Attraction; the other side of the story

Many question concerning whether or not one is considered attractive have passed the revue on this site. We even have a whole category dedicated called ‘how do I look’ where people are seeking for validation. So most people, even I am guilty of it, are in search for what it means to be attractive. Beauty is influenced by culture, but a lot of reasoning as to why someone is attractive can be explained with biological an evolutionary facts. I tried to look at it from this biological perspective and tried to give as thorough as possible an explanation as to why it’s considered attractive. Of course it’s so much more than just this, being attractive is something very difficult in general to define, but anyways here we go! I hope you’ll enjoy it and learn something from it :)

The Golden ratio, the Golden mean, the Golden section, divine proportion

Through the ages artists have used the golden ratio in order to create the perfect and visually most appealing art to the human eye. Mathematically the golden ratio is a special number found by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part or (a+b)/a . This number is 1.6180339887498948420… and goes on into infinity. The golden ratio can be found in most artwork such as the Parthenon, pyramids, and of course the legendary art of Salvador Dali and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Not just in art and science the golden ratio is prominent, also in nature it has been found. For example shells, hurricanes, tree branches, flower petals and even our own DNA molecules.

Attraction; the other side of the story.

What does the golden ratio have to do with being attractive?

By comparing facial and physical measurements and using them into the formula (a+b)/a, the founded number can indicate how close your features are to the golden ratio. The closer the more attractive a person is universally perceived.

Note: As the golden ratio is an infinite number, it cannot strictly be applied to any real world object. It's always going to be a little off.

Symmetry

It has been proven people tend to find others with symmetrical features more attractive and healthier than those who have little symmetry. Symmetrical features are indicators of good, fertile and healthy genetics, therefore it makes one a better mating prospect.

A study in 1995 conducted by Tornhill, came to the conclusion that women tend to orgasm better and faster when having intercourse with a man that has good symmetry, regardless of their level of romantic attachment or the guys' sexual experience. Other research appears to show that female orgasm could be a way of selecting the best genes for procreation.

Symmetry and the golden ratio tend to be connected to each other. People with good symmetry tend to score good on the golden ratio.

Sexual pheromones

Now this one is a tricky one, I’ve seen documentary’s on sexual pheromones and read some interesting study’s but nothing really conclusive. It’s not proven pheromones really influence how attractive someone is (yet), but some scientist believe it does. These hormones are chemical indicators a human emits and they cannot be consciously detected, it’s something primal and subtle.

Peter Karlson and Martin Lüscher were the discoverers of the pheromones in 1959 , and have defined it as a chemical cocktail emitted by an animal and detected and responded to by other creatures of the same species. However even now scientists haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly what sexual pheromone it is we humans produce. There is a blooming market selling pheromones with the promise of making a person sexually irresistible.

It’s all a scam, as they haven’t figured out the pheromones making such possible. However pheromones do play a role in our non-verbal communication for example: nursing infants have been found to turn toward a lactating mother's breast, suggesting some scent molecules drive the response. Or even the fact women emit a certain extract in their armpits that can cause menstrual cycles of nearby women to sync up.

Another study conducted in 2005, samples of sweat from male (straight and homosexual) and females were collected and given to straight and gay men, without knowing which was which. It was found gay men preferred the samples of other gay males. And straight males picked the samples of women.

Other animals such as dogs, wolfs, cats, etc. tend to spread their pheromones by peeing or releasing it in the air, and so non-verbally give off messages for others within their species. The purpose of these pheromones are primarily for defence, matting or territory.

Colour

- Skin colour
The colour of our skin is an important indicator of health. Universally women are usually lighter coloured than their male counterpart. Sociologist Dr. Shyon Baumann lead a research at the university of Toronto on this matter. They found that the skin of white women was 15.2% lighter than the skin of white males. The skin of black women was 11.1% lighter as the skin of black men.

Dr. Shyon Baumann said that the lightness of the skin was morally associated with purity, innocence, modesty and goodness. The darker skin was associated with sex, virility and danger.

But not just from a sociological point of view, having a lighter skin has certain biological advantages. One of them being that dark skinned people have more pigmentation (melanin) that blocks UV and prohibits the intake of vitamin D3. Light skinned people have higher rates of those vitamins. Severe vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets, with its deformities and accompanying weakness and so forth, and less severe but chronic low vitamin D3 levels in people with light skin are a risk factor for osteoporosis, bone fractures, and perhaps chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, and so forth.

Black or darker skinned people however are less prone to osteoporosis, fractures, sunburns and skin cancer.

