Specifically looking at what attracts us to a sexual partner, I.e. sexual attraction, what it entails, how it effects our relationships and what exactly causes us to be sexually attracted to certain people. There is a lot of factors to take into consideration to why we find certain individuals sexually attractive, here are just a few of the most interesting possibilities.

What exactly is sexual attraction? Sexual attraction is the foundation of arousing sexual desire or attract the sexual interest of another (Wikipedia, 2017). What are some of the reasoning behind why our sexual interests are heightened in regards to specific individuals? A possibility is that the individual may resemble ourselves. Through a study with heterosexual individuals they were giving several faces and were told to rate them on a attractiveness level. One of the images was actually a digitally modified image of themselves as the opposite sex. The participants actually rated their digitally modified image as the most attractive. Penton-Voak, Perrett and Peirce (1999), theorize that this is due to unconscious effort to preserve certain traits, specifically inherited traits.

Which also explains the hypothesis that we tend to be attracted to individuals that resemble our parents. Taking into consideration Freud’s Oedipus Complex theory, which is a child’s repressed desire to have sexual relations with their parent of the opposite sex (Freud, 1899). Freud believes this is due to the child identifying with the parent of the same sex, which manifests into a desire for their partner I.e. their parent od the opposite sex.

The color red, a theory wildly shared in western culture, that by wearing the color red you are more likely to attract sexual attention. Specifically the sexual attention of men as men unconsciously associate the color red with other achromatic and chromatic colors. Such as the lush of red  a woman’s skin often become during sexual activity (Elliot and Niesta, 2008).

Often times we may find someone sexually attractive but have no plausible reason to find this person sexually appealing, non that we may be able to pin point at least. A possibility for such situation could be caused by your minds association with a certain feeling in relation to a specific individual (Dutton and Aron, 1974). For example if you happen to meet a new person as you were leaving the gym, unconsciously your brain may associate the elevated heart rate and excess oxytocin with this new individual, causing those thin to increase in future interactions with this individual.

There many other plausible reasoning’s to why we find certain individuals sexually attractive. It may not be one reason or another but a collective of many possibilities.


Elliot A. J. & Niesta D. (2008) Romantic Red: Red Enhances Men’s Attraction to Women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 95, 1150–1164.

Dutton, D. G., & Aron, A. P. (1974). Some Evidence for Heightened Sexual Attraction under Conditions od High Anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30, 510-517.

Penton-Voak, I. S., Perret, D. I., & Perice, J. W. (1999). Computer Graphic Studies of the Role of Facial Similarity in Judgments of Attractiveness. Current Psychology, 18, 104-117.







13 thoughts on “Sexual Attraction.

  1. I’d like to start of by saying, I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation even though you said you were really nervous! Well done. The part about what you said with being attracted to someone like you is where I definitely don’t agree in terms with myself. My significant other is nothing like me: personality or appearance. I just thought it was interesting that you’ve found that in your study.


  2. i really enjoyed your presentation, it was very well done and covered a lot of substantial reasons why people found each other attractive. i am wondering if you came across anything involving emotions or the attitudes involving how someone find someone attractive. i stumbled upon an article called happy guys finish last by Jessica L. within the article it explains that the expression of being happy is found attractive and desirable on women but when guys express being happy that girls don’t find it attractive. could this all be relating back to the women are attracted to the mysterious man persona? either way i enjoyed the blog and the presentation, here is a link to the article if you want to read it.

    Happy Guys Finish Last: The Impact of Emotion Expressions on Sexual Attraction.
    Tracy, Jessica L. 1; Beall, Alec T. 1
    Emotion. 11(6):1379-1387, December 2011.
    AN: 00130470-201111000-00012.


  3. I would also like to quickly comment that I really enjoyed your presentation! I’ve heard the theory about the colour red making women more attractive and as a listener of country music, I’ve heard endless songs about a woman in a red dress. I found a paper on the subject called “Romantic Red: Red Enhances Men’s Attraction to Women” by Elliot And Niesta. While there were many interesting findings in this paper, but the one I found most interesting was that, while men are relatively unaware of the effect red has on their attraction to a female, women are aware of the effect they have while wearing red. In fact, they use it to their advantage to draw attention and “convey a sexual message”. Another was that, just as men see women as more attractive while wearing red, women too see men as more attractive while wearing red. They theorize that this is because, in the animal kingdom, males often display red as a sign of dominance and strength, making them desirable mates and suggest that this applies to humans as well.

    Elliot, A. J., & Niesta, D. (2008). Romantic red: Red enhances men’s attraction to women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1150-1164. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.95.5.1150


  4. Thanks for your post this week, I think sexual attractiveness is a super interesting topic to start off with and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog this week! Reading this reminded me of a study I learned about in a previous psychology class. In the study women were asked to rate attractiveness of men at different points in their menstrual cycle. What they found was that women who were ovulating (and therefore fertile) were more likely to prefer more “manly” men aka. those with more facial hair, stronger jaw line etc. I think this is interesting as it shows there’s a biological aspect/evolutionary aspect playing into attraction. Often, as you said, we may not even be aware of what is making us attracted to someone and this may because it is a subconscious or biological process.

