What Is Sex Appeal Made Of?

Instant attraction, the power of scent, slow-burn love and opposites attraction.

 
You may pretend you do not like punks anymore, but no matter how much you try to demonstrate during your life that your taste in men has changed, you should know that a woman's preference has been shown to be constant along her entire life.

So, what shapes in your eyes a man's sex appeal?

Cosmopolitan Editor in Chief Kate White believes that sex appeal is to be found in four distinct major attraction types, the only way your choice varies during a woman's life: instant attraction; the power of scent; slow-burn love; and opposites attract. "There's no universal formula or magical formula. But we do connect on certain levels - physical, psychological - and there could be childhood factors, biological factors", said White.

Instant attraction is linked to early experience and familiar backgrounds. " (...) the crushes we develop when we're first starting to have sexual feelings leave a long-lasting imprint. When you find yourself attracted to preppy guys with blue eyes or Johnny Depp because he was your crush, it really has to do with those early crushes", said White.

This has also something to do with cultural and family background or ideals formed by the mass media that form an internal model. " ... we are hard-wired to like people from the same background as us, same educational level. When you're in the room, you go to the guy or the girl you feel is at your level."

But opposites are also attracted to one another, especially in what concerns the personality. "It's almost as if we're trying to balance out what we lack. So if we're introverted, we're drawn to that guy who's the life of the party."

White also mentions the power of scent, referring in fact to pheromones. "They signal our reproductive potential. You may find yourself attracted to a guy. You have no clue why. It's because on some level, you like his smell, his scent, his pheromones."

The Slow-Burn Love is connected to a more adult age. "Slow-burn love is when all of a sudden you find yourself attracted - maybe after many years - to a guy who you were friends with. And it could be - it's not that you've changed so much in what you like, but it could be that he's become more your type. Maybe he just sort of grew up suddenly. When you sense that new thing, it really triggered some nice dopamine in your brain and you like what you see and you want to take it a step farther." These factors cannot be controlled by men or women.

White also stresses the importance that your relation with the parent of the opposite sex has on your love life, especially in the case of the dysfunctional ones.

"If our dad was incredibly nurturing to us, we're going to be drawn to a guy like that, possibly. The bad thing is if you had a dysfunctional relationship with that opposite sex parent, your father's cold and distant, you may be drawn to that kind of guy, hoping to fix it. But the nice thing is, a lot of women, after a certain amount of self-awareness and their girlfriends telling them 'get out of that pattern,' they can break it."

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By Stefan Anitei    26 Apr 2007, 10:20 GMT