If looks fade, why is physical attraction important in the first place?

This is something I have been mulling over in my mind for years now, but I am curious what others think.

For the record, I believe looks are very important, even though they fade.

Updates:
I wrote a follow up question to this which you'll find here:
www.girlsaskguys.com/.../q1899121-a-follow-up-to-the-if-looks-fade-question

I'd appreciate if if y'all would give it your consideration and opinions.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • My personal opinion on it is exactly how my dad explained it to me years ago:

    Being attracted to somebody is important, because without physical attraction, you miss out on a very important part of your relationship, which goes along with intimacy, etc. The reason why people don't get upset over the idea of their partner's looks fading is that, by that time, they would have been with them long enough and formed a bond with them that was strong enough to still see them as that attractive person they once knew.

    Not to mention you're both "unattractive" so it's not like you'd have other options.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • 1) Because physical attraction is for reproduction. When looks fade, the individual is typically infertile anyway, so it doesn't matter so much.

    2) Regardless, people tend to imprint on one another. If you shack up with someone at 19, they will be more attracted to you at 49 than if they had first met you at 49.

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What Girls Said 13

  • Well people spend a great portion of their lives look attractive before the looks gradually fade.
    It's 40's-50's when the decline in looks becomes more apparent (assuming the person as bad genetics, terrible life style and didn't age early on).
    When you're younger you want someone that physically appeals to you.
    When you age, you start to realize there's more to a person than this. (I didn't have to age to know this----due to my maturity level).
    But some people only understand the other side of the fence, when they are on it.

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  • Attraction leads to sex which leads to offspring.

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    • Why do you think physical attraction is important to have been there even after the reproductive years have passed?

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    • @redeyemindtricks

      "I make a huge chunk of my living helping other people give Mother Nature the middle finger"

      What do you do?

    • I talked about it in some detail on this thread (scroll past my comments about sleep) www.girlsaskguys.com/.../q1887876-how-long-do-you-usually-sleep-for

  • At the beginning, looks is what attracts you... when you get to know a person and you like their personality, they seem even prettier to you... at least in my experience. Then you fall in love and after a little more than a year novelty fades and you are left with a choice... are you willing to work with this person, have them on your team... because you really care for them and can imagine life with them? If the answer is yes, you won't even notice when you two grow old, because you grow (old) with them.

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  • I guess you have to be sexually attractive too.

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  • Looks matter to people looking to reproduce. At least that's the biological reason for doing so.
    Sometimes people want to be around ONLY good looking people which is just shallow.
    Other times, people care only about someone who will make them feel good so personality will win them over.

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  • TBH
    I think the whole "looks fade" line is bullshit and more for younger generations who are just hooking up with someone because they are pretty/hot.

    Because if you truly love someone their looks will never fade. You will always see them as beautiful.

    But some people do get with someone strictly because they look good. Not for love therefore society made the "looks fade" line as to say "don't be vain"

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  • Because well, we all have a certain preference to what we find attractive and in a relationship I think it's important that you love the other as a whole. And it's not because looks fade, that the couple isn't attracted to eachother still

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  • Because I need to feel at ease when I look at the person/not feel scared or uneasy.

    Beauty is there, but it's not the main thing people should look at because sooner or later it will start to fade.

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    • Do you feel scared and uneasy around unattractive people?

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    • I know what you mean!
      I don't know how it works, I just know that I like the people who have a nice bright warm golden centre that has gentler gold ripples coming off and a nice undertone of light blue.
      Sigh.

  • Its in our nature bc everyone wants good genes to reproduce with. Looks do fade though and you should also choose someone for their personality as well.

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  • It's all about the visual. If something is appealing to the eye, you're going to want it.

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    • Well, we'really all pretty unappealing at age 70.

    • Yeah but now we have plastic surgery and other alternatives to stay youthful. I've also seen some great looking 70some year olds who look pretty darn good at their age.

  • The instinct to have sex with attractive people who are good genetic matches doesn't seem to turn off. Hell, my 80 year old grandma was drooling over a rookie baseball player this summer when we were watching a game together. It's just how we're wired.

    Plus, if people stay fit, most can look pretty attractive for many years. Maybe it's more than just reproduction - maybe it's about having a strong, healthy clan around to help get things done, since humans are much more tribal than we live now.

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  • 'For the record, I believe looks are very important, even though they fade'

    Well, why do you believe they're important then?

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    • I have my ideas on the subject, but I don't want to taint others' ideas, so I am not sharing them at this time.

    • Anyway, to us the looks fade. To their so, they're still beautiful in my opinion.

  • To entice a mate. Look at Birds of Paradise or other animals.

    I don't know, I prefer a great personality and decent looks, over great looks and just an ok personality.

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    • Why is physical attraction important to us to have experienced even after the reproductive years have passed?

    • I guess we are just wired that way; it's in our nature.

    • Thanks for sounding off.

