Whether you’re simply looking for a date or hoping to findsomething that lasts, you could benefit from the decades of psychological research on the qualities that women find most attractive in a male partner.
We’ve rounded up some of the most compelling scientific insights, so you can step up your game.
Look for the universal signals of flirtation .
Rutgers University anthropologist and best-selling writer Helen E. Fisher says that from the depth of the Amazons to the cafs of Paris, women signal interest with a remarkably similar sequence of expressions.
As she shared at Psychology Today, it goes like this 😛 TAGEND
First the woman smiles at her admirer and lifts her eyebrows in a swift, jerky motion as she opens her eyes wide to gaze at him. Then she drops her eyelids, tilts her head down and to the side, and looks away. Frequently she also covers her face with her hands, giggling nervously as she retreats behind her palms.
This sequential flirting gesture is so distinctive that[ German ethologist Irenaus] Eibl-Eibesfeldt was convinced it is innate, a human female courtship gambit that evolved eons ago to signal sex interest.
Look for someone “in your league.”
Men and women are attracted to people who are as attractive as they are.
In one analyze, for example, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley looked at the behavior of 60 male and 60 female users on an online dating site. While the majority of users were inclined to reach out to highly attractive people, they were most likely to get a reaction if such person or persons was about as attractive as they were( as judged by independent raters ).
“If you go for someone approximately[ equal] to you in attractiveness, it avoids two things, “Nottingham Trent University psychologist Mark Sergeant, who was not involved with such studies, tells The Independent. “If they are much better-looking than you, you are worried about them running off and having affairs. If they are much less attractive, you are worried that you could do better.”
AP/ Laurent Cipriani
Present yourself as high status .
In 1969, University of North Carolina sociologist Glen Elder found that looks and wealth tend to find one another namely, good-looking women tended to settle down with less attractive but wealthier men.
Since then, it’s become a well-confirmed find in the social sciences.
Most recently, a2010 analyze found that men pictured with aSilver Bentley Continental GT were perceived as route more attractive than those paintings with aRed Ford Fiesta ST, and a 2014 analyze found that men pictured in a luxury apartment were rated more attractive than those in a control group.
Why the attraction to resources? Evolutionary psychologists speculateit’s because women want a mate who can provide for them.
Alessandro Bianchi/ Reuters
Look older .
Psychologists call it the “George Clooney Effect.”
“We think this suggests greater financial independence dedicates women more confidence in partner selections, and attracts them to powerful, attractive older men, ” lead author and University of Dundee psychologist Fhionna Moore said in a statement.
Evolutionary psychologists say that younger women and older men often pair up because while fertility only lasts from puberty to menopause in women, it starts at puberty and can widen long into midlife for many men and they have a greater opportunity to amas status and resources.
Larry Marano/ Getty
In a 2013 Australian analyze, researchers had 177 men and 351 women look at images of 10 men in one of four conditions: clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble, or full beard.Participants rated “the mens” pictured onseveral traits, including attractiveness.
Results showed that women saythe most attractive beard duration is heavy stubble, which comes after about 10 days of growth.
“Facial hair correlateds not only with maturity and masculinity, but also with predominance and aggression, ” write authors Barnaby J. Dixson and Robert C. Brooks.
“An intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive, ” they added.
It only takes a bit of upkeep to maintain that 10 -day beard all the time.
Build muscle( but not too much )
In a2007 University of California at Los Angeles analyze, 286 women looked at pictures of shirtless men and indicated which ones seemed like they would induce the best long- and short-term partners.
Results showedthat women weremore likely to wantshort-term relationships with the guys who hadbig muscles.
The evolutionary signal at work here?
Sexual characteristics like muscularity are “cues of genes that increase offspring viability or reproductive success, ” say authorsDavid A. Frederick andMartie G. Haselton.
But Frederick and Haselton took away another telling finding: Less-muscular men were thought to be a better fit for long-term relationships. So if you want to catch a woman’s eye and hold her attention, you may be better off constructing some muscle but not going overboard.
Be kind .
One of the most robust findings in psychology is the halo consequence, a bias where you unconsciously take one aspect of somebody as a proxy for their overall character. It’s why we suppose beautiful people are good at their jobs, even when they aren’t necessarily.
But as psychologist and writer Scott Barry Kaufman at Greater Good notes, the halo consequence works in other ways too.
In a 2014 Chinese analyze, more than 100 young men and women looked at images of other men and women’s faces and rated them on attractiveness. Each face pictured was paired with a word that described either a positive personality trait like kindness or honesty or a negative personality trait like being evil or mean.
Results showed that the people describeds with positive traits were rated more attractive.
“Even though beauty is an assessment of fitness value, there is no reason why assessment of fitness needs to be strictly physical, ” Kaufman writes, means that acting kind makes you look like you’d has become a stable, worthwhile mate.
Mike Coppola/ Getty
Wear red .
A 2010 cross-cultural analyze with participants from China, England, Germany, and the US found that women are most attracted to men wearing red.
In one experiment featured in such studies, 21 female undergrads looked at a black-and-white picture of a man against either a red or white background, and then rated the man’s attractiveness.
Sure enough, the man was rated significantly more attractive when he was pictured against the red background. The results were similar when researchers compared the red background to other colouring backgrounds as well.
Make your partner laugh .
In one small analyze, a man told a joke to twofriends at a bar while a woman sat at a nearby table. Then that man was instructed to approach the woman and ask for her number. In another condition, the man whoasked the woman for her number was one of the men who had listened to the joke without telling one.( These scenarios were recurred about6 0times total .)
