Sexual attraction is one of the most complex behaviours of the human mind that we have studied to date. Factors beyond our conscious control have a big say in how attraction works. While the earlier theories suggested attraction is purely visual, we have now discovered it is a lot more complex.

 Apart from the visual stimuli, your brain processes a lot of other inputs in determining who you find attractive. Sometimes, the biological nature of attraction defies the beauty standards that are applied by society.

For example, according to the fashion industry, skinny models are the most attractive. But a randomised observation study of dating couples would quickly reveal that men prefer to be with a fleshy woman. And big butts seem to have a higher rate of attraction than thin stomachs even when men claim they prefer thin women.

So why is there a difference in words and action?

 Because sexual attraction accounts for a million small things that our conscious mind cannot even fathom. For example, the pheromones emitted by a man’s body determines how a woman perceives him. If he is projecting a lot of Androstenone, a woman considers him to be more ‘alpha’ than others. The shape of the head, the skin color, the smell of the sweat, and a lot of other components are constantly sending signals which the brain interprets and then responds. This is why you may find one woman attractive while your friends may not.

While there are no universal standards, some factors are considered to be more attractive than others. For example, a deep voice is set to be more attractive on a man than a woman.

The basics of sexual attraction can be studied and used to your advantage. Though you cannot control the shape of your face, you can make some adjustments. For instance, your squarely shaped face can be made more attractive by using a pair of round glasses.