Why are humans attracted to good looking mates?

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I don't care much (at least not conciously) about female body types. Body parts I pay my attention to t are her eyes and hands.
If she has big or ugly hands I'm like "oh, no..."
 

Doug Huffman

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Attraction is a nature/nurture relation. Attractiveness is correlated with health (nature) but culturally influenced (nurture). As for instance, gracile skeleton and narrow hips are health complications enabled, in the extreme, only by advanced medicine.
 
I tend to go for women that most guys would consider "goofy looking". Barring some anecdotal theories that I've only convinced myself that this is what I like because I can't "get any better", I've heard it said that some species are attracted to attributes which would seem at first to be an impediment to natural selection: e.g. the bright bushy tail of the peacock is bulky and cumbersome. But apparently this is because the animal in question is adjudged to carry traits healthy enough to counterbalance the impediment: Only a true hero, a true "man" can carry about that noxious plumage and still manage the Darwinian day.
 

Evo

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As for instance, gracile skeleton and narrow hips are health complications enabled, in the extreme, only by advanced medicine.
That's not true, it's not how much fat you have on your hips, but the spread in the pelvic bones through which the baby is delivered. Although i have very slims hips, the pelvic opening was large, i gave un-assisted birth to a 9lb 6oz baby.

The idea that a woman’s hip size has everything to do with her ease of birth is not a new idea. It’s been a way of thinking for centuries, and it’s hard to shake a long standing myth.
http://thebirthteacher.blogspot.com/2008/12/shes-got-good-birthin-hips.html
 

Doug Huffman

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Sorry, I couldn't find a free full text. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ809040

Evolution & the Cesarean Section Rate Walsh, Joseph A.
American Biology Teacher, v70 n7 p401-404 Sep 2008
"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." This was the title of an essay by geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky writing in 1973. Many causes have been given for the increased Cesarean section rate in developed countries, but biologic evolution has not been one of them. The C-section rate will continue to rise, because the ability to perform a safe C-section has liberated human childbirth from natural selection directed against too small a maternal pelvis and too large a fetal head. Babies will get bigger and pelvis will get smaller because there is nothing to prevent it. In this article, the author examines the possible genetic outcomes of continued C-section deliveries on the future populations.
 

Evo

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Sorry, I couldn't find a free full text. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ809040
That has nothing to do with hip size, it confirms what I said about the pelvic width. A woman with huge hips can have a small pelvic opening. I had 28" hips, partly because I have no rear end either. My first husband said he was surprised I could keep my pants up, even with a belt. My older daughter takes after me and her pants do fall off, she's skeletal. Always has been thinner than a twig. Not anorexic, she has a great appetite, she must have a very fast metabolism. Think ballerina body.
 
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If nothing else this thread points up the fact that the largest and most powerful erogenous zone is the human brain and trumps even body shape. All it takes is a few words or a 2-dimensional graphic and my imagination doth toy with me :P (Thank you, Evo ;))

It comes to mind that the animated film by those nasty, nasty South Park boys called Team America which was entirely done with crude marionettes with even less inherent sexuality than Barbi and Ken, had a scene in which 2 wooden marionettes engaged in animated sexual positions, simulating sexual activity. The only cues to which was male and which was female were a few facial features, vocal timbre, and hairstyle yet it was so over-the-top randy that it was censored. :))

The power of mere words, once processed by human imagination, is well evidenced by the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey and the follow up that muses that if Universal makes a movie, one could hope they will have a theme park ride. :D
 

256bits

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Sorry, I couldn't find a free full text. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ809040
By the powers invested in Bing search
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Evolution+&+the+cesarean+section+rate.-a0187496407
The author does state at the end a qualifier for increased rate of C-Section
The increasing C-section rate has multiple contributors, not all easy to quantify: defensive medicine, financial reward and less stress for physicians, better neonatal outcomes, better maternal outcomes, patient autonomy for elective primary section, older maternal age, maternal obesity with associated diabetes and hypertension, and decreased obstetrical experience in recent graduates are some examples. This article argues that the answer lies at least in part in the fundamental principle guiding all biology--evolution.
Most likely a difficult area of research.
 

