Physical Characteristics Aren’t The Only Things That Matter When It Comes To Sexual Attraction

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Physical characteristics can’t be controlled, but they’re not the only attributes that can help promote sexual attraction and sexual chemistry with prospective partners.

We’ve all been there. Whether it be a crooked nose, undesired height, or uneven complexion, physical characteristics cannot be controlled (well, not all of them—plastic surgery only fixes so much without looking like a Botched project!).

The dating game can be rough and strenuous, especially if you feel like you’re playing checkers and everyone else is playing chess. That’s why we’ve put together this article, “Physical Characteristics Aren’t The Only Things That Matter When It Comes To Sexual Attraction”, to specifically go over how you can promote sexual attraction with a prospective partner that you wish to pursue using psychological or biological attributes, among only a few to be discussed.

Everyone starts somewhere when it comes to the dating scene, so why not start here?

Biological Attributes

In terms of biological attributes that promote sexual attraction over physical attraction, this can involve things like our genetics, pheromones, and the like. They’re not things that can be controlled by a person and, instead, are accentuated naturally.

The Rush Of Adrenaline

A study proved that there was a solid connection between attraction and arousal. Excitement, or adrenaline, can oftentimes be confused with sexual attraction, or misattribution of arousal which was also noted in another study.

The misattribution of arousal refers to when a person mistakenly targets the cause of their arousal (as in the wrong target or cause of such), which has been termed in the world of psychology. As presented in the above-researched study, this can occur in cases of extreme excitement, anxiety, or adrenaline-inducing events.

After experiencing the “rush of adrenaline”, a person is more likely to mistakenly project their excitement on someone else (also known as misattribution of arousal). It can affect what one perceives as “romantic attraction” — those, before engaging in an adrenaline-inducing activity, were more likely to rate the attractiveness level of a person lower than those who engaged in the adrenaline-inducing activity first, who were more likely to rate a lot higher.

happy couple at the beach

Catch A Whiff

In a study, it was shown that one’s natural scent plays a huge role in sexual attraction between two people. Women were asked to scent t-shirts of different men for the study. And with that research, it was discovered that the women picked the shirts, with the inclusive scents, from men that had decidedly different immune systems than them.

Another scent-inducing factor that’s attributed to sexual attraction is pheromones. A body chemical, or “hormone”, pheromones are an active attribute and factor to sexual behavior and physical attractiveness. When released, pheromones can stimulate arousal and desire in prospective “mates”.

Pheromones don’t have a “smell”, or odor, even though they’re excreted through sweat and saliva which can initially come across as confusing when learning that pheromones are sensed through smell. This is because pheromones are sensed by certain areas of the nasal tissue, which then proceed to signal important messages–wink, wink!–to the brain.

Pheromone Levels

Every person produces and emits a different level of pheromones. For those people that have higher secretions and volume of released pheromones, they’re more likely to be perceived as sexually attractive, or as an “attractive person”, drawing people to encourage engaging activities and bonding with prospective partners.

On the other hand, pheromones can turn some people off. A feeling of repulsion toward a person, which can be incredibly confusing if they’re objectively attractive, can be explained due to the incompatibility of genetics between two people. Biologically this is explained by the process for reproduction purposes—if two people aren’t “genetically compatible” it can result in low reproduction rates or unhealthy children.

How To Increase Pheromones

Due to the success that’s been shown by attractiveness induced by pheromones, there are fragrance companies specifically designed and purposed to create bottle perfumes of pheromones. Each company has its unique blend of scent molecules that have been specially formulated to promote attractiveness, all while being backed by science.

Though pheromone production is highly reliant on a person’s lifestyle and genetic makeup, there are natural methods to improve upon one’s pheromone output. One great example is exercise, which has numerous other health benefits along with helping to increase pheromone production. By exercising consistently and regularly, you will produce more pheromones through your sweat.

happy couple laughing and eating ice cream

The Research

There was a study done in 2005 by an anthropologist, Professor Karl Grammar, from the University of Vienna. In the study, topical pheromones were used on men. Each of these men exceeds expectations with a 52% success rate of engagement with women, in this case starting up a conversation with women and being able to maintain the conversation. There were notably more compliments and flirtations received from the opposite sex combined with a 42% increase in sexual interest and responsiveness received from females.

