What makes a person sexy? Chances are, you could list any number of qualities you find scintillating, everything from a toned body to a sense of humor, and everything in between. Each and every one of us has a specific idea of what's attractive - and what's not.
While we might think our preferences are a personal decision, the fact is, many of our sexual desires come from biological needs. The biggest need, of course, is to reproduce. Whether you actually want to or not, your body fights to keep the human race alive by making sex (and the objects of our desires) as irresistible as possible.
Everything from the body types we prefer to the shape of a person's face gives us insight into whether they'd be potentially good mates (and parents of our offspring). The most attractive traits in female - large breasts, thin waist, feminine features - all represent youth and fertility. And the tall, chiseled male that many women fantasize about represents a man full of testosterone who can produce healthy children (and also protect them as well).
Don't believe me? Keep reading for more ways that science can make you sexier. And you'll see... Most of them stem from one need: our evolutionary desire to reproduce.
None of us enjoy going to the dentist. If you do, you're a masochist. But it's a necessary evil that all of must endure for the sake of our health. If that doesn't give you enough reason to have your regular cleanings, well then maybe this will. While yes, it would seem obvious that ugly teeth wouldn't be the most desirable trait when looking for a mate, the reason behind it is much deeper than simply what looks nice. Nice, white teeth that are evenly spaced sends the signal that you're in good health and have good genes. You know, because attraction all comes down to making babies, and scientists believe that your teeth subconsciously give clues about your age, how close you are to menopause (if you're a woman obviously), as well as hints at childhood diseases, diet and other genetic issues which a person doesn't want to pass down to their offspring.
I'm sure you can hear your mother's voice when you read the title for this one, but if you haven't already listened to her advice, perhaps it's time to start. Yes, fruits and veggies provide the necessary nutrients to survive, which is something we all need. But in case living longer and being healthy isn't on the top of your agenda, perhaps being more attractive will be? Because by adding more fruits and veggies to your diet, you can make your skin more attractive. And who doesn't want to have nice-looking skin? Scientists have studied the effect of fruits and veggies on skin tone, and it only took six weeks, and only eating slightly more of the green stuff than you normally do, to see a noticeable difference in skin tone. In fact, healthier, rosier looking cheeks were achieved by only adding one portion of fruit or vegetables a day. One. Scientists believe it's the carotenoids - the pigments - that improve skin tone, so foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, apricots, spinach and kale are great foods to give yourself a nice, rosy glow.
Facial hair is en vogue (for men, that is), and beards seem to be hip. But just because something is cool doesn't mean the opposite sex will find it attractive. And in the case of those thick, manly beards, you may actually be doing more harm than good.
When studied, women preferred stubble over both beards and the clean-shaven look, and it's believed to be because it's the best of both worlds. A beard may send the signal that you're aggressive and even five years older than you really are, while being clean shaven may not make you look mature enough. It's a fine line to walk, and apparently letting your stubble grow out a little bit is the way to go. Why? Well it shows you're mature enough to grow a full beard, but without the signals a full beard appears to send. Sounds tricky, doesn't it? But don't fret, at least it means you no longer have to worry about shaving every day or dealing with maintenance of a beard in order to attract a woman.
Women have been wearing lipstick for centuries. In fact, the practice dates as far back as the ancient Egyptians, and it's a trend that's likely to stick around for several more centuries – at least. Now there's scientific evidence that those few seconds you might spend applying that lipstick may pay off in the end. In one study, scientists discovered that men stared at a woman's pout longer than they did any other part of her face, and when she wore lipstick, the length of time they focused on the lips increased by almost seven seconds. Pink lipstick didn't fare nearly as well as red lipstick, but both seemed to have an effect on attractiveness. While men preferred fuller lips, just by applying lipstick, the appeal of thin lips increased by up to 40%. One reason this might be is that when the female sexual organs are aroused, blood flow increases, causing them to swell slightly and appear pinker/redder in color, and lips, in many ways, mimic these features. Thus, lipstick sends a far dirtier image to their minds – subconsciously, of course – than one might expect.
When you're talking to someone of the opposite sex, you probably focus on what you're saying, but don't really think about how your voice sounds. Sure, you might notice if you sound a bit strange - perhaps a snort or a squeal that wasn't meant to come out - but otherwise, in everyday conversation, you probably have no idea that your tone of voice could be sending signals to the opposite sex. And heck, they probably don't even realize they're picking up on these signals either.
