We all think we know what the other sex is looking for in a partner. It feels like something intuitive, like a form of sacred knowledge that’s bestowed on us from the beginning. Unfortunately, when you start actually dating, you can easily come to the conclusion that this intuition can be wrong on more than one occasion.
For one thing, men are not a monolith, so there is actually a lot of variation regarding what they find and don’t find attractive, as it is for women. But when you’re dating and looking for Mr. Right, you want to showcase your best features, and it would be nice to know what Mr. Right finds sexy to know what to focus on more, right?
So how can we really know what men find attractive and start combating some false beliefs that have been with us for so long? Well, luckily, in these modern times, we actually have lots of research to give us a better idea of what men really want.
Check out the top 5 false beliefs about what traits men find attractive, according to research:
False Belief about Your Attractiveness #1: Very Thin
You can never be too rich or too thin. Words of wisdom that have been on women’s (and men’s) minds for years, but when it comes to the thin part, research seems to disagree.
Mind you, there is a 71 billion dollar industry that desperately wants this saying to be true. The weight loss industry has lots to gain from making women feel like they constantly need a lower BMI to make themselves attractive. Even if research shows 95% of diets fail, it doesn’t stop a lot of women from trying.
But Professor Devendra Singh of the University of Texas found that men don’t care about your BMI. Singh and her colleagues actually published an article in 2010 in Evolution and Human Behavior that body mass index, or BMI, wasn’t a big factor for men in finding women attractive. What they do care about is your waist-to-hip (WTH) ratio. Men find a lower WTH ratio very attractive, no matter the actual pounds on the scale.
False Belief about Your Attractiveness #2: Makeup
According to a OnePoll survey commissioned by Groupon, women spend around $300 a month on their appearance, adding up to nearly a quarter of a million dollars in their lifetimes.
They do it for different reasons of course, but since we are constantly bombarded with messages about how make-up makes us more attractive, it’s fair to say a big reason for this investment goes into improving one’s appearance.
But researchers at Bangor University found something interesting: men were more attracted to women wearing less make-up. The men saw pictures of women with, and without make-up, and on average pictures with 40% less make-up had a more positive impact.
False Belief about Your Attractiveness #3: Someone Who Can Make Him Laugh
Is there anyone who doesn’t have a “good sense of humor” on their soulmate wish list? Both men and women cite this criterion as one of the most important things they are looking for in a partner.
However, it seems men and women position themselves differently when it comes to this factor. While women want a partner who can make them laugh, men are looking for a woman who can appreciate their jokes.
False Belief about Your Attractiveness #4: A Sexy, Deep Voice
Actresses Kathleen Turner and Lauren Bacall were famous for their sultry voices, leading many to believe that the deep voice is one of the biggest traits attractive to men.
But it seems that not all men are so interested in a husky and deep voice. A 2013 study from the University College of London found that men find a high-pitched, breathy voice more attractive. Researchers believe this is the case because higher-pitched voices are associated with smaller body sizes. Similarly, women are more attracted to men with deeper voices because they are more associated with larger body sizes.
False Belief about Your Attractiveness #5: A Young Face
There is literally no corner in the world where the pressure to stay young doesn’t reach you. Over time, women have reached the conclusion that in order to remain desirable for men, they need to tap into the fountain for youth. But over a certain age, when some wrinkles and gray hairs start to appear, women can get easily discouraged.
But counter-intuitive or not, a young-looking face is one trait men do not always find the most attractive. According to one study in The Royal Society, when choosing a long-term partner, men actually prefer more mature women.
Men who were born to mothers over 30 years of age are more likely to find older women attractive than younger ones. They may associate positive feelings like comfort, or a good bonding experience with mature women, more than younger women.
The idea a lot of women have regarding what traits men find attractive is not backed-up by research. What you see in the media appears like the definitive norms of beauty, but in reality, they do not reflect the desires of the majority of men. So it might be time to let go of that ‘perfect’ image you think men want.
Did you have any of these false beliefs, or know others? Share your stories with us in the comments! We always love hearing from you.