Attraction is not a choice

Attraction is not a choice.  Sex, at its root, is about making babies. Although we are now able to engage in it recreationally, intercourse, and the desire to have it, exists only because it is the way our species reproduces itself. Even if you don’t want to have any children, you are sexually attracted to the features in the opposite sex that were historically conducive to reproduction. Wide hips, plump boobs and youth indicate a female’s ability to give birth to and raise healthy children and that is why men think she’s hot. Likewise, well-developed muscles (high testosterone levels signal healthy sperm) and Maseratis (excess resources) indicate a male’s ability to impregnate a female and provide for his offspring, which is why women swoon for men with these assets. Because the foundations of the sexual preferences we have today were laid in our ancestral past, any discussion of the determinants of sexual mastery inevitably leads to a whole host of evolutionary explanations. While genetic development is not the only element that explains sexual mastery – culture, current social conditions and individual (childhood) experiences also shape our preferences – evolution is by far the greatest single determining factor of what turns us on. Learn more at

This book goes into the biological underpinnings of attraction. The human species, #depending on how narrowly you define that term, has been around for at least 200,000 years and has existed in more primitive forms for more than two million years. Modern civilization has only existed for a small part of that. Throughout the annals of humanity, with the exception of the last handful of generations, hunger, disease, violence and war was the norm. In our harsh ancestral environment, men and women developed certain sexual preferences in order to best ensure their own survival and the continuation of their genetic heritage. It was in women’s best interest to a) reproduce with the man who had the best possible genes and b) with a man who had the best capacity for resource provisioning. Men’s genetic interests were best served by mating with the most fertile women, and as many of them as possible. Our genes largely determine sexual attraction, and as such we wield very little control over who we are attracted to. While we may cognitively believe someone is nominally “right for us”, we may nonetheless find ourselves utterly devoid of attraction for them. Our abstract moral principles hardly influence sexual attraction because our genes have a will of their own. The genes that determined what characteristics we are attracted to did not develop during a time of abundant resources, contraceptives, DNA tests or the welfare state. A woman in the West who today has children with, say, an accountant who is physically weak, boring, ugly, and timid, need not be worried that her offspring will not survive to reach reproductive age (it almost certainly will). Yet very few women feel sexually drawn to a man of that description because, in our evolutionary past, having children with such a man would be risking gene death.

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