Sex Appeal Is More Than Just Having a Hot Body According to Science


Personally, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the gym trying to maintain a good figure. Though personally, I’ve been doing my push ups for health reasons, I’d like to be in great shape. It is my belief that how I look determines my sex appeal ;-)

By definition, sex ap·peal as a noun, is the quality of being attractive in a sexual way. Its synonyms includes; sexiness, seductiveness, desirability, sensuality, sexuality; beauty, attractiveness.

But like most of us, including me, think about Victoria’s Secret Angel-worthy physicality when we think of sex appeal — or something like it. For women, that may be flat abs, flowing hair, and clear skin. For men: a chiseled jawline, tall stature, and bulging biceps. And sure, certain aspects of appearance are in fact universally acknowledged as tenets of objective beauty. There’s a lot of research on the attractiveness of facial symmetry. Studies have found that women like men with prominent chin and cheekbones, and men prefer curvy figures to straight ones.

Yet, we know there’s more to attractiveness than outward appearance or the cookie-cutter hot bod. We’ve all met the guy or girl who isn’t instantly alluring to us, but over time, our attraction to them booms to astronomical proportions. Or we’ve met someone who we could acknowledge was aesthetically gifted — but for some reason, they just didn’t do it for us.

There’s obviously something about attraction that’s more than skin-deep.

Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, the chief scientific officer at the online dating company Match, polls thousands of men and women for Match’s Singles in America study every year. She always asks the same question: When you initially meet someone, what do you notice first?

What they’re definitely not looking for: a perfect physique. “They say teeth, grammar, and self-confidence,” according to Fisher. “From a Darwinian perspective, this makes perfect sense. Teeth say a lot about your overall health, grammar can tell you what kind of background and education the person has, and self-confidence says a lot about your psychological stability.”

Research shows that we are generally drawn to people who are similar to us, that’s according to Fisher — same socioeconomic status, education level, intelligence, culture, religion, looks, and so on. However, if it were just about such a simple checklist, becoming smitten would be far easier.

“We all walk around with a subconscious list of what we’re looking for in a partner,” Fisher says. “But you can walk into a room with people who are all the same, but you won’t fall in love with all of them.”

Fisher has found that certain biochemical systems drive mate selection through her research on the brain. Those driven by dopamine (the thrill-seekers and spontaneous ones) tend to attract others guided by the same hormone. Same goes for the conventional, rule-following, serotonin-dominant men and women.

Those guided by testosterone and estrogen tend to attract each other, on the flip side — they seek a complementary counterpart. Estrogen is emotionally expressive and empathetic, while testosterone is analytical and logical.

These sex hormones don’t neatly map, just in case you were wondering; all men do not fall in the testosterone camp and all women in the estrogen camp. Hillary Clinton is testosterone to Bill Clinton’s estrogen, that’s a famous example, according to Fisher. “All these factors begin to play a role from the first few minutes,” says Fisher.

Genetic factors play a huge role in attraction beyond what we can assess and pinpoint, as well, according to co-founder and chief scientific officer at Instant Chemistry Sara Seabrooke, PhD. The company utilizes DNA testing to determine a pair’s neurologic and biologic compatibility, which can help a couple navigate their potential strengths and weaknesses.

“Twenty years of research shows that genes of our immune system — called HLA, or human leukocyte antigen genes — contribute to how physically attractive someone appears to us,” according to Seabrooke. “The genetic makeup of our immune system varies from person to person; the more different someone’s immune system genes are from our own genes, the more physically attractive the person is to us.”

This is something known as biological compatibility, she continues. “These immune system genes contribute to our body scent, and research has shown we can detect these genes based on smell,” she explains. “The better the person smells to us, the more likely they are to be biologically compatible. Not only do biologically compatible partners find each other more attractive, they have more satisfying sex lives, greater marital stability, and increased fertility rates.”

Easier said than done, we should not focus on looks alone. Having great sex appeal relies on how we carry ourselves around other people. When someone notices you, that’s somehow looks have something to do with it, making someone to like you, well, that’s another story.

Be smart, smile more often and always be cautious on how you talk and even how you write. It is not always about how you look but, it’s what you are makes a great sex appeal.

Cheerio!

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