The Science Behind Attraction: What Attracts Men To Women (2023)

”What’s more significant than whether we are viewed as attractive to a partner is whether we are connecting with the right partners for us. Healthy people tend to attract other healthy people, and by working on ourselves, we can not only make ourselves more attractive to a potential partner, but we can also increase our affinity to the most important person: ourselves." - Nicholas DeFazio, MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC

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. What attracts women to men? Men to women? 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 unwillingly single 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. We'll also cover a few ideas concerning how men fall in love, which can help you understand their psychology a bit more. First, let's define attraction according to dictionary terms and quickly cover the four types of attraction.

There Is More Behind Attraction Than You Think

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What Is 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. Much of the traditional advice about finding a mate may reflect traditional gender roles, but how to attract a man might not be so different from how to attract a woman. So what aspects make a woman want you?

Let's take a closer look at these four types of attraction:

Status

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.

Health

Our health is comprised of our appearance, along with our movements, scent, and intelligence. What men find attractive is knowing that a woman can take care of herself in many ways. Both status and health must be present before moving up the attraction pyramid.

Emotion

This middle layer of the pyramid is where we connect emotionally and fall in love. Based on the psychology of attraction, our emotional connections fall into four distinct categories: trust and comfort, emotional intelligence, unique qualities, and mystery level.

Logic

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, also known as attraction to intelligence.

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. This is one of the more common types of attraction now, so it's great. Still, 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.

5 Factors That Attract Men To Women

There's no doubt about it: attraction is a matter of chemistry. But what makes a man attractive? What makes a woman attractive? 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:

  1. Youth

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. On the other hand, there are still some men who are attracted to an older woman and that's perfectly fine too.

  1. Charisma

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. One's charisma can also be used if plan on how to seduce someone.

Charismatic people tend to be self-confident, approachable, and good listeners. They possess a level of magnetism that makes them downright irresistible.

  1. Personality

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.

There Is More Behind Attraction Than You Think

Learn More - Chat With A Board-Certified Psychology Expert Online Today!

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.

  1. Intimate Conversation

The attraction isn't always instant. For many people, it builds slowly over time. 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.

  1. Odor

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 and is considered as one of the most attractive scent to a woman.

5 Ways To Become More Attractive

Men are looking for particular characteristics and behaviors without even realizing it. Below, we outline five ways to make yourself irresistible:

  1. Be Kind

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.

  1. Be Positive

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.

  1. Pay Attention To Him

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).

  1. Be Honest

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.

  1. Wear Red

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

What do you find physically attractive in a man or a woman? 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 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 a guy attractive, or girl attractive, isn't often from appearance alone. Physical attraction may be enough to make you sexually attracted to someone, the romantic attraction will usually take more. After all, even if you're one of those attractive older women out there, you want to make sure that you're compatible with a potential partner.

Additionally, what makes a woman sexually 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 universal traits that make an attractive woman or man. 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. Some people may be attracted to intelligence, personality, charisma, and many more. 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. Being confident is one of the ways how to sexually attract men. 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.

Why males are attracted to females?
Who has more attraction male or female?
What do men find hot?
At what age are boys attracted to girls?

FAQs

The Science Behind Attraction: What Attracts Men To Women? ›

Confidence and emotional intelligence are two universal traits that make an attractive woman or man. 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.

What attracts a man to a woman science? ›

Confidence and emotional intelligence are two universal traits that make an attractive woman or man. 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.

What do men find sexually attractive in women? ›

While men do like women to depend on them for certain things, studies have shown that men find attractive women that are independent, self-supportive, and not needy. They might like you to ask them for their help, but being needy turns them off.

What causes instant attraction between man and woman? ›

Why we feel instant attraction to some people, and not others, is affected by lots of different things: mood, hormones and neurotransmitters, how alike we are, the shortage of other partners available, looks, physical excitement, and the proximity of geographical closeness.

What is the first thing that attracts a man to a woman? ›

The first thing anyone notices about another person is definitely their looks and their appearance. Even in matters of love, the basic thing that attracts a guy to a girl is their guise and the way they look. However, that is not the only factor that appeals to eyes of men.

What makes a man irresistible to a woman? ›

We women tend to get a bit over-excited about certain things, and while we can be a tad neurotic and frenzied, irresistible men seem to simply radiate calm and a can-do attitude. A steady gaze and cool written all over his face makes his sex appeal shoot through the roof.

What are men most sexually attracted to? ›

Sexual attraction

Research indicates that men tend to be attracted to young women with bodily symmetry. Facial symmetry, femininity, and averageness are also linked with attractiveness. Men typically find female breasts attractive and this holds true for a variety of cultures.

When a man is very sexually attracted to you? ›

A guy might be sexually attracted to you if he makes flirty eye contact with you and can't stop smiling around you. He might also like you if he touches you often and makes an effort to lean in close to you. A man is probably sexually attracted to you if you catch him staring at you or scanning your body up and down.

