The attraction is one of the universe's great mysteries. We all know we're drawn to other people, but we often don't understand why. There have been countless studies conducted to identify the properties of attraction, and the results are nothing short of fascinating.
This article discusses the differences between lust, attraction, and attachment, which are often confused. We'll also highlight five factors that attract men to women in particular. If you're a woman looking for love, we'll cover five things you can do to make yourself irresistible. First, let's define attraction according to dictionary terms and quickly cover the four types of attraction.
Merriam-Webster defines attraction as "a force acting mutually between particles of matter, tending to draw them together, and resisting their separation."
A 2015 article by Psychology Today uses a pyramid to define the four types of attraction, with status and health at the base, followed by emotion, and finally, logic. According to the author, attraction cannot exist without a foundation of status and health.
Let's take a closer look at these four types of attraction:
Our status involves both internal and external factors. Our confidence level, skillset, and belief system make up our internal status, while our external status includes our visual indicators, career, and material possessions. The author explains that we gain confidence by "getting as close as [we] can to mastering [skills]," and by mastering social skills, we can increase our confidence in social situations.
Our health is comprised of our appearance, along with our movements, scent, and intelligence. Both status and health must be present before moving up the attraction pyramid.
This middle layer of the pyramid is where we connect emotionally and fall in love. Our emotional connections fall into four distinct categories: trust and comfort, emotional intelligence, unique qualities, and mystery level.
On the top of the attraction pyramid is logic, which allows us to analyze relationships and determine whether the individual in question is a good fit. It stands to reason that the closer we align with another person, the greater the attraction.
A Note About Online Attraction
Today, many people meet potential partners online, so it's important to point out that the above-mentioned pyramid typically works in reverse for online relationships. You'll likely make a logical connection first, followed by an emotional bond. You'll need to meet any potential partners in person to see if there are status and health connections.
The Differences Between Lust, Attraction, And Attachment
At the beginning of a romantic relationship, it often seems that lust, attraction, and attachment are all rolled into one, and in some cases, that's true. Interestingly, these three classifications are all categorized by a unique blend of hormones. Estrogen and testosterone create lust, while serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine make the perfect cocktail attractive. Attachment is the product of oxytocin and vasopressin.
This fantastic article by Harvard University breaks down these chemicals further, but in short, lust thrives on the need for sexual gratification. While lust and attraction can certainly occur simultaneously, they don't always act as a combo, as the brain's reward center drives attraction. When activated, this part of the brain gives us a burst of energy and a sense of euphoria, which often occurs at the beginning of a romantic relationship.
Attachment comes into play in long-term relationships and is responsible for cementing the bond between romantic partners, family members, friends, etc.
There's no doubt about it: attraction is a matter of chemistry. Each time we interact with a potential partner, we're conducting a behind-the-scenes science experiment. Of course, as humans, our interactions, attractions, and bonds can't be fully explained by hormones. Let's take a look at the complexities of what men find attractive about women:
There's a biological reason men tend to be drawn to younger women. Males are often unknowingly on the hunt for signs of fertility. Since these signs (e.g., menses, increase in body temperature, etc.) aren't prominently on display, men depend on visual cues of youth and good health, like bright, clear skin, symmetrical features, and an hourglass shape.
It's important to note that the media's portrayal of youth and beauty plays a role in who men believe they should find attractive. With so many products and programs aimed at older women trying to achieve a more youthful appearance, there's no doubt that marketers are playing on the idea that youth is the secret to beauty, and beauty is the secret to attraction.
Thankfully, physical attraction isn't based solely on physical appearance. How women move, take up space, and interact with others can also make them more attractive to men.
Charismatic people tend to be self-confident, approachable, and good listeners. They possess a level of magnetism that makes them downright irresistible.
It probably comes as no surprise to learn that all of our brains are wired differently. According to biological anthropologist and relationship expert Helen Fisher, we each possess one of four dominant neural systems that helps shape our unique personalities. Over 14 million people have completed Fisher's 56-question survey to determine their dominant neural system and help them find compatible partners.
While all of our brains are made up of all four neural systems, the primary system plays the biggest role in forming our personalities. For instance, creative individuals have a dopamine-dominant personality and tend to be attracted to others with similar neural makeup. Rule followers are typically serotonin-dominant and are generally drawn to like-minded people. Analytical folks (testosterone-dominant) are often attracted to nurturing individuals (estrogen-dominant) and vice versa.
The attraction isn't always instant. For many people, it builds slowly over time. The mutual vulnerability has the power to transform friendships into romantic relationships. This is why many people tend to date within their social circle.
A study conducted by Aron in 1997 paired up perfect strangers and asked them to answer 36 questions carefully curated to spark an intimate connection. While the study focused on closeness and not attraction, some duos were indeed more attracted to one another after discussing the questionnaire's prompts. In fact, one pair began dating and later married.
You've probably heard of pheromones and their ability to make men and women go wild. As it turns out, women emit different odors depending on where they are in their cycle. As humans, we produce pheromones when we sweat, and others unknowingly detect our scent with the brain and nervous system, as well as the nose. In particular, women secrete a vaginal fluid called copulin, which has been linked to sexual attraction.
