Sexual attraction between humans is an interesting topic and one that is almost unexplainable. Why are humans attracted to certain individuals and not others?
The answer to this question is complex. However, sexual attraction is a lot more scientific than we may think.
According to scientists, as humans, we rely on a lot of information to select mates. Much of this information has to do with chemistry: the DNA composition of the potential mate and the information we can gather from our senses to help us discern and discriminate.
There are some cues on which we rely to gather information on potential mates and that make us feel attracted to a particular person. Some of those cues are: smell, visual, and auditory. Although some things that turn on some individuals may seem strange, the explanation could be more sophisticated and scientific than you would think. I will call those “strange” turn-ons, not because they are all that strange but because they may be unconventional or something you don’t necessarily tell people.
TURNED ON BY SMELL
Here are some ways some women are turned on by body odors:
I like to smell my boyfriend’s underwear. There is something about it that turns me on! It smells fresh and it is sexy. —Celimar E., Richardson, TX
I like to smell my husband’s armpits. There is something intoxicating about his smell there. I get very turned-on by his scent, especially several hours after he has showered and applied deodorant. The smell of his masculinity and the manly smell of the deodorant are an infallible turn-on for me. —Tisha M., Crowley, TX
I like to smell my own underwear after I’ve worn them for hours. The smell reminds me of the smell of sex and it turns me on. It turns my husband on too! —Emelia B. from Denver, CO
Although some women may be appalled by the previous statements, there is a perfectly sane scientific explanation for them. Humans gather valuable information from chemosignals (pheromones). A study conducted by Dr. Tasmin K. Saxton and colleagues found that specific compounds of body odors found in our bodies influence our physiology and our behavior. Specifically, some of these compounds can activate our mood and influence our mate-choice. Additionally, these compounds modulate women’s judgment of how attractive they find men. For example, findings of other studies point to the fact that secretions from apocrine glands (armpits) exude important information that is perceived by our sinuses, processed by our brains, and transformed into psychological, physiological, and behavioral reactions. Consequently, women find the smell of high-testosterone men more attractive and also perceive higher testosterone-charged men as more attractive, thus causing a more intense sexual reaction.
TURNED ON BY VISUAL CUES
Women may think it is simple that they be attracted to the appearance of a guy. However, there is more to it.
I like men with broad shoulders, tall, and with muscular arms. I cannot resist! —Olivia B., San Juan, PR
The first thing I see in a man are his hands. If he does not have big, beautiful, well-groomed hands, I don’t care how he looks. —Juanita E., Guadalajara, Mexico
I like men that are proportionate. I don’t care too much about how muscular he is as long as he has a proportionate body structure. —Betsy P., Dallas, TX
Our eyes also gather important information from our potential mates. Mating is a discriminating game. Women in particular, during the fertile years, are looking for a fit mate to reproduce with; therefore, we use all the information we can to make the best decision of who is worthy of our uterine services. Scientists have found that, when it comes to attraction, the proportion of the face, body structure, and many physical attributes are part of the selection process. More proportionate faces, for instance, score higher on attractiveness among both sexes. Specifically, symmetry sends the signal that an individual is genetically healthy and a smart and fertile choice for mating. “It makes sense to use symmetry variation in mate choice,” says evolutionary biologist Dr. Randy Thornhill of the University of New Mexico. “If you choose a perfectly symmetrical partner and reproduce with them, your offspring will have a better chance of being symmetric and able to deal with perturbations.”
I love the voice of my husband when he wakes up in the morning. It sounds so raspy and sexy! It is an instant turn-on for me. —Gloria S., Golden, CO
When my boyfriend is sexually aroused his voice changes. Even if I am not looking at him, the change on the tone of his voice when he is aroused excites me immediately. —Miriam V., Boston, MA
According to Dr. Susan Hughes, assistant professor of psychology at Albright College in Reading, PA, voices can also convey important social and biological information that can attract some or detour others. Moreover, both sexes use a lower-pitch voice when they are sexually aroused to appear more attracted to the targeted person of the opposite sex. Thus, voice is key in sexual arousal and attraction.
We are a conglomerate of complex systems that work together to send us information to help us make sexual choices. Although our sexual attraction patterns are widely shaped by culture, our biology is always working and letting us know what we want, sometimes in the most unexpected way.
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