While addressing the subject of modesty over at Peaceful Single Girl, I entered into a discussion about the difference between attraction and desirability. Several of the commenters were talking about what Christian men found attractive in women. What they were failing to grasp is that what Christian men find attractive in women are the same things that what secular men find attractive in women. The same applies to Christian women and secular women when it comes to male attractiveness. Attraction is a matter of biology, we don’t have much, if any, control over what we find attractive. It really boils down to sex appeal in the end. Desirability is another matter, however. What we desire is based on conscious as well as unconscious preferences for behaviors and characteristics in a mate. There isn’t a whole lot that women, in particular, can do to become more attractive besides eat right, lose weight and work out. But they have a whole slew of options to make themselves more desirable to men.
To provide some examples, here are a few of the features in women that I find attractive:
1) A feminine, symmetrical face
2) Healthy, unblemished skin
3) Long, lean legs
4) A waist-to-hip ratio somewhere above .6 and under .8. [The thinner the woman, the more she can get away with a higher ratio.]
In case you didn’t notice, those are all physical features. This is because men are pretty much purely visual creatures, we know what we like when we see it. Over 95% of attraction for men is visual, with the other senses coming into play when it comes to smell, the sound of a woman’s voice and the feel of her skin.
So what are some of the traits that I find desirable in a woman then? Here are a few:
1) Dresses in a modest and feminine manner
3) Sweet and gentle
I want to make it clear that these traits, by themselves, are not enough to get me to desire a woman. There must be some initial attraction to begin with. Otherwise stated, you need a spark to start a fire. A woman who has all of these traits, but is unattractive, will unfortunately not be desirable to me. That may seem cruel, but it is the truth.
However, when I do find a woman who is attractive and possess traits I find desirable the effect is… profound. The best way I can explain it is like this:
When I come across a woman that is attractive, I am filled with a sudden impulse to use her. In my mind, she becomes a mere object for immediate gratification, and has no lasting significance to me. She is something to be used and then thrown away when I am done.
When I come across a woman that is attractive and desirable, I am filled with a sudden impulse to possess her. In my mind, she becomes something that I want to hold onto for as long as I can, and has a lasting significance to me. She is something to be treasured and protected, even nurtured.
I cannot speak for other men on this, but I will attest that desirability provokes a far more potent response in me than the simple arousal of seeing an attractive women. My suspicion is that this sentiment is my unconscious brain coming to the realization that the desirable woman might be worth investing in, otherwise known as commitment. Part of this might be due to the fact that men tend to find a large percentage of women attractive, but only a small percentage of women worth commitment. Therefore, it would make sense for there to be a strong reaction when such a rare specimen makes herself known. A graph I’ve used several times in the past serves to explain this well:
What women should want is to be in the smallest circle, among those women a man would consider worthy of commitment. Desirability traits are how you get into that small circle, but only if you are in the large one to begin with. Attraction comes before desirability.
The Other Side of the Coin
For women attractiveness is not so simple, of course. They appraise male attractiveness through the LAMPS factors, which involves more than purely physical attributes. This greater complexity of female-to-male attraction is likely responsible for the confusion among women about what they want, and what they desire. In the past, I referred to these as “Retention Vectors“, or “Comfort traits,” but Desirable Traits works better. Some potential traits women might find desirable in a man includes:
1) Devout/A man of Faith
2) Resourceful (which can get mixed up with the Money attribute)
Because those are all aspects of personality, and Personality includes the sub-category of (Masculine) Power, it it easy to understand why women get confused. Separating how conscious desires from unconscious attraction triggers isn’t easy when they are so close together. But it is important for both men and women to understand the difference, because attraction must come before desirability. And this applies to men and women both.