Picking a Partner | Psychology of Physical Attraction


Why do we find physically
attractive people so appealing? Because physical attractiveness is a sign
of overall health and fitness. Most indicators of health are externally visible. And when I say fitness, I mean genetic fitness,
not going to gym fitness, although that does help and I’ll get to that later. Whether you’re aware of it or not, whether
it’s your intention or not, you judge people’s physical attractiveness based on their ability
to provide you with healthy children. Wait sorry, I should have mentioned this in
the beginning, but this video is basically only geared towards heterosexual mate selection
so… yeah. You may only be playing the field for fun,
but when you decide to go home with someone, you’re still unconsciously judging them
based on their ability to produce healthy offspring. You may not want to have children with them,
you may just want to have some fun, but your standards for beauty are based on reproduction. And your standards for reproductive ability
are based mostly on what you can see. So what do we find physically attractive? Let’s start off by busting a popular myth
perpetuated by just about everyone. The media does not dictate what is physically
attractive. If that were the case, different cultures
would have different standards of beauty – and while there are some small variations, what
we find attractive is similar across cultures AND across time. Media portrayals of physical attractiveness
just reflect what we already think is physically attractive – they don’t tell us what to
find attractive and what we find attractive has rarely changed, fashion has changed, but
that’s about it. If you find that opening fact offensive, you’re
definitely going to find the rest of this offensive. Luckily, I brought back an old friend from
the gaslighting video to help out: Scumbag Knowing Better
Sup. Since I’m not an awful person and he is… He’s here to say the things… * I can introduce myself* Alright… uh… I’m here to say all the horrible things
you’re all thinking but don’t want to admit. So if you find something offensive, it’s
clearly just his opinion, not mine, blame him, not me. Let’s hope that works. But, since I opened this by talking about
reproduction and children, let’s begin by bringing up a fact everyone should hopefully
already know. Women find different men attractive based
on where they are in their menstrual cycle. When they are ovulating, they are attracted
to more masculine or “alpha” men… you know the guys that are typically at the higher
end of the 1-10 scale. When they are not ovulating, they are more
willing to trade off physical attractiveness and genetic quality for men who are more willing
or able to invest in offspring… often referred to as a “beta” male. Basically what he’s saying is that as long
as a guy is rich, he can be ugly. Yeah… in a study that’s been replicated
so many times even mythbusters did an episode on it, when asked to rate a guy on only physical
attractiveness, if women can still see the guy’s income or job title as part of his
bio, they will unconsciously take that into account and, on average, rate a rich guy as
23% more attractive than if they couldn’t see it. Meaning if he was a 5 without the bio, he’s
a now a 7.3. Women want someone who is better able to provide
for potential offspring. But that’s the majority of the time, when
they’re not ovulating. But they just go for looks when they are in
their fertile phase, or looking for someone short term, or they’re in a long term relationship
and they’re looking for someone to uhh … Someone to cheat with. The scientific term for that is “extra-pair
coupling” but… yes, cheating. 19% of women in long term monogamous relationships
admit to having cheated at least once. Men are no better, at 23%, but their standards
for physical beauty don’t change when it comes to long or short term relationships. In the short term, women want someone who
is just plain physically attractive and displays prominent masculine features. Or to put it another way, when women are fertile,
they look for masculine genetic traits, when they are not, they look for providers. In order to display that they are providers,
men will often make ostentatious displays of wealth, otherwise known as peacocking. Gold chains, fancy white shoes, sports cars,
giant trucks, you know the rest. Our fashion is often dictated by what we know
the opposite sex wants to see, this goes for both men and women. But men also use fashion to enhance their
masculine genetic features. Broad shoulders indicate a high level of testosterone
during development, and women use that as a cue. So men have figured out that if they wear
suits with nice big shoulder pads, they appear more masculine. Women will find them more attractive and other
men will find them more intimidating. Testosterone also affects the jaw, creating
a wider, more square jawline. Which is why some men choose to have a beard
– because it accentuates the jaw line and makes it look more prominent. You trying to say something? No… we’re the same… nevermind moving
on. The last masculine feature has to do with
your hands. You may have heard the myth that having big
hands is a sign of having a… A large d. Yeah, that one. The myth that even this guy gets super defensive
about… He referred to my hands, if they’re small,
something else must be small – I guarantee you there’s no problem. Well it turns out that there’s actually
some truth to that. Although it’s not the entire hand, it’s
just the ring finger. While there is no real correlation between
ring finger size and.. D size. … there is a correlation between ring finger
size and testosterone level AND women are able to pick up on that. When asked to rate physical attractiveness
of hands, men with ring fingers longer than their pointer fingers were rated significantly
higher. I don’t know how they know that… But as you’ll find with the rest of this
video, some of the cues we use to judge physical attractiveness are incredibly subtle, while
others are pretty obvious. So when we talk about what men look for in
women, let’s get real obvious. Bigger is better. He’s talking about boobs. I actually wasn’t but… well okay, you
know what, let’s start with that. The idea that bigger breasts are better able
to provide for offspring is a complete myth. There’s no correlation between breast size
