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Science of Sex: What’s Your Type?

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So it seems like our “type” may actually reflect a desire to date someone that’s similar to us, or perhaps our idealized and romanticized self. Our quest for sameness goes even further than just college stats and muscle mass. Although scientists can pinpoint general traits that make someone attractive (strong jaw, physical fitness, etc.), studies have shown that we tend to be attracted to those who look like we do. That’s because people want a mate that looks familiar—like their parents or even themselves. In one example, David Perrett, a researcher at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, showed students faces of the opposite sex and asked them to rate them on attractiveness. For one of the faces, he used a picture of the student and morphed it into the opposite sex. Of all the faces to choose from, the students almost always preferred the face that was essentially their own.

Opposites Attract?
We might balk at the narcissism and point to plenty of couples that don’t look alike or share similar backgrounds. But credentials don’t really describe a person’s personality. That’s what Dr. Helen Fischer, an anthropologist and consultant for, tries to do in her most recent book, Why Him? Why Her? In it, she constructs four different temperaments, based on hormones and neurochemicals, which explain why certain types are attracted to others.

Instead of just looking at things like socioeconomic background and basic interests, Fischer comes up with four main personality types. The Explorer, ruled by high dopamine levels, is a risk-taker, seeks adventure and novelty, and is curious. The Builder has high serotonin activity and is calm, likes schedules and roles, and is conventional. The Director is influenced by testosterone and is focused, analytical, and logical, while the Negotiator has high estrogen activity, sees the big picture, and is compassionate, altruistic, and imaginative.

People can fall into more than one type, but Dr. Fisher contends that while couples may have similarities, they also have traits that complement each other. In Fisher’s view, personality type doesn’t always follow the “like attracts like” situation—Explorers are drawn to Explorers, but Directors and Negotiators tend to pair up well, too

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2:55PM PDT on Jul 26, 2015


10:55PM PDT on Jul 21, 2015

thank you

7:17PM PDT on Jun 29, 2015

Interesting article but I think it was too simplistic. Relationships need to be nurtured and allowed to change. Thinking that your romantic solution is to find the right type of person narrows the field and might prevent you from getting involved with someone who is perfect for you.

9:36PM PDT on Jun 27, 2015

Interesting. Opposites might attract but if you are too different as time goes on you tend to loose interest. It's nice to be able to share your likes with your partner.

6:06AM PDT on Jun 27, 2015

@ Lee R. " I have never understood the attraction to "bad boys" Me either. Especially when ANY "bad boy" is in prison for the most horrible crimes imaginable and women show up to show extreme love and support for him, Example; Manson, whose girl gang continued to love even when his actions had put them in prison, and even when aged and ugly, had a young loving woman come to be his bride. On the "opposites attract" theme, when I lived in Norway and Sweden years ago, girls showed their tongues to the few black men there. They showed no interest in me, an uninteresting white guy. When I asked why black was in, the answer was "Contrast, contrast. I noticed a black girl and found her presence so odd that I spoke with her out of curiosity. She was from Aruba and guess what ?

11:02PM PDT on Jun 25, 2015


7:04PM PDT on Jun 22, 2015

Like attracts like but variety is the spice of life. I have had the most success with women like me in key ways but different enough to allow for a lot of interest.

7:48PM PDT on Jun 21, 2015

Intelligent and compassionate. Sense of humor and a love of animals also a big plus. Smokers, Republicans, and bullies - no effing way.

I have never understood the attraction to "bad boys" -- or bad girls, for that matter. The salient point is "bad." Also, boys and girls = immature, and when they grow up (and most don't) they're still bad. Not usually a good bet for a lasting relationship.

12:03PM PDT on Jun 17, 2015

Rember this

12:59AM PDT on Jun 16, 2015

Homophily, even though they say opposites attract.

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