Doug Huffman

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Thanks for the citation. I suffer the limitations of using only anonymized and secure search engines.

About keeping one's pants on, I had a girl friend, the first actually, that wore abracadabra-pants, activated by a magic word. "open sez-me!"
 
I remember that article and similar ones. It does make sense that the perception of beauty is based on normalness. That small deviations from normal appearance, even if they're not consciously noticeable, detract from attractiveness. This (supposedly) works to reduce the likelihood of genetic abnormalities being added to the gene pool.
Of course, this is a science site. If "makes sense" were as valid as evidence, then philosophy and science would have progressed equally in the past 500 years ;-)
Barring contrary evidence, I'm happy to believe the theory. There are no evil consequences to my being wrong.
 

256bits

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Where do freckles, beauty moles, curly hair and all the other whatnots fit in this "beauty" thing? Skinny, chubby, tall, husky, blonde, brunet, full lips, skin tone, muscle tone, - the list of features is endless where one will find deviations from the "norm". Everybody, or almost everybody seems to find someone else to hook up with, but that shouldn't follow from that once all the "good" ones are selected, the rest are only second, third, ..., rate. Something seems wrong with that.

I heard recently on the radio recently that a survey of women, revealed that they would rather date a guy with love handles than abs. ( sorry no citation ). (Absolute) beauty would be taking a back seat in selection of a mate.
 

NTW

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There is a market for beauty; and the supply and demand law works there too. Unconsciously, the buying public believes that a healthy offspring seems more likely if good-looking partner is purchased. That belief is reinforced by the facts. Were it not the case, the belief itself would have disappeared long ago...
 

Ryan_m_b

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Whilst this discussion has been interesting I'd like to remind members that personal anecdotes are best avoided or at least posted along side references to peer-reviewed literature.
 
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Generally, if we are attracted to someone, we automatically define them as good looking, or, at least, as attractive. The psychological/neurological mechanisms whereby we find ourselves in the position of experiencing attraction are what matters. These will and have evolved to keep pace with what's available. If they hadn't, we'd have died out.
 

.Scott

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Generally, if we are attracted to someone, we automatically define them as good looking, or, at least, as attractive. The psychological/neurological mechanisms whereby we find ourselves in the position of experiencing attraction are what matters. These will and have evolved to keep pace with what's available. If they hadn't, we'd have died out.
That simply changes the question to "Why do we consider some mates more good looking than others?". Not a big difference.

Wouldn't evolution work both ways? Not only are you more fit if you are attracted to the appearance of those best fit to survive, but you are also more fit it you have the appearance that others find attractive?
 
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That simply changes the question to "Why do we consider some mates more good looking than others?". Not a big difference.
We could switch to that somewhat different question, but what I'm saying is that the original question suffers from the assumption there's something objective about what constitutes "good looking" in humans. A lot of people seem to think there is. Rather than observe that we seem to be attracted to "good looking" people, I think it's more on point to suppose that we define those we're attracted to as "good looking," and that the attraction is actually disconnected from any other consideration than sexual arousal (which, in the strange case of humans at least, might get attached to anything). As Simon Bridge said earlier about the OP question, we might just as well ask why gorillas are attracted to such ugly mates. Looked at this way it becomes clearer that what is operative is the capacity to be attracted, not the 'attractiveness'.
Wouldn't evolution work both ways? Not only are you more fit if you are attracted to the appearance of those best fit to survive, but you are also more fit it you have the appearance that others find attractive?
Sexual selection doen't work by fitness for survival:

Sexual selection is often powerful enough to produce features that are harmful to the individual’s survival. For example, extravagant and colorful tail feathers or fins are likely to attract predators as well as interested members of the opposite sex.
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIIE3Sexualselection.shtml [Broken]

You will be highly likely to breed if you're attracted to whatever's around and available (in the opposite sex). As I said earlier in the thread, I used to suppose people must be inadvertently breeding themselves to be more and more attractive over the millennia. But then it occurred to me that the more likely route would be for people to be breeding themselves to become more easily aroused by less stimulation and to breed more prolifically because of it. Those who find a larger percentage of the opposite sex attractive would naturally have more options to pass their attraction-prone genes on. This would be disconnected from anyone's fitness for survival.
 