    Cappelle, T., & Fink, B. (2013). Changes in women’s attractiveness perception of masculine men’s dances across the Ovulatory cycle: Preliminary data. Evolutionary Psychology, 11(5), . doi:10.1177/147470491301100503


  5. I loved your topic very interesting. You really got me thinking to myself why I am attracted to certain people. Your presentation also covered almost everything on this topic. Can’t wait to read your next blog!


  6. I really loved your presentation and your post!I’ve always found Freud’s ideas really intriguing and somewhat amusing. I found an article you might be interested in that talks about physical attraction and falling in love. The article discusses how the visual system is important in human attraction as well as the auditory system. Voices are auditory stimuli for sexual attraction, especially in women (Karandashev et al, 2016). The article also compares men and women in terms of what they find attractive and what specific components are more important to each one.

    I find it really interesting that red is a sexual color in Western culture. Did you by chance come across anything about different colors or other visual stimuli that is important for sexual attraction in other cultures?

    Karandashev, V., Zarubko, E., Artemeva, V., Neto, F., Surmanidze, L., Feybesse, C. (2016). Sensory Values in Romantic Attraction in Four Europeans Countries. Cross-Cultural Research, 50, 5, 478-504. doi:10.1177/1069397116674446


    • Your comment made me curious about how these findings applied cross culturally so I looked into it and found an article on Psychology Today by Noam Shpancer Ph. D who cites articles that did cross cultural studies on what body types are generally found attractive and if the colour red has similar affects from one culture to the next. He states that studies show “women around the world are attracted to symmetrical male bodies and faces, to the physical manifestations of testosterone” etc and that “men all over the world are attracted to signals of youth in a female (smooth skin, lush hair, generous lips), to the ‘hourglass’ figure” (Shpancer, 2013). He goes on to state that, “many studies point to another fundamental source of attraction: the color red.” (Shpancer, 2013). He cites a specific study that included participants from four different countries and its findings supported the theory that red sends a sexual message.

      N. S. (2013). Red Alert: Science Discovers The Color of Sexual Attraction. Retrieved January 23, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy/201301/red-alert-science-discovers-the-color-sexual-attraction


  7. Interesting topic i must say, I also enjoyed your presentation as well. I found it very captivating that we are likely to be more attracted to other individuals that resemble ourselves. I was just wondering at what age do we like begin to realize that we are sexually attracted to someone and i went looking , and i found this article/study that talks about age 10 being the year we start becoming aware that we are sexually attracted to someone and stuff like that, i’ll put a link below, just incase you’re interested. But, all in all, i enjoyed your blog. 🙂



  8. This is a very interesting subject for sure. While I was looking for studies on flirting I happened to find a study done by Benedict C Jones, Lisa M DeBruine, Anthony C Little, Robert P Burriss, and David R Feinberg and in this study they had pictures of males paired with a girl looking at the males with a neutral expression and had women choose men who were more attractive, afterwards they had the same pictures of males but this time with a girl smiling at them and they found that due to the positive response of the girl in the photo the women were more likely to choose and find the male that the picture was smiling at more attractive. I think its interesting that something so little could subconsciously influence our decisions of who is attractive and who is not.

    Jones, B. C., Debruine, L. M., Little, A. C., Burriss, R. P., & Feinberg, D. R. (n.d.). Social transmission of face preferences among humans. Retrieved January 23, 2017, from http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/274/1611/899.short


    • Attractiveness is a very interesting and diverse topic that can have a lot of theories and controversial debates. I read over this study and it was quite intriguing to me, how you present yourself socially can influence your attractiveness. After reading this study my first thought was maybe it’s related to the increased levels of dopamine has a greater overall affect on women? In relationships women more then often get emotionally connected quicker or seek out this type of relationship more often compared to males.

      I found this MRI study related to the brain structures of males compared to females, and in this study they found that there was “a strong positive correlations between emotional arousal and amygdala activity have been reported for both appetitive and aversive stimuli, and arousal has been suggested as the primary factor influencing amygdala activity in response to olfactory and visual stimulation” (1). Men in this study seemed to be more physically aroused to visual stimuli compared to the female test subjects.

      This overall makes question that maybe the study you suggested has a greater explanation of emotional compared to physical attraction in this case.


      1. http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.uleth.ca/ps/i.do?p=HRCA&u=leth89164&id=GALE|A185553573&v=2.1&it=r&sid=summon&authCount=1


  9. Freud is an inspiring psychologist but his theories is not statically or scientifically supported. But this is not the point i want to make here. One study i find quite interesting about sexual attraction is based on the research of the selection of mates in 2 different kinds of frogs. In brief, the preference of certain traits and choosing a mate is regardless of how much benefit the mate will bring to the partner. However, the preference is something settled even before the specific trait has been broadly applied and competitively developed. So what is actually attractive to one person is quite hard tell.

    Ryan, M., & Keddy-Hector, A. (1992). Directional Patterns of Female Mate Choice and the Role of Sensory Biases. The American Naturalist, 139, S4-S35. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.uleth.ca/stable/2462426Copy


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s