and milk production. So why is bigger better? Because it’s actually not the size that
men look for – it’s symmetry. This goes for literally everything, symmetry
is the prime indicator of genetic and developmental health. If you are smaller and assymetrical, it’s
easier to hide that assymmetry. But if you’re large AND symmetrical, you
are better displaying your genetic health. Symmetry is more important than size, but
size better displays your symmetry. So men look for symmetry by looking for bigger
everything – bigger… Boobs. … bigger eyes, bigger hips… Which is why, and I hate to put it this way,
but Disney knows what men look for… which is why they draw cartoon characters like this. I’ve always been pretty partial to Ariel
really, I know who Elsa is but I still haven’t seen Frozen – and I won’t, just let it
go… let it go… Anyway, they all have impossibly large eyes,
impossibly small waists, and other exaggerated features that men look for. And before you think cartoons are only sexualizing
women, they do it to men too. And just like with men’s fashion, women
have found ways to accentuate the features they know men look for… with bras and even
underwear that make things look bigger. Imagine being able to reshape your backside
and achieve that ultimate shapely, lifted booty. It’s here, hollywood’s latest trade secret. Booty pop!
by making their eyes look bigger with makeup, and a few other examples I’ll get to later. But while symmetry is king and size is queen,
the ace is definitely age. And just like the ace, it can go either way,
since men and women view age differently. When men are looking at women, signs of age
are typically a negative. The older you are, the less attractive you
are. I mean that’s not the nicest way to say
that but… yeah. But there’s an evolutionary reason as to
why. Age of the mother at birth is a major indicator
of the future health of a child. The magic age for motherhood seems to be between
25 and 30. After that, the risks of all sorts of pre-natal
complications, developmental issues, and even things like obesity increases by a lot. So when looking for potential mating partners,
age is a factor. But not only because of the potential health
of any future offspring, but the number of potential offspring. Since women go through menopause, they have
a limited window during which they can conceive. So age is a rather obvious indicator of how
much reproductive time they have left. Another major factor, linked to age and offspring,
is how many children they already have. Because women have a limited time to reproduce
and the time it takes to conceive, birth, and raise a child to self-sufficiency is so
long, women can only have so many children – before modern medicine, that number was
only about six. And birth order matters. Each successive child has the same increases
in risk that age of the mother at birth does. Each child has an increased risk of infant
mortality, developmental issues, and later health issues. Not only that, but those previous children
are also competitors to any of his potential children. So men take into account how many children
a woman already has when deciding whether or not she is an ideal mate. But age works in the reverse for men. Age of the father has no correlation to the
health of their children and men don’t have a limited age range for fertility. So women desire signs of age in men, because
it’s an indicator of health, fitness, and assumed ability to provide. And one of the most prominent displays of
age for men is their hair. Gray hair correlates with age and is therefore
seen as more attractive. However, too much gray hair indicates that
you are not long for this Earth and may not be able to provide for much longer, so there’s
a delicate balance. But what is definitely not a good hair signal
is balding. Because think about it, aside from old people,
who else goes bald? Cancer patients. Yes, sick people lose their hair. So going bald kind of looks sickly. This goes for men and women, but since many
men naturally bald as they age, they worry about it a lot more and there’s lots of
products out there that claim to help combat it. But men also look at women’s hair as a sign
of health. Across cultures, long hair is seen as more
desirable for women. Long hair is not only a sign of current health,
but the longer it is, the more you are displaying several years of health. Short hair is seen as a sign or illness and
infertility. And that’s why women with this haircut are
seen as bi- Hey, I’m gonna let you speak your mind but
you gotta keep it at least somewhat family friendly. Man whatever. But yes, short hair is a signal of both age
and infertility. So naturally, there are hundreds of products
out there to help make your hair look as full and healthy as possible. But if that isn’t enough for you, you can
get extensions, a weave, or even a wig. But don’t worry, men have their own ways
to fake their hair, with toupees or even cans of spray hair. It’s an amazing powder that clings to the
tiniest hairs on your head. It actually builds on itself, leaving you
with great looking hair. Another thing both men and women look for
in a partner is skin quality. It is by far the best indicator of current
health. Everyone wants clear, healthy skin, and there’s
certainly no shortage of products to help with that. But if all else fails, you can just cover
it up with makeup. I know, there are a lot of women out there
that will say that you don’t wear makeup to impress men, you do it just for you. Yeah and we all totally believe you when you
say that. Look, the truth is, we all wear things not
because it looks good to us, but because we think other people will think it looks good
on us. I’m certainly not immune – I already addressed
the beard thing, but another example is the way I part my hair. This isn’t my natural part. I put it here because I think this is the
presentation that other people will find the most attractive. I keep it center-left, but my actual part
is way off to the left, because I’m right handed. The side you part your hair is almost always
an indicator of your dominant hand, and both men and women like right-handed people. In movies, almost always the good guy parts
his hair on the left and the bad guy parts his hair on the right. It’s just another one of those weird subtle
quirks. Anyway, sorry for the tangent, back to skin. Blemishes, splotches, and acne are all signs
