What Makes A Guy Attractive? 18 Physical And Personality Traits

Updated October 24, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Cessel Boyd

The dating world is fraught with perils, and attraction is subjective; there is no one answer to what people in general objectively find attractive and what they do not, as it is different for each person.  

When individuals find someone attractive, the latter may have an easier time finding a partner. Similarly, when individuals do not find someone physically attractive, the latter may have a much more difficult time finding a partner for short-term or long-term relationships. For any relationship to work out, the two individuals must accept each other for who they are. 

Studies and research materials, like the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, give a detailed analysis of how attraction works. But the question that this article seeks to answer is- what do individuals find physically attractive? 

According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, psychological science, and biological sciences, physical attractiveness goes far beyond physical attraction or even facial attractiveness. However, that may play a large part in some cases, at least during the initial stages. However, there are many other behavioral and psychological traits that women also find attractive.

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Traits Of Attractiveness In Men

According to psychological science and biological sciences, there are several traits that individuals usually find physically attractive in men. Some physical traits have more to do with personal style and preference than physical features of male faces like cheekbones or eyes. More important than these physical traits are the physical traits that a man can control, such as facial hair and clothing. Personality traits are often much more physically attractive to individuals than physical traits like facial attractiveness. A recent cross-cultural study published and conducted at the University of California was published in the Journal of Psychology. It gives some insight into what people find physically attractive according to science. Researchers at the University studied hundreds of subjects over several years to learn more about the effects of physical attractiveness, positive personality, and societal markers and their role in physical attractiveness and sexual attraction. 

The state of psychology today may not have been the same if this study had not been published. You’re probably wondering what it can convey to you about what makes a physically attractive male in the eyes of some people; these kinds of studies can provide general guidance, but there are always individual preferences. Here are the most common physical and personality traits of men that are physically attractive to the surveyed individuals.

Use caution and remember that these answers represent what was attractive to a general sample of people, but attraction is subjective. You need not necessarily follow these tips to be seen as attractive; it depends from person to person. 

The following traits were associated with attractiveness and represent likely characteristics perceived as attractive to most people. However, don’t stress too much about having any or all of them since beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

#1 Facial Hair

Although certain men prefer not to have facial hair because it can be a pain to keep it trimmed and itchy, cross-cultural studies have found that many people are more attracted to men with facial hair. 

This is based on cross-cultural studies on evolution and human behavior. Results showed that participants perceived men with kempt facial hair as more mature and received higher physical attractiveness ratings. 

#2 Sincerity

Some individuals prefer casual intimacy, sex, or dating to serious relationships or finding people to make a connection with. This is an individual preference. 

Furthermore, this may be potentially partially attributed to the rise of dating sites and apps. When an individual has romantic inclinations toward someone and is making an effort to be sincere in their interactions, it may potentially be a real turn-on for the other person; it’s not hard to believe that most people value sincerity and decent behavior. 

Given the state of psychology today, even if you’re only trying to be physically attractive for the short term, being open and honest about your intentions may be one of the best ways to attract others romantically. The average individual appreciates this sincerity.

#3 Ability To Tell A Good Story

The ability to tell a good story is attractive to some people. Some individuals love it when someone can get involved in telling a story about something they did, for example, narrating an interaction with their friends or maybe an interesting event in their lives. 

Being a good storyteller can be an indication of good communication skills. This is because being a good communicator is a trait that can certainly help improve any relationship and holds major appeal for most people.

#4 Body Hair

Some people often prefer men who have a bit of body hair. This is because body hair may be consciously or subconsciously perceived as a sign of maturity and reproductive success. This contributes to the overall physical attractiveness or sexual attraction of a potential mate.

#5 Signs of Physical Activity

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Developed calf muscles and a good hip ratio are something that others may notice. Developed calves and a good hip ratio are found sexy by some as they may not only look good but could also be a sign of physical activity. For example, a toned chest, shoulders, and arms are evidence that a man is physically active and cares about his physique. These toned areas of the body are easily noticed through clothing and are appealing to some.

Researchers at the University suppose that individuals’ attraction to men with toned muscles and other signs of physical activity could potentially go back to ancestral humans. This is because the hardships faced by ancestral humans may have required physical strength to manage rather than a honed skill or social connection. The hip ratio may also play a role because it indicates a person’s ability to reproduce. 

Furthermore, according to some studies, such as the one mentioned above by the University of California, individuals have been attracted to men with muscles and a good hip ratio for millennia, and that’s something that hasn’t changed much in terms of human behavior.

#6 A Feminine Side

Some individuals find men physically attractive when they do things that are not traditionally masculine. Thus, for some, showing a feminine side can be helpful as some may find it attractive. Some individuals find traditionally feminine things interesting very physically attractive men if it means that the man is confident enough in their sexuality to be willing to show their true interests.

This trait wasn’t previously considered a factor for male physical attractiveness or sexual attraction by researchers at the University beforehand. Still, some individuals revealed to researchers at the University studying human behavior that these factors have become a pleasant and physically attractive trait for men to have nowadays. 

The researchers found this true for some regarding grooming habits and roles in the household, specifically. The results showed that men who paid special attention to their grooming – such as wearing a nice cologne and choosing their clothes carefully – made for a physically attractive male candidate. 

This is even though doing so may be considered a “feminine” trait in some cultures. Furthermore, the results showed that men who participated in roles often relegated to the female in a domestic setting – such as cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing – were often deemed more physically attractive by individuals.

