What Makes A Woman Attractive? Physical And Emotional Traits That Some Find Attractive

Updated May 21, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

There is certainly no shortage of attractive women. As a seemingly unending cycle of models, actresses, and musicians can attest, it is not particularly uncommon or unusual for women to be considered beautiful, attractive, or intriguing. The amount of attraction assigned to women seems to fluctuate regularly, with hair colors, eye colors, skin tone and builds falling in and out of favor on a never-ending rotation. Aside from the standards put forth by the media, though, what is it that makes a woman attractive?

What is attraction?

Article Visual

There are many different types of attraction

The term "attraction" is usually used to denote a draw or magnetic pull toward someone. There are many different types of attraction, though most psychologists focus on three: physical (or sexual), emotional (or psychological), and mental (or behavioral). These types of attraction all usually come into play in functional relationships. The presence of all three of these forms of attraction can be a powerful indicator of whether or not two people are compatible.

There are different schools of thought regarding attraction and how it works. Some evolutionary biologists hold steady on the idea that attraction is largely based on evolutionary needs. Younger women, it is argued, are considered more fertile and therefore more viable mates to keep the human species going. Plump skin and lips, large eyes, and thick hair are similarly tied to evolution as attractive traits, as these might indicate the presence of health and, again, viable reproductive abilities. Social constructs are viewed in much the same way: social constructs with an evolutionary basis (personable and mother, for instance) are likely to be more attractive to males.

Some sociologists and anthropologists prefer a society-based understanding of attraction and argue that people find women attractive based on what society as a whole has deemed acceptable. When society trends toward accepting rail-thin women without many curves, men will follow suit. Men will also follow suit when society encourages women to have wide hips and full breasts and glutes. This theory posits that men adopt what society deems attractive personality and emotional traits, such as submissive behavior, a timid demeanor, and a nurturing air-in effect, traits associated with traditional ideas about femininity and womanhood.

How much does attraction differ?

Attraction does differ somewhat from culture to culture. Some cultures favor women with smaller figures, while others might emphasize women with wide hips and thighs. Some cultures value women who sit in silence and rarely express an opinion, while other cultures place a higher value on outspoken and straightforward women. Although there are some consistencies between cultures and what people find attractive in a woman, there is much room for change and variation when you take different cultures and places of origin into account.

This is good news for men and women alike; not all men will prefer a single type of woman, and not all women will gravitate toward a certain type of man. If you feel inadequate or uncertain about your own perceived flaws or shortcomings, there is likely to be someone who sees value and beauty in those things.

The physical aspect of attraction

Article Visual

Physical attraction is usually the attraction that garners the most attention and is more easily recognized and measured. Physical attraction is often the sole precursor to a romantic relationship's onset; as many men will seek out women, they experience a visceral reaction to first and foremost, then determine more desirable emotional and mental traits as time goes on.

Physical attraction is usually signaled by sweating, trembling, dry mouth, and dilated pupils, all of which indicate that your body has found a woman it is interested in seeing more of. Physical attraction can wax and wane depending on the time of the month and your emotional state, so it is not entirely made up of physical impulses; even physical attraction might involve some emotional or mental attraction.

Women prone to smiling more and have what is perceived as a kind of open face are more often considered attractive than women who seem to have a perpetual frown or seem more closed off in their features. This suggests that women whose physical appearance hints at a benevolent nature are considered more physically attractive. People do not rely entirely upon physical features, size, or shape alone to determine what makes a woman physically appealing.

Emotional traits that encourage attraction

The emotional or psychological traits that encourage attraction to women usually focus on maternal behavior, kindness, generosity, and humility. Men routinely rated women who looked kind and generous as more attractive than those who seemed closed off or uninterested. Men also found that women who appeared prideful or associated with pride were less likely to incur feelings of attraction, even if their physical appearance was otherwise associated with beauty or sexual desire.

Aside from the looks-based aspects of personality, men are usually attracted to women who can relax and roll with the proverbial punches. Women were consistently rated as more attractive if men felt they could accommodate change, impulsivity, and the unexpected compared to women who were more rigid in their ideas and needs.

Women are also seen as more attractive if they can communicate well and seem at ease. Women who were well-spoken and unique in how they delivered their speech were considered more attractive. Women were able to engage with men in a flirtatious, friendly, and humorous way; men found it extremely attractive when women were more prone to laugh at their humor. Women who engage in creative pursuits were also considered more attractive to men, even if that creative pursuit is as simple as painting or taking photographs as a hobby.

Mental attraction

Mental attraction is the type of attraction that usually manifests in behavior and how you present yourself to the world. Attractive women are usually associated with confidence and kindness. Some men specifically cited sarcasm and wit as indicators of whether or not they find a woman attractive. Both of these seemed to indicate that women were playful and fun-loving rather than serious and grim.

Intelligence, too, factors into attraction, though women who are considered extremely intelligent might see a downswing in their overall level of attractiveness where men are concerned. Typically, men considered women of just-above-average intelligence ideal, while anything less than that or more than that seemed to drop the idea of attraction.

Attraction and its roles

The type of relationship a man is seeking will also factor into the attraction he is drawn to and considering. Someone in search of a fling, for instance, is not likely to place a large emphasis on a woman's emotional or mental attractiveness, as these are not imperative for a few nights of fun. A man searching for a long-term relationship will likely seek out someone who can embody all three types of attraction to maximize the likelihood of the relationship functioning well.

Attraction can swell and decrease throughout a couple's relationship. A woman whose body and face remain steadily attractive might experience a difference in the number of men making advances or displaying interest based on cultural ideals at that time, or even her body language, which might signal that she is not interested or is no longer "on the market." The attraction has countless factors involved, and many of them change from day to day and from person to person.

What makes an attractive woman?

Getty / D3sign
There are many different types of attraction

There are three basic types of attraction that men and women utilize to determine who will make a good mate-whether that mate lasts for a matter of hours or goes the distance in a long-term relationship or marriage. A woman's attractiveness is measured by scales developed and encouraged by societal and evolutionary impulses. Still, it can also be colored by her would-be partner's background, history with women and relationships, and even his family of origin.

What makes a woman attractive is not a simple one to answer; no single hair color, eye color, skin tone, or personality type will always indicate the presence of attraction. Instead, women who appear open, kind, and good-humored seem to be seen as attractive consistently. Women possess physical characteristics common to youth and fertility, such as full lips, plump skin, and a small waist. Even so, though, these ideals can change with cultural shifts and evolutionary needs, making it impossible to pin down a single example of an attractive woman.

While society perpetuates harmful ideas of what the 'perfect woman' should look like, remember that these standards are unrealistic, failing to account for the diversity of existing bodies. Instead of focusing on a single set of physical characteristics, remember that many factors contribute to attractiveness. Instead of striving to change yourself to become what society deems 'attractive,' think about how you might accentuate your best traits and display confidence in who you are.


Suppose you struggle to see the good in yourself or are having trouble finding anything about yourself that you see as valuable, important, or lovable. In that case, a therapist can help you create better self-talk and personal habits to instill a sense of confidence, comfort, and peace in who you are and how you look. The therapists from Regain.Us can help you come to a healthier understanding of and love for yourself, which can, in turn, increase how attractive you appear to others.

For Additional Help & Support With Your ConcernsThis website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.