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In which Lindsey sheds light on many of the elements of attraction, like the Proximity Effect and Olfaction.

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Host: Dr. Lindsey Doe

Directing/Filming/Editing: Nicholas Jenkins

Titles: Michael Aranda

Executive Producer: Hank Green

Ever wonder why people are attracted to one another? Why you might have feelings for one person but not someone else? There are surface reasons, like this one has freckles or this one hates cats, but there's sooo much more to it.

Imagine you walk into your room of characters. These would be real people; I'm using assorted toys to demonstrate. Your mind selects potential partners based on attributes, like suspected age. Then there's body type... IIII'm gonna pull out the four-legged creature. You might also not want people who have weapons in their hands. You: out. You: out. This is not a weapon; it's a flight stabilizer. 

You're looking around; another factor might be who is not your species. It's not politically correct; it may not even be rational or healthy. It's preference. 

Those left are what is known as The Field of Eligible's, your specific-to-you field of eligible's, the people who are eligible partners for you. Eligible - not necessarily desirable - so we're going to put them all back, leaving out the minors, so I can show you more about attraction.

The Matching Hypothesis proposes that a lot of the selection process - the field of eligibility - has to do with the person's level of attractiveness - what your culture values, not you personally. In my culture, attractiveness would be considered having a clear complexion, symmetry, high cheekbones and defined jawbones, straight teeth. The Matching Hypothesis says that people of similar numbers are gonna match better - the twos with the twos, fours with the fours, fives with the fives, sixes with sixes, eights with eights, et cetera.

If you wanna match up with someone more attractive than you, someone who has a higher number, you can increase your number by working out, eating healthy, changing your wardrobe, smiling, and maintaining good hygiene. All of these can boost your numbers - so can ovulation.

Turns out during ovulation, biosex females become more attractive; their complexions improve, their breasts level up, and their movements and voices become more feminine. And the once-sweaty meathead actually sounds, looks, and smells more appealing to ovulating women.

This smell is called olfaction attraction and might go something like, "Last week you said that my pits smelled like piss."

"Mmm, not today. You smell delicious! I could just snuggle right in." *sniffs* 

Pheromones are an extremely powerful detection system that might even communicate, "You're related to him - stay away."

And I'm not even done with all the factors of attraction. One of the biggest is the proximity effect. Basically, the closer people are in physical space, the higher the likelihood of physical attraction. Three scientific reasons why: One - you have more opportunities to get to know each other. Two - you're probably in similar circumstances, like the characters in Garden State who are both at the doctor's office, and three - mere exposure effect.

Mere exposure effect can be its very own law of attraction, too. Logically, the more you see someone, the more you like them. The research studies on this are fascinating and apply to more than sex. Your attraction to products, places, and YouTube channels might be a result of merely what you're exposed to.

Or similarity - Iron Man and I are not a good match, not just because he's an inanimate object, but also, he's freaking Iron Man! I used to think opposites attract, because Paula Abdul - she likes it neat; he makes a mess. She makes the bed; he steals the covers. And I totally believed it... damn hammerpants-wearing-cat.

Here's what I learned later, though. Opposites do attract, but spend the rest of their relationships molding one another to be more similar. Realistically, attraction is more common between people who share similar interests, personalities, and attitudes. And the attraction is more powerful and permanent when the physical draw is to someone who is smart, interesting, and kind. 

What is attractive to you? And why? Tell me; I'm curious! Also, please connect with us here, here, here, and here, because our Sexplanauts community is stronger when it's a dialogue. Stay curious.