#7 Sense Of Humor

People love a man who can laugh and make them laugh in return. Usually, individuals find men who have a good sense of humor much more physically attractive than men who do not laugh much. This is why guys who tell many jokes and funny stories may be considered much more physically attractive than men who don’t, by some. 

People without a good sense of humor may come off as simply boring to some.

#8 Being Into Music

Some individuals find men who are really into music very physically attractive. If you have some favorite tunes that are not in the top 40, you have a much higher chance of being physically attractive to some people. Even if the other person doesn’t share your musical interests and doesn’t like the songs you play for them, the fact that you have a diverse taste in music may be enough to make you physically attracted to them in some cases.

#9 Intelligence

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Intelligence is sexy to many people. If you are worried about seeming intelligent, try to be who you are while actively maintaining adequate knowledge of the world around you and life in general. The journal of personality and social psychology reveals the importance of cognitive evaluation as a determinant of interpersonal attraction. You don’t necessarily need to try extra hard to be intelligent to turn someone on. Still, you may need to be somewhat clever in their eyes and able to carry on an interesting and equitable conversation. The more tidbits of random knowledge you know, the more physically attractive you could potentially be.

#10 Men Who Smell Good

All highly appreciate a good fragrance. Some men may have an amazing natural scent, and psychological science and biological sciences reveal that this is a huge turn-on for some people, more so than colognes. 

Although, colognes and other scents can also increase the level of someone’s interest in some cases. Body odor gives men and women a lot of information: it goes beyond just whether or not a person has showered recently. People can detect hormones and specific bacteria that might be present in another’s body odor from body odor. On a biological level, this can help individuals choose a mate that will have higher reproductive success and who will help pass on better genes to the next generation of humans. So, body odor – even without fancy perfumes – can help you attract a biologically compatible mate.

#11 Good Hair

Some people love a guy with good hair. Although some women indeed prefer bald or shaved heads, a lot of people like a man with good and well-maintained hair. If you have good hair, make sure it stays up to par with good hygiene habits and use hair products that are good for your hair rather than just cheap.

#12 Volunteering

If you volunteer for a local charity organization, little league team, church, or other organization or group, you are much more likely to be physically attractive. The latter are more attracted to people who work towards the greater good, even if they aren’t getting paid or personally benefiting. Today, based on psychology, people like a man willing to give their time and energy for a good cause. It tells a lot about one’s personality; it could be an indication that they are kind, gentle, and care about 

#13 Showing Passion

When a man shows passion for something specific, it can be a real turn-on. 

For some people, passion is often rated the most important or attractive personality trait. Individuals are attracted to men who have a passion for something that they are really into. According to researchers at the University of California, it might even be enough for someone to overlook a negative personality trait, as long as they feel the negative traits stem from a man’s passion. For example, if you have a nerdy obsession with comic books or a particular comic book character, you might think this is a turn-off. But to some, if you are passionate about it, it could be a turn-on. 

That passion can be seen when you broach the subject; what might seem like a nerdy obsession becomes a trait of physical attractiveness or sexual attraction. So, you shouldn’t be afraid or hesitant to include your passions on your online dating profile or in the conversation on a first date.

#14 Work Ethic

People want to know that they are interested in a man that can provide for them. Although individuals should be able to take care of themselves, some want a man who can care for them. Researchers asked why this might be the case, and the answer was more sociological than evolutionary. Many people are attracted to individuals with a high status in society. In the contemporary world, this high status is often tied to a person’s position at work or the amount of money they earn. 

This is equally true of personal finance. While this may seem like a superficial indicator, it can sometimes be taken as a sign of a strong work ethic. This means that a good work ethic can go a long way toward making you physically attractive to the right person.

#15 Having Confidence

Some individuals find confident men very physically attractive. In such cases, if you have confidence in yourself, you are much more likely to come off as physically attractive to the women that you interact with. Being shy and indecisive or appearing weak in some way will not make you physically attractive. Being self-confident regardless of your other personality or physical traits could certainly help. In the University of California study, results showed that men who felt more physically attractive were perceived as more physically attractive by some of the other participants. This shows that confidence in yourself can also inspire those around you to have confidence in you.

#16 Being A Gentleman

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Being a gentleman is about more than just opening doors and pulling out chairs. Being a gentleman is also about basic manners, saying please and thank you, and being generally respectful. Flowers or chocolates for your date can go a long way and help make you more attractive to them.

#17 Integrity

A man who has integrity is willing, to tell the truth regardless of the situation and is honest even in difficult situations is very physically attractive to many individuals. People usually do not appreciate those who lie. 

Integrity is important because if you have integrity and you are honest, then it means that you are much less likely to cheat on them, and you are more likely to be faithful and respectful.

#18 Dominance Or Prestige

A recent cross-cultural study published in the International Journal of Evolutionary Psychology asked whether women are attracted to dominant men or prestigious men. And based on the findings of psychology today and submissions in the journal of personality and social psychology, individuals looking for short-term relationships could be more attracted to dominant men. In contrast, those looking for long-term relationships are more attracted to prestigious men.

Getting Professional Help

If you feel that you are not physically attractive according to conventional standards and are looking for a way to be more physically attractive and have lasting relationships, you might need additional help. One of the keys to being more physically attractive is knowing what you find physically attractive and what you should be looking for in your interactions and next relationship. To that end, seeking knowledge as to how attractions are built and sustained would be of great help to you. You can look through the journal of personality and social psychology. Also, a licensed therapist or relationship counselor can help you gain focus that will help you in your next relationship. Contact ReGain, an online counseling platform, for more information.


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