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Body Language of Attraction

Body Language of attraction

Body language is an essential ingredient of attraction. When we talk about love, dating and romance, body language plays a big role.

So many people wonder:

“What happened in this relationship?”

“Do they like me?”

“Why didn’t they call?”

Body language will give you the tools to know where you stand.

The question is how do we use body language to be attractive and how does body language play a role in attraction? I’m currently writing a course about Body Language and Love and thought it would be fun to do a post on body language and attraction as I do my research.

The Basics of the Body Language of Attraction:

To understand modern day nonverbal signals of attraction it is helpful to look at the history of where our body language comes from. Our caveman ancestors used the same body language we use today. Here are the messages we are trying to send with our body language to potential mates, and what is seen as attractive:

  • I’m open
  • I’m harmless
  • I’m interested
  • I’m approachable
  • I’m fertile

The question is, how does attraction happen?

Step One: First Impressions

Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher, says that the human body knows within one second whether someone’s physically attractive or not. Here are the body language cues that humans find most attractive:

  • Availability: Both males and females find people with available body language the most attractive. Available body language is smiling, uncrossed arms, uncrossed legs and upward gazing (not looking down at shoes or phones).
  • Fertility: From an evolutionary perspective, humans are tuned into body language cues that signal fertility and youth. Luckily, these can be emphasized with body language. For men, standing up straight, squaring the shoulders, planting feet slightly more than shoulder width apart and displaying hands are all signs of fertility. For a woman, keeping your hair down, tilting your head to expose pheromones and keeping hands and wrists visible to display the soft skin of the wrists are highly attractive for men.

Step Two: Attract Them While You Can

Once our mind decides we like someone as a potential mate our body automatically begins to change physically to attract the person. Our cheeks flush to make us look like we are aroused, our lips swell to look more fertile and even our pheromones pump to attract the other person. There are a few things we can do to attract a mate from a body language perspective.

  • Lean In: Leaning towards someone is a nonverbal way of telling them you are engaged. This works especially well if you are in a group of people and you are interested in one person in the group. A way to show them you are interested is by leaning towards them. This subconsciously will pull them in your direction.
  • Head Tilting: Head tilting shows interest and engagement. If you are speaking with someone, let them know you are present and interested by tilting your head and gazing at them. Be sure to not look over their head or around the room, this shows lack of interest and sensitivity.

Step Three: Find the Signs

So, what are the actual signs of attraction? How do they come out in the body? Here are some body language cues for attraction:

1. Flushed and Blushed

When we are attracted to someone, blood will flow to our face, causing our cheeks to get red. This happens to mimic the orgasm effect where we get flushed. It is an evolutionary way the body tries to attract the opposite sex. This is why women wear blush. This also happens with lips and eyes. The redder the lips and the whiter the eyes the more fertile and attractive someone is.

2. The Power of the Purse

Purse behavior is a form of nonverbal communication. It is how someone interacts with their environment based on their emotions. The purse is an interesting indicator of nonverbal behavior. For example, if a woman is feeling uncomfortable or not attracted to someone she will either clutch her bag tightly or place it in front of or covering her body. When a woman is attracted to a man she literally and figuratively wants nothing to stand in the way between her and her man. If she is loosely holding her purse and it is not blocking her front this shows she is at ease and feels more attraction. Better yet, if she puts it on the floor, a nearby table or on the back of the chair she wants it out of the way for her interactions with you. [Please note context here, if you are in a very public or potentially dangerous location she could be gripping her purse for safety concerns, but in a casual place or on a date this can be a good indicator].

I was actually at a singles event the other night and watched a man and woman talking. The woman had her purse partially blocking her body and was tightly gripping the handle under her arm. Then the man told her he was a doctor and the woman literally swung her purse up and over her shoulder out of the way. It was amazing.

3. Their Heart Races

“He makes my heart race” is no cliche. Studies have found that when someone is near an attractive person their heart rate increases. AND this works both ways. Researchers tried increasing someone’s heart rate and then put him or her near a stranger. This then artificially made the person seem even more attractive. People seem more attractive when our heart is racing. I wouldn’t recommend taking someone’s pulse on a date or in a bar, but you can see someone’s breathing rate increase and you can feel the heat of their palm if you are holding their hand and want to go in for a kiss.

These attraction tips are heating me up! click to tweet

4. Their Feet Like You

The feet serve as a direct reflection of a person’s attitude. The key is to recognize where a person’s feet are pointed. When the feet are pointed directly toward another person, this is a sign of attraction, or at the very least, genuine interest. If, on the other hand, the feet are pointed away or towards the exit, this means that signs of attraction are probably not present.

We have more posts on the Body Language and Attraction. Here is what you might like:

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Pease, Allan, and Barbara Pease. The Body Language of Love. [Buderim, Qld.]: Pease International, 2012.

