Attraction and sexual arousal signals
As always, no fluff. Let's go.
Let’s start at the top and work downward. The eyes have a few things to say about interest signals:
Our pupils dilate and constrict in order to control the amount of light entering the eye. They also perform the same reflex in response to arousing stimuli. When you see someone you are physically or sexually attracted to, your pupils will dilate up to three times their normal size in the given light condition. When you make eye contact with a physically attractive person, there’s nothing you can do to control your pupils in that moment. They WILL dilate and you will be broadcasting your thoughts. There’s a benefit to this, however; as our pupils broadcast our arousal, we also trigger an automatic arousal in the person we are looking at.
When we see another person’s pupils dilate, we are far more likely to find them attractive. This has been done in numerous studies, with the most popular having been conducted at Edinburg University. We are attracted to large pupils just as much as they signal our attraction to others.
Covered in a previous Ellipsis Letter, blink-rate decreases when someone is interested in a person or topic. An increased or increasing blink-rate is indicative of a loss of interest or a response to stressful stimuli.
The accepted length of time in the United States for two people to hold eye contact is about seven seconds. This tends to become extended in intimate encounters and when someone is attracted to another person, regardless of whether they just met or have been together for years. Even if you aren’t making eye contact or looking at the person, if they extend a gaze beyond 7 seconds, it’s attraction of some sort.
Grab The Ellipsis Manual today and become a master of seeing the exposed person in everyone you meet.
Nostril Flaring (Wing Dilation)
Our nostrils flare for several reasons. In my classes with law enforcement, this is one of the 8 deadly warning signs to look for when they are dealing with suspects. Flared nostrils in the law enforcement world can mean you’re about to be attacked. Suspects will do this unconsciously in order to oxygenate their blood before they start a violent attack on a police officer. In the social world of conversation, it carries an entirely new meaning. If while YOU are speaking, you observe someone’s nostrils flare, it is most likely a sign of physical attraction. The reasons for this aren’t fully understood, but from an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense for us to take in as much olfactory data about our potential mate as possible, and what better time to smell them than when they are speaking to us?
This is one of those you’ll see in magazines and poorly written articles online about attraction signals. While seeing a woman play with her hair may be a sign of attraction, it may also be several other things that tell you it’s time to go. In the Behavioral Table of Elements, there are four basic ways (with a few sub-gestures) to make contact with the hair:
1. Playing with hair (palm facing out)
2. Playing with hair (palm concealed from view)
3. Adjusting (fixing) hair
4. Pulling hair away from neck or skin to ventilate built up heat
If you’re witnessing anything but number one above, it’s most likely not an attraction signal. If you see number four, this is a response to stress or anxiety. While it CAN be produced by ‘good’ anxiety while trying to impress someone, it’s usually a pretty reliable unconscious indicator of stress.
Much like our blink-rate, the speed of our breathing is a very accurate indicator of interest and stress. In most environments, it’s ideal to only start to monitor breathing rates after a subject has had an opportunity to ‘level out’ and become somewhat normal. Walking into a blind date or a job interview will always make breathing faster. Wait a few minutes to start watching for shifts. It is always a lot of fun to be able to change the subject and watch someone’s breathing and blinking rate start to fall together. Having the knowledge you are speaking about something very interesting to that person, your chances of success are multiplied. Just using blinking and breathing alone will place you years ahead of the competition.
While this is a broad stroke to define an attraction signal, hygienic gestures are (for the sake of this article) any behavior or movement intended to enhance the visual appeal of the self. These include adjusting the hair, licking the lips, sitting up straighter, adjusting clothing and removing crumbs or lint from clothing. The key element to identifying attraction signals here is WHEN the hygienic gestures occur. Most often, they will occur while YOU are looking away or have temporarily shifted your gaze away from the subject. As you look away, you will be able to notice the subject perform the gesture quickly before you look back. Seeing this is a sure sign of attraction or a need to impress you.
The more a person leans into you, the more interested they are. Sounds pretty simple…right? Next time you’re in a restaurant, take a look around and look at the angle (towards or away) that each couple sits with during their meal. You can literally see the relationship dynamic in that moment.
Crossing the legs is a sign of comfort. Be on the lookout for the uppermost leg to be pointing in your direction. We cross our legs toward people we trust and are comfortable with. While we shift our legs often, be aware of when they shift their legs. Sometimes, although it FEELS like we have control and have made a conscious decision to cross them the opposite way, there was actually something that happened in the environment that served as an unconscious trigger to make them do it.
Anytime you see a group of people standing and talking, take note of where everyone’s feet are pointed. We point our feet toward group leaders and in the general direction of where our mind wants to go. If you see feet pointing towards an exit, you may need to change tack.
People will become more or less increasingly open with their property as they become attracted or trusting of you. For instance, where someone would usually keep their phone in a pocket or purse, the presence of someone they like and trust will cause them to place the phone on the table or in a more open area.
Seeing someone place a phone face down DOES NOT mean anything. It could be that they are trying to be polite and keep themselves from being distracted during the conversation. It could also mean that they are subconsciously hiding something and feel reserved in your presence. You MUST always use additional clues to make determinations like this.
Willingness to Interact with Your Property
If you are seated at a table or similar arrangement, you can test someone’s openness and willingness to accept you by placing something small of yours on the table in an inconspicuous manner just over the halfway line in the table. If you place sunglasses on the table and the person picks them up or toys with them, you can almost guarantee that the door is wide open.
While you will certainly see swallowing on the high-stress side of the Behavioral Table, there is an element of arousal in it. If you see swallowing occur while a person is making eye contact with you, it is most likely YOU that has caused the production of saliva that made the swallow necessary.
Become a master of human behavior with The Ellipsis Manual
A FEW NOTES:
Rieger G, Savin-Williams RC (2012) The Eyes Have It: Sex and Sexual Orientation Differences in Pupil Dilation Patterns. PLoS ONE 7(8): e40256. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040256
Baumeister RF (2000) Gender differences in erotic plasticity: The female sex drive as socially flexible and responsive. Psychological Bulletin 126: 347–374. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.126.3.347
Diamond LM (2008) Sexual fluidity: Understanding women’s love and desire Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Israel E, Strassberg D (2009) Viewing Time as an Objective Measure of Sexual Interest in Heterosexual Men and Women. Archives of Sexual Behavior 38: 551–558. doi: 10.1007/s10508-007-9246-4
Janssen E (2002) Psychophysiological measurement of sexual arousal. In: Wiederman MW, Whitley BE, Jr , editors. pp. 139–171. Mahwah N J: L. Erlbaum.