The study was able to obtain more conclusive research by doing the same for the women, applying topical pheromones to women. The pheromones once again resulted in great improvement. 74% of the women subjects noted an increase in sexual activity and physical touch (like cuddling). Other women that used the topical pheromones were also asked out on dates by others more frequently in addition to the other improvements achieved from using topical pheromones for the study’s research purposes.

Other Benefits Of Pheromones

Pheromones have other astounding benefits other than improving upon one’s sexual endeavors. Through research, it has been found that pheromones can also help improve mood, decrease depression and reduce anxiety.

What’s Your Diet Like?

Did you know food can affect the way you smell?

A small study in 2017 discovered that women were more likely to be attracted to men that ate diets high in produce (as in vegetables) rather than to men who ate diets high in refined carbohydrates (like bread and pasta). The study helped present the prospect, which they ended up concluding to be true, that when people eat a healthy, well-balanced diet they’re not only objectively healthier but they smell healthy, too. This can, biologically, make a person more “attractive” on a primal, basal level.

Fertility Levels

One study was able to pinpoint biological attractiveness attributes based on a woman’s fertility. In the study, men were asked to rate women’s faces and their voices to perceive who they found more attractive. The results concluded that men found women with low progesterone levels and high estrogen levels to be the most attractive.

couple having fun on a beach

Hormone Levels

Some studies have proven that hormonal balance can impact who we find attractive. For example, one study found that men that had higher levels of testosterone were more likely to be attracted to women with, objectively, more feminine faces. This refers to, the “feminine faces”, for women with smaller jaws, high eyebrows, and big eyes. Interestingly enough, though the men have higher testosterone levels, the women didn’t find them any less or more attractive.

Fun fact for those that didn’t know, but testosterone increase libido in people!

Other hormones play active parts in terms of sexual attraction, sexuality, and sexual activities. Dopamine is released during sex, or when doing something that makes you feel “good”. Another hormone, norepinephrine, is often released along with dopamine. This hormone is released when sexually attracted to someone. During sexual attraction, there is a notably high level of serotonin that’s released as well (the happy hormone!). Sexual activities or any physical contact like hugging or cuddling have been proven to increase levels of the hormone oxytocin (known as the “love” hormone).

Your Voice

A common attribute to find sexually attractive or unattractive, someone’s voice can be either incredibly appealing and a “turn on” or be majorly annoying and a “turn off”.

It was found in a study that right on the cusp of starting the process of ovulating, women were found to have a preference for men with lower, deep voices. A second study presented the researched information that deeper voices were connected to biological reproduction purposes, showing that they were linked to producing healthier offspring.

Psychological Attributes

Some examples of psychological attributes that can promote sexual attraction are listed below. There are many different attributes, like biological, that can promote sexual attraction other than physical characteristics. As stated by the social psychologist Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., a person is more likely to be attracted to another person that’s psychologically similar to them.

happy couple smiling while standing in the road

What’s The Mood Like?

Presented and researched in another study, it was concluded that a “negative mood impacts sexual response and behavior”, understandably. Further on in the study, it was shown that women were less inclined to “experience increased sexual desire and arousal when anxious or stressed”.

In more than one study (Heiman (1980), Mitchel, DiBartolo, Brown, & Barlow (1998), and Koukounas & McCabe (2001)) it has been thoroughly researched and decidedly proven that a positive mood was “associated with increased sexual arousal”.

With the heaping of studies done and the proven conclusive research obtained from such, focusing on the mood between two people can headily improve sexual attraction. Or the opportunity for such.

Similarities In Values

It’s not uncommon or far-stretched for people to search for a partner with similar values and beliefs as them. This can transfer into other acts or attributes desired from a partner, like attachment styles, emotional and physical intimacy, vulnerability, support, and dependence between two people.

A study suggested and decidedly supported, that when on the subject of attraction, an individual searches for a partner with values, motivations, attributes, and emotions that are familiar. In the study, it was shown that people were more likely to be attracted to others that expressed emotions that were more easily understood, or deciphered, over the opposite.

