5 Insignificant Things That Determine Who You Have Sex With
If nothing else, this website is devoted to helping you find a mate ... using science (as evidenced here, here and here). After all, attracting a partner is still a thankless chore full of wearing pants and pretending to care.
Or is it? Turns out there are even more things that get people to consider knowing us in the biblical way, and they're so subtle and random that pants-wearing just seems stupid now. Things like ...
The Tilt of Your Head
Yep, the angle of your face is a strong determinant of how attractive people think you are. Now rest your head against the back of your chair and think about that for a second. BAM! We just improved your appearance to your potential romantic partners, and since pretty people don't need to think, we guess you're done for the day. To the burger depository!
We had to crop this picture carefully to avoid the ocean of boobs he's buried in.
Researchers at the University of Newcastle discovered this tilt effect when they showed volunteers in their study several computer-generated faces, both male and female, looking straight ahead but at various pitches (chin up or chin down).
Freak on or freak out.
The results were pretty clear. If a woman has her head tilted back, she's regarded as less feminine and less attractive; chin down, however, and suddenly she's more feminine to volunteers, and also hotter.
But the same neck strain for men had the opposite effect: They looked less masculine with their head tilted forward and, as you might expect, were consistently rated as less attractive. "Chin up was the money for dudes," Dr. Darren Burke, co-author of the study, never said, but could have if he wanted to.
"I can see right up your nose."
So how can the same head angle earn men and women completely different reactions? There are a few possibilities. The first is simple height statistics. Men are usually taller than women, if you hadn't heard. Hence, seeing the underside of someone's chin could somehow work out in women's minds as making them more masculine. Conversely, looking down on a person, physically, would be how a man usually sees women, making shortness a feminine trait, explaining perhaps why no one wants to date the tall girl in every sitcom ever.
But aside from wearing stilts or chopping your legs off, the only option for people lacking height or believing they're too tall is head tilting, which simulates the appearance of tallness or shortness.
Which is why most Danny DeVito films are shot by Roomba.
For men, tilting your head back also enhances, however slightly, the width of the jaw. A wider jaw, according to previous studies, indicates more testosterone. And more testosterone? Yeah, that's what ladies specifically looking for a roll in the hay find attractive.
How Much You (Don't) Smile
Many of you out there may be in the habit of practicing your smile in the mirror because you think it will somehow make you acceptable to the opposite sex. You smile in pictures, you smile when you meet somebody -- it's how you put your best face forward.
"No, really, that's not patronizing. Studies say ... you're going to spit in my food, aren't you?"
It's another case of what works for men doesn't work at all for women. In a study specifically examining how emotional expressions influence attractiveness, participants looked at and rated photographs of members of the opposite sex expressing happiness, pride and shame.
But apparently not fashion sense.
Men, it turns out, were most attracted to the smiling woman up there, but found the upraised arms kind of a turnoff. Conversely, women liked the guy's show of pride and were even more attracted when he was sad. But what was most objectionable to the women was the guy smiling: They found this pose the least attractive, meaning virtually every other pose, including the neutral one, was sexier to them.
You probably could have guessed that, considering that (for instance) every Twilight poster features Jacob or Edward either scowling or brooding. But why? Why don't women long for the happy guy?
Research suggests that smiling may be regarded as a generally feminine trait. Happiness isn't really the most domineering expression, and as much as we hate to say it, domination cues play a role in sexual attraction. Hence, the guy without a stupid grin on his face is closer to what ladies looking for sex want. (Besides sex.)
But this hardly explains why the sadness expression beat out the pride expression. Isn't reveling in the crushing of your enemies, seeing them driven before you and hearing the lamentation of the women more domineering than looking like your dog died? And even if you aren't smiling, that doesn't necessarily mean that you're sad looking, so what's the deal?
Finally our crippling depression can be revealed to the world!
Shame, according to Professor Jessica Tracy, co-author of the study, has "been associated with an awareness of social norms and appeasement behaviors, which elicits trust in others." Or, in other words, a woman not looking to be screwed over may favor the humble fellow more than a guy who looks like an arrogant douche. Surprisingly.
Also, researchers suggest that both men and women might see a sad person as someone in need of help, which is almost a positive idea until you realize that women were most attracted to the sad guy, meaning they either care more than men or just really prefer somebody with problems over a happy, smiling guy who doesn't need therapy and hours of self-indulgent pity.
"I just want to reach out and tell him, 'Yes, me too. Me, too.'"
Men were still attracted to sad women, but probably because it comes across as submissive.
These studies almost never say anything good about us, do they?
A Long Ring Finger Determines Facial Attraction
We've previously mentioned how the length of your ring finger is an indication of how much testosterone you were exposed to in the womb. The longer the ring finger, the more testosterone. So it's easy to imagine that women would come to see the long finger as an attractive trait, if even on a subconscious level.
"I know what those long fingers are good for ... opening all those jars in my cupboard. Get to it."
