There are oftentimes when you find yourself attracted to someone and for the life of you, you can’t figure out why. There are plenty of theories about the laws of attraction, as you will, and no, not the 2002 film featuring Dawson from Dawson’s Creek. Many will say that opposites attract, while many others will tell you that you are inherently attracted to men that remind you of your father. No, that’s not actually as creepy as it sounds. But there is some good news. Science has come to the rescue. Pulling from theories such as Darwin’s natural selection, or survival of the fittest, to the biology of what you put into your body, attraction can be boiled down to somewhat of a scientific formula. Well, maybe formula isn’t the right word, but there are plenty of smart-sounding reasons for why you are attracted to whom you are attracted to. And here’s a compiled list of the 16 Scientific Rules of Attraction to hopefully shed some light on whatever hypothesis’ you may already have.
15 Antioxidants and oxidative stress levels affect your physical attractiveness
If you didn’t need another reason to be wary of what you put in (or on) your body, here’s one. Everyone from dieticians to doctors are telling you that antioxidants are good for you; well, they really are, and they can affect how people rate your attractiveness. “Psychologists have discovered that men who were rated as the most physically attractive by women have the lowest levels of markers of oxidative stress.” And this does work both ways. Basically, if you’re producing too many free radicals, you end up with extra oxidative stress, which makes you less appealing to potential partners. Some free radicals are naturally produced in your metabolic reactions but other things can greatly increase yours. Things like smoking, obesity, radiation and toxins in every-day-use products can contribute to yours, so indulging in things that are high in antioxidants combats that, protects your cells and makes you way more easy on the eyes.
14 Attraction to a specific feature (i.e. eyes, lips) is related to evolution
Aside from the fact that many traits females deem attractive in their male partners, also come with a certain amount of advantage, i.e. big arms and nice skin, attractiveness is also a way to separate the strong from the weak. “It's suggested that physical attractiveness may serve as a biological signal of good health.” As a species, humans have a vested interested in continuing their biological bloodline and it’s more appealing to do that with an attractive partner, if not for the physical-intimate component of that, but for the likelihood of your offspring having a better chances for survival and success. So next time you think you like a guy because he reminds you of your father, you may not be wrong, if you are a strong, healthy offspring, but it’s more likely that your brain identifies triggers in in your mate (good eye sight, thick hair, good stamina, etc.) that makes you more chemically interested in them and what they can provide you with long term.
13 Hips don’t lie
It might be hard to take a Shakira song seriously, but the truth is: hips on ladies are attractive to your male counterparts. Historically, wider set hips were referred to as childbearing hips because wider hipbone placement allows for a wider set of female reproductive organs and an easier pregnancy. As well, women with narrower waist than hips are considered more attractive to me. Fat placement on the body has a connotation related to whether or not a male or female will have the amount of energy required to chase around or take care of their children. Stomach fat deposits are also linked to many health complications, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, all of which aren’t ideal in human mates. Men with wider hips are often considered more muscular, and therefore, biologically, have a larger rate of survival, making them more desirable. Either way, your eyes may lie, your physical frame may lie (about your strength) but your hips never will.
12 You can smell attraction
Call it pheromones, call it good cologne or perfume, but scientifically, scene plays a large part in the attractiveness of spouse selection. It might seem silly to think about, but a good chunk of this attraction comes from your subconscious mind. You don’t necessary know that the eau de man is what is drawing you to them. “The human genome contains more than 1,000 olfactory genes… so pheromones have received a lot of attention from basic research scientists as well as perfume manufacturers.” If smell wasn’t enough, it’s also been said that men and women smell better at certain parts of the month. Women experiencing that time of the month have said that a man smells better to them than the other 21-26 days of the month. “Women perceive odors better than men do. They are a hundred times more sensitive to Exaltolide, a compound much like men's musk; they can smell a mild sweat from about three feet away.” Women also like the smell of men who smell genetically similar to them as well, over men who smell drastically different or entirely identical. So if you find yourself being overly attracted to his man-smell, it could be all related to your genetic make up.