of illness and are generally considered unattractive. Scars on the otherhand… Chicks dig scars. That’s actually true. As long as the scar isn’t considered disfiguring,
women actually find men with facial scars more attractive, as it’s thought to be a
sign of physical fitness, masculinity, and security. Like you fought a bear and won or something. Will you get your feet off the couch?! Sorry, geez… As with other hyper-masculine features, this
only increases your appeal for short-term relationships. Men on the other hand don’t care either
way about women with facial scars. But another facial feature both men and women
care about is teeth. First of all, having all of your teeth is
a major indicator of overall health, but cavities and other discoloration are signs of poor
hygiene and health. Along with releasing oxytocin and reinforcing
the social bond between you and your partner, one of the primary purposes of kissing is
to trade germs and immunities with each other… So if your teeth are rotting out of your mouth,
you don’t really wanna get all up in that. I’ve steered clear of talking about what
people want when it comes to personality, because that varies by individual preference
much more than what we find physically attractive. But there’s an old adage that opposites
attract – and that’s been proven false time and time again. People generally want someone similar to them,
not just personality wise, but social class, education, and even physically when it comes
to things like age and race. The one place where the opposites attract
saying does seem to be true is when it comes to immunity. People will seek out partners with opposing
or complementary immune systems which you can determine by both smell and… taste. So kissing is very important, and therefore
a generally clean and appealing mouth is too. Straight teeth on the otherhand are not an
indicator of health. But they do show symmetry, and as I said before,
symmetry is king. Which is why we put people through the horror
of braces… which honestly weren’t that bad. You’ll even pick up on small things like
someone gait, or how they walk, and use it as a measurement of symmetry. If they walk with a limp or they look unstable,
they’re not symmetrical, so they’re less desirable. Height is another body cue for health. The taller you are, the healthier you are
perceived to be. While men don’t seem to care about the height
of women, women do care about the height of men. So shallow… Women generally want someone who is taller
than them, and typically, that height difference is about 5 inches. When asked, women will often say that they
desire someone who is 6 feet or taller. But the average American and European man
is around 5 foot 9 Yeah laying down! What? That wasn’t… alright fine, since you brought it up-
I didn’t bring it up, you brought it up three weeks ago. Alright you got me… But since this does seem to be pretty important,
at least to men, here is a chart showing the average… d-size of over 15,000 men. Basically, the median size is 5.1 inches,
if you’re at that length, half of men are longer, half of men are shorter. Again, when asked, many women seem to desire
the number 6 – which is actually in the 90th percentile. You… you don’t have anything for that? No, why would I? *Shrug* Alright, moving on I guess. The next whole body indicator of health is
body fat. Both men and women want someone who is relatively
thin – the desired bmi for both men and women is 19 which is at the high end of what
is considered “underweight”. And while being too thin is an indicator of
illness, being overweight is also a pretty good indicator of poor health and diet, and
as we all probably know by now, being overweight and obese is linked to all sorts of health
problems… so I really don’t want to beat a dead horse here. However, this is across cultures. You may have heard that there are some tribes
in Africa or the Amazon where heavier women are seen as more desirable. And this is true, to a point. The fattest women in those tribes still have
a lower body fat percentage than the average American female college student. He’s not wrong. Even in those tribes, the heavier women that
are seen as attractive are still within the normal bmi range. No culture, anywhere, sees obesity as attractive,
and to say otherwise is to try and normalize a rather unhealthy condition and try to blame
culture for not accepting it. But that’s enough fat shaming for now. Next on the list of awful things is… ugh
really? Waist to hip ratio. I brought this up before but there’s a reason
why Disney draws their cartoon women with waists so small that if they were real women
they wouldn’t actually be able to have children or even be able to stand up straight. Men look for women with wider hips than their
waist – the actual size of either doesn’t matter too much, it’s the ratio between
them. The size that is considered most attractive,
while still being healthy, is .7 – meaning a waist that is 70% the size of your hips. Again, this is cross cultural, so even in
those “fat tribes” in Africa. Back in the sixties they came up with that
36-24-36 measurement as the ideal woman, and Marilyn Monroe is often used as THE ideal
woman. People today still use her as the example
of a “curvy” woman but… Marilyn Monroe only weighed 118 pounds. And her measurements were actually even smaller
than the “ideal” and she only had a .62 ratio. But women have long known that the waist to
hip ratio is important and that’s why they invented the corset. Men’s ideal waist to hip ratio is only .9
– but that’s because women put less emphasis on the hips. Instead, they put more on their shoulders. The ideal shoulder to waist ratio, also called
the golden ratio, is 1.6. And again, just like cartoons, the more comically
large they are, the more attractive they seem. So the next time someone tells you that the
media is responsible for our standards of beauty or that only men or only women are
shallow, you can tell them they’re wrong, because we’re all a little shallow. And now, you know better. Hey guys you if you enjoyed that video or
you learned something, make sure you give the like button a click, if you’d like to
see more from me I put out new videos every Sunday, so make sure to unconsciously judge
that subscribe button. If you’d like more input on any of my future
videos, make sure to follow me on facebook and twitter, and if you’d like to watch
one of my older videos, how about this one?

