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Science of Sex: What’s Your Type?

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Science of Sex: What’s Your Type?

One of the easiest ways to sum up a potential mate’s shortcomings is with the simple phrase, “He’s just not my type.” But why do we have types? Most people can write down a list of must-haves and must-not-haves—everything from job status and music taste to eye color and shoe preference (mandals are a surefire deal breaker). But the reasons why people have types and the things that drive their finicky tastes are less clear.

Rules of Attraction
It’s not hard for scientists to determine the traits that make people attractive: a good waist-to-hip ratio; symmetrical features; for men, a masculine jaw and a deep voice; for women, a high voice. All these characteristics relate to hormone levels and overall genetic fitness. We’re attracted to people with whom we’ll have a good chance of having healthy offspring, even if we’re only looking for a fun night or two. Scent also plays a large role in what we consider “chemistry” and relates to how our own immune system matches up with a potential suitor’s.

But rarely do we describe our type as someone who’s “symmetrical” or who has kick-butt immune defenses. Instead, we want someone who’s athletic or artsy, or someone who has oodles of ambition and the 401k to prove it.

Birds of a Feather?
Our perfect type may have less to do with biological attraction and more to do with our own personality, style, and interests. Studies have shown that people tend to fall in love with those from their same socioeconomic background, similar levels of intelligence, and consistent values and principles. There’s even a term—homophily, or “love of the same”—that describes the tendency for similar people to attract each other.

In both romantic and platonic relationships, homophily happens. Researchers at MIT’s Media Laboratory looked at homophily in online dating and found that users sought people that were like them most of the time, just as it happens in the offline world. Users were most likely to seek similarities in preferences for marital history and desire for children, but also things like physical build, attractiveness, and smoking habits.

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188 comments

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7:45PM PDT on May 13, 2015

Was expecting to find my type. Yet good info

8:53AM PDT on May 1, 2015

This article completely failed to account for the percentage of people, usually men, who attract no one at all. I assure you, we are out here. Best case scenario, from time to time, we attract someone for whom we feel no attraction whatsoever. I myself certainly don't set out to date supermodels...still, my taste in women exceeds my ability to attract those women. So, I don't date anymore. Single indefinitely. It takes a lot of courage for a man to recognize when he's been beaten in the dating arena, and to bow out gracefully and with dignity.

8:22AM PDT on May 1, 2015

Was expecting abit more from this article,but the comments were also very interêsting and some funny thank you

6:21AM PDT on Apr 27, 2015

There will come a time when we have conducted enough studies show that convergence of knowledge is actually possible.

9:32PM PDT on Apr 14, 2015

I hope it works out for you

6:05AM PDT on Apr 13, 2015

Thanks for the comment Amy L. you are obviously a kindred spirit...and I'll repeat my comment because care2 have managed to lose my previous page, friends, points, donations and stars!!! :-(
After 50 years of trying to get it right and scaling down my idealistic expectations I am resigned to being happily single because when all is said and done
"We remain in the laps of the Gods" as far as partners are concerned....and they all disappear when you need them the most....maybe the answer is to use abuse and hold in contempt !!??
but that wouldn't sit right with my idealistic nature and desires ... Romeo and Juliet in my sixties I think not but ???...

6:04AM PDT on Apr 13, 2015

Thanks for the comment Amy L. you are obviously a kindred spirit...and I'll repeat my comment because care2 have managed to lose my previous page, friends, points, donations and stars!!! :-(
After 50 years of trying to get it right and scaling down my idealistic expectations I am resigned to being happily single because when all is said and done
"We remain in the laps of the Gods" as far as partners are concerned....and they all disappear when you need them the most....maybe the answer is to use abuse and hold in contempt !!??
but that wouldn't sit right with my idealistic nature and desires ... Romeo and Juliet in my sixties I think not but ???...


5:08PM PDT on Apr 12, 2015

Thanks.

5:04AM PDT on Apr 11, 2015

Entertaining comments, insipid article.
Actually i took t. bait and clicked on this as i was hoping for 1 of those fun personality quizzes... a type of entertainment i haven't enjoyed for several years. But, we're given only terse summaries of 4 types, and i didn't see any link to a quiz. What a swizz...-.-
hahaha rhyme unintended...that's my quirk, caused by my calling as lyricist ^^

9:05PM PDT on Apr 9, 2015

thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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