveness. (10)
1. How can you tell if a person is attracted to you?
Although there are no 100% accurate telltale signs that someone is attracted to you, there are many subtle behaviours that have been linked to someone showing attraction including:
Raising their eyebrows when they first look at you.
Parting their lips while you make eye contact.
Smoothing or fidgeting with their clothing while talking to you.
Grooming one’s hair, either fixing it or messing it up.
Letting you see them “check out” your body.
Standing with their hands on their hips (more common with men) as it makes them appear larger.
Flexing, or standing in a position that shows off the best features of one’s body.
While sitting opposite from you, the person (especially true for men) will spread their legs open.
While standing, leaning in when talking with you or sitting on the edge of their seat to lean in closer.
Soft touches to your elbows, forearms, and occasionally the small of the back.
If drinking, taking frequent sips of their beverage, or if smoking taking more frequent puffs from their cigarette.
Touching their face frequently during conversation. (2)