CosBeauty is the #BeautyAddict's guide to lifestyle, health and beauty in Australia.
In this issue:
- The Breast Report - your guide to augmentation
- Put an end to bad hair days
- 24 hour makeup, products that last
- Sex appeal - do you have it?
feature attraction is a youthful appearance, which is linked to reproductive capacity. In humans, mate ‘value’ therefore declines with age, beginning in early adulthood. It follows, then, that we are naturally inclined to enhance our appearance. But what attracts a man to a woman fundamentally differs from what women seek in a male partner. ‘In virtually all of the human populations sampled, males rated physical attractiveness (usually associated with youth) significantly more important in mate choice than females did,’ says Australian evolutionary anthropologist Sean McBride. ‘Females, by contrast, mostly rated earning potential and ambition-cumindustriousness as more important factors when choosing a mate.’ In other words, the attractiveness of the man is directly linked to his skills and prowess rather than his looks. ‘An evolutionary perspective on human behaviour suggests that human beings, like members of other animal species, are likely to have adaptations for assessing the “value”
of potential sexual partners, using visual and other cues, and that our standards of physical attractiveness arise from these adaptations,’ McBride continues. Regardless of culture or country of origin, men find similar female traits attractive. Their preferences are biologically and evolutionarily programmed to find signs of youth and health attractive, so as to seek females that are best suited to carry on their genes. Studies have found that female figures with slender bodies, a low waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and large breasts are rated as the most attractive, healthy, feminine-looking and desirable for both casual and long-term romantic relationships. ‘Large breasts consistently enhance the attractiveness rating of both slender and heavy figures, so long as they have a low WHR,’ says McBride. ‘Polish research has shown that women with large breasts and a small waist had larger amounts of female hormones than women with a broad waist and large hips; narrow waist and small breasts; or broad waist and small breasts.’ The significance of the WHR is directly linked to fertility, as a low WHR is believed to correspond to the optimal fat distribution for high fertility. If a woman is seen to be more fertile, she is also seen to be more attractive. ‘Women with a low WHR may also be healthier, given that a high WHR resulting from a bloated abdomen can be a sign of parasite infection. A high WHR in a female can also predict menstrual irregularity, hirsutism (excess hairiness), elevated plasma triglycerides, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, gall bladder disease and cancer of the endometrium, ovaries and breast,’ McBride explains. But large breasts and a small waist aren’t the only physical assets men are drawn to. Other characteristics said to be prized by our male ancestors in Scents appeal Scientists have also discovered that scent plays an important role in the sexual attraction of males to females. At certain points during the menstrual cycle, women produce more or less oestrogen and, accordingly, their scent becomes more or less appealing to men. Research indicates that oestrogen triggers blood flow to the hypothalamus in the male, but not the female, brain. In fact, research into our sense of smell has determined that a simple kiss has evolved in the Western world from the universal human greeting of smelling one another’s hands or faces. Although such smells are not blatant, and may not register in the conscious mind, such smells influence mood and sexual mating preferences. Unlike pheromones, which are long-distance chemical messengers in the Animal Kingdom, these are subtle protein secretions detected at close quarters. ‘They enable humans to determine whether they are genetically similar or different,’ says Prof Rob Brooks. ‘Opposites do attract,’ he says. ‘It’s like an internal communications system.’ their potential mates were full red lips, clear and smooth skin, clear eyes, lustrous hair and good muscle tone; all indications of a healthy, youthful woman. ‘These in-built preferences seem to be aimed at ensuring males find suitably fertile females who are healthy enough to reproduce and, in turn, produce healthy children,’ says McBride. ‘These mechanisms are instinctual and generally subconscious. Men don’t think to themselves: “I must find a woman with a WHR of 0.7 and smooth skin”. We just find these characteristics appealing and they are almost universally sought after,’ he adds. www.cosbeauty.com.au 39