But even if the finger isn't visible, it still works -- women think guys with long ring fingers have more attractive faces.
A study led by scientist Camille Ferdenzi of the University of Geneva confirmed that, above all other factors (including body odor drawn from the sweaty armpits of men of varying degrees of manliness), the length of the ring finger pretty much sealed the deal on how attractive a man's face is to a woman.
This hand later stuck the scientists' heads down the toilets.
Determining this relation between testosterone and the face involved a complex experiment of showing pictures of men to a bunch of women and having them give a rating for masculinity and attractiveness. Over and over, long-ring-finger guys were all rated as having the best faces.
What's odd but consistent with what we told you in this article about women being attracted to feminine male faces was that a positive attraction rating wasn't always paired with a masculine rating. This means that it's possible that a man could have a longer ring finger, which means having more prenatal testosterone and thus a more attractive face, but not actually look more masculine. We're calling this the Legolas Effect.
"My elf ears hear the swoonings of women and the exasperated sighs of their husbands."
But don't start plucking your eyebrows and donning your elf ears just yet. Like we said, this is prenatal testosterone, which is different from the fluctuating adult testosterone determining your tone of voice and body odor, and it's more or less unchangeable because its work is done once you're born. Once you're out, no more fetal testosterone for you.
And no amount of crying and begging will increase it.
Whether You Approach Them or They Approach You
When you see an attractive person in a bar, chances are you will start working up the courage to go over and say hello. You want to seem assertive and sure of yourself, after all, and people admire that sort of thing, right?
Not so fast. Who walks up to whom in a bar or club could be the deciding factor in getting those phone digits. It turns out the best chance you have of getting that special someone interested in you may be if you can somehow get them to be the one to approach you.
That should do it.
Don't mix up what we're saying here -- it sounds stupidly obvious to say, "The one doing the approaching tends to be the one who finds the other more attractive." Well, duh. That's why they approached them. Right?
That's not the point; the point is that if we put a gun to your head and made you approach a completely random guy or girl, the act of approaching will make you find that person more attractive.
The obvious conclusion? Guns make everything sexy.
According to experiments, anyway. The researchers set up a "speed dating" situation where pairs would be randomly matched. When women were the ones who remained seated, they were pickier about the men they found attractive. But when the positions were reversed, they became 2 percent more likely to say yes to a potential date. Men showed an even more drastic difference, with those approaching the seated women 7 percent less likely to say they were attracted to her.
"I see you can bend your body at a 90-degree angle for relaxation ... I like that."
It also brought the number of men and women who said yes to a potential partner almost exactly even, indicating that women's perceived "pickiness" when it comes to men may just be the fact that it has always been more socially acceptable for men to approach them first.
Or, it could be that when you walk toward something, your brain just assumes you want the thing. Maybe because it figures it saves the effort of going and finding something else.
"At this point it's either decades of intimacy or turning slightly to the left."
Your Level of Facial Scarring
Let's say you're a not just a man, but a real man. We here at Cracked know what that's like. You've lived a hard life out on the streets. Every day is a struggle to survive, filled with knife fights and dancing.
We understand your struggles, man. Sometimes 4/4 time is hard.
Maybe you got cut during one of these beautifully choreographed West Side Story-type numbers and are worried that your sex life (and film career) is over. Don't despair: Women find men with facial scars extremely attractive.
Unfortunately, if you are looking for "the one," women are more likely to see scarred men as dangerous seekers of adventure (i.e., short-term sex partners) than as mates with whom to settle down.
"Yeah, this was a mountain lion. He tripped me up and I fell onto the TV stand."
And if you're a woman and you're thinking that it's the same opposite effect as the other items on this list, because no man could love a scarred woman, well, it turns out it really doesn't matter either way.
At least one study found that women actually rate men with "post-traumatic scarring" more attractive than men with no scars. Once again, we owe this to evolution. A man with facial scars is seen as a survivor of difficult fights, possibly with a saber tooth tiger. This in turn means his children would be more likely to survive if they ever had a run-in with some large, deadly animal.
"I may die from trauma any minute, but yes. Sex."
Women's interest in these men was purely short-term, though, indicating once again that women like manly men (read: the asshole who will start bar fights and end up with scars all over his stupid, manly face) for sexual flings, while they gravitate to more "feminine" men for long-term relationships and the care of their children.
Strangely, the study did not find a preference for or against women with facial scars, possibly indicating once again that men aren't that picky. Who cares if she has been in a few knife fights, as long as there's the chance she'll still sleep with you?
"Hey, doll, is that a knife or ... it's a knife. Right. My wallet's in my coat."
For more ways Cracked will help you find the perfect mate, check out 6 Things Everyone Knows About Women (That Aren't True) and 6 Things Men Do To Get Laid That Science Says Turn Women Off.
And stop by LinkSTORM to perfect your chin posing.
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