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We’ve all heard the ideas that women dress to impress other women or that society dictates what is and isn’t attractive. But are you aware of the inner, biochemical workings of your body and how they attract members of the opposite sex? We explored some research about human chemistry and sex appeal to see whether there’s more than what you think to human attraction.

The revival of this topic came to me a few days ago when I remembered having seen a brilliant documentary on Discovery Channel called, ‘The Science of Sex Appeal‘. Along with all the usual trimmings about male/female social interaction, the program explored a range of research that shaped sexual attraction to be much more than just what society dictates.

Years of research have confirmed that our advanced brain development and intelligence in relation to other animals has steered us away from monogamy. According to “Science of Sex Appeal,”humans seek partners for the fulfillment of three stages of life: a) Choosing a partner, b) Keeping a partner and c) Building a home and raising children with that partner. How that comes to fruition varies.

In the documentary, a group of women are shown men of equal attraction and dress. Later, different groups are shown the same men and given information about their socio-economic situation. The results are unsurprising, revealing that women find higher socio-economic status attractive in a man. This in many ways is related to the protectionist tendencies of a woman stemming from evolution.

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What makes a man attractive to a woman can also often depend on her menstrual cycle. “Science of Sex Appeal” suggests that women are more attracted to men with masculine faces and bodies during ovulation. Meanwhile, women are more attractive to men when women are in their mid-cycle of menstruation because their bodies are releasing higher amounts of estrogen. This is perceived by men in the higher pitched voices of their female counterparts.

However, external appearance is clearly not irrelevant in our quest to find another partner. The study revealed that women with curves are genetically more attractive to men because of their childbearing capabilities. Curves also allow a woman to accentuate the way she moves her body. This is a particular trap for a man’s wondering eye.

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This month’s cover of Esquire magazine features the curvaceous Christina Hendrix, ranked most attractive woman in their latest survey.

What features do you think other people find attractive in you without you, yourself realizing?