What Guys Said 14

  • Well, I guess you could be scientific about it and look from an evolutionary perspective:
    -- A symmetrical face indicates good genetics and less minor defects happened while in the womb.
    -- A skinny body (in a society of abundance) or a fat body (in a society of scarcity) represents social power/ status
    -- An ideal waist hip ratio for girls (around ~.75) or even for guys (around ~.9) shows ideal genetics. For girls, if the number is higher (less hips), it would make it harder to have a baby, if it was much less it can represent minor genetic defects.
    -- Muscles (but too many can be a turn off for many women) in a guy can show he can protect his mate from dangers and fend off mate poachers (other dudes who want to steal the mate).
    -- The limbic ring around the eye is a also a signal for attraction, but we don't really know much about that yet scientifically.
    -- Even scent makes a huge difference to us. (Women secrete a vaginal fluid during ovulation that produces a smell guys don't consciously notice. This causes guys to generically "rate" girls higher.
    -- There are also things called MHC (major histocompatability complex) that basically show what "type" of immune system we carry genetically. If we have similar MHC to a potential mate, it actually turns us off subconsciously ever so slightly.
    -- A "masculine" looking face seems more attractive to girls because (from an evolutionary standpoint) it means more testosterone in the dude... which could point to a healthier immune system.
    ... and so on and so forth.

    So scientifically speaking, looks are genetically wired in our brain to matter. i
    It has actually been proven that guys care more about physical attraction that girls, but both still care nonetheless. Physical attraction gives us as humans cues to what would be a good mate and who has good genetics.

    Naturally, we don't exactly look at someone and say "I see they have an appropriate shaped waist-to-hip ratio for creating offspring, I better attempt to attract their attention. I also notice that their limbic rings are quite invigorating." It is a pretty subtle process that our brain does for us.

    -----
    THE PRACTICAL STANDPOINT: We use physical attraction to basically choose who we want to try and give chances for more interaction. Looks may fade, but I mean-- most people don't exactly try finding partners in life by the time it has really faded. Our body does its best to look its best in our prime so we can find the best possible mate when we can.

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  • Initially it is driven by reproduction and having healthy offspring.

    Another aspect is that we experience the world through sight. We enjoy to look at things that are visually pleasing. Supposedly faces that are symmetric and have certain proportions are easier for the brain to process and thus more pleasing to look at. So even if sexual attraction isn't at work you can still experience pleasure from looking at a visually stimulating face. I think even demi-sexuals and asexuals care about looks to a certain extent due to this. I believe they refer to it as "aesthetic attraction".

    Even as a straight guy, I can say I'd rather be friends with a guy who is at least average looking over a guy who is overweight and acne ridden skin. Obviously I care less about appearance when choosing who I want to hang out with but it still matters to a certain extent.

    I also strongly agree with the second point that koko124 made.

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  • Well you want a mix of physical attraction because that's what the guy down stairs responds to and also because we remain fairly attraction for a good half of our lives but also mental attraction or attraction to their personality because that's what the heart and mind respond to and also because it helps bond you to that person through mutual interests, values etc.

    So for me I need to be attracted to my partner physically but also to their character and personality because both are pretty important. And both deal in attraction but in different ways.

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  • - everything that comes has to go. There has to be some point of attraction, one learns to observe, experience thus learn and respect as well as love it later :) the latter helps when those looks fade :)

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  • Looks are fading together with health, fertility and life itself, so on the same note you might ask why life itself is important, if we all would die in the end, physical attractiveness is important both for the present, and for the future generation, so really there is more logic in it then you might think.

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  • same reason your mom and dad don't look like hideous old geezers.

    you first saw them when they were young, so the affects of age don't register in your mind quite so much. it's like if you met some girl in college, thought she was awesome, and then you met her 10 years later... you will more likely think she's hot than some guy who never saw her before

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    • This has in fact happened to me. I have met women I thought were hot in college ten years later, and in many cases, they weren't hot at all.

  • It's nice, but loving her personality to me is by far the most important!

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    • Well, that's true of most people. However, don't looks matter to you at all?

    • They do, but are inferior to feeling a nice "click". I have developed feelings for girls who were not pretty but super nice :D

  • I believe looks are important for most as an introduction if you will to spark an Initial interest in someone. But as we get to know the person or be with the person over time we fall in love with them for who they are as a person and/or how they make us feel.

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  • young people are incapable of understanding each other on a deep emotional level. thus, they'll rely on looks since they're a reflection of inner self. eventually they'll grow wise, realizing they no longer need a "book with pictures".

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  • its to help bring to people together but a personality is what binds them together

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  • It doesn't fade as much for everyone...

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  • While looks fade, they don't vanish. Luckily our eye sight and standards typically drop alongside them, and if we work to maintain ourselves, we and our partners can stay above that curve ;)

    The other point is people can't simply say 'well i'm going to marry and sleep with this ugly person for the next 50 years, because for the last 20, everyone will look bad anyway'

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  • Go to China

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  • Procreation so that you see the offspring will be strong. But the “fading” is all perspective and individual. I may think person 1 who is 50 and takes care of themselves looks just as good/better than when they were in their 30’s.

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