And possibly the most surprising finding when it comes to how your tone of voice affects attractiveness, apparently comes down to body size, or at least perceived body size. Men rated woman with high-pitched voices as being more attractive because it indicated, at least in their minds, that the speaker had a smaller body. In men, it was the opposite. Women preferred deeper voices because it conveyed that the men had a larger frame. But also, when it came to men, there was another added tidbit. Apparently the most attractive male voices had a hint of “breathiness,” which indicated a lower level of aggression despite his more masculine frame.
While the scientists didn't go into why men prefer smaller females and women prefer larger men, it does represent the patterns present in most animal species. Though it's also possible that it represents less about evolutionary biology and more about societal preferences in today's culture.
When you spot that sexy girl at the bar, chances are good you're not thinking, “Oh man, I so want to have babies with her!” At least not initially. But biologically, your brain may be deceiving you. Sure, you can't explain it, and you probably don't even realize it's happening, but the fact of the matter is that men find women more attractive during their most fertile time of the month. Scientists believe it's a combination of factors - vocal and facial changes along with the pheromones they're putting off.
Scientists discovered that men rated the faces of women as being more attractive when their progesterone levels were low and their estrogen levels were high. The only time these hormones line up like that is near ovulation when fertility is highest.
We've already told you that red lipstick increases your sex appeal, but it actually goes much further than that. Even if you swear you don't look good in red, you perhaps need to rethink that. At least if you're looking to snag a date. The reason for that? Well the color red is found to significantly enhance attraction. And the good news? This doesn't just apply to the ladies. It works in both sexes.
Men who wear red were rated high in social status and potential for success, while not affecting likability, agreeableness or other positive traits. It's believed that the color red, in the case of males, is linked to a perceived higher social status, which women find more attractive. But why does red affect how a male sees a woman? Well it goes back to red being a color of sex (think the Red Light District), and men rated women as being more sexually open than women in other colors. And no surprise here, but men rated women who are more sexual receptive as being more attractive.
When you walk into a room and want to appear sexy, what do you do? You don't just stagger in, clumsy as can be (unless you've had too much to drink, of course). No, if you're a female, you might swish your hips ever so slightly. It's not an obvious gesture, and maybe you don't even realize you're doing it, but sometimes, it's very much intentional.
And men may not admit to it, but they swagger. It's an entirely different move than the woman's swishing hips. They have a broad posture, appear to look bigger by opening up their chest and standing tall. Look at any confident playboy at the bar and you'll see the signature swagger.
And believe it or not, these tricks actually work. The reason? In both cases, the movement sends the signals of being young and healthy (in other words, more fertile). In men, the swagger specifically makes him appear taller and larger, a trait we've already deduced is more attractive to the opposite sex.
Teenage boys all over the world will probably weep when they read this one. Thanks to a relentless marketing campaign, all this time you thought that layers and layers of body spray would make you more attractive to the opposite sex, but as woman will tell you, it's doing the exact opposite. In fact, just a little scent goes a long way. So spritzing a tiny bit of cologne will do you more good than half a bottle of any body spray on the market.
And regardless of what the advertisements for these products might say, the best scent of all to attract a mate is actually your very own scent. Your pheromones, while not noticeable to either of you, is ultimately what causes a woman to fall head over heels for you. And women, just in case you think this doesn't apply to you – it does. So lay off the expensive scents, or at least tone it down a bit. You're not attracting anyone with all of that. No matter how expensive the product might be.
Oh the double standards, how they hurt. But yes, science has found that when it comes to men, a man who plays hard to get is more likely to attract the attention of a female. The reason for this? Men who seemed too attentive to a woman's needs came off as vulnerable and less dominant. Which while women may claim they want someone to meet all of their needs - and they do - they are initially suspicious of a man who comes off as being too easy of a catch. There's a number of reasons for this, and some may view an overly responsive stranger as being too nice and manipulative, or simply out for sexual favors and nothing more.
But just in case you're a woman thinking of using this same tactic, you may want to reconsider. Men are actually attracted to women who seem nice, as they see it as a sign of being more feminine. Men were found to be more attracted to more agreeable and attentive females, as opposed to those who acted aloof or disinterested.