11 Hot is not enough
Are you a people watcher? If you’ve ever studied the behaviour of kids, you’ll notice that they have a few degrees of behaviour. They will either play with the same toy all day, and not part with it, only to pick a new one the next day, or they will swap up toys all day long because they get bored with what they are playing with. Well, adults are no different. The human brain has a short attention span. Gone are the days where you could be “hot” and that would keep men interested. You may have a line-up out the door of men vying for your affections, but it’s all going to be short lived if you can’t keep their attention. “Our brains are attracted to intriguing, interesting, engaging people and things” so instead of focusing on fitting in, let your freak flag fly; it’s more likely to hold on to the attention of your current partner.
10 Being symmetrical makes you more attractive
Well, technically it’s called bilateral asymmetry, where you features on both sides of the body are equal on the other side, but whatever you call it, the result is that these people are considered more attractive. Could it be that you just prefer to look at something beautiful and predictable, rather than to be bombarded by a crooked nose or an ear slightly bigger than the other? Some say this is just an aesthetic thing where humans are more attracted to perfection and less to imperfections, but others boast a more scientific answer. Asymmetrical features, or fluctuating asymmetry, usually have a relationship to the oxidative stress undergone while in the womb, which acts as an indicator of problems with your development. Being exposed to some type of stress while in the womb or early childhood lends itself to the notion that you would be “less robust and less attractive as a potential partner” because you couldn’t handle said stress. Either way, like in math class, symmetry is considered more physically attractive in the selection process.
9 Flirting goes a long way
You have good flirt game right? You’ve seen every romcom and Britney Spears music video and yur moves are A+… but guess what? Not all of them were learned. Female flirting is said to be constantly evolving to try to signal their interest to their mates. Now that you know your own moves, maybe you can recognize some of the moves demonstrated by your male courting counterparts.
“The "chest thrust" is part of a basic postural message used across the animal kingdom—"standing tall." Dominant creatures puff up. Codfish bulge their heads and thrust our their pelvic fins. Snakes, frogs, and toads inflate their bodies. Antelope and chameleons turn broadside to emphasize their bulk. Mule deer look askance to show their antlers. Cats bristle. Pigeons swell. Lobsters raise themselves onto the tips of their walking legs and extend their open claws. Gorillas pound their chests. Men just thrust out their chests..”
Flirting is so much more than trying to make eyes at your potential partners. Much of it is biological in efforts to impress possible partners and ensure the survival of your bloodline. Whether one of you is exerting dominance over your mate in your mannerisms or playing coy and giving of the vibe of needing to be protected by an alpha, there are biological factors at work.
8 Attraction can be instantaneous
They educate you in high school and college that people are judging you as soon as they meet you. Never underestimate the importance of a good first impression. The same goes for the dating game. Whether you’re a swiper, a plenty-of-fisher, or an old-fashioned blind dater, it is said, “attraction happens in the first 30 seconds,” which means, you or your date have already decided whether or not you would sleep with, date, or pursue anything further with that person. 30 seconds! “The human body knows within one second whether someone’s physically attractive or not.” That might be a scary concept to most, but your brain makes a lot of decisions for you, without even really consulting you. Get your elevator pitches ready and your game face on, because unlike symmetry and inherently hereditary physical characteristics, you can control many aspects of your personality, like sense of humour.
7 Openness and availability is attractive
For years, mothers, friends and dating experts have been telling women “play hard to get.” It’ll make the chase more fun and keep them around. That might be true in early dating but neither you nor he is going to chase someone they don’t already find attractive from the get-go. To provide some examples:“In dating it is about physical availability “Will this person mate with me?”
In friends and long-term romantic partners it is about emotional availability. “Will this person open up to me?”
In business it is about economic and intellectual availability. “Will this person work with me?”
Unfortunately, this is one of the most underrated aspects of the dating game. Showing up and feigning interest in a date isn’t enough to find you a long-term mate. You have to demonstrate that you are there to connect, on some level, and that you are open to having some type of relationship with the other person.
6 Similarities are longer lasting than differences
Do opposites really attract? Some say yes. But science says no; At least, not in a long-term setting. Just like they say you are more attracted to people who genetically smell a certain amount of similar to you, other similarities make a relationship more likely to succeed. In a study in 2005, it was found that “having similar genetics plays 34 percent of the role in friendship and mate selection.” Furthermore, people are more likely to sacrifice things for people more similar to them than less and similar genetics tend to lead to a happier marriage. Even though personality compatibility or conflict plays a major role in whether or not your relationship is lasting, the genetic same-ness of you and your possible partner is likely to play a larger role in the initial attraction and courtship phase. Just think about it: if you and your partner constantly have disagreements and fights about differing opinions you have, you are more likely to have a hard time staying happy together than couples who are able to agree on more things.
