We all want other people to find us attractive, but how do you actually make yourself attractive? Should you smile or play it cool? Should you be more reserved or outgoing? While relationships aren’t an exact science, studies have given us some insight into what makes us attractive to the opposite sex.
It’s a common misconception that sexual and romantic desire originates in the heart. Through neuroscience, we’ve actually been able to see the chemical processes in the brain that cause us to feel these feelings, which make our heart rate increase, our pupils dilate, and makes us breathe quicker.
While our brain plays an important role in love and attraction, it would be impossible for us to choose a good partner without using all of our senses (touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing). Our sense of smell helps us subconsciously pick up others’ pheromones, which are chemical substances that our bodies secrete and give us information about the sexuality of the other person.
Our vision helps us perceive the physical characteristics of the other person. Even though people look for different things in a partner, signs of youth and health are generally seen as more attractive.
Hearing helps us pick up on a partners’ tone of voice. Men generally prefer higher-pitched voices in women, which is associated with a higher amount of estrogen and youth, while women prefer deeper voices, which is associated with masculinity and a higher amount of testosterone.
Our sense of touch helps us physically connect to the other person. We can pick up important information when we kiss, like the others’ breath (which points to health) and if there is potential compatibility. Here are 10 tips that will help you to be more attractive:
1. Body language in attraction
We are constantly communicating with our bodies, even if we don’t always want to. The work of Barbara and Allan Pease show that an open posture will make us more attractive, as it shows us to be available and sexually receptive.
What to do: Try to be open in your posture. Be careful not to cross your arms or legs, and keep your feet pointed at your potential partner (where you point your feet is where your interest is). Showing your hands will make you look trustworthy. If you want to attract a man, show your wrists, as it’s been shown to be a sensual area for them. Use physical contact, like touching the arm. Just be careful to read the situation. If the other person looks uncomfortable with being touched, refrain from doing it again.
What you can tell from a person’s body language:
Making eye contact is a powerful way to nonverbally communicate, and although there are several reasons for making eye contact, one of them can be an indication of interest.
Prolonged eye contact
Maintaining eye contact for too long can make someone uncomfortable and can come across as creepy. Researchers have concluded that the preferred length of eye contact is 3 seconds long on average, with none of the participants liking gazes lasting longer than 9 seconds.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Consistent eye contact
Although maintaining eye contact for too long is not ideal , a study has also shown that people much prefer it when you look at them,2✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Breaking eye contact
Establishing eye contact and then breaking it to look back immediately is classic flirting behavior. Looking repeatedly from eye to eye is also an indication of attraction.
Looking to the left
People make less eye contact when talking, especially visual thinkers as they look to the left which can indicate the recalling of the memory of an experience or emotion.
Looking to the right
Looking to the right is an indication of creative thinking, which could be potentially interpreted as deceit, but not necessarily so, as it could just indicate that someone is creating a more entertaining version of events.
Puckering of the lips typically indicates desire, and can be a playfully flirtatious gesture.
Pursing of the lips could indicate disapproval, dislike or distrust.
Slightly parted lips can be a strong flirting signal, especially if the lips are also licked.
Biting the lip can often be a sign of stress or anxiety, but can also be an indicator of desire.
Open palms facing up is an indication of acceptance and openness, as well as indicating sincerity and honesty.
Hiding the hands is usually an indication of being less open and honest. Hands behind the back or in the pockets could however indicate being relaxed.
Finger-tapping is almost certainly an indication of disinterest and a sign of impatience and boredom.
The face platter
The face platter is when someone places their chin on top their hands by interlocking their fingers. This is a positive body gesture and indicates interest and that the person is relaxed.
2. Wear red to be more attractive
Red is a good color for both men and women. It is associated with passion, eroticism, power, and virility. According to studies,the color red plays a big role in how we perceive a potential partner.3✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1080/00224545.2011.605398 4✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Researchers have shown that both men and women are more attractive, more sexually desirable, and more sexually receptive to people wearing red or in an environment with red lights, walls, etc.
What to do: Getting ready for a first date? Throw on a red shirt or lipstick. Maybe recommend a place that has red accents which will work in favor for both of you.
3. Facial expressions: Happiness vs. Pride
Your facial expressions will play a big role in how others perceive you. One study analyzed how others perceive pride, shame, and happiness, compared to a neutral expression. The results showed that women with happy expressions were seen as more desirable.5✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
However, men with the same expression were seen as less desirable. Men with a proud expression were seen as more attractive, while women with this expression were less attractive. Shame or embarrassment was seen as relatively attractive in both sexes.
What to do: If you’re a man, smile less and show more pride. If you’re a woman, a smile is the key to attention. Also, don’t be afraid to show your embarrassment!
4. Wear perfume
According to research, good smells can play a big role in how others perceive you. In this case, women were seen as more attractive if they were wearing a pleasant smell.6✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Researchers believe that this is due to the part of the brain that is processes sight and smell share certain connections or areas.
What to do: Maintain proper hygiene, and use deodorant and/or a good quality perfume or cologne sparingly.
5. Be positive
Being attractive is more than just having good physical attributes, personality also plays an important role in how attractive we are.
Studies have show that a positive person will be more desirable, both as a friend and a romantic partner. How positive or negative you are will actually affect the degree to your attractiveness.7✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2007.00172.x8✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
What to do: Put your bad mood aside and try to think more positively.
6. Be honest
Trying to be perfect can actually make us come off as fake and unattractive, which is obviously counterproductive.
There is a psychological phenomenon called the Pratfall effect, which makes us more attractive as we make more mistakes.
What to do: Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to show what you see as a deficit, and don’t worry about making little mistakes- it’s what makes us human!
7. Be a good communicator
Social skills are important when trying to connect with other people.
What to do: Be natural and don’t try to hide your emotions. Have conversations that build intimacy and trust- maybe you want to talk about your interesting quirk or talk about your romantic desires.
Show that you’re empathetic and compassionate and let the other person share their opinions. Remember that you may not always agree, but it’s important to be respectful and throw judgment out the window.
According to science, subtly mimicking what another person is doing will make you more attractive to them because it shows them that you’re compassionate and empathetic.
What to do: Subtly mimic what the other person is doing: if they have their hand on the table, put your hands on the table. You probably do this without realizing, but if it doesn’t come naturally, then you can practice it.
You can also copy their tone of voice and body language. Be careful not to make it too noticeable because it can come off as you making fun of them!
9. Men – 10 day “scruff” is ideal
A study at the University of New South Wales in Australia has shown that 10-day beards are most attractive. Women judged beards of 10 days as more attractive than longer or shorter beards, showing that 10-day beards, in general, are most attractive.
What to do: Aim for the 10-day scruff. Try to hold off on shaving for a few days, and maintain it at that length once you’ve reached optimal beard length.
10. Women – Wear heels
According to a study, the taller the heel, the more helpful behaviors were activated in men, which means that men were more willing and likely to help a women wearing taller heels.9✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
What to do: Take advantage of those high-heels that you have in your closet.
Try to make peace with those heels that have been hiding away, but if you’re too uncomfortable or clumsy in heels, go with a lower heel or flats. It’s better to walk upright then wear nice shoes!