Tag Archives: Marriage

Cultural Compatibility Matters in Romance

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Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There is a popular belief that romantic relationship fails because of personal incompatibility. People who fall in love eventually separate due to irreconcilable differences. Many say that differences in personality are often the cause of  break-up. But one can rarely hear from people blaming the cultural incompatibility between partners as the main culprit why lovers separate. Culture refers to the way of life of a particular group of people. It refers to anything a person learns from his/her environment from beliefs, values, norms, art to all material things such as food, tools, etc. An American, for instance, who falls in love with an Asian implies a wide cultural incompatibility from cultural taste, cultural values, beliefs, and views. This can cause a lot of conflict when they stay together as lovers and spouses. The American, for instance, may encounter a cultural shock that his Asian wife values her relatives and becomes dependent on them even if she is already married.

A person’s personality is highly influenced by culture and not by his/her genes or biological make-up. Only few human behaviors are caused by biology, most are socially learned through culture and nurture:

“All relationships are to some extent cross-cultural, in that both parties come together from different families to build a new unit together. Whilst for many couples this will be a natural set of compromises to which both partners will adjust naturally over time – for others the differences can be fundamental, with one finding it difficult to understand the others way of looking at the world and vice versa”.

Particular challenges faced by people with different cultural background:

  • coping with religious differences
  • loss of identity
  • daily disagreements over small things – cooking, hygiene, standards, rituals etc.
  • different ideas about the meaning of love, family and relationships
  • different methods of dealing with conflict
  • unsupportive families.

Some lifestyle disagreements include:

  • Eating and drinking – Different cultures have different views on alcohol consumption and diets vary greatly around the world.

  • Clothing – Sometimes people change what they wear to fit in with another culture.

  • Chore distribution – Different views on gender roles can spark conflict when it comes to distributing domestic chores.

  • Money – Money can be a big stumbling block when it comes to relationship harmony. How people deal with money, how they value money and how they spend it can be quite dependent on the culture they come from [1].

It’s not true as portrayed in romantic stories that love is made in heaven with couple not encountering cultural differences in romantic relationships. Romantic love can lead to true love and commitment if  a couple transcends cultural differences and constantly negotiate to stay together “till death do us part”! True love is loving the person despite his/her cultural identity and saying “I love because you’re you!”

[1]http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/cross-cultural-relationships.

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What is a Deceptive Love?

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Fig. 3.6 “Romantic Couple” by Ambro (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

     Let us start with a short story of a man who had mental reservation or lying when he didn’t tell his girlfriend that he is already in love with another woman while still in relationship with her. This can be considered a form of deceptive love:

I had a boyfriend for five years and seven months. His name was Anton and we were deeply in love. At least I’d like to believe that he was in love with me, too. We had dreams of getting married in the year 2000 and we agreed to name our first baby girl with both our mothers’ names.

For five years, my life focused on Anton. He was my world and my life, and he always came first. My friends, family, career and even myself came after. My heart and mind were already set on having him as my husband–my lifetime partner. Nothing and no one could change that. His family and friends knew about us and accepted me. They were all kind to me and treated me well. I remember his brothers and sisters introducing me to their friends as “our future sister-in-law”. Everyone thought it would be Anton and me in the end.

Third quarter of this year, we began having frequent fights over small things like where to eat, what movie to watch and whether he would see me or not. He’d tell me he was under a lot of pressure from both his work and his relationship with me so I proposed we “cool off” for awhile. I told him that in the meantime, I wouldn’t call him or see him as often as I wanted to, but I’d always be around if ever he needed me.

Without a second thought, he accepted my proposal and told me to just end the relationship. Joe, it was as if he had just waited for me to initiate the breakup.

I was shocked and surprised. The man I love and gave my life to was letting me go. Though it hurt, I accepted the idea because I thought he was just tired from work and confused. I thought that after a few days, we’d both realize that we really need and love each other.

When we parted ways, I couldn’t help but cry. The following day I called him and asked if we could still talk about it. I asked him the real reason and he told me that he was tired of my demands. He was tired of being committed and just wanted to be alone for awhile. I told him I’d change but Anton remained firm in his decision.

