Let’s face it. We’re not all born beautiful or handsome. There are actually more ingredients to what makes a person sexually (or interpersonally) appealing, and being physically attractive is only one of the four components. Here are the 4:

1. Static Attractiveness. This is what you are born with – the shape of your face, your physical features, your general body shape. Of course, physical appearance can be altered through damage, aging, or surgery, but it is largely the one component of physical attractiveness that you can’t do much about.

2. Dynamic Attractiveness. As Beatle George Harrison suggested, there’s “something in the way he/she moves…” This is what we call “dynamic attractiveness” and involves the expression of our emotions and our underlying personality. Expressing positive affect – a smiling face, upbeat tempo, expressive eyes and facial expressions, are all associated with dynamic attractiveness. This is a critical element of a person’s “personal charisma.”

We all know people who are not classically handsome or beautiful, but the way they express themselves – their dynamic appearance – makes them sexy and attractive. It’s all about body language.

3. Self-Presentation. This includes all of the things that one can do to their general appearance that will make them more physically attractive – grooming, makeup, hairstyle, style of dress, etc. It is this component of attractiveness that is being altered when one undergoes a makeover.

4. Circumstances. There is a great deal of research in social psychology that tells us that the situation matters. We like and are attracted to people who like us. We tend to reciprocate affection. Similarly, enjoying rewarding and pleasing experiences together can make our partner appear more attractive. Research has even shown that if we experience something exciting and arousing, we may attribute some of the arousal to the other person we are with, and become more attracted to her or him.

So remember, just because you weren’t born a beauty queen or matinee idol doesn’t mean that you can’t make yourself into a sex symbol by relying on the other components of attractiveness.

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