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Aug 17 2010

Physical attraction?

Published by at 10:12 am under Knowing Relationships BLOG,sex

It’s not the only factor in choosing a mate. Probably you could sort all the reasons why you would want a relationship with someone into three categories.

First, there is just the animal connection. Every creature on earth, bugs, fish, birds, marsupials and mammals comes in two sexes. The animal connection is important and it is deep. But it’s not all.

We are also social animals and we live in tribes and families and communities and cultures, all with intricate demands which we honor. Any mating of two people has to answer to social realities.

And finally, we are spiritual animals. We each believe that our individual lives do matter and we care about how we use this gift of our life.

So in the great scheme of things, as important as physical chemistry is, it is not the whole taco. Even so, it is not to be ignored. Here is a quiz to help you think about some of the aspect of physical chemistry. All the answers are based on psychological research. Answer each question, true or false.

1. Physical Chemistry (PC) develops over time.
False. Relationships can develop over time. Social and spiritual considerations can outweigh matters of physical chemistry. But PC is immediate. It is an animal response. It is connected to immediate sense perception, and it is based on mechanisms which evolved over the million years when humans were just another kind of wild animal.

2. Physical Chemistry has to do with making babies.
The core of physical chemistry is the sense, built deep with in us all, that this is a good person to make babies with.

3. Even though women spend much more on perfume than men spend on cologne, smell is more important to women than it is to men.
True. Claus Wedekind a zoologist at Bern University discovered that smell counts but it counts more for women than for men. Men are affected by perfume but women like to sleep in their boy friend’s tee shirts. Smell tells a woman something about the way man’s immune systems will sync up with hers to produce healthy babies. Women are most discerning about their lover’s smell just before ovulation.

4. Men are hooked by looks.
If you want to think about what turns men on vs. what turns women on, remember that pornography is almost entirely a male-supported industry. Men do spend $20 to $100 on single items of underwear but not for themselves to wear.

5. Men can unconsciously sense estrogen levels in a woman by looking at her face.
Melissa Franklin at the University of New Mexico found that there is such a thing as a high-estrogen face. The more estrogen in a woman’s system when she is being formed in the womb, the more baby-doll looks in her face. Shorter chin, bigger eyes relative to size of the face. Make up and big hair emphasize this look.

6. It’s only men who divide the other sex into two categories, sexy types and marriage types.

Melissa Franklin, Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico discovered that women divide men into dangerous rakes and sensitive, marrying types and their tastes change with their monthly cycle. Her test involves a sequence of computer altered pictures of the same man. And one extreme he is shown with a sensitive gaze, softer features, smaller bones. At the other extreme he is shown with piercing eyes, bonier face, stronger jaw, and unibrow. Women were asked daily to chose which man they found attractive. The day before they ovulated, they liked the high testosterone guy, the day before menstruation they liked the sensitive face. Sexier guys, they say, are better in bed, More likely to achieve simultaneous orgasm, and more likely to cheat

7. Men respond sexually when they think women are excited by them.
The pupils of the eyes show how much you like something. The more you like what you see, the more your pupils open wide to take it in. The more suspicious you are, the more your pupils squeeze down. Big open pupils on a woman effect men viscerally. You can open your pupils by deliberately drawing your attention to another person’s most attractive features.

8. Women unconsciously judge a man’s sexiness by looking at his toes.
Maybe, but the bigger clue is fingers.

John Manning, evolutionary psychologist at the University of Liverpool points out that while a woman’s first, pointing finger is usually longer than her ring finger, with men, it’s the other way around. The ring finger is longer than the pointing finger. All babies start out female and a certain hormone in the womb, androgen, grows the neutral/female child into a male. One effect of testosterone is to lengthen the ring finger. Many women like men’s hands, especially long fingers. They aren’t sure why. They just do. Dr. Manning suggest it’s because they intuitively know a sign of high testosterone when they see it.

9. Women like smarts.
Back in prehistoric times, early man figured out how to make stone axes. Over time, however, they also figured out how to make the axes prettier, shapelier, more finely worked and more symmetrical. Some scholars figured that this was the invention of beauty. Why? A man who could be cleverer with his hands had a better chance of seducing a woman. Even today, a man’s bidding hand in the sexual attractiveness game is considerably strengthened by brains and talent.

10. In the Physical Chemistry department, people tend to know how good their bidding hand is.
People usually have an idea about how sexy or attractive they are, but they are often wrong. And even when they are right, they can change their status simply by attitude and grooming. But it is true that money and power in a man can make a man like Henry Kissinger attractive beautiful women with the magnetism of a Warren Beatty. And it is true that men and women size each other up as potential mates based on how they stand in the hierarchy of looks and power. This feature of courtship is especially tricky at midlife where many women have more status and power than many available men. It leads men to give up courtship before they’ve even started.

11. Sexiness depends entirely on youth.
It depends on vitality and health. Also, sexiness is what happens between people. Brightness, joy of life and a twinkle in the eye go a long way.

12. Once someone is seduced, they stay seduced.

13. Seduction never ends.

Melissa Franklin, University of New Mexico. Experiments on faces, the estrogen face, and changing tastes in men’s faces according to time of menstrual cycle.
Melissa Franklin. Interests: Sexual selection in humans, especially the importance of facial features, and the viability-related information content of facial features. (Co-chair)

Randy Thornhill, University of New Mexico. Beauty is symmetry and symmetry in face is usually an indication of symmetry in body, front and back.

Devendra Singh, University of Texas. Study of female form, ration of hips to waist: 25/36 .69 Universal signal

Digit Ratio: a Pointer to Fertility, Behavior and Health
(2002) John T. Manning
Rutgers University Press, New Jersey, USA.

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Physical attraction?”

  1. CaribAmMDon 07 Sep 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Hi Dr Belove:
    Looks like you’re getting spammed with polypharmacy solutions to everything in midlife
    Nice post, good quiz summary of current sexuality knowledge.
    The gods are having a good laugh at my expense. I married a woman with great chemistry, socially compatible but unable to connect spiritually. Got divorced. Then had a LD realtionship with my girlfriend, who I connected with spiritually and socially. Now living together, the fantasy has faded into an OCD gulag and sex-starved wasteland. No blame, I understand the origins (overbearing mother, predatory men, etc). I have great empathy and patience, for which she thanks me often. It’s just not what I had in mind, to be a live-in post-menopausal therapist and high-feminine energy metrosexual social companion. I am looking for the unibrow Neanderthal, “bangem’-while-they’re-hot-and-let-the-nice-guys-have-the-leftovers” experience. Testosterone In Me (TIM)

  2. drbeloveon 07 Sep 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Hi. Thinking of you today. Thanks for the heads up. We’re installing of those widgets to block that stuff and now I’m deleting by hand. Watch this space for a related post on the same thread.

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