Chapter 9

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Sexual Attractiveness - <br />A Cross Cultural Analysis



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Lecture Notes

Sexual attractiveness is an important component in sexual expression. However, there are few universals in what people from different cultures consider attractive.


In a landmark cross-cultural survey, anthropologists Clelland Ford and Frank Beach discovered that there appear to be only two characteristics that women and men universally consider important in terms of sexual attractiveness: Those characteristics are,


Good health


All other aspects may vary significantly from culture to culture.


Men prefer young women because they are most likely to be fertile and in good health related to their reproductive potential. Women prefer slightly older men because they are more stable, mature, and have greater resources to invest in children, as well as to be a good provider. Various cultures emphasize aspects such as eyes, height and weight, as well as size and shape of genitals. Other physical features include good muscle tone, fuller lips, clear and smooth skin, lustrous hair, or clear eyes. We often think that American ideals of beauty are universal but they're not. In other cultures breasts are not erotic, as well as plump women are preferred over thin women. These are contradictory to the ideals of American beauty.