Why the Lure of Tall, Dark & Handsome?

Posted by Delaine - May 7, 2009 - Dating & Sex, Understanding Men/Women, Women's Sexuality - 2 Comments

Are you often drawn to a certain kind of man/woman because of certain physical qualities?  Guys, we often hear about your common love of  curves.  And ladies, what about the lure of tall, dark and handsome?  (I’m waving my hand here – I’m a sucker for that dark mystique!)

According to evolutionary biologist Sharon Moalem, author of How Sex Works: Why We Look, Smell, Taste, Feel, and Act the Way We Do, there are biological-based factors contributing to our attraction.  Men liking curves is pretty obvious: they speak to men’s desire to choose a mate who will successfully carry and rear his children.  But women’s lure towards tall, dark handsome is one that fascinated me:

Women need a certain amount of folate (folic acid) in their bodies to have a healthy pregnancy.  Most of us know that and make alterations to our diet or through supplements to reach those levels.  But what I didn’t know is that men need lots of folate in their diets to have healthy sperm (they make about 100 million new sperm every day).

sperm-single-manWhat does this have to do with skin tone?  Well ultraviolet rays, specially UVA rays destroy folate.  This means that the darker a man is, the more protection he has from UVA rays and the less folate that is destroyed.  Add that all up and what does it mean to a single woman?  This man may have healthier sperm!  

Of COURSE there are so many other factors that play a role in our attraction to one another, including  culture, upbringing, and  sexual orientation.  And of course men can alter their diets and take supplements to increase folate to improve the health of their sperm.  I just found Moelem’s studies most interesting – and now, when I’m ovulating and eyeballing tall, dark, and handsome I’ll have a better understanding why.