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Dear Darwin: What Makes Ryan Reynolds “Sexy”?

Photo Credit: Paco Paco Flickr

Now we all know that a big jaw, prominent brow, and bulging muscles are conventionally thought of as attractive features in a man and that large breasts, an hour-glass figure, and big eyes are attractive in women, but have you ever wondered why?

Well the answer lies in an unexpected place: science. According to the Evolutionary Theory of Attraction, what men and women  perceive to be attractive is actually based on adaptational behaviors that traditionally helped survival. Studies show that women look for masculine features such as a defined jaw, prominent brow, and muscular build because these often to reflect physiological and behavioral traits such as strength, aggression, virility, and a strong immune system, which would be advantageous to pass on to offspring and would mean that the man can provide and protect his family.

So while women’s attraction is rooted in a man’s ability to provide for his family, men on the put more emphasis on signs of fertility and youth. The hour-glass figure: large breasts and “child-bearing” hips, and youthful features such as plump lips, a hip-to-waist ratio of 0.7, a face with a high forehead, good skin, and big eyes are signs to men that the prospective mate is fertile and young. Such features helped ensure the male that his genes would be passed on to his offspring. Other factors such as symmetry, especially facial symmetry, is attractive because it means that there are strong genetics at work according to researchers and experts.

Recent studies show that when a woman chooses a mate, often times she must subconsciously choose between a macho man and his more wimpy counterpart depending on her situation. While the macho man has preferential genes to pass on to offspring, these traits often mean tendency to abandon, hostility, and promiscuity. The less masculine man is more likely to provide the stability, love, and care for a family. In fact, according to expert, Dr. DeBruine’s study, a woman’s environment greatly plays into her attraction between these two types of men. In her study on women in countries with poor health standards, women preferred men with more masculine features more than those who lived in more stable and healthy societies. This is a classic example of natural selection because the women look for healthier genes often associated with masculine, macho attractive men.

So that is why we find movie stars like Angelina Jolie, Brad Bitt, and Ryan Reynolds are attractive: evolutionary adaptations meant to help ensure our survival and the successful passing on of genes to offspring. Do you agree with this theory of attraction? And which category would you put yourselves in ladies, those who go after Mr. Sensitive or those who go after Mr. Dangerous?


For more on this go to:—Evolutionary-Theory&id=2236366

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  1. gambibambi

    Yes an no Gab. Yes: this doesn’t perfectly fit homosexual attraction because homosexuals are not having sex to procreate. But at the same time, they still use the same mechanisms of evolutionary theory of attraction because homosexual men are attracted still conventionally attracted to men with masculine features and lesbians are still attracted to women with a big chest and hourglass figure just as much as a heterosexual man. However, if a homosexual man were to be attracted to a more feminine “twinkish” man or a lesbian were to be attracted to a more masculine “butch” woman, then the theory which we have evolutionized and become independent of physical attraction would apply, but being that this is not the norm, for the most part both heterosexuals and homosexuals are still under the influence of the age old evolutionary theory of attraction which bases attraction on fitness of the spouse.

  2. yazzairbik1294

    Love the title! After doing some more research, I found that many sources repeatedly emphasized that this attraction has a lot to do with how we think our children would look, if we were to have children together. Personally I think that’s a bit shallow, but I guess that’s just human nature. However, I did come across an article ( that states that the “evolutionary theory suggests that people are more strongly attracted to someone whose genetic code is different; if an offspring is created from two very different genetic codes, the child will carry immunities to more things and have a better chance at survival.” In addition to the baby factor, I found that many sources cited research which found that males tend to be more visual and focus more on physical features, whereas women think of attractiveness as more than just physical features.

  3. gababoutbio

    2 corrections sorry!! hahah **heterosexual**** and here is a link to the specific page

  4. sweetasglucose

    hahahahaha i <3 the title!

  5. gababoutbio

    While this explains so much about heterogenous attractions it still does not fully explain the attraction between same sexes. Due to obvious reasons these people are not mating due to the fertility and ability of their partner. Does this show a flaw in our understanding of attraction? If we were really mating solely on fitness then wouldn’t we choose physical features over personality every time? According to the AllPsych Journal ( this behavior stems from the environment in which the person is raised. Leading back to Michael’s point that we have evolutionized. As we have found new ways to be strong such as finically and politically we have gravitated away from concept that we can only be attracted to those fit enough to bear strong, healthy and essentially perfect children. Rather in the 21st century many attractions are based off of nurture rather than Darwin’s theory of nature.

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