Twenty days after our breakup, we agreed to meet in our old meeting place for dinner. However, he didn’t show up despite my numerous pages reminding him that I was waiting. When the mall closed, I decided to go home and on my way, I saw him with another woman. What made it even painful was that he just ignored me, as if he didn’t see me. For two days, I was absent from work, I didn’t know what to do. I was so confused. I didn’t know what was happening, why he was with that girl when he was supposed to meet me–that same girl my friends saw him with minutes before our breakup…(Source: http://sobrangcheezy.blogspot.hk/2010/03/joe-dmangos-love-notes-time-to-move-on.html)

    Not all forms of romantic love are sincere and honest. Some are deceptive. Romantic partners can appear as angels but deep inside they are motivated to take advantage of the other.  Having your heart broken is the easy part; knowing when to move on is the challenge. One must be careful not to enter into a deceptive love relationship. This type of love is based on lies and deceit. And the innocent victim of this type of love will end up frustrated and broken hearted.

      Deceptive love is a fake type of romantic love where one or both partners either consciously or unconsciously mislead the other in an effort to dishonestly establish trust and intimacy. The person who engages in this type of romantic love follows a sort of “catch and release” pattern. He or she is more interested in catching more fish (lovers) than in staying in love and maintaining a long-term relationship. His or her intention is ‘to collect” more girlfriends or boyfriends and enjoy whatever social, emotional, and sexual benefits he or she can reap while in intimacy with their partners. But he or she would eventually break up with some of his or her partner/s if he or she becomes dissatisfied with the relationship. This is the case of a person who is tagged as a “playboy” or “playgirl”, a person who likes to establish multiple romantic relationships with other people without serious intention of establishing a lasting relationship or true love.

      This is an unhealthy and functional type of “love”. The person falls in love with another for selfish motives. This is common in the social media where anonymous individuals, using fictitious identity, establish romantic relationships with other users through chatting and other digital means of communication. One woman in the Philippines became a victim of this type of love on Facebook. She fell in love with a man she only knew through the social media. After establishing romantic relationship, the man requested her nude photo. Then he extorted her money, demanding that she should give him a certain amount or else he would post her nude picture online.

     In the study “Understanding the Routine Expression of Deceptive Affection in Romantic Relationships,” deceptive affection means that an individual in a romantic relationship chooses to express affection he or she does not actually feel. According to this study, non-married individuals expressed deceptive affection about three times a week to romantic partners.

      Couples who are not in good terms with their partners usually use deceptive affection to save face, avoid embarrassing their partner or sidestep a situation that may land them in hot water. This can include lying about one’s own feelings or feelings about a partner and expressing affection instead of negative feelings.  Some studies showed that couples use verbal and non-verbal affection in hopes that a sweet caress or profession of love will mask their true feelings. The use of affection to lie appears to be a regular activity in romantic relationships. Thus, people can be extra sweet with their partners to gain material favors such as owning a new car, house and lot, or signing a pre-nuptial agreement to gain an inheritance of the wealthy partner. Deceptive affection can actually help maintain a relationship in some cases. But affections in deceptive love are only a facade of the selfish motives of some romantics to take advantage of their partners.

12 signs to move on

Source: Pinterest

What Makes Women Sexy? (Part II)

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 Photo credit: shutterstock.com

     Love in the sense of sexual passion is a common feature of societies. But romantic love is different from sexual love. Romantic love is all about emotional communication and the attractiveness of the other. It carries with it the idea of intimacy because one falls in love specifically with the qualities of the other. It tells a forward-looking story or narrative about the lovers and creates a biography, not just for one person, but for two people (Giddens & Pierson, 1998). Sexual love is temporary and focused on physical attraction and beauty of the partners and not on the quality of the romantic relationship and  personal traits and personalities of the lovers. Falling in love is the beginning of love, but not the end in itself. Here is another set of physical traits that make women sexy and attractive to men:

  1. Less Makeup

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 Fig. 2 “Asian Woman Relaxing on the Grass” by Feelart (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

This criterion is cultural. It depends on one’s culture. In remote, rural areas, make up is not necessary. But if one is living in a highly urbanized place or in the corporate world, makeup is necessary. Just avoid too much makeup.  Applying a make-up on the face can enhance the woman’s beauty and attract the attention from men. But too much make-up can be a turn off. Some studies revealed that men tend to be attracted to women who have less makeup.