A Competitive Flare

Think of this psychological factor along the lines of “enemies to lovers” tropes often sought after in books, movies, and television shows.

One study discovered that many people like to entertain, or simply like, the thought of another person “winning” them over. With the initial impression of another person starting as negative and then transitioning to positive, it indicated that a person believed that their partner, or prospective partner, was able to expressly see their true personality and feelings in such a situation or manner.

happy couple dancing on the beach

Other Attributes That Can Promote Sexual Attraction

A Sense Of Humor

For a potential partner, it has been noted that there is a significant link between a man that can make a woman laugh as a romantic interest. Lead researcher at the University of Kansas, Jeffrey Hall, did a study to analyze the link between humor and intelligence, combined with the ability to promote romantic interest in a prospective partner, which can be found in the published journal, Evolutionary Psychology.

The imposed reasoning for the link between humor and romantic interest was the assumption that the future relationship would be filled with laughter and fun, based on the sense of humor that was being engaged in the present or when around that person. It can also suggest that the other has an agreeable personality, it can help deepen a relationship, and it can be used as a “gauge” for how the romantic partner will function in the relationship.

Shared Interests

It’s normal to fall into groups with similar interests whether they be sports, activities, art, music, or the like. The same can be said for those who share similar life experiences, traits, culture, or other interests.

This can be said even more so if two people shared a unique, or rare, interest. It automatically builds a “bond” between the two, which can open a door to intimacy or sexual intimacy. This rare trait, interest, or otherwise, shared between two people has been shown to advance previous research that has stated that we’re, essentially, as human beings, attracted to others that are perceived as similar to ourselves.

Being Kind

Honestly, the absolute bare minimum of expectation from a human being that can promote initial attraction is “being kind”. For real.

A study, that was posted in the British Journal Of Psychology, proved that partners that are altruistic over self-absorbed are more likely to be sexually successful. When a prospective partner shows a penchant for kindness or altruistic actions, it can be perceived as a gauge of how a future relationship will be like, that they will be compassionate and care for their partner.

This has been proven, the act of “being kind”, to be more necessary for women than men, than for men from women. Women respond to this act or aspect of altruism more so than men.

Your Destination

Culture and availability are important factors that affect what is perceived to be “attractive”. For example, in one study it was discovered that women from “healthier” countries were more likely to be sexually attracted to men with more feminine attributes or qualities. The study decided to go more in-depth in its research by filtering through 30 other countries, noting that as each country’s health declined the preference, by females, for masculine qualities in men drastically increased.

Many people are also attracted to cultures or languages, or resulting accents when speaking a non-native language. It increases and provides an intriguing and sometimes mysterious quality to a person which increases sexual attraction.

happy couple smiling at the camera

Limited Options

This might not be the best confidence booster, but having limited options can also increase sexual attraction over physical characteristics.

It was presented in a study that in situations with limited options, people are more likely to settle with what is available at the moment. Termed the “closing time effect”, imagine a bar setting. Now at the bar, patrons will internally or externally rate other patrons. As time passes on and the bars get closer to closing time, they will rate other patrons more attractive as options become limited, hence the “closing time effect”.

Family Dynamic

Though this can also be presented into physical attributes, familial dynamics can also be stretched into different aspects like masculinity, physical body structure, mental health, love language, culture, and so on. This is especially so if you have a good relationship with your family as it has impressed upon positive inclinations in your growing stages of childhood into adulthood.

For example, if a woman has a good relationship with their father, who happens to have a love language of quality time or acts of service, then that woman will be more inclined to be sexually (kind of gross when you think about it) attracted to a man who has a love language that leans toward acts of service and quality time.


There are so many attributes other than physical characteristics like broad shoulders, a nice smile, and a bangin’ bod that can be sexually attractive. Attributes like sharing interests or hobbies, having a sense of humor (laughter is good!), and presenting love languages that connect, have been proven to draw others in just as much as physical characteristics.

Take a gander at the important research-backed information we’ve provided in this article on the topic, “Physical Characteristics Aren’t The Only Things That Matter When It Comes To Sexual Attraction!”

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