What is the most sexually attractive part of female? ›

Studies show that men are most attracted to faces, followed closely by women's rear ends.

Can you feel if someone is attracted to you? ›

Can you feel when someone is attracted to you? Yes. When someone feels you are an attractive person, some things come up between you that aren't there otherwise. The clues aren't always obvious, but you can see some of them by paying attention.

What causes intense chemistry with someone? ›

Chemistry is born of several different factors like physical attraction, mental stimulation, shared values and interests.

Why am I drawn to a person? ›

The same interests and values may also be a powerful way people are drawn to someone. When two people have similar hobbies, goals, or beliefs, it might create a sense of connection and compatibility. Emotional connection is another reason why people may feel drawn to each other.

What attracts a man to fall in love with a woman? ›

Physical attraction, sexual compatibility, empathy, and emotional connection are key to making a man fall in love with a woman.

What part of a woman's body do men notice first? ›

Your hair.

They discovered that 74% of men notice women because of their hair, with 44% admitting hair is the first thing they notice about a woman. Surprised? We sure are. In fact, the study found a guy is more likely to approach a gal at a bar who has great hair over a woman with a low-cut shirt.

Can a man tell if a woman is attracted to him? ›

According to a new study by the University of Kent, men can differentiate between the smell of a woman who's turned on and one who's not into him. Moreover, findings have proven that, in turn, men are more attracted to those women who find them attractive.

What are 4 traits of irresistible men? ›

Irresistible men know that a combination of honesty, kindness, humor, and confidence result in charisma. These are traits everyone wants to have, so when they find someone with those characteristics, it's easy to feel attracted to them.

What do men desire most from a woman? ›

Both men and women consistently cite emotional stability and maturity as one of the most attractive traits in a potential spouse. While men often fall victim to the stereotype of prioritizing physical attraction, when it comes to a potential wife, they want a woman who is grounded and secure in herself.

What makes a woman irresistibly attractive? ›

A truly irresistible woman is honest about what she wants and the way she lives her life. Be forthright about your actual interests and personality quirks (even if you're embarrassed about some of them). People like being around someone that's honest about who they are.

What is the most attractive age for a woman? ›

After surveying over 16,000 individuals across eight different countries who were all asked at what ages they think men and women are most beautiful, the data found that the overall average age where women are found to be most attractive is 28.

What is the most attractive age for a man? ›

While men seem to be genetically predisposed to be attracted to women in their mid-to-late-20s, women tend to be attracted to men around their ages, if not older; this means men in their 30s have the best of both worlds. Men in their 30s are attractive to a wide range of women, from 20-somethings to women in their 40s.

What age group is most sexually active men? ›

Men typically engage in the most sexual activity when they are in their 20s. Men experience less frequent sexual activity as they age because their sex drive and desire diminish while their sexual issues worsen.

How do you tell if he wants you sexually? ›

30 signs he want you sexually
  • He is attentive to what you say. ...
  • He's smooth-talking you. ...
  • You find that he is often staring at you.
  • He often doesn't give you enough personal space. ...
  • He spends plenty of time with you. ...
  • You notice that you make him a bit anxious. ...
  • He dresses himself up a bit.
Aug 3, 2022

What a guy thinks after sleeping with you? ›

To know that your partner had the best sex with you, is an accomplishment for many guys. They absolutely love the fact that their partner thinks they had the best sex with them. Men further want to know what made them different from all the other guys their partner had sex with.

How do you know if someone is thinking about you sexually? ›

16 signs that someone is thinking about you sexually
  • They can be touchy.
  • They always fix themselves.
  • They always give you compliments.
  • Intense eye contact.
  • They become nervous.
  • They want to be alone with you.
  • They make flirty jokes.
  • They become extra caring.
Jan 20, 2022

What is a women's favorite male body part? ›

Defined, Strong Arms

In a HerCampus.com survey of over 100 college women across the country, a majority ranked arms as the biggest turn on. Women feel it's a sign that you take good care of your body and admitted they love to see a hint of a man's biceps through his t-shirt or sweater.

Who is more sexually excited male or female? ›

Sexual desire is typically higher in men than in women, with testosterone (T) thought to account for this difference as well as within-sex variation in desire in both women and men.

What is the least attractive part of a womans body? ›

Feet are considered the least attractive part of the body

Do you keep your socks on to hide those dried, cracked feet? You might be one of many who do. A new survey by footcare brand, Footner, has revealed that about a third of men and women find feet the least attractive body part on the opposite sex.

Can you feel when attraction is mutual? ›

If you're wondering if your attraction to someone is mutual, there are some possible signs of mutual attraction that you can look for. As mentioned in the article above, signs of mutual attraction can include frequent communication, physical touch, prolonged eye contact, mirroring, blushing, and flirtatious behavior.