     3. Nice Butt

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 Fig. 3 “Sensual Woman Wearing Black Corset” by stockimages (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      Based on various studies and one recently done by Cosmopolitan, the sexiest part of female body parts is not the boobs as popularly believed by many people. According to this study, the second female body part that men find the sexiest is the butt. Women can make up for a lack of chest with their butt. Surveys showed that men can be happy with all sorts of shapes and sizes when it comes down to the bottom. An attractive butt is a sign of the woman’s health, vitality and fertility. It can also imply that “a woman has a narrow waist, she’s not pregnant. And if she has broad hips it means that the underlying skeletal morphology is probably such that she’d be able to have a relatively unencumbered childbirth.” Moreover, the fat stored in women’s butts — called gluteofemoral fat — has unique long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids  that are important for babies’ brain development. A nice butt can also indicate the partner’s l good health condition.

      3. Big Chests and Breasts

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 Fig. 4 “Big Breasts on the Work” by Patrisyu (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      Men are generally attracted to big chests and breasts. Revealing cleavage can definitely attract men to their women. “Since a long time back, it has been believed that men are attracted to women who are healthy and are able to reproduce. Breasts are a sign of fertility as they portray the notion that the woman would be able to bear children as well as nourish them.” Men are less drawn to women’s breasts in tropical climates than in cold climates. Men from cultures whose women are always fully clothed in public, tend to be especially ‘appreciative’ of a lady’s bosoms.

     4. Beautiful Lips

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 Fig. 5 “Girl Applying Red Lip Gloss to her Lips” by Stuart Miles (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

     Lips is another female body part that men find sexy. Fuller and plumber looking lips really make a man take a second glance. One study carried by scientists at Manchester University involving the tracking of the eye movement of 50 men as they were presented with images of women revealed that participants spent more time gazing at the women’s lips that other parts of the face. This is particularly true when the women applied lipstick. They spent an average of 7 seconds for the lips, 0.95 second for the eyes, and 0.85 studying the hair. They specifically attracted to women with full lips wearing red lipstick. This study proved that the lips can be one of the most sensual aspects of a woman’s body which can play a crucial role in human sexual attraction.

      5. Beautiful Smile

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 Fig. 6 (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      Men are most attracted to a woman’s smile because it shows that the man is making them happy. Not many men are able to resist a beautiful smile from a woman. Women’s beautiful smile can also charm men, and serve as an invitation to them to establish friendship or romantic relationship with them. A study at the University of British Columbia found that men are more attracted to women who smiled more. But women are less attracted to men who tend to smile and prefer guys who keep a straight face. The song “Words” by the Bee Gees captured the charm of a woman’s  smile to men:

“Smile an everlasting smile,
A smile can bring you near to me
Don’t ever let me find you gone
‘Cause that could bring a tear to me….”

     6. Curvy  Hips

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Fig. 7 “Sexy Woman Ass In Black Thong” by stockimages (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

          A girl or woman with a curved hip is generally seen by men as sexy. There is too much billboards and advertisements showing women with curved hips that has molded the consciousness of the male species that a curvy woman is sexy. ‘A girl who flaunts with a curved hip is just proving to men that she knows how to move, and there’s nothing a guy finds sexier than that. Surveys showed that men prefer women with curvier hips – the more meat the better.

     7. Nice Stomach

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Fig. 8 “Elegant Woman Posing In Black Lingerie” Stock Photo (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

       The men surveyed were all attracted to the softness of the skin in the torso area and most of them said they love some abdomen and muscle definition, but not too much—they want to see a little feminine curve there.

     Please follow this blog for more scientific insights on romance and romantic love. Next post: Why Color Red Makes People Sexy?

