The Science Behind Sex + Attraction
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because if science can’t help us, then in all likelihood we’re way beyond being able to be helped when it comes to romance.
On the hunt for a suitable mate? Turns out, the nose knows best — at least in some studies. Like one in 1995 — which kicked off the pheromone phrenzy — in which men wore cotton T-shirts for two consecutive nights and then placed the shirts in plastic bags. Women were asked to smell the shirts and rate them for “intensity, pleasantness and sexiness,” and showed a preference for T-shirts from men with dissimilar immune genes. Smell studies and the debate about whether human pheromones exist continue to play out to this day. But what does this all mean? Should single guys and gals jump over to pheromone parties and start smelling cotton shirts out of bags? Should everyone just stop wearing deodorant? Read the story here.
If you’re looking to hook up, consider taking voice lessons instead of hitting the gym. Why? Because scientists are discovering just how closely linked voice and attraction may be. Among other things, recent studies suggest that men generally prefer women with higher-pitched voices, and women like their men with lower-pitched voices — though not too low, and it helps if they’re saying nice things. Men and women with attractive voices also tend to have more sexual partners and lose their virginity at a younger age. It remains to be seen what impact this finding may have in the exploding community of online daters. But if voice is such an important barometer, perhaps you should consider arranging those first dates over the phone and not by text or email. Read the story here.
Turns out “beer goggles” do in fact exist, though not precisely in the way we thought. Consuming alcohol, it seems, tends to elevate desire and reduce inhibitions more than alter our actual perception of another person’s attractiveness. But there’s another type of virtual eyewear that many of us spend even more time donning — one that has the opposite effect of beer goggles. Call them “expectancy spectacles” if you’d like, because wearing them causes us to raise our standards and expectations, often unrealistically, of everything from potential mates to job prospects. Which is why one expert advocates a new approach to dating, one that is not so much about lowering standards as giving yourself better ones. Call it “Moneyballing” relationships. Read the story here.