How Your Immune System Makes You Sexually Attractive
Desire may be influenced by the similarity of two people’s immune systems
When you feel it, you know it. The feeling of wanting someone is so fundamental to being human. But, what is sexual attraction? What is it that really pulls you in? Is it their eyes? Their waist? Their hair? What if what really turned you on were tiny proteins sticking off the surface of your lover’s white blood cells? Sounds hot.
Researchers are finding evidence that sexual attraction may be due in part to the similarity — or dissimilarity — between two people’s immune systems.
There are dozens of theories about what causes sexual attraction. Some say sexual attraction arises from assessing a member of the opposite sex for mating fitness. There have been theories thrown out that the width of hips in a woman is a sign of childbearing ability. Similarly physical attributes of men such as height or muscle mass may be signs of an ability to provide and protect.
Of course, these theories are simplistic and outdated and may fail to explain the nuance at play. For example, what evolutionary role does the small of one’s back or the skin on their neck play in reproduction? Likewise, the reproduction theory of sexual attraction outright ignores same-sex attraction.
So if physical characteristics fail to explain sexual attraction, perhaps the answer lies beyond what the eye can perceive. Maybe the clues to sexual attraction are found in our sense of smell. The ability to smell — known as olfaction — is a unique sense shared between mammals, reptiles, and insects.
The human olfactory system is unique in that it enjoys privileged access to the deeper recesses of our brain that other senses do not.
Olfaction serves dozens of purposes including communication, protection, and—you guessed it — mate selection.
The human olfactory system is unique in that it enjoys privileged access to the deeper…