What Makes Women Sexually Attractive to Men? (Part 1)

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Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

Introduction

    Men fall in love with women for some reasons. It is not accidental. The first meeting may be accidental, but developing strong feelings for the other is based on their socialization or upbringing in the past. True love does not happen during the first encounter or date. It develops through time, after one partner realizes the personality, values, attitudes, and outlook in life of the other. But it can begin with the first sight of the other. But the attraction is not primarily biological but social. A man can easily fall with a woman if it reminds him of some traits or experiences he encountered in the past. To some researchers,  a man can fall in love with a woman if one or some of the following traits or acts are present during the first encounter.

     1. Bone Structure that Resembles that of their Mother.

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     This is known as “sexual imprinting” coined by researchers. Mothers’ presence and child care during formative years have a strong effect for men. The physical structure and image of the mother has a strong influence to men’s choice on the type of women they would fall in love with. Women who resemble in personal and physical traits with their male partners’ mothers can most likely get the attention from men they fall in love with. With regard to physical attributes, some research suggest that men would most likely fall in love with women whose bone structure resembles that of their mothers. Of course, this theory presupposes that this type of men had good nurturing experience with their mothers during childhood and formative years. If not, then men would fall in love with women whose bone structure resembles with that of their surrogate mothers or women who took good care of them during childhood. The bone structure of the women during the first encounter or date would immediately remind the male partners of their mother’s image and physical presence. Most Japanese men love to be pampered by their mothers as part of their culture. Thus, they would most likely fall in love with women whose physical presence, such as similarity of bone structure, can remind them of their nurturing mothers.

  1. Low Waist-to-Hip Ratio

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Fig 1. “Woman with Jewelry and Long Hair” by Marin (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Low waist-to-hip ratio (in which the waist is significantly narrower that the hips) as more attractive than those with wider waists. Researchers at University of Texas found that women with a good waist-to-hip ratio may subconsciously signal that a woman has good health and reproductive ability.

  1. Youthful Features

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Fig 2. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

    A study from the journal Current Anthropology found that men from five different cultures showed a preference for females with youthful features like large eyes, a small nose, and full lips. The findings showed that men subconsciously seek out partners who are most likely to reproduce. Youthful features of women are related to their level of fertility and capacity to produce offspring.

    Not all men, however, are attracted to youthful partners. This depends of the socialization and family experience of the partner. Men or women who are very close to their nurturing fathers or mothers tend to be attracted to more mature features of their partners. These are the kind of people who are looking for a “father or mother figure” in their romantic relationships to remind them of their nurturing experience during childhood and adolescence.

   4. Long or Moderately Long Hair

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  Fig 3. “Close-up Shot of Beauty Woman in Designer Blue Top” by  Photostock (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      Women with moderately long hair or anything close to shoulder length as that looks feminine. However, there are men who fall in love with women with short hair. A person’s hair contributes a lot to the final appearance of the person. The hair has an aesthetic function. That’s why the beauty parlor business is attractive to women. A woman’s hair is often thought of as a defining feature of her femininity. Depending on the man’s wish list, a beautiful hair is an important women’s asset to get men’s attention. A long straight hair is usually attractive to men, although there are some guys who prefer a short one. Women do a lot of things on their hair to alter their looks and convey their personality to men.

  1. Beautiful Eyes

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  Fig 4. “A Portrait of Attractive Asian Woman” by Tiverylucky (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      The eyes are the windows of the soul. Nothing attracts a man other than beautiful eyes, pair of blue, hazel or brown eyes are actually the killer, provides calm, comfort and warmth to the males. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the chest or bust as the number one female part that men find most attractive but the eyes. According to Cosmopolitan, men ranked the eyes as the top body part because no matter how different the taste can be—about hair, chest butt, legs, feet—every man can be disarmed with a sexy glance. The eyes are aid to be the window of the soul. The lyrics of the monster hit “For the First Time” by Kenny Loggins captures the importance of women’s eyes for men who fall in time on the first encounter:

“For The First Time”

Are those your eyes, is that your smile
I’ve been lookin at you forever
But I never saw you before
Are these your hands holdin’ mine
Now I wonder how I could of been so blind

For the first time I am looking in your eyes
For the first time I’m seein’ who you are
I can’t believe how much I see
When you’re lookin back at me
Now I understand why love is…
Love is… for the first time..

