The Science Of Attraction: Love Decoded

Many of us believe that falling in love is a simple case of two people meeting each other, falling in love and living happily ever after. Yet by now, we really should know that love is only that straightforward in Disney films. We asked author Andrew Trees about the rules of romance in this modern world of dating.

012511-MrMrsSmith-400RESCU: What are the key factors that attract a man to a woman?
Andrew Trees: The biggest factors are youth and fertility (which are indicated by various body metrics, such as waist to hip ratio).

RESCU: You claim that polygamy is actually in our DNA – tell us more about this theory?
Andrew Trees: Not in our DNA, but polygamy has been far more common throughout history than monogamy. The grand irony is that with polygamy, the spouse that most women end up with, will be better than the spouse that they would have had in a monogamous society.

RESCU: Why do men cheat?
Andrew Trees: Evolution has shaped them to want to spread their genes as widely as possible, so men crave sexual variety far more than women.

RESCU: Why do women cheat?
Andrew Trees: Subconsciously, they are trying to get better genes for their offspring.

RESCU: In this busy day and age, how can we make the most of each dating opportunity?
Andrew Trees: I think you have to approach dating with a positive, open attitude. If you think a date is going to be terrible, it will likely meet your expectations.

RESCU: Are there certain pitfalls for men to avoid? Women to avoid?
Andrew Trees: Too many to enumerate! But in general women need to assure men of their fidelity and loyalty, and men need to convince women of their sincerity and commitment.

RESCU: Your book, Decoding Love, claims that in general, women fall for status and wealth whilst men fall for beauty and fertility. How then do we navigate this if we are neither wealthy nor beautiful?
Andrew Trees: The most successful relationships are between well-matched partners, so you should look for someone who is roughly as attractive as you are.

RESCU: Tell us about the female orgasm – what is its purpose and is it necessary?
Andrew Trees: There is some evidence that it is a cryptic sexual selection device. In other words, a woman’s orgasm may play a role in ensuring that sperm from a superior genetic mate has a better chance of impregnating her.

RESCU: Do shows like Sex and The City make things more difficult for women to find Mr. Right?
Andrew Trees: I do. It creates unrealistic expectations, as do most television shows.

RESCU: Do shows like Entourage re-enforce stereotypes and myths for men?
Andrew Trees: I think it does make the single life look very appealing for men -particularly if they are movie stars.

RESCU: What is the secret to a happy marriage?
Andrew Trees: A good sense of humor and learning to fight with grace and kindness.

RESCU: You talk about fragrances that attract the opposite sex. What are these and why aren’t all beauty companies selling this message?
Andrew Trees: A spicy floral fragrance does appear to make women appear slimmer, but fragrance is very idiosyncratic and personal. Some women just don’t like how that smells.

RESCU: Can you tell us more about the Waist-to-Hip ratio and symetricity with regards to attracting a mate?
Andrew Trees: Waist-to-hip ratio tells you a lot about a woman’s fertility. Women with an hourglass figure (a ratio of .7) are invariably attractive to men because of this. Body symmetry is generally a sign of good genes and a healthy life, so both men and women have a strong preference for people with good symmetry.

Image credit: the science of attraction image via

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