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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wanna Attract More Sex Partners?

posted by on August 19 at 9:02 AM

Don’t get six-pack abs. Get, uh, symmetrical.

The research backs up previous findings that symmetrically proportioned faces are more attractive and suggests that our brains are hard-wired to find symmetry sexy in a potential partner. In our evolutionary past, symmetry may have been an honest signal of flawless development and health. …

The theory is that disturbances in the womb, infections, poor nutrition and genetic flaws all increase your degree of asymmetry and so good proportions are an honest indication of healthy development and hence a partner’s ability to produce healthy children.

My boyfriend is pretty darn symmetrical, but so far he hasn’t produced any healthy children for me. We’ll keep plugging away at it, though.

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Jowls, crows feet, veiny arms...these things really turn my crank.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 19, 2008 9:07 AM

Costly signaling is a fad in biology right now, it seems like. There was a professor at UW who gave a talk on it a couple years ago, and I thought it was fascinating.

Posted by Greg | August 19, 2008 9:19 AM

Causes for asymmetry:
disturbances in the womb
poor nutrition
genetic flaws
baseball bat to the nose in junior high

Posted by harold | August 19, 2008 9:19 AM

@2: You're right, it is utterly fascinating. Seen this? Shannen Doherty's personality isn't the only thing off-kilter.

Posted by Morticia | August 19, 2008 9:30 AM

Six pack abs can be symmetrical too.

Posted by Mendicant | August 19, 2008 9:34 AM

your boyfriend? Isn't it time you make an honest man out of him? I'm sure he would agree to a fair pre-nup.

Posted by Mike in MO | August 19, 2008 9:40 AM

Old news. It's amazing how often the popular press repackages old news.

Posted by Gabriel | August 19, 2008 9:56 AM

@4 - Shannen Doherty has creeped me out since Little House on the Prairie with those lopsided eyes. Everyone I pointed it out to thought I was crazy.

Posted by DanFan | August 19, 2008 9:58 AM

On a biological level, another thing to consider is the mate choices of women on the pill may be less than optimal. Normally, one chooses a mate with differences in biochemistry (immunity, etc) that increase the chance of survival. On the pill, women are more frequently attracted to mate choices that are less different and may increase risk factors (it's a survival characteristic that makes it possible to stay with your relatives after you bed down that attractive stranger - and ensure the survival of your children).

But I'm not sure what it would be for gay mate choices - lesbian or otherwise ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 19, 2008 10:30 AM

Um , newsweek reported this in the 1990s. They used a picture of Lyle Lovett to show an example of lack of symmetry.

Posted by sdfg | August 19, 2008 10:31 AM

@9: Wow.

Still pining I see. Good luck with that.

Posted by unrequited | August 19, 2008 10:53 AM

Butt Babies!

Posted by um | August 19, 2008 11:02 AM

Poor Thom Yorke

Posted by robo | August 19, 2008 12:07 PM

@11 - no. I'm just telling you that we're all a mass of chemicals that muck around with our emotions and choices. We still have minds, but it's an interesting observation.

Besides, we all know what guys think with - and we're easily known for having even worse inclinations, regardless of how we choose to act - or not - on them.

Heck, even what you eat impacts your reactions.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 19, 2008 12:10 PM

I've always been a bit of a skeptic on this. And I very often find our cultural icons of "perfection" despairingly dull. I like a little imperfection. I like character. I think that on the right man, a broken nose is masculine and sexy as hell.

And while I find no appeal in someone so inbred they resemble the extras from "Deliverance," I very often find small imperfections completely endearing. Look at Michael Phelps for example. Offhand, he might seem like some model of male perfection, but if you really study him: Underbite. Jug ears. And totally adorable.

Andy Cohen from Bravo TV would be another example. His face is not perfectly symmetrical. But that thing that's going on with his eyes--I love that. Makes me totally want to get humpy with him.

And I think Paris Hilton is just completely weird and alien looking, but I have straight friends who totally want to fuck her.

Posted by Hoyt Clagwell | August 19, 2008 9:02 PM

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