Physical attraction psychology

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Physical attraction psychology

What attracts people to each other?
Are there universal standards for physical attraction?

What are the factors we look for when judging the attractiveness of a person?

before i go on with this article i must first remind you that even though there are certain features that are considered universally attractive by most people still each and every person processes beauty according to his own internal system.

This means that if i told you that large eyes are among the facial features that are considered attractive by most men then this doesn't mean that men will find you unattractive just because you don't have large eyes.

In this article i will tell you about physical attraction psychology.

Physical attractiveness psychology explained

What features do most people consider attractive?

  • 1) Symmetry: it was found that symmetrical faces are considered more attractive that non symmetrical faces across all cultures. Your face doesn't have to be perfectly symmetrical for it to be attractive but the more symmetrical it is the more attractive it will be considered by others (see Why do we find some people attractive)
  • 2) Waist to hip ratio: Men become more attracted to women with low waist to hip ratio or women who have the hourglass body shape. In some cultures where food is scare a low waist to hip ratio might not be considered an attractive feature (see Attractiveness and culture)
  • 3) Health: In all cultures healthier people are considered much more attractive than less healthy ones. Researches has shown that the more healthy the person is the better his looks will be and the more attractive he will appear to be
  • 4) Height: Many studies revealed that the majority of women prefer to date men who are taller than them but according to psychology beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that's why you might find many women dating shorter men. In other words these points might be universal beauty standards but this doesn't mean that you don't have a chance if you didn't match them (see 5 things that attract women)
  • 5) Feminine facial features: Men prefer women who have feminine facial features over other women. women on the other hand prefer men with feminine facial features when they are not fertile and prefer men who have more masculine features when they are fertile. So the same woman can find a certain man attractive in certain days and less attractive on other days (see Attraction perception psychology)
  • 6) well built: Women prefer well built men (not necessary body builders). Women prefer men who have wider shoulders and narrow waists with mininal belly fat. the good thing is that you can become well built if you decided to by going to the gym
  • 7) jaws and cheek bones: Women prefer men who have relatively bigger jaws and more prominent cheek bones since they both give a more masculine look to the man. Again this changes according to how fertile the woman is during her monthly period

Physical attraction rules aren't universal

Even though the previous points are well known in the realm of attraction psychology still you will find many people dating others who don't have many of these features.

This doesn't mean that the previous points are wrong but it only means that there are many factors that affect the overall attractiveness of a person other than the ones mentioned.

the below links will give you more information about the psychology of physical attractiveness and help you understand why the perception of beauty might change from one person to another.

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