By Pilar Gerasimo, Experience Life
To say that healthiness and sexiness are connected is, in many ways, to understate the obvious.
It’s widely recognized, of course, that many conspicuous elements of physical attractiveness — things like shiny hair, clear eyes, smooth skin, a fit body — have their natural roots in physiological health. And yet, both the true depth and complexity of the connection between good health and perceived sexiness remain largely undersold.
In reality, it would be virtually impossible to overstate the profusion of health factors that play a role in what we think of as “sex appeal.” Scientific studies have demonstrated that everything from miniscule variations in body symmetry to the concentrations of various hormones in our bloodstream can affect whether or not we are perceived as attractive to others.
In fact, there are whole realms of scientific inquiry around the theory of “sexual selection,” which concerns itself primarily with establishing the ways in which the fitness-seeking mating habits of our own and other species have guided social behavior, sexual competition and genetic evolution.
Whether we like it or not, the state of our organ, endocrine and circulatory systems, our nervous and immune systems, our fertility — even the quality of our DNA — are constantly being broadcast to others by a variety of discernable (though sometimes invisible) physical characteristics. And we humans are far more sensitive at reading and responding to these variations, often on subconscious levels, than most of us would ever suspect.
To properly catalog and explain the myriad ways in which healthiness and sexiness intersect would be a giant and overwhelming endeavor. Charles Darwin only got a start on the fundamentals in his massive book, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (originally published in 1871), and since then, the scientific literature has expanded significantly. In just the last 25 years, the fields of evolutionary biology and psychology have themselves evolved dramatically, and our understanding of the dynamics of our own physiology has become considerably more detailed.
Of course, one doesn’t need an encyclopedia of sexiness to observe and understand that good health is powerfully attractive. Still, it’s a shame, really, that such a detailed and contemporary compendium isn’t more accessible in a user-friendly format, because — let’s face it — sex sells. If something promises to make us more appealing to others, in general, we want it.