- Hair colour
When it comes to hair colour for women, lighter hair once again is preferred in western civilization. It is believed light hair represents youth as most women tend to be born with light hair that becomes darker the older the woman gets. Blond hair is lusted after, but brown is perceived the most attractive for both genders. Probably as it is most common.

A survey under British men concluded that 61.7% preferred women with brown hair.

- Eye colour
The same study, I talked about above, also found that 57.7% of the men liked women with light coloured eyes over darker ones. In other country’s such as Spain, Italy, Brazil, etc. darker coloured eyes were preferred by most men. Which is quite obvious when you think about it, our culture influences our perception of beauty. What is most common or average is often thought of as the most attractive.

Note: Some researchers believe lighter coloured eyes have an advantage in our non-verbal communication. As the dilation of the pupil is better visible, it is easier interpreted by another whether or not this person is attracted and receptive of sexual/romantic advances.

Interesting fact: In a lot of magazines aimed for males, women’s pupils are photo shopped to look bigger. Unconsciously males are attracted as, like I already explained, it’s a sign of being attracted and being receptive of sexual/romantic advances.

Physical

Sexual dimorphism is prominent in many species, just like in the human race. A long time it was believed humans had evolved dimorph from a nondimorphic ancestor. However paleontological evidence proved humans descended from dimorphic apes and that the modern day human is in fact less dimorph than his ancestors were. Other research suggest the future human will look more and more androgynous.

“The physical differences in size, shape, and stature that occur between two individuals of the same sex are often far greater than the degree of difference between two individuals of opposite sexes. Not too many people actually possess the cultural ideal of the typical male or the typical female form, and even that ideal changes from generation to generation.” - Biology of women, Ethel Sloane.

Height
On average males are 4-9% taller than their female counterpart and the average male in the US weights around 87 kg while a woman from the US weights on average around 74.4 kg. Males are taller due to hormonal differences: females stop growing around 18, while males continue to grow to the age of 20.

Most women would prefer taller men as it makes them feel more protected and feminine, but there is no proof or no correlation between being taller and being a better protector. Culture amplifies minor gender differences! Even when these differences do not serve any evolutionary benefit, our culture keeps it manifested in our beauty ideal. Once the genetic heritage is established, traits will not change unless the overall systemic pressure favored significantly different traits.

It has no evolutionary advantage. There are exceptions though where height does play an important role for example:

-->Males are, from a purely biological point of view, the expendable sex. Therefore it is believed males can take more risks. Being big can be an advantage as it comes off as imposing and threatening, also hormonally males are on the average more aggressive and impulsive than females. But it is a disadvantage when food is scarce. Dwarfism for example occurs more often when a species is living in a territory that holds a shortage of food. An example are the Homo floresiensis and African pygmies.

Weight
Males tend to weight more due to differences in length rather than it is believed to be because of gender. However the distribution of fat is differently for the sexes, females have a higher amount of body fat than males.

Most men all over the world prefer women that have curves, it makes them more feminine and it is once again a great example of sexual dimorphism. Everything that makes a woman different from a men is mostly considered attractive. Wide hips, breasts, soft and rounded features, long hair, …

The smaller the waist to hip ratio the more attractive a women is, the ideal ratio would be between 0.67 and 0.8 . It has been proven that these women are healthier and more fertile, the reasoning is because a large amount of abdominal fat isn’t healthy especially for women. Estrogen causes the distribution of most fats to go to the hips and buttocks, the fat being stored there are good fats. They are of importance for the growth of the possible infant. An exception on this rule however are apple shaped women who tend to distribute their fat mostly on their upper body. Also increased testosterone values, and thus lowered estrogen value’s, in a woman could be the cause of a bigger waist and like I have mentioned before heterosexual males tend to like womanly curves and everything that sets a woman apart from a men’s body.

Features
When it comes to men masculine features are preferred, however most women aren’t looking for excessive and overly masculine traits. It can be explained by the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis or PLFH. This theory predicts that male secondary sexual traits reveal information about the male fertilization ability.

Men that are extremely muscular and masculine built, have heightened levels of testosterone in their blood (hypergonadism). This in return causes the sperm quality to decline and also causes a low sperm count. And so according to PLFH, women are able to ‘detect’ the fertility problems related to overly masculine men.

Also women that are on a hormonal contraception (involving progesterone, which causes the body to ‘believe’ it is in a state of pregnancy), often choose men that have more feminine traits and look more alike themselves or like their family. The whole point of human reproduction is to procreate with a healthy partner that is genetically different from your own genes. So the child has the best genetic makeup as possible in order to survive and withstand possible diseases. The easiest example to explain this with is incest, people who are genetically related or alike have more chances of carrying the same genetic defaults and so heighten the chance for the offspring to have those defaults. So naturally it is better to have a partner who doesn’t look alike.