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. Perhaps men avoid women with kids cuz they don't want another man's baggage & they know they will always be 2nd place? Heard it time & again.

  2. I'm a visually impaired woman, so I'm a little less looks-oriented, but that aspect is still there. I don't have a "type", per se, but I do like certain collections of features. I GENERALLY like long-haired men, but only to the shoulders or so, but the guy I've been too shy to ask out for the past THIRTEEN YEARS practically has a buzz cut, so no hard and fast rules here.

  3. natural right part, natural right hand.
    edit im above or equall to evr thin else tho lets go! epic victory royale

  4. Love these videos. Kinda hoped you'd touch on hybrid vigor in this but that's because I'm one of those asshole white guys who ignore white women even though I'm about a 3 and limiting my options is not a good idea.

  5. I love how acne looks,can you explain that ? Because that isn't a sign of health as far as I know,there are alot of other things that aren't signs of health that I think are beautiful as well

  6. And suddenly I understand why I (42 yr) have so much attention from very young woman. Even my current girlfriend is almost 29 (next month).
    I'm Dutch and we are know for our length (I'm 178cm or ~5"10). As I live most of the year away from home in the US and run the US office of a very specialized callcenter I do have a very good income and that probably is reflected in my clothes.

    20 years ago I was a very shy person with an science degree, so now being a more outgoing person and being more confidant might also have played a role..