How do you tell if a man finds you attractive? ›

  1. He'll serve you an eyebrow flash. ...
  2. His lips part. ...
  3. His nostrils flare and his face generally "opens." ...
  4. He'll try to attract your attention. ...
  5. He'll stroke his tie or smooth a lapel. ...
  6. He'll smooth or mess up his hair. ...
  7. His eyebrows remain slightly raised while you're talking. ...
  8. He'll fiddle with his socks and pull them up.
Mar 5, 2018

What creates chemistry between 2 people? ›

Romantic chemistry focuses on characteristics present between two people, including mutual interests, similarity, and intimacy. According to Campbell, the more present these characteristics are, the more likely two individuals will perceive chemistry between each other.

How do you tell if there is a spark between you? ›

If You & Your Date Have A Spark, Experts Say You'll Notice These 5 Things
  1. The spark can feel like a body high. Giphy. ...
  2. You are urgently curious to get to know one another. Giphy. ...
  3. You and your date share plenty of eye contact. Giphy. ...
  4. You feel a rush of energy. Giphy. ...
  5. You're a little nervous and can't think straight. Giphy.
Jan 31, 2019

Can someone see chemistry between two people? ›

The chemistry between people can be seen in body language or subtle ways, such as eye contact, flirting, banter, constant focus, and losing track of time. If you have chemistry with someone, you can often feel it in your gut.

When you feel a deep connection with someone do they feel it too? ›

Chemistry is the emotional connection that two people feel when they have feelings for each other. Chances are, if you are feeling it, they are feeling it too! It can sometimes be difficult to decipher whether the other person is feeling the same way as you are.

Can you be attracted to someone's energy? ›

The vibe you experience in another person's company is actually your energy reacting and responding to theirs. Therefore, sometimes you experience an unexplainable metaphysical connection with someone. You're simply attracted to the energy they embody.

Why am I strongly drawn to someone I barely know? ›

A study published in Psychological Science reveals that being unavailable is indeed attractive. We tend to be more attracted to someone whose feelings are unclear. We think about them so much because we are trying to figure them out. It's a major reason why you can't get this new person out of your head.

How to scientifically attract a man? ›

Beauty and the geek: Scientifically proven ways to become more attractive to men
  1. Put on a red dress. ...
  2. No dress? ...
  3. Flash him your smile. ...
  4. Reward a guy with laughter. ...
  5. Subtly mimic him. ...
  6. Hit the high notes. ...
  7. Hips don't lie. ...
  8. Keep the waterworks to a minimum.
Jul 30, 2014

When a man looks at you with desire? ›

According to a Psychology Today article by Ronald Riggio, Ph. D., “Staring directly into someone's eyes causes an arousal reaction.” So if your crush, boyfriend, or spouse is looking at you with red-hot desire, it's because he's sending you a sexual invitation. He wants to get all up in your business!

How to secretly attract a man? ›

Here are some tips and tricks from relationship and matchmaking experts that can help you get a man to focus his attention on you.
  1. Smile. TODAY. ...
  2. Don't hide in the corner. ...
  3. Ask for his help. ...
  4. Talk about your hobbies. ...
  5. Don't dress for your girlfriends. ...
  6. Look him in the eye. ...
  7. Avoid the obvious. ...
  8. Go out alone or with one other friend.
Jul 20, 2016

What triggers a man to feel attraction? ›

To build emotional attraction with a man, be an active listener, share personal experiences, and show affection using his love language. A man feels emotionally attracted to someone when he feels understood and loved for his true self, so don't be afraid to be vulnerable—it might encourage him to open up to you.

What chemical attracts men? ›

What's The Connection Between Sexual Attraction And Pheromones? Androsterone, or androstenol, is a putative human pheromone that may make men sexually appealing to women.

What makes you instantly attracted to a man? ›

Apart from our mood, other factors play an important role when we decide within seconds whether someone is attractive or not. According to sex researcher Justin Lehmiller, these factors are geographical constraints, similarity, physical excitement, shortage, looks, hormones, and neurotransmitters.

Can a man sense when a woman is attracted to him? ›

According to a new study by the University of Kent, men can differentiate between the smell of a woman who's turned on and one who's not into him. Moreover, findings have proven that, in turn, men are more attracted to those women who find them attractive.

How do you tell if a guy secretly finds you attractive? ›

Reading Male Body Language: 5 Signs He Secretly Likes You
  1. He'll Touch You Back. A subtle trick to see if he likes you is to give him a light touch. ...
  2. His Pupils Will Dilate. Look closely at his pupils. ...
  3. He'll Make Extra Eye Contact. ...
  4. His Eyes Will Dip. ...
  5. He'll Get Closer. ...
  6. SWIPE UP.

What happens to a man during attraction? ›

High levels of dopamine and a related hormone, norepinephrine, are released during attraction. These chemicals make us giddy, energetic, and euphoric, even leading to decreased appetite and insomnia – which means you actually can be so “in love” that you can't eat and can't sleep.

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