Sources:

http://www.fastcodesign.com/3044877/the-golden-ratio-designs-biggest-myth

http://m.livescience.com/37704-phi-golden-ratio.html

http://m.livescience.com/19553-samantha-brick-beauty.html

http://m.livescience.com/3233-sexual-pheromones-myth-reality.html

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-truth-about-pheromones-100363955/?no-ist

http://racialreality.blogspot.be/2011/09/mens-hair-and-eye-color-preferences.html

http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/003842.html

http://ecodevoevo.blogspot.be/2014/07/skin-color-and-vitamin-d-beautiful.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/health-what-a-man-cant-resist-the-perfect-waisthip-ratio-forget-about-breasts-says-jerome-burne-its-the-last-two-figures-of-362436-that-truly-turn-on-the-male-naked-ape-1440859.html

http://www.theaveragebody.com/average_weight.php

https://books.google.be/books?id=kqcYyk7zlHYC&pg=PA120&lpg=PA120&dq=women+weight+on+an+average+less+than+males&source=bl&ots=zIl4lrsDw1&sig=ziRJICluaC_NwdAh_stpoWKPRIQ&hl=nl&sa=X&ved=0CFcQ6AEwB2oVChMIsKqMiLvaxgIVirgUCh2q0gTD#v=onepage&q=women%20weight%20on%20an%20average%20less%20than%20males&f=false

http://www.quora.com/Is-there-any-evolutionary-reason-for-why-women-are-shorter-than-men

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201306/why-women-want-tall-men

http://m.livescience.com/28237-women-on-pill-prefer-less-masculine-men.html

http://www.medicinenet.com/hormonal_methods_of_birth_control/page4.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25056484

http://www.hormone.org/hormones-and-health/what-do-hormones-do/what-does-testosterone-do


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What Guys Said 24

  • O my god FINALLY someone did a mytake using the golden ratio as one of the main points I've been waiting for like a year for someone to do it lol.

    ( my life is now complete, well not really but for the next 60 seconds it is )

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  • Well written and detailed info.

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  • I've always wondered why men wany females that are absolutely as feminine as can be, but women tend to prefer men that have mild masculine features, but also feminine features, and not entirely masculine.

    Now i know why

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  • Lol This doesn't apply to me at all

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  • lol the average female weigh 74kgs, that's fat at most heights

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    • I took the average female from the US.

    • Yes, i know, i should have specified, both men and women are fat on average in the US

    • Yes saddely enough :/

  • Am I some sort of scientific anomaly for liking red hair?

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  • Oh wow, this take is really a big effort.
    The mathematic formula was really an interesting thing to read about - totally new and surprising :-)

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  • I congratulate you on your research ! This was not an opinion, this was based on facts. Something we don't see often here ! It was also very interesting.
    Being a ginger with very pale skin means not only must I avoid the sun, but it makes me look unhealthy to women ? Damn, I can't catch a break lol

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  • Nice well researched piece of work

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  • Very informative... thanks for posting this take.

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  • This take was very interesting and your profile picture is very pretty

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  • I skipped most of it I have male body but I have a baby face

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  • fabricated stuff. most scientists make up studies.

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  • Also I'm pretty sure I read a compilation pic of something similar to this before (in fact, some exact wording of terms was being used here) it's always an interesting read.

    The expendable sex thing in particular is sad but true, at least from a more old-world point of view (thankfully men's lives are much more valued than they would have been in like, classical antiquity, or whatever). I do feel sorry for some of my shorter friends from this regard, one in particular gets pretty torn up about only being about 5' 6".

    It's a shame there wasn't any mention of the "canthal tilt", however. It's a very obscure, but very selective thing that can, in some cases, make or break a face, particularly for the male face.

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  • All that you mention is relatively minor. Nurture has always been, and will always be, more important than nature.

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    • I disagree, there is a balance between both in my opinion.

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    • In general that is not correct. That is in fact a really unsuccesful way of reproduction. Females choose their mating partner based on an x amount of physical, mental feautures. In order for the best offspring, for evolutionary benefits.

    • Wouldn't physical strength be a favouring feature?

  • All this says is that apart from symmetry our perception of attractiveness is heavily influenced by our culture. It's attractive because you see it on TV. The end.