  7. So what’s keeping chicks away (aside for my weird personality) is the fact that I’m left handed? F*ck

  8. What about intelligence? When I was on the market, if the girl I was talking to couldn't hold an intelligent conversation or have an above average IQ, no matter how physically attractive, I was totally turned off. Of course I didn't want a double bagger, but I also didn't want my kids to be even of average intelligence. My wife and I both skipped grades, both honor students, and have opposite strengths academically. We now have a daughter that's the best of both of us and at 11 boasts a certified IQ of 135.
    Now I know some say genetics don't play a roll in intelligence, but I beg to differ. Sure, nurture can go a long way, but without nature building a strong foundation, full comprehension of what is being taught can't be achieved.

  9. Grow a beard, hit the gym, take care of your health, brush and floss, have disposable income?

    Naaaah, I think I'll just wing it with my personality!

  10. Ehh not sure I bought that jawline thing, or the whole idea that attractiveness is pure biology honestly. A lot of male asian pop stars don't have the "alpha" jawlines or ultra muscular features, they are still considered among the hottest in their region. A lot of them also have the androgynous look(bishounen etc.).
    I don't doubt biology can plays a part. But what is consider beautiful or sexy definitely have culture influences to them.

    Edit: ok 2/3 of the video. Men's age definitely have something to do with his sperm quality. Guys have longer reproductive window, but it decline as you age. This video is just very poorly researched. Sorry this is your first thumb down from me.

  11. I really wish you could go on Joe Rogan because he talks about this kind of stuff a lot but you’ve brought up menstrual and symmetrical influences which he and his guests haven’t quite hit on the head from what I’ve seen, it would be so interesting!

  12. There are studies that show different cultures do find different things attractive. As to much of what he talks about here maybe that is generally true in terms of physical attractiveness, but everyone I have found attractive on more than a superficial level (except maybe when I was in high school) has not met many of these and it was their personality that attracted me.

  13. Well, I already knew about the shoulder and jaw that I don't have, but what you said about ring finger is interesting! I actually have the longer ring finger! Guess I'll have to approach girls hand first, thanks for the tip! ;P

  14. You're not right. The image and standards of beauty change in time. In the past the curvy, voluptuous women were considered beautiful. Today you'd just call them obese or fat.

  15. This is pretty much the norm, but the thing to remember is that a norm does not necessarily fit for everyone. In the end you have to find what partner fits for you and while superficial sexual traits help, it is only the beginning.

  16. Not just exotic tribes. People from medieval times also often found fatter women more attractive. But you're right: never to the point of obesity, although finding a higher weight more attractive CAN make one more tolerant towards obesity.

  17. My ring finger is substantially bigger than my pointer! Yeah, I wonder if that’s why my wife is leaving me for a small ring fingered nice guy? I’m nice though too

  18. My mom is incredibly healthy, she had me and my twin sister at 36 and we have no allergies, mental health problems and have good immune systems.

  19. 9:05 wrong.
    Studies have proven the older the man, the more likely his sperm carries harmful mutations
    Epigenetics, bitches.

  20. I think a pervasive way the media does affect what we find attractive is colorism. Where white skin and fairer shades among people of colour are perceived to be more 'attractive'.

  21. I find the size of a partner's wallet often overcomes problems in physical attractiveness. But if you're ugly and poor, well, you're screwed (and not in a good way).

  22. im so confused. im a heterosexual woman and i find all those things mentioned (grey hair, scars, broad shoulders etc) to be incredibly unattractive.

  23. I just don't buy this beauty =>"health" thing. You can be as beautiful as hell as a woman and a terminally ill drug addict. Or as healthy as hell and look like a Bulgarian shot putter.

  24. Actually other cultures do have different beauty standards. Albeit they are less prevalent beauty standards, like eyeshape, they are still there.

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  26. I knew somebody in the myth busters one, it was cherry picked and during the interview they were trying to get her to say she was a golddigger. Thx for the good video.

  27. Edit: can you do a video from the queer perspective?
    Yeah, as soon as you mentioned the childbearing ability I was SO confused bc I'm mostly attracted to my female, lesbian jock boss & I'm an infertile FtM

  28. This just makes me worried I won’t find my boyfriend attractive one day and vice versa… I’m fat and he has none of the male characteristics you have pointed out 😂 help

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