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Also, if you look at silhouettes on the internet you can see how important that profile is on someone. After all, the brain can't read if someone is healthy, it needs a guesstimate, which is appearance.
 
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You will be highly likely to breed if you're attracted to whatever's around and available (in the opposite sex). As I said earlier in the thread, I used to suppose people must be inadvertently breeding themselves to be more and more attractive over the millennia. But then it occurred to me that the more likely route would be for people to be breeding themselves to become more easily aroused by less stimulation and to breed more prolifically because of it. Those who find a larger percentage of the opposite sex attractive would naturally have more options to pass their attraction-prone genes on. This would be disconnected from anyone's fitness for survival.
That makes sense. But then shouldn't we be attracted to everyone. That will give you the most chances of breeding. Instead, we feel we need to breed with certain kinds of people which we usually label as "good looking".
 

Evo

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For ages it was strength and power that women looked for to ensure a safe life for herself and her offspring. Men might have gone for beauty, so the criteria differed for the sexes. Pretty women marrying ugly men.

And we still see that today, pretty women marrying powerful/rich men. Of course most of the women that marry the powerful/rich men today are actually not very attractive, but have had a load of plastic surgery. Just IMO.

it's amazing, nose jobs, lip implants, chin implants, botox, ear reduction, waist reduction, breast implants, calf implants, cheek bone alteration, fat removal from face cheeks, liposuction from all over, eye inprovements like eyelid and eyebrow lifts. Capped teeth, braces. That's just the young ones, much more for older women.

Hey, you get what you pay for.
 
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That makes sense. But then shouldn't we be attracted to everyone. That will give you the most chances of breeding. Instead, we feel we need to breed with certain kinds of people which we usually label as "good looking".
I think there are two essentially irrational dynamics going on that control this. One is personal, idiosyncratic, preference, and the other is group status. If I show you 10 examples of anything, lets say 10 different editions of the same book, you are likely to experience a preference for some over others, and could probably rank them from 1 to 10, by aesthetic appeal to you. Also, in your peer group, there will be irrational, idiosyncratic standards about aesthetics, and your status among your peers will be affected by the extent to which you adopt or defy those standards. People often adjust what they aim for in deference to group standards.

In either case, if we remove the "most attractive," people's attraction will reform for the next in line. If we remove everyone more attractive than #3, then #3 becomes the "most attractive" and receives general adulation. Biologically, you are probably "attracted to everyone," in the sense that you could mate with them given no "better" choice. Conversely, you may get the 10, and then regret it when someone yet better comes along to redefine 10.
 
it gives some pleasure to his mind .it is nature to all
 
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I think there are two essentially irrational dynamics going on that control this. One is personal, idiosyncratic, preference, and the other is group status. If I show you 10 examples of anything, lets say 10 different editions of the same book, you are likely to experience a preference for some over others, and could probably rank them from 1 to 10, by aesthetic appeal to you. Also, in your peer group, there will be irrational, idiosyncratic standards about aesthetics, and your status among your peers will be affected by the extent to which you adopt or defy those standards. People often adjust what they aim for in deference to group standards.

In either case, if we remove the "most attractive," people's attraction will reform for the next in line. If we remove everyone more attractive than #3, then #3 becomes the "most attractive" and receives general adulation. Biologically, you are probably "attracted to everyone," in the sense that you could mate with them given no "better" choice. Conversely, you may get the 10, and then regret it when someone yet better comes along to redefine 10.
Better in what way? They are aesthetically pleasing but why would evolution shape us in such a way?
 
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Better in what way? They are aesthetically pleasing but why would evolution shape us in such a way?
"Better" in the sense the observer finds them to be yet more sexually arousing. Sexual selection favors the promiscuous as opposed to the monogamous. Promiscuous people are more likely to have sex and produce offspring, passing their promiscuity on.

Is that what you were asking?
 
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"Better" in the sense the observer finds them to be yet more sexually arousing. Sexual selection favors the promiscuous as opposed to the monogamous. Promiscuous people are more likely to have sex and produce offspring, passing their promiscuity on.

Is that what you were asking?
But why does one think of them as a priority in mating? What does it indicate?
 

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