What do men find attractive in women?

Attraction can sometimes be a very complex thing. What one man finds attractive in a woman, another may not. This is especially true when we take into account the psychological make-up of a person, shaped by his past life experiences.

But, for the most part, the attraction is mainly determined by certain evolved physical and mental traits. Evolved traits form the core of what people find attractive in others. 

Let’s discuss what specific traits men find attractive in women and why…

Physical beauty

When looking for a potential partner, men place a high value on physical beauty. This is because physical beauty is a good indication that a woman is carrying healthy genes.

Also, mating with an attractive woman means a high probability that a man’s offspring would also grow up to be attractive one day and thus be reproductively successful.

Yes, the major reason we find attractive people attractive is that they have the potential of giving us attractive children and grandchildren who’d ensure the reproductive success of our genes in succeeding generations.

Physical beauty in a woman is reflected by a symmetrical face and body, clear and smooth skin, large eyes, small chin, full lips, curved hips, and lustrous hair. Basically, everything you see cosmetic companies promising women because those guys have done their homework and know what works.

Women, both consciously and unconsciously, know that physical beauty is highly valued in them. Therefore they try to maintain or enhance this trait in order to be ‘in demand’ so to speak. Some women go the extra mile and undergo plastic surgery to improve their appearance.  

Women experience the greatest distress when their beauty is undermined somehow. For example, acne is universally abhorred by women and so is becoming too fat. Call a woman fat and you’re dead as a dodo.


Youthfulness

The higher the reproductive value of a woman, the more attractive she’s perceived to be.

Reproductive value of a woman of a given age refers to her average expected future reproduction. In other words, the more offspring a woman can produce in the future, the higher is her reproductive value.

Younger women have a higher reproductive value than older women simply because the younger a woman is the more children she can bear in the future. So, anything that can help a woman signal her youthfulness is attractive to men.

Of course, physical beauty is a major aspect of youthfulness. Younger women are likely to be more beautiful. But youthfulness is also signaled by vitality, liveliness, and cheerfulness- traits that men naturally find very attractive in women.  

Because youthfulness is such a strong signal of a woman’s reproductive value and attractiveness, it’s considered rude by many to ask a woman about her age. By concealing her actual age, a woman can give the impression (by enhancing her beauty among other things) that she’s younger than she actually is.


Low waist-to-hip ratio

Women with a low waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) are perceived to be more attractive. Low WHR basically means a narrow waist and wide hips.

Studies have shown that women with a low WHR have less difficulty in getting pregnant and are less likely to develop health risks. In fact, many experts believe that a low WHR is a good indicator of a woman’s reproductive success.

Ancestral men must have preferred women with low WHR because it unconsciously but accurately signaled health, fertility, and good childbearing ability.

This is why you see a lot of music videos having attractive women shaking and wiggling their hips to draw attention to their low WHR. Perhaps this is also the reason why women wear heels that enable them to walk in a posture that allows more conspicuous hip movement. In fact, a study showed that men rated women wearing high heels as more attractive than those wearing flat shoes.

man attracted to a woman
Low WHR working its magic.
Feminine behavior

Men are attracted to women who are feminine, nurturing, and caring because these psychological traits signal good motherly qualities. A woman who’s nurturing and caring will provide better care to her children, thereby increasing her own and her partner’s reproductive success.

A key feature of feminine behavior is submissiveness. Submissiveness is attractive to men for two reasons. First, it signals fidelity which is an important need for a man seeking a long-term relationship. Second, because childlike submissiveness triggers the paternal instinct of men to love and protect.

A delicate, feminine, tender woman can bring the strongest and the most powerful man to his knees. Such is the power of a woman’s tenderness.



References:

Adaptive significance of female physical attractiveness: role of waist-to-hip ratio

How wearing high heels affects judgments of female attractiveness

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