There are also physiological aspects that have been proven to be a factor in attraction – at least, for women. Science says that men are initially attracted to a woman based on their appearance, but women are on the side of scent.
Pheromones are an important factor in attraction and relevant to both sexes. In a 2017 study, conducted by a group of psychologists and published in Frontiers in Psychology, it was determined that a person’s olfactory senses (sense of smell) can assess sex, dominance, fertility, compatibility, emotional state, and even physical strength.
If this all sounds rather animalistic, you’re not wrong. Animals navigate their reproductive worlds with pheromones as their guide.And though it hasn’t been proven specifically that humans have the same olfactory superpowers as animals, the way you smell is certainly going to have an effect on how a woman is attracted to you.
Just keep in mind that attraction is a multi-faceted process and that women process attraction much differently than men. As for the way you smell, putting on more cologne is not the answer. Your natural scent is what’s going to have the most allure!
The chemical makeup of attraction
If you find yourself crushing on someone, your body responds by producing certain chemicals that linger in your brain, making you giddy, light-headed, and feeling like you can’t get enough of that person.
Dopamine is one. Its effects are remarkably similar to cocaine and it can be very addictive. Have you ever felt like you are “in love with love”? An overload of dopamine could be the culprit. But, like the proverbial honeymoon phase itself, this doesn’t always last.
Maintaining attraction, at least from a physiological standpoint, comes down to three main things: smell, sound, and hormones.
What healthy smells like
We’ve talked about smell a little bit, but did you know that, based on smell alone, women can instinctively tell if you are healthy enough to take a chance on?
By the same token, men are more attracted to women when they are at their most fertile.
A study conducted at the University of Texas Austin had a group of men smell t-shirts that had been worn by women at different phases of ovulation. The results? Shirts worn by the ladies who were at their most fertile were the most attractive.
The women, however, were more attracted to the scent of healthier men. This is attributable to a woman’s ability to detect MHC molecules. Otherwise known as major histocompatibility complex molecules, MHCs are disease-fighting immune factors that are present in your DNA.
What this boils down to is that women are more attracted to healthy males with a strong immune system. It’s a proven fact with roots in human evolution itself.
And while you certainly can’t fake this, we can reasonably conclude that eating right, working out, staying active, and not destroying your system is probably a good way to go in terms of staying attractive to the opposite sex.
The sound of your voice
Sound is another physiological aspect of attraction that both sexes respond to. For instance, it is possible to elicit a physical response solely based on the sound of a person’s voice. Hormonal changes have an effect on the sound of the human voice. A study published in Psychology Today found that women overwhelmingly showed a preference for voices that were more deeply-pitched.
This does not mean, however, that if you have a higher-pitched voice you are completely doomed. Focus on evenly spaced tonalities when you speak and avoid peaking your tone at a higher pitch— think somewhere between Barry White and Liam Neeson—and you’ll have them melting in your arms.
The hormonal factor
The third physiological aspect of attraction is hormones. While this is something that is not always possible to control, it is good to be aware of the kind of effect they have on attraction.
We place a high value on chemistry in relationships, and for good reason. Attraction is, largely, chemical.
- Dopamine: the feel-good factor
We talked a little bit about dopamine, the feel-good chemical, but it should be stressed that this particular chemical release can really be all-encompassing. When you have dopamine flowing through your body, you might feel like you just can’t get enough of the other person. It might also make you ignore other signals that might fall into the category of “good judgement”, which would explain why many men do really dumb and sometimes completely uncharacteristic things when they’re in love.
This is because a certain part of the brain—the amygdala—actually turns itself off when the brain is flooded with dopamine. Fear response, seeing the consequences of your actions, all of these things get tossed to the wind.
- Cortisol: the stress factor
And the butterflies? It’s all stress. And while stress is okay in small doses, it produces an ugly little hormone called cortisol and, unfortunately, cortisol is not the best thing for you. Cortisol is associated both with suppressed immune response as well as a supressed reproductive system, both of which are physiological aspects of attraction.
If you are constantly experiencing memory problems, depression, moodiness, irritability or if you get sick a lot, you may be experiencing cortisol overload.
To combat excess cortisol and lower your stress levels, get the OM factor:
Set aside 15 minutes a day to practice mindfulness. Sit quietly and comfortably and focus your mind on your surroundings, your breath, your body. It’s about being in the moment and letting go of the judgements that enter your mind. If you feel your mind wander, let go of the thought and keep bringing it back to the present moment.
This daily practice will help you lower your stress levels and—bonus—you will love how much more attention you will get from the object of your affection.
Other hormones that have an effect on attraction include:
Norepinephrine, which is sometimes referred to as the “adrenaline” of love. According to a study penned by Haley Decker at Texas Christian University, norepinephrine is the thing that keeps us alert and helps us say “all the right things” and pay attention in the moment.
As a key component of the “fight or flight” response, norepinephrine sharpens our memory as well, which may explain why we have such vivid recollections of things like a first kiss. It sends a message to your brain that something significant is going to happen and ignites all your senses so that you can respond appropriately.
Serotonin is another chemical that is key to attraction. Like dopamine, it is a chemical produced by the brain that makes us happy. Low serotonin levels can cause depression, low libido, poor sleep, and impaired memory