After the man left, an experimenter approached the woman and asked her to rate the man on attractiveness and intelligence and to indicate how much she would want to date the man long-term.
Results showed that the guy wasthree times as likely to get the woman’s number when he’d told a joke.Plus he wasrated more attractive and intelligent.
Stroll a puppy .
In a 2014 experiment, 100 Israeli women read vignettes about men. Some of “the mens” were described as “cads”: They would cheat on their partner and get into fights. The other men were described as stereotypical “dads”: They would work hard at their job and take good care of their kids.
Whenever the narrative featured a cad who owned a puppy, women rated that man as a more suitable long-term partner than a cad who didn’t own a puppy. Cads with dogs were even rated slightly more attractive than papas with dogs.
The researchers concluded that owning a pet signals that you’re nurturing and capable of making long-term commitments. It can also help you appear more relaxed, approachable, and happy .
Not into pet ownership? The good news is simply being assured with a puppy can induce you seem more dateable. In one 2008 analyze, a 20 -year-old man approached hundreds ofwomen and asked for their telephone number. When he had a puppy with him, he was much more likely to score theirdigits.
Play good music .
In a 2014 analyze, researchers asked about 1,500 women( whoseaverage age was 28) be interested to hear simple and complex pieces of music and rate the attractiveness of the composer.
The results showed that womenpreferred the more complex music, and said they would choosethe composer of the more complex music as a long-term partner.
If you’re not musically inclined, simply holding an instrument could help you score a date. A 2014 analyze found that men who approached 300 women and asked for their numbers were more successful when they carried a guitar lawsuit, as opposed to a gym purse or nothing at all.
Practice mindfulness .
Australian researchers recently analyzedundergrads participating in a speed-dating session, and found that mindful men tended to receive higher attractiveness ratings from women.
Before the session began, 91 students were asked to fill out a mindfulness questionnaire in which they indicated how much they agreed with statements like, “I perceive my impressions and feelings without having to react to them.”
Aftereach interaction with an opposite-sex partner, students privately indicated how “sexy” they found their partner and how much they’d like to date that person.
Results showed that men can often more drew attention to physically attractive women.( Independent coders had rated the students’ attractiveness beforehand .) But women can often more attracted to mindful men.
Play extreme athletics( carefully ).
A 2014 analyze led by researchers at the University of Alaska at Anchorage found that women are attracted to men who take what the researchers call “hunter-gatherer risks.”
More than 200 undergrads filled out questionnaires about how attractive they would find a partner who engaged in certain risky behaviors, as opposed to a partner who engaged in low- or no-risk behaviors.
Hunter-gatherer dangers included mountain biking, deep-sea scuba diving, and extreme rollerblading. “Modern” dangers included plagiarizing an academic paper, casually managing chemicals in a laboratory, and not updating the virus-protection software on your computer.
Low- and no-risk behaviors included biking along paved paths and carefully managing chemicals in a chemistry-lab class.
Results showed that women said they would be more attracted to men who engaged in hunter-gatherer dangers the kinds that were similar to risks faced by ancestral humen. Women said they would be less attracted to men who engaged in modern dangers, which might seem just plain dumb.
Wear a scented deodorant .
Simply knowing that you’re wearing a new fragrance can induce you act more confident, and even induce you seem more attractive to other people.
In a 2009 analyzepublished in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, researchers gave one group of male undergraduates a spraying with antimicrobial ingredients and fragrance oiland another group an unscented spraying without antimicrobial ingredients. Over the next few days, the men who used the scented spraying reported higher self-confidence and felt more attractive.
The strangepart? When a group of women were demonstrated silent videos of “the mens”, they found those who were wearing scented spraymore attractive, even when they patently couldn’t smell them. The researchers determined that “the mens” employing the scented spraying displayed more confident behaviour, which in turn constructed them more attractive.
Chow down on garlic .
The smellof garlic on your breath is generally regarded as an instant romance killer, but a recent series of studies suggestsa different story when it comes to body odor.
In one analyze, eightmen feed aslice of bread with cheese and 12 grams of fresh garlic; another eightate bread and cheese without any garlic.For the next 12 hours, “the mens” wore cotton pads under their armpits and were instructed not to use any deodorants or fragrances.
The following day, all the menreturned to the lab, where 40 women sniffed the pads and rated the odor on pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity, and intensity. Results showed that the garlic group was ratedmore pleasant and attractive and less masculine and intense.
Do volunteer work .
A 2013 analyze found that women find men moreappealing when they demonstrate altruistic behavior.
About 30 women looked at a picture of a man with a brief description of his pastimes, which sometimes included volunteer work. The same procedure was recurred with about 30 men looking at a picture of a woman. Everyone rated how attractive they found the person pictured for a short- and long-term relationship.
Both genders rated the person pictured as more attractive for a long-term relationship when they were described as altruistic but the effects was stronger for women rating men.
Warner Bros. Pictures/ YouTube
Show off your scars .
That scar on your chin from when you fell off your bike as a kid? It could help you attract a mate.
In a 2009 analyze, researchers took photos of 24 male and 24 female undergrads and digitally manipulated half of them so they appeared to have facial scars. Then they recruited another group of about 200 male and female undergrads to rate all the people pictured on attractiveness, for both short- and long-term relationships.
Results showed that men with scars appeared slightly more attractive for short-term relationships than men without scars. Women, on the other hand, were perceived as equally attractive regardless of whether they had scarred faces.