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Part II of this post will explore how the color red, make-up, and other things can make women attractive. Follow this blog for more update on its Romantic Love Series. Thanks for your support and cheers!

Male Physical Traits Attractive to Women

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Photo: “Lovers” by photostock (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

On Physical Traits

     Romantic love often begins with physicality. People are embodied beings and communicate with the world through their bodies. In cultures where marriages are arranged, physicality is not a major problem in the selection of partners. But in urban and advanced societies with strong emphasis on romantic love and falling in love before marriage, physical looks play an important role in the selection of partners. Research has shown that it only takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes for a person to fall in love at first sight or fancy someone. And what usually attracts the person during this moment is not what the other says, but what his or her presence projects through body language (55%) and the tone and speed of the voice (38%). The content of what the person says is only 7%.

      There has to be some sort of physical basis before two strangers fall in love. People have some minimum standards of beauty which he or she learned through social learning. This is usually attuned to his or her cultural upbringing and taste. Thus, “loving one’s own” is a common pattern in falling in love. People with similar culture, race, ethnicity, social class, religion, geographical location, and social categories usually more disposed to fall in love with each than those with more dissimilarities and cultural incompatibilities. Cultural similarities reduce a lot of social barriers that make the love relationship easier to maintain. A study published in the journal  Psychological Science found that men who live in cultures where food and money are scarce tend to find heavier women more attractive than thinner ones. These men may see the extra pounds as a status symbol; a buxom figure signals having the means to purchase plenty of food.

      People with similar cultural background share similar standards of beauty and are, therefore, more likely to fall in love than complete cultural strangers. Of course, with the advent of digital technology and the Internet, people’s standards of physical beauty may become hybrid or mixed, especially to those who are heavy users of the multi-cultural world wide web. Cultural diffusion through the Internet can change people’s standards of beauty and love and can make them accepting of foreign standards of falling in love.

      It’s probable that a person “falls in love for the first time” because of the physical presence of the other as resembling somebody, whether real or imagined, whom he or she idolizes or had a crush, whether a celebrity, a friend, former classmate or officemate or anybody he or she had been attracted to. The person’s wish list of an ideal romantic partner immediately become active during the first encounter and “falls in love” with somebody he or she has not been known acquainted with. Although popularly considered as “love at first sight”, experts and moralists do not generally consider this as love but infatuation and only a first step towards true love. Using biological theory, Helen Fisher of Rutgers University also considers “love at first sight” as only the first of the 3 stages of love: lust, attraction and attachment. For her, the first stage of love is only lust. This is the amazing moment when two people are driven by the sex hormones of testosterone and estrogen. In the second stage, the couple is truly love-struck and can think of little else. And in the third and attachment stage, the couple is bonded together long enough to have and raise children.

Based on many research studies, the following physical traits are generally attractive to women:

        1. Taller than their Women

Height matters in falling in love. Women are generally attracted to men who are taller than them. Taller men have a bigger body frame, and thus, have stronger physical strength and more capable of protecting their romantic partners.

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  Fig. 1 “Young Hugging Couple” by Marcolm (Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      “A 2014 research conducted by professors at Rice University and the University of Northern Texas found out that out of around 1000 Yahoo! Personal Dating ads, nearly 50% of women claimed that they’d prefer to date a man who’s taller than they were.” Thus, height still matters. Tall men are usually attractive to women because of the popular belief that they can provide more protection to their female partners that shorter ones. But take note that this doesn’t mean that men should be very tall to be attractive to women. This study only suggests that the male partner must be at least a little taller than the female partner and not shorter. The average height of men and women of a particular culture of countries applies here. Southeast Asian men such as Indonesians, Thais and Filipinos are generally shorter than Caucasian European or American men. So what is the average height for men in a given culture is still socially acceptable as long as male lovers are taller than their female partners. What is generally unacceptable is that the male partner is shorter than the female partner. In this case, it seems the woman is physically stronger and providing protection to her male partner which is considered as a reversal of roles; thus, culturally unacceptable.

