It can be hard to explain that feeling you get when you see a guy who catches your fancy – and there are all sorts of (often surprising) factors that affect sexual attraction. Here are 3 of them:

1 The Pill can affect how attracted you are to your partner and your overall happiness in a relationship
A study published in the Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences found that the Pill can affect women’s sexual satisfaction. The researchers studied 48 couples for four years of marriage and 70 couples for one year, and asked them about their contraception methods and sexual satisfaction. It was revealed that women who stopped taking the Pill during their marriage became less sexually satisfied with their partners and their marriage in general (but only if their partners were deemed less attracted than average – an unbiased group of judges was asked to rate the men’s attractiveness). Women who married men who were deemed more good-looking than average reported higher levels of sexual satisfaction.

According to the study…

Pnas.org/

Pnas.org/

But don’t panic: more research needs to be done and the study is only based on two small sample sizes. ‘Any generalisations should be made with caution until the findings can be replicated with a larger and more representative sample,’ say the researchers.

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2 Women are literally attracted to men’s sweat
A new study found that women who are at peak fertility stage of their menstrual cycle are drawn to guys who have high levels of the pheromone androstenol in their sweat. ‘The chemical androstenol contributes to the musky smell of body odour,’ according to LiveScience. ‘Men produce much more of this chemical than women, and testosterone levels may be linked to production of these molecules, the researchers suggest. If so, the women in the study may be responding to these subtle odour cues.’ So the more musky he is, the better…

3 What’s the colour of sexual attraction? Red, of course – commonly associated with sexiness, eroticism and romance

In a study titled ‘Red, rank and romance in women viewing men’, the researchers found that ‘women perceive men to be more attractive and sexually desirable when seen on a red background and in red clothing… The influence of red appears to be specific to women’s romantic attraction to men.’

A University of Rochester study published in the Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology revealed that men find red equally sexually alluring.

‘Our research demonstrates a parallel in the way that human and nonhuman male primates respond to red,’ the researchers found. ‘In doing so, our findings confirm what many women have long suspected and claimed – that men act like animals in the sexual realm. As much as men might like to think that they respond to women in a thoughtful, sophisticated manner, it appears that (at least to some degree) their preferences and predilections are, in a word, primitive.’

We have to agree with that!

This article was written by Candice Quinton and originally appeared on Cosmopolitan SA.