Of all the things you want control over in your life, who you have sex with probably ranks pretty high. Fortunately, considering that we have not, in fact, descended into a Handmaid’s Tale dystopian nightmare (yet), it probably feels like you do. Well, we’re sorry to tell you that free will is an illusion and you’re as beholden to the tyranny of biology as the grubbiest little worm when it comes to who you rub your genitals on.

Birth Control

Women who go off hormonal birth control to procreatively bone might be in for a nasty shock. It tricks their bodies into thinking they’re already pregnant, making them attracted to more nurturing guys, so once they quit to have Mr. Sensitive’s baby, they might find they’re suddenly into the opposite, i.e. broad and grunty.

Genetics

You have a secret superpower, and it’s sensing immune profiles. (We never said it was cool.) Women prefer the smells of men whose genetic immune profiles are the most different from their own, which is helpful for your future offspring but also to everyone hoping to avoid a distant cousin.

If You’re Scared

Screaming man

(Timothy Dykes/Unsplash)

If you ever find yourself weathering some heavy turbulence, don’t be surprised if your fellow passengers start looking like airline snacks. Your body tends to mistake the racing heartbeat of fear with one of lust, tricking you into thinking you’re turned on by whoever you’re with, which is why scary movies are a time-honored drive-in tradition.

Literally Just Being Nearby

There’s a concept called the propinquity effect that ties attraction to sheer physical proximity. Basically, the more often you bump into someone, the more likely you are to start thinking they’re kinda cute. This is not a blank check to start stalking someone’s social media and “just happen to show up” everywhere they go.

Who You’ve Had Sex With Before

Young couple

(Taisiia Stupak/Unsplash)

Think you don’t have a type? Wrong. You might not have started out with one, but one of the biggest factors of our perception of beauty is familiarity. We prefer faces similar to those of our friends, loved ones, and yes, exes, because we associate those people with good times. It’s not all freaky biological pranks -- sometimes we just want someone who reminds us of our favorite weirdos.

Top image: Toa Heftiba/Unsplash

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