We’ve all been there. Someone gorgeous comes into view, and our heart rate pumps up, and body temperature boils. Attraction hits us like a wave, powerful and seemingly unstoppable. But is it? Can we control whom we’re attracted to?
When it comes to attraction, many people immediately jump to the conclusion of sexual attraction. After all, we often hear people discussing it, and so we assume that it’s the only one that’s out there, but that’s not the case at all.
Attraction comes in many types and forms. It occurs in different ways and in different relationships for different psychological, social, and biological reasons, and each one of them is vital to who we are as individuals. All these different types of attraction lead us to different individuals and help us to become the person we are.
However, attraction can be even worse when it’s with the people you least expect. It can be someone who pushed past you once, and now you can’t stop thinking (or chatting) about them. So why is it that we fancy certain people, and what actually is it that makes them attractive to us? According to psychologists, there are five main factors that trigger attraction:
- Proximity: how often you see and how near you are to someone
- Similarity: how many interests or values you share
- Reciprocity: we’re more likely to be attracted to someone who’s attracted to us
- Physical attractiveness: how pleasing they look to us
- Familiarity: how comfortable that person seems to us
What is the Attraction?
Everything from admiring someone’s appearance to taking an interest in someone to experiencing romantic or sexual feelings can be considered a type of attraction. The attraction takes many forms, and it’s likely to experience more than one type simultaneously.
While there are numerous variations and potencies, seven stand out as the major types of attraction. Those who’ve long worked to understand the scientific aspects behind this elusive spark tend to define attraction as forces that pull people together. These forces, as we’ve previously mentioned, can be things like sexual desire, proximity, similarity, or even familiarity.
For instance, when we’re sexually attracted to someone, we’re dictated by a desire to engage in intimate acts and can be influenced by physical cues alone. Romantic attraction, on the other hand, is deeper, stimulated by feelings of wanting a relationship with someone. When we’re in a relationship, it’s considered we’re genuinely attracted to the other person and vice versa.
We can speak of attraction even in companionate relationships. Because friendship attraction is mostly platonically, we’re driven by a desire to engage in a non-romantic relationship. We can be attracted to people because they are interesting to talk to or are good listeners or funny but not sexually attracted to those individuals.
Other types of attraction include the following:
- Sensual or physical attraction: stirred by a desire for physical closeness and emotional touches (nonsexual) like an affectionate cuddle or a hug.
- Aesthetic attraction: guided by an interest in someone’s physical appearance (but not necessarily wanting a sexual experience with them).
- Intellectual attraction: mostly cerebral, stimulated but an interest in someone’s thoughts, mind, or the stimulating conversation that they may offer.
- Emotional attraction: stems from feelings of attachment, connection, and vulnerability with someone.
All these types of attraction are often fluid and not always limited by one another but can also exist separately within us. For years psychologists have studied the works behind attraction. Luckily, they provided us with loose clues we can get when we’re going out on a limb to meet those mature escorts.
Scents and Sounds Play a Key Role in Attraction
When we think of attraction, we might instantly think of pheromones. They are the reason for the triumph of the perfume industry.
A 2017 study found that the voice and smell of someone can be a biological determination of their heterosexual attraction. The same study revealed that a man’s scent indicates his level of dominance, just as a woman’s scent can indicate how fertile she may be.
When it comes to voice, lower-pitched voices seem more attractive to women, while men tend to find higher-pitched voices more attractive and expect women to be both thinner and younger.
Self-assurance Can Win People Over
When someone with a confident vibe enters the room, heads turn. And it makes sense why. They are 100% certain that you might admire them and might even consider them attractive. But contrary to most inexperienced beliefs, self-confidence isn’t the key to attraction. What we fancy about other people is not confidence but rather how self-aware or self-assured they are. Confidence, however, often stems from our ability and aptitude to rise above a challenge. And, though it’s a great virtue to have, confidence does not prompt attraction. On the other hand, self-awareness denotes how comfortable you are with yourself, which can make you seem more attractive to others.
Your Body Language Matters
Recent findings show that talking slowly, using smaller gestures, and leaning backward are non-threatening cues that allow a date to feel more comfortable. The more comfortable you look, the greater the chance your date will loosen up, and feel free to get livelier. Showing balance between nonverbal cues is considered attractive since you’re respecting personal space and showcasing your personality.
More often than not, an open and relaxed body posture signals confidence and can enhance feelings of attraction. Women, for instance, when they’re attracted to someone, tend to smile and make eye contact. Although they tend to do these behaviors naturally, eye contact and smiling increase activity in areas of the brain associated with reward.