Men are looking for particular characteristics and behaviors without even realizing it. Below, we outline five ways to make yourself irresistible:
Believe it or not, simply being nice can make you more attractive to men. In fact, research suggests that kindness is "universally desired." The best news? When you're kind, you're likely to attract kind, caring men.
In addition to being kind to others, having an optimistic attitude can also make you more attractive to the opposite sex. A 2010 study conducted in the U.K. instructed 2,000 college-aged males to rate women's attractiveness. The men found a wider range of women attractive when given positive information about the women than negative or no information.
Men are attracted to women who are interested in them and not afraid to show it. While conversing with a potential partner, smile, make eye contact, and be sure to laugh at his jokes (if you think they're funny).
Tip: Don't fake it. It's important to show genuine interest, as phony attentiveness isn't attractive (or maintainable).
Honesty really is the best policy, especially when it comes to attraction. A 2006 study found that honesty made women look more fit, healthy, kind, feminine, and attractive.
Tip: Never lie on a first date to woo a potential partner. Not only will you appear less attractive, but you'll also have to carry on lying or fess up later.
While wearing red may seem superficial compared to the previous suggestions, some evidence suggests that the color crimson is a serious man-magnet. The female cycle has been linked to this strange phenomenon.
Applying ruby lipstick, or wearing a rose-colored dress, could indeed turn a man's head, but studies are inconclusive when it comes to the power of red.
How Online Therapy Can Help You Attract Potential Partners
As mentioned previously, our status (confidence, skillset, and belief system) is the foundation that our attractiveness is built upon. When we lack confidence, we're less likely to take up space in the world and form and maintain meaningful connections. It's difficult for a woman to attract a good man if she doesn't believe she deserves him.
ReGain's online therapy services can help you build the foundation necessary to form and maintain a healthy romantic relationship. Our therapists are professionally trained and licensed, and best of all, each online session is confidential, convenient, and affordable. Your therapist can provide practical ways to boost your self-confidence and help you get to the core of what's holding you back. Click here to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What makes someone attractive?
Sexuality is, of course, one of the many things that influence romantic attraction in terms of who will be attracted to who. Heterosexual women, for example, will be attracted to men romantically. Women who are not heterosexual women, on the other hand, might not be attracted to men at all, or they could be attracted to men and women as well as people of other genders. On the same note, some men prefer women, other men prefer men, and some men have no preference between women, men, or non-binary people. Outside of sexuality, many different things also play into romantic attraction. Personality, how one carries themselves, and facial attractiveness or being physically attractive in general, for example, are all things that people often find attractive.
What makes a woman attractive?
Both men and women tend to worry about whether or not they're physically attractive. Whether you're attracted to men, women, or both, worrying about if others will feel physical attraction toward you can be daunting, especially in a society that's so appearance-oriented.
At the end of the day, what makes attractive people attractive isn't often appearance alone. Physical attraction may be enough to make you sexually attracted to someone, the romantic attraction will usually take more. After all, you want to make sure that you're compatible.
Additionally, what makes a person physically attractive will vary from person to person when it comes to physical attraction. Some heterosexual women prefer men who have certain facial features that they see as physically attractive (take facial hair, for example), where other women tend to prefer men without facial hair.
One of the essential things is to make sure that you're true to yourself. Some women prefer to shave, where other women prefer not to shave. Some women prefer long hair, where other women prefer short hair. The right people will come into your life when you're your best and most authentic self.
What are signs that you are attractive?
Confidence and emotional intelligence are two traits that tend to be universally attractive among women and men. Some men prefer women with certain physical features, just as some women prefer men with certain physical features, but the trouble there is that there's no universal rule for what a person will find attractive. Though many people enjoy facial attractiveness, the attractive facial features differ depending on a number of factors, including the cultural standards a person grew up around and more. That said, a good personality will always be hard to resist.
What features are most attractive?
Plenty of research has been conducted on physical attraction. Still, physical attraction remains something that differs from person to person among women and men and people of other genders. The same is true for romantic attraction. There are certain attributes in terms of physical attraction, such as a person's smile, that many people find attractive. Posture and open body language are often seen as attractive, too. This is likely because having open body language makes you seem more approachable. Of course, if you want to be attractive to other people and if you want other people to talk to you, you want to make sure that you are approachable, so this makes sense. Simply being friendly and showing an interest in other people is a good rule of thumb to go by for both men and women who want to be seen as attractive people.
What makes a man sexually attracted to you?
While physical attraction and sexual attraction are two different things, physical attraction often makes someone feel sexually attracted to women and men alike. If a man likes the way you look or the way you carry yourself, that may be what sparks his sexual attraction for you.
What attracts a man to a woman at first sight?
What someone sees as an attractive woman will vary from person to person. That is one thing that it's always important to state when we talk about attraction because attraction varies from person to person. One of the most important things to remember both for women and men is that you have to be yourself. No matter how much physical attraction there is, what's inside is what's going to matter in the long run. It's about your chemistry. That said, there are a couple of things that you can do to make it more likely that you’ll give a good first impression. Carry yourself confidently, be friendly, and ask questions in an attempt to get to know other people. This will show that you care about what other people have to say, which is very attractive nearly universally.