5 Fidelity breeds love
Nobody asks to be cheated on. It’s probably one of the worst feelings in the world to know the person you love, is finding some sort of physical love or intimate gratification from someone else. Though it might seem a little bit hard to believe, both males and females place a high value on finding fidelity in a partner, especially when they are seeking a long-term relationship.
A study of “nearly 1,000 people age 18 to 24 [were asked] to rank several attributes, including physical attractiveness, health, social status, ambition, and faithfulness, on a desirability scale… After fidelity, the most important attributes were physical appearance, family commitment, and wealth and status.” So biologically, humans are prone to seeking mates that are loyal companions instead of just ones that fit a mold of several characteristics. One likely reason for this could be that having two parents love and provide for a child increases the likelihood or survival and happiness in a child.
4 Seductive eyes really do work
Just like how males and females are biologically programmed to set off certain signals (flirting), to attract partners, there is a lot of chemical power in the eyes. Eye contact is extremely endearing, especially during intercourse, so it makes logical sense that utilizing your eyes would increase your chances of attracting the mate to get into bed with. In those few intense moments when a staring contest begins, “two to three seconds during which their pupils may dilate—a sign of extreme interest” and this is just one way you send out a biological signal to your potential partner and express your interest. “The gaze triggers a primitive part of the human brain, calling forth one of two basic emotions—approach or retreat.” Therefore, when you are first given eyes, you tend to express a displacement gesture while you decide if your fight (stick around) or flight (run for the door) instincts are going to kick in.
3 Interested parties mirror each other
If you’ve ever taken a drama class or a gym class in middle school, sometimes they have you participate ina anactivity where you start to move in unison with the person you are standing across from. And if you are good at this, it shouldn’t be obvious to anyone watching which one of you is controlling the movements. You will be perfectly in sync. The same is said of dating or the magical art of the pick-up. This is called interactional synchrony and it basically means you take on the behavious and mannerisms of the person you are trying to become involved with. It may start small from you sitting across from each other and playing with your forks at the same time or casually crossing your feet in sync. This goes all the way to you turning your head the same way while standing across rom each other at the end of the evening and going for that goodnight kiss. And humans aren’t the only ones with a biological mirroring reaction to courting a partner. Chimps, red deer or howler monkeys also engage in similar movements to express their love interest in a companion.
2 There is evolutionary evidence for why the dinner date works
On a basic level, standard attraction works as follows: the female is courted by members of those who express interest in shacking up with her. They show off their muscles, their good genes, their man-smell and their ability to protect her. She then decides whether or not he is her best chance for procreation and survival. Now fast forward to 2016 and ask anyone what the most common first date is: the dinner date. The dinner date is practically historical and ritual. Guys take you out and pay for your meal. They are providing you with food and contributing to your survival. “"Courtship feeding," as this custom is called, probably predates the dinosaurs, because it has an important reproductive function. By providing food to females, males show their abilities as hunters, providers, worthy procreative partners.” And going back to the idea that women like hot man smells, when a guy eats his prey, usually meat, there is a smell that biologically triggers a female being attracted to him.
1 You can take a love map to the love shack
John Money (Sexologist ) coined the term love map. Which is basically a fancy way of saying you are at least partially genetically or biologically predisposed to seek a particular thing before you even go looking. “Long before you fixate on Ray as opposed to Bill, Sue instead of Ceciley, you have developed a mental map, a template replete with brain circuitry that determines what arouses you, what drives you to fall in love with one person rather than another.” And everyone’s love map is different. It can range anywhere from loving a man in uniform, to really liking a boisterous laugh. There are some similarities on these love maps though from the idea of nice skin, good hygiene and not surprising, money. And it’s pretty likely that the majority of these love maps are developed from a biological source. “It is to a males' genetic advantage to fall in love with a women who will produce viable offspring; it is to a woman's biological advantage to become captivated by a man who can help support her young.” Who you match with online or who you click with on the first date is more pre-planned on a subconscious level than random and spontaneous.