10 Surprising Factors That Influence Sexual Attraction

Science is a beautiful thing, especially when it’s a science devoted to finding out what makes people attractive. The study of what brings people together is one that actually has made quite a few interesting discoveries – many of which you probably never would’ve guessed. Here are 10 factors that will influence sexual attraction between you and others, and why it works.

  1. The colors you wear can make you sexier. Women who wear red are viewed as much more attractive than women who wear any other color. Similarly, men who wear blue or black are deemed as more attractive than their red wearing counterparts. The most unattractive color, at least according to statistics, is orange.
  2. You tend to be attracted to people who look like you. In one study conducted by psychologists, scientists Photoshopped participants’ faces into faces of the opposite sex. Then they let participants rate photos based on how attractive they found them. While other photos may have gotten varied reviews, the Photoshopped photos always rated in the top tier. In other words, we’re natural narcissists.
  3. Birth control influences attraction in women. Women who are on birth control tend to prefer more effeminate men, while those who aren’t have a tendency of preferring “manly” men. Studies suggest that hormones may influence a woman’s desire for strong sperm at peak ovulation times, and since ovulation is suppressed when using Depo-Provera or the pill, birth control usage can be a defining influencer in who you find hot. To make matters worse, women who met their partners while on the pill have occasionally broken up with them when they switched birth control, citing a lack of attraction as a reason. Hormones can be very powerful things in the world of love.
  4. Exercise makes you look hotter to everyone else.  Studies have shown that if you recently hit the gym, you’re more likely to be attractive to people that you meet. This study has been proven to be true with men and women alike. There’s just something about getting your blood pumping, apparently… Well, that and there’s something sexy about being healthy.
  5. If you and your date are both nervous, you’re more likely to fall in love. Much like the exercise issue, the adrenaline rush someone gets when they’re terrified gets your blood pumping. That in turn gets endorphins to release shortly after. As a result, you’re more likely to fall for the person who you’re feeling terrified with. No wonder why scary movies are such a popular date idea!
  6. Hot faces have the right measurements. You might already know about the Golden Ratio, but did you know there’s a Golden Ratio for faces, too? People who have this ratio are considered to be statistically better-looking, and therefore more attractive. People who have a distance between their eyes equal to 46% of their facial width, and people who have the distance between their eyes and mouth at 36% of their facial length are considered to be ideal. Similarly, having a highly symmetric face also is an indicator of good health. Subconsciously, we look for indicators of good health in a mate. It comes as no surprise, then, that scientists have repeatedly found highly symmetric faces to be the most attractive. (For the record, Brad Pitt has been noted as having one of the most symmetric faces in Hollywood.)
  7. Guys with multiple female admirers are even hotter to everyone else.  This is also known as the “Guppy Syndrome,” since it was first observed in guppies, but it’s also been observed in humans. You might have noticed that women tend to go for guys who have a lot of admirers, or who are already in a relationship. In other words, he’s been selected as a “good mate” by other women before. Biologically speaking, a pre-selected mate suggests that the guy has something good to offer, which in turn makes him more attractive to other females. Conversely, a guy who seems desperate for a mate will have a harder time getting one because others perceive them to be low value. (Sadly, the desperation thing works both ways, but the Guppy Syndrome only works for guys.)
  8. How you smell determines who wants you. We as humans are very scent-oriented people, and studies have shown that one of the biggest deciding factors on sexual attraction involves having hormones that mesh well with potential dates. This comes as no surprise, since bad body odor is the number one turn-off for men and women on a first date.
  9. Age is more than a number. Youth tends to be viewed as more attractive across the board, but there is one exception to this rule. Guys and girls whose parents had them at an older age do not see age as a turn-off as much as people who were born to younger parents.
  10. Your job can make you sexier, too.  It’s no small secret that there are many women who are attracted to money and power, nor is it a lie that men tend to want high status females, either. Money and power are sexy because it’s been naturally ingrained into us since we first became human. A suitor with a lot of money and power will be able to better provide for offspring, after all.

When in doubt, use your best judgment and remember not to lose who you really are when in pursuit of a new beau. Good looks, money, and power can be sexy, but only if the person who has them is actually confident in themselves.

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.