When you experience those initial feelings of attraction, it can knock you off your feet. More often than not, those first feelings you experience for someone you’re attracted to seem inexplicable and maybe even nonsensical.
The truth is, attraction isn’t random. Science can explain a lot of why we feel what we feel for a person who catches our eye.
As it turns out, even when they aren’t aware of it, many men are looking for certain things in the women they get romantically involved with.
He may think he is simply on the hunt for his next date, but thanks to evolution, he is also subconsciously looking for a partner for his role in the survival of the human race.
This innate drive to recreate can explain these nine things men are hardwired to look for in a potential love interest.
1. It’s in her hips.
Even though an argument could probably be made that most men aren’t thinking about their future as a father when they ask someone out on a date, they seem to be biologically predisposed to be attracted to women who have a certain body shape associated with fertility.
According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a large percentage of men report feeling attracted to women who have a low waist-to-hip ratio.
The researchers who wrote this study hypothesized that men’s brains associate a low waist-to-hip ratio with youthfulness and reproductive health.
2. It’s all about symmetry.
Although you probably learned all about it in art class or geometry, men’s biology seems to be fixated on symmetry. Symmetry is the idea that—when divided in half—each side of an object, person, or image mirrors the other.
Of course, men aren’t simply attracted to any symmetry they see. We are all specifically wired to look for this characteristic in other human beings and use it a subconscious tool for rating attractiveness, according to the journal Symmetry.
There are a few different theories about why this in the case. Some researchers think symmetry is believed to be an indication of overall health.
There are others who believe that because symmetrical images are easier to process visually, our brain is wired to show preference for this characteristic.
3. Let your hair down.
If you have ever suspected that men prefer women with longer hair, you were totally onto something.
The way a woman wears her hair does influence how the opposite sex sees her, according to a 2004 study in the journal Human Nature. This survey found that women with longer hair were rated by male participants as appearing healthier and more attractive.
Admittedly, hairstyle seems to have a very small influence on the attractiveness of women. In fact, if a woman was already viewed as attractive, her hair length didn’t really influence how men viewed her in a study by the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.
It was women who were rated as plain who were deemed more attractive when shown with long hair.
4. Throw on some red lipstick.
Women have long painted their lips red or added blush to their cheeks to make themselves more attractive to men, but it wasn’t until 2008 that we got an understanding of why men seem to prefer the color red.
As it turns out, showing a preference for the color red is a behavior exhibited in all species of males, including homo sapiens.
This attraction to the color red appears to be linked to the female cycle, according to the journal Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers observed that female monkeys actually reddened while ovulating and their mates responded to that change.
Additionally, the same attraction was observed when men were presented with pictures of women wearing red lipstick or a red shirt.
5. The Way You Smell
As bizarre as this may sound, men may be attracted to you because of the way you smell. Even though a lot of people know that pheromones are a hormone with a very specific scent, the science behind the attraction isn’t common knowledge.
Research has found that a woman’s cycle directly influences the pheromones she emits. Depending on where you are in your cycle, men may find you more attractive simply because of the smell of the pheromones you are giving off.
6. Bright and Healthy Eyes
When you ask any man what he finds attractive about a woman, it is almost expected for him to comment on her eyes.
There is a real reason we place so much emphasis on the eyes people we’re attracted to, and it isn’t because the eyes are the window to the soul.
Men are more attracted to women with clear, bright eyes, according to The Harvard Brain. It isn’t necessarily about color, either. It is the overall brightness of the entire eye that matters. This is believed to be all about evolution, since bright eyes are viewed as healthier, whereas dull or dry eyes are associated with aging.
7. Those Luscious Lips
As silly as it may sound, all those teenagers posting duckface selfies on social media might be onto something, since fuller lips are seen as an attractive trait on women.
We already know the color of a woman’s lip matters, but that isn’t the only thing that men are looking for in the mouths of a potential love interest.
One Manchester University study found that after meeting a new woman, men spend about half of the interaction looking at their lips. And when it came to the attractiveness of the women they met, men rated women with fuller lips as more attractive.
The science behind this attraction follows the theme we have been seeing so far—men are attracted to the appearance of health, and full lips are viewed as a physical characteristic of a healthy woman.
8. You sound good to me.
It isn’t all about the way you look. A man’s ears also play a role in determining just how attracted he is to a woman. Just like with males, females’ voices change as they age.
As their estrogen levels decrease, their tone lowers and deepens. Men are more attracted to women with a higher tone to their voice, according to Smithsonian Magazine. This preference is all about youth, because younger women tend to have higher-pitched voices, and the perception is that a younger woman is healthier (and likely more fertile).
Of course, don’t be too quick to assume the importance of each of the physical characteristics and the role they play in a romantic relationship. The way you look, smell, and sound is just one piece of the puzzle.
In the end, everyone ages, and a deep connection and a mutual understanding of each other will be the glue that holds a relationship together for the long haul.