      But people must not make this height requirement absolute as there are couples who are happy with shorter male partners. For older people, what matters more in a relationship are intimacy, companionship, social status of the partner, and financial security rather than the height and other physical attributes of their partners. By age, the youth and young adults seem to value this requirement of height than older people.

  1. Athletic Body

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  Fig. 2 “Portrait Muscular Male” by domdeen (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

       Researchers have found out of all the body shapes, women in general seem to prefer a “V-shaped” athletic body of their men. Respondents say a strong and well-defined musculature on the upper body and a narrow and slim waist. “Because body type is a reliable indicator of health and fertility, men are more attracted to women with a lower waist-to-hip (WHR) ratio and an average body mass index (BMI), neither thin nor plump, because these are associated with youth and sexual maturity.”

   3. Slower Movements

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  Fig. 3 “Young Romantic Couple” by imagerymajestic (Image courtesy of DigitalFreePhotos.net)

       Researchers have found that men who have slower movements and speech are often perceived as more at ease and confident, and thus, more attractive. This particularly true in first date or where the partners are still cautious with one another. The male can give a good impression if he is slower in his verbal and nonverbal communication that allows the female partner to be at ease in the social interaction. “Stay calm and lean back in the beginning to persuade your partner that you are safe, trustworthy, and likable. Lean in and get more energetic once you’ve earned their trust, to motivate them to become excited about the prospect of seeing you again.” Slower movements can also indicate good manners, confidence, gentleness, and good breeding.

    4. Smaller Belly

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Fig. 4 “Portrait Muscular Male Torso” by Domdeen (Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

A large amount of abdominal fat can indicate lower levels of testosterone and lower sex drive and fertility. It’s absolutely no surprise that women love that washboard stomach. The ripples are the epitome of what a man is defined by. Some women didn’t necessarily require rock hard ab, but a flat stomach is important just the same.

  1. Deeper Voices

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 Fig. 5 “Young Businessman Talking to Client” by stockimages (Image courtesy  of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      Men with deeper voices are more likely to appear attractive or make an impression than those with higher voices. Deeper voices are generally associated with masculinity and power while higher voices are associated with femininity and weaker strength. According to a group of researchers from University College London, women perceive men with a deeper voice as a sign of a larger and stronger physicality.

       6. Symmetrical Face

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Fig. 2.7 “Portrait of Handsome Model” by imagerymajestic (Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

An Austrian study found out that women prefer male faces that are symmetrical with evenly spaced eyes (which are often considered a sign of good health).

       7. Alpha Male Features

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 Fig. 2.8  “Smiling Man With Towel” by imagerymajestic (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      Heterosexual females tend to be physically or sexually attracted to men with traditionally masculine features such as a muscular frame, a square jaw, big nose and small yes. These physical traits often signify higher levels of testosterone, and are more common in “alpha males”, males with a set of personality traits that include directness, decisiveness, and intensity.

  1. Attractive  Eyes

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  Fig. 2.9 “Smiling Young Couples” by imagerymajestic (Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

       Many women attracted to men’s eyes. The Eyes is the window to the person’s soul. The sincerity and character of the person can sometimes be glimpsed through the expression of his eyes. An eye movement can give a lot of clues to women with regard to the kind of men they are dating with.

      Moreover, researchers speculated that human beings are naturally drawn to what’s most familiar, and eye and hair color indicates familiarity and thus induces attraction. Women are usually attracted to men whose eye color is similar with those of their father’s.

      9. Nice Butt

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Fig.2.9.1 “Back Pose of Smart Young Guy” by stockimages (Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

         In one survey in the United Kingdom with 1000 respondents, women find the male body parts, according to rank, as the sexiest which can turn them on. Women are generally attracted to athletic men with nice butts. Some respondents wrote that they love those “half-moon” butts, while others preferred the “slightly curvaceous” ones. Men with honed hips are also attractive to women.

    Despite all these attractive physical traits, true love is beyond physicality. It also includes mutual self-giving, strength of character, good personal values, and the capacity to commit one’s self to marriage.