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    • Have you completly read this take? Otherwise I think you might have missed some points. Ofcourse our culture influences what we find attractive but the basic stays

    • Yes, the basics is symmetry. Preferred hair color, eye color, skin tone, physical shape, height, weight and ''features'' all rely and differ mostly based on culture and then personal taste within that cultural influence. You can't quantify attractiveness unless you keep it to specific groups within specific cultures. And even then people will often ignore what they think they prefer if the person's character, demeanor, or psychological attributes are attractive. You just listed the various traits that differentiate people physically, without there being a meaning to it.

  • Great take, finally something different from that bullshit cliche "we are all beautiful"

    as far as weight I read a theory that said in times where food us scarce we are more likely to prefer slightly heavier physiques and in times where food is abundant we are more likely to prefer leaner physiques.

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  • I couldn't help but notice that in response to another opinion you said that you wanted to make a video explaining the factors of being social as an attractive quality. I think you should make it.

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  • Very interesting and well written take.

    I would like to add a few things, if I may. I recall hearing that there seems to be less widespread agreement among women as to what men they find attractive, and more agreement among men as to what women they find attractive. Show a male model to a bunch of women and have them rate the guy on a scale of one to ten, and you'll get an overall high average, but the numbers tend to vary more. Show a female model to a bunch of men and have them do the same, and you'll have much less variation with the numbers.

    Also, there generally tends to be less agreement among both sexes as to what is attractive compared to what is unattractive. Show a model to both sexes and you'll get overall agreement that this person is attractive, but far from universal agreement. Show an unattractive person to both genders and you get nearly universal agreement that this person is unattractive.

    The most attractive faces seem to have the most average features. The more a face or body departs from the average, the less attractive its perceived. They performed an experiment on Hot or Not where they digitally manipulated faces. The closer to the average the face was, the higher score it got.

    For those interested in average faces:
    memolition.com/.../

    And the Hot or Not experiment:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_or_Not

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  • I like how you say men prefer curvy women like its a fact and then say that women prefer taller men because it's culturally induced not biologically. Well I disagree with that.

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    • I'm sorry I should have rephrased it. Men like curvy women because wider hips are perceived as being fertile and being able to bear children better. Being taller has not really been proven to be of evolutionary benefit. Please explain yourself :)

    • Height is important because its about superior genetics. It is because height and strength are associated with protection.

    • Well I do believe there is truth in that (before making this I always believed that was the reason roo), however researchers all agree that isn't the full story.

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What Girls Said 11

  • This is just a load of crap, sure i did good in most categories but this is truly a great way to make a lot of people feel like shit, which im highly opposed to.

    A person has so much value beyond attracting to the opposite sex.

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    • That's not really her opinion. That's just what it is. Or at least, the information she gathered about what science knows of it. It is not meant as a guide for you to follow. If you fail one of the points, it doesn't mean you are not attractive. It also has nothing to do with the value of a human being. She is ONLY talking about attraction.

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    • I do not care, this is my opinion, we shall agree to disagree. I do not have the energy to argue this all the way to my grave as im doing a homework. But cheers and all is good. If there is one thing that is impossible to achieve in this world, it is a mutual opinion with everyone.

    • Hey we are both Canadians :)

  • This gave me no hopes for the future.

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    • Hey, it's only about pure "animal" attraction. It doesn't say anything about who you are inside. I can't say I really scored high myself lol

    • I think the reality is kind of cruel too. I mean, nowadays no one really cares what people are inside. Oh well, life is too short to worry about that XD

  • Well I'm pale as can be! So I guess that give me a lot of options :)

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  • Very interesting, I read it all

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  • I loved this be ayse it was broken down in a scientific and logical way; easy to believe and understand:) You have a follower in me!

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  • Nice, this all makes sense.

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  • Very goood take. I really enjoyed reading that. Its been awhile. 🏆

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  • Fantastic take ma'am. *Claps*

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  • This is a really nice take

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  • none of this is separate from culture. saying lets look at it biologically using cultural stereotypes -opf which you have no choice but to bc that's the only source you have to go on- doesn't mean much.

    and lets not push racism wigglier were at it. the reason women tend to have lighter is skin is bc they are kept in doors.

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    • I Did mention that a couple times that culture defines our beauty ideal. Staying indoors and having lighter skin, do not confuse this with the mid ages. There is some truth perhaps in that statement however your genes define the colour of your skin and the capacity it can get darker.

    • How exactly is it racism when researchers find out the skin-tone is different objectively? I don't understand that train of logic how you jump from a fact to racism.

    • noooo, i accidentally gave you a like. just know that your opinions is bad and you should feel bad

  • What a fantastic My Take! Very well written and thought out. The fact that you included sources amazes me.

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