celibacy, life, love, men, relationships, women

The biology of mate choice


In her book “Anatomy of love“, Dr. Helen Fisher defines four categories of personalities. The first is the explorer, a person born free, curious, creative, spontaneous, energetic, novelty seeking and open-minded. This kind of people will look for a partner who will either leap off the coach to go adventuring with them (in the deserts, mountains, seas or cities) or join them at the movies, ballet, theatre or opera, or explore nature or whatever captures their fancy at the moment. Explorers look for other explorers, writes Helen Fisher.

The second category is the builder, a person traditional, calm, cautious, who likes the familiar. That kind of people follows the rules, respects authority, enjoys plans, routines and schedules. They tend to be modest, orderly, and conscientious. Builders look for other builders.

But Helen Fisher says that men and women who are foremost expressive of the traits associated with testosterone and estrogen  can be attracted by their opposite. Men with expressive traits of testosterone have high forehead, heavy brow bridges, high cheekbones, and chiseled jaw. They are also gifted by spatial and math skills.  People with a great deal of estrogen activity tend to see the big picture, are imaginative, display superior verbal skills, excel at reading postures, gestures, facial expressions and tones of voice and are intuitive, sympathetic, nurturing, mentally flexible, agreeable, idealistic, altruistic and emotionally expressive.

The people with a great deal of testosterone activity are called directors.  They are inventive, openly competitive, bold and tough-minded. Helen Fisher writes that this kind of people are the most likely to harass their significant other after a break up.

The people with a great deal of estrogen are called negotiators,  savvy at dealing with people. They are drawn to directors, and idem mutatis mutandis. Helen Fisher says negotiators are the most likely to commit suicide of fall into depression when their significant other let them go.

Our chemical system plays a role in our choice of partners, according to her. For women, the smell of their potential partner is very important. That’s why most of them are at disadvantage with online dating, because they lack the smell cue. Sometimes, we can’t explain why we fall for a person. Psychologists would say we fall for the partner who reminds us of the parent we have the most difficult relationship with. The explanation is not always rational.

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