10 Factors You Didn’t Know Impacted Romantic Attraction

Article by: Kaeley Pollock, Jordyn Markle, Julia Ricciardi, Chaundra Jones, and Megan Karau

Love might be in the air, but sometimes it stinks. We’ve all been there: that moment where you are undeniably attracted to a person, but you just can’t peg why. A lot more goes into who you find attractive than just compatibility and similarity. Here are 10 surprising facts that impact romantic attraction. Enjoy reading, and feel free to use this information to your advantage.

1. A woman’s ovulatory cycle affects the type of man she finds attractive.

As odd as it may sound, studies have been done to research whether or not the ovulatory cycle has an impact on who she finds attractive. During days of high fertility, women are more attracted to men with masculine features in their face and body (which are signals of certain aspects of health). Evolutionary researchers have suggested that ancestral women who were attracted to these features when conception was most likely were more likely to have healthier offspring than women without those preferences. As a result, that preference became more common in humans, which is why women still show these preferences today. 

2. We’re attracted to creative mates.

Both sexes prefer a partner that is creative in one aspect or another. Studies suggest that (in general) humans find partners with ornamental/aesthetic forms of creativity more attractive than those with applied/technological and everyday/domestic forms of creativity. Creativity can often be seen as a sign of commitment and uniqueness, both are positive traits one would want to pass on to their offspring. Also, the  saying “opposites attract” does not ring true when it comes to creativity. People prefer partners that have creative achievement in domains in which they themselves excel.

3. Feminine voices are more attractive to men. 

Men, have you realized that the women you notice as more attractive has a higher pitched voice? According to Puts, Barndt, Welling, Dawood, and Burriss (2011), higher pitched voices are more attractive to men because they sound more feminine, and feminine features are associated with certain features of female reproductive health. They studied this preference among men who were looking for a short-term relationship (like a one-night stand), and men who were looking for a long-term (or committed) relationship. Higher pitched voices were more found attractive overall, and this was especially true for men interested in a short-term relationship. Also, according to the women in the study, women with higher pitched voices sound more flirtatious than women with a lower pitched voice.

4. High sex drive is highly correlated to sexual attraction.

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Studies have shown that there are some differences in sex when it comes to sex drive. Sex drive is correlated to sexual attraction in both sexes. With most women, high sex drive makes them more attracted to men and women whereas men that have high sex drive makes them attracted to only one sex and not both. Participants completed a questionnaire that asked a series of questions about sexual attitudes and behavior. It concluded that men’s sex drive is more correlated to sexual attraction with either same-sex or other-sex more than woman.

5.Attraction in the workplace.

Do you ever think you could find a romantic relationship at work? Do you think TV is making all this up for money? Well, turns out you actually can find a romantic relationship at work! There have been several studies done about how coworkers become attracted to each other. Factors that increase attraction are proximity to each other, attitudes/similarities, and arousal (physical characteristics). One factor that increases workplace romances is organizational culture, or whether your company approves of coworkers dating. 

 

6. Attraction in exchange and communal relationships.

What are these you ask? An exchange relationship is where one person gives some kind of benefit to someone and the giver is expecting something in return. Say someone loans you money, and they expect you to pay them back. A communal relationship, on the other hand, describes friendships and romantic relationships, in which favors aren’t necessarily expected to be repaid. Say your partner gave you candy, because you were having a bad day, and you feel you need to give them something in return to say thank you. Actually, you shouldn’t! As it turns out, research indicates that using these kinds of “tit-for-tat” strategies in communal relationships can actually decrease relationship satisfaction, because they communicate to your friend or partner that you think of the relationship in “exchange” terms. So, do nice things for your partner because they’re great–not because they did something for you first.

7. Body language has an effect on attractiveness. 

Did you know you could learn a lot about a person by paying attention to their body language? A person’s body language can express if they are mad, happy, or when they find someone attractive. Studies have shown that mimicry is one of the key signs that a person finds you attractive. In one study, researchers got participants to like or dislike another person, and then observed their subtle behaviors to see if participants were more likely to mimic someone that they liked (e.g., crossing their legs after the other person crossed theirs)–and they did! Other studies have demonstrated that we find others attractive when they mimic our behavior. Another key sign is postural expansiveness. Postural expansiveness refers to poses that expand the space beyond the body through widespread arms, legs and torsos. In this pose, a person is trying to showcase their best features to the person whom they find attractive. Findings like these demonstrate the importance of body language in both detecting and creating attraction.

8. Your next great love is right under your nose…literally. 

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Have you ever been weirdly enticed by a person?  Like, you can’t put your finger on it. Is it their personality, looks, or smile? Or, could it be the special effects from their all-natural love potion no. 9? Research suggests that we are attracted to certain body odors. According to Roberts and Roiser (2010), women are more attracted to potential mates who have body odors that are dissimilar to their own. Furthermore, this research indicates that body odor is a cue to immune complementary, or in other words, having resistances to different types of pathogens. Having a complementary immune systems is theorized to be beneficial to offspring, because they are likely to inherit different resistances from their mother and their fatherSo, on your search for your potential significant other, be sure to take a big whiff.

9. Symmetrical faces are more attractive.

The more symmetrical one’s face is, the more likely they are to be deemed attractive. People whose faces are more symmetrical usually are judged as more physically attractive because facial symmetry is an indicator of good health. Across a variety of species (including humans), evidence indicates that as body and facial symmetry increase, attributes associated with better health and fertility also increase. Thus, evolutionary researchers suggest that we have inherited this ancestral preference, because those among our ancestors who preferred mates with more symmetry were more likely to have healthy offspring. 

10. We’re attracted to people who are near to us. 

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People are also more likely to be attracted to those in close proximity. The proximity effect describes the fact that the closer people are to each other, the more likely they are to be attracted to one another. For instance, one study of college dormitory residents found that as the number of rooms between two people increased (i.e., living in the next room over vs. two doors away vs. four, and so on), the likelihood that they became good friends decreased. This effect may be explained by a variety of factors, including greater opportunities for interaction. So, who knows, your next great love may be living right around the corner from you. 

 

Hopefully you were taking notes, because that concludes the 10 factors that you didn’t know that impacted romantic attraction. When searching for a prospective partner, you can never have too much information. Now get out there, apply your new knowledge, and find yourself a mate!

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