People say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but how much truth is there to that? Are there specific body types and physical attributes which make a person more attractive to us?
As much as personality counts for a lot (and it does, I’m not just saying that), the undeniable reality is that looks do matter. Our first encounters with potential partners are based on physical attraction and we then develop interpersonal connections which deepen our attraction to someone.
Of course, you can play the ‘friend’ card and wait for years for someone to be physically attracted to you and that works too but in general humans are all about the initial physical attraction. We judge people within 30 seconds of meeting them. We know this. And because we know this, it is important to us that we look our best to the opposite sex.
I’m not suggesting that everyone who hits a gym is working out so that they appear more physically attractive (some are) but the truth is, even if this isn’t your initial intention, your improved body composition, health and confidence will make you more attractive to potential partners.
Health and fertility are associated with visual appearance and even if we are not consciously aware of it, we are attracted to people who are healthy and who we think we would have the best offspring with. If you don’t believe me you only have to take a look at the increasing number of gyms, self-help books and people opting for cosmetic surgery to realise that physical appearance is important to us!
Now for the stuff you came here to read. What do the opposite sex really find most attractive?
Men’s Attractiveness To Women
- Women rate Mesomorphic males as the most attractive body type and the Endomorphic body type as the least attractive. For more information on Somatotypes, check out our article on ‘Diet and Training For Your Somatotype’.
- A little chest and abdomen hair is rated as highly attractive by women in the UK.
Darwins theory of sexual selection comes into play here. The idea that our sexually appealing characteristics become more obvious as evolution continues. A great example of this is height. Taller men are more attractive to women and are also likely to sire more offspring (presumably because they are more successful in their sexual endeavours).
- Women prefer broad shoulders, a narrow waist and defined musculature. Muscularity is appealing to women because it is associated with protection and portrays men as alpha-male.
- An average build is preferred by most women because it depicts a better level of overall health than extreme body builds.
- Hollywood heart throbs are the best physical matches to what women find attractive. It’s difficult to know what came first here, the chicken or the egg. Are women attracted to this body type because it is socially accepted as optimal? Or do leading men sculpt their bodies into the optimal shape because they know women find it the most attractive? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
- The general consensus is that women are attracted to men with high testosterone levels. If you want to boost your testosterone levels, Optimum Health Ultimate ZMA is a great supplement to try.
- Surprisingly, most women prefer men who are not physically better looking than they are. Lucky you guys! Next time you think a girl is out of your league, maybe you should still try your chances ;).
Women’s Attractiveness To Men
- According to men, women are most physically attractive at 24.8 years of age. Yes, I am being very precise.
- Men prefer a tiny waist and bigger hips. A waist-to-hip ratio of between 0.6-0.8 is considered the most attractive in the UK and the US. The lower end of this spectrum is most associated with sexual attraction while the upper ratio is considered more attractive for a long-term relationship (perhaps because this is a sign of fertility).
- Apparently, the features of Disney Princesses are similar to those which men find most physically attractive. Large eyes, small nose, plump lips, beautiful skin and a slim hour-glass frame to name but a few matching attributes.
The age-old debate of which physical attribute men are most attracted to continues with no clear winner. But perhaps you don’t know the reason why men are so attracted to certain body parts?
- Scientifically speaking, the reason most men are attracted to the rear view of a woman is that among primates protruding buttocks are a sign of sexual availability and this only happens when the female is in heat. In humans, it appears this way all the time which is a sexual invitation to men (whether we like it or not ladies).
- Strangely enough, men like breasts for a very similar reason. They mimic the rear view of a woman. Studies have shown that men are most stimulated by cleavage regardless of the size and shape of breasts. When shown pictures of cleavage men found it difficult to decipher the difference between the two!
-Men are attracted to legs because the legs elongate during puberty and this is a sign of sexual maturity. So if you have ever wondered why a girl in heels looks so appealing, this is why!
- For both sexes, facial attraction is more important than having a great body in a long-term relationship. We are not totally body obsessed!
- Physical attraction matters most in the first 7 years of a relationship.
- Physical attraction encompasses more than just visual, with scent and voice being important factors for both sexes in whether they are physically attracted to someone. Be sure to freshen up after a session in the gym to maximise your attractiveness.
- Good symmetry shows that an individual has the genetic goods to survive development, is healthy, and is a good and fertile choice for mating. So don’t be overtraining one side ;)
In the end, lasting love depends at least as much on our personality as it does our biology. But it doesn’t hurt to eat lean and train mean to maximise our chances of attracting a beautiful partner...
Dixson BJ, Dixson AF, Morgan B, Anderson MJ, Human Physique and Sexual Attractiveness: Sexual Preferences of Men and Women in Bakossiland, Cameroon, 2007, 36: 369-75.
Eastwick PW, Eagly AH, Finkel EJ, Johnson SE, Implicit and Explicit Preferences for Physical Attractiveness in a Romantic Partne, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2011, 101(5): 993-1011.
Swami V, Furnham A, The Psychology of Physical Attraction, 2008.