Burgoon, Judee K., Laura K. Guerrero, and Kory Floyd. Nonverbal Communication. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2010.

Pease, Allan, and Barbara Pease. The Definitive Book of Body Language. New York: Bantam, 2006.


All Rights Reserved + COPYRIGHT 2013 Science of People, LLC

About Vanessa Van Edwards

Vanessa Van Edwards is a national best selling author & lead investigator at her human behavior research lab, Science of People. Her groundbreaking book, Captivate: Use Science to Succeed with People was chosen by Apple as one of the most anticipated books of 2017. She writes a monthly Science of Success column for Entrepreneur Magazine and the Huffington Post. As a professional people watcher her unique work has been featured in CNN, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Inc, Business Insider and more. Vanessa leads innovative soft skills trainings for Fortune 500 companies including Google, Dove, Facebook, Intel, MillerCoors and American Express.


  1. Karen Friedman

    I think knowing these cues can only give confidence to proceed forward, with less self consciousness, while engaging with someone you find attractive. To know in a few moments that someone is interested would take a great chunk out of the awkwardness I feel when I like someone! The beginning is always the hardest part for me. I think it would free me up to just be myself! Thank you Vanessa!!

    1. Vanessa Van Edwards

      The beginning is the hardest part for EVERYONE! You are not alone in that at all. Body language can take that edge off…it has for me just giving me something else to focus on other than nerves. Cheers!

  2. Danielle McRae

    This is so interesting! I’m not in the dating scene anymore (since I’m engaged), but I’m definitely going to use these tips to watch how dates are going and observe people!

  3. Pingback: 10 Ways Science Can Make You a Better Flirt | The Date Report

  4. Emma Weise

    Classic! Definitely not in the dating space… but will keep an eye out for this in the business realm! Haha

  5. Dave

    I’ve always thought how we think is the way act and vice versa. This is awesome info. Knowing this surf is almost like watching a movie with the sound off but you can tell what’s going on

    1. Danielle McRae

      Hi Dave, exactly right! We like to say it’s like seeing the world in High Definition now. 🙂 -Danielle and the Science of People Team

  6. Alan Chavez

    Interesting fact about the heart rate, it makes me wonder if a person is more likely to get attention from another person who just stopped exercising.

    For example if this happens at the gym a guy shows that is healthy (or at least trying to be), and strong, and probably fertile and a girl will be with a high heart rate, flushed, healthy, fertile, etc…

    1. Danielle McRae

      Hi Alan, great observation. Many people do tend to hit on others/get hit on while at the gym or working out, so the connection definitely makes sense. Thanks for the comment! -Danielle and the Science of People Team

    2. Danielle McRae

      Hi Alan, great observation. Many people do tend to hit on others/get hit on while at the gym or working out, so the connection definitely makes sense. Thanks for the comment! -Danielle and the Science of People Team

  7. Alexander Peraza

    I’ve been trained by master pick up artists to point my feet away from women to create attraction as it reveals that I have options with other women.

    It may convey interest to point towards her, but if you want her to become interested you must show disinterest in the first interaction. Most men are interested in a beautiful women immediately, so being disinterested will make you more interesting and attractive.

    1. Danielle McRae

      Hi Alexander, interesting perspective. I know, as a woman, that a man purposely acting disinterested in me would not be attractive in the slightest. If anything, the type of woman you are attracting most likely has incredibly low self-esteem if she’s interested in this disrespectful tactic. -Danielle and the Science of People Team

      1. Alexander Peraza

        Ok, hey awesome reply. I think the pointing away is meant to be a replacement for the needy body language most men do by leaning in close, giving her their full positive body language while she tries to keep a reasonable distance and is inevitably turned off.

        A technique to avoid this creepy, needy feeling is by standing side by side the to person you’re talking to. You can get really close without making them feel uncomfortable. Cheers!

        1. Danielle McRae

          I definitely see where you’re coming from. In no way are we condoning being creepy or needy. Creepy is very bad, hah. Standing side-by-side is an alternative if you’re worried about giving off the wrong signals. Look for other signs too: open torso or arms crossed, purse out of the way or clutched in front of her. Thanks for the insight! -Danielle and the Science of People Team

  8. G Hollingsworth

    Great advice. However, men should never lean in when attempting to attract a female unless she’s speaking and it’s hard to hear her. When he’s speaking to her he should always lean back or sit up straight and speak louder if she can’t hear him. As for women.. leaning in is good. 😉 Thanks.

    1. Danielle McRae

      Hi, G. Leaning is not gender-specific. While it may be more common for females to “lean in”, it is perfectly acceptable for males to lean in to show interest during a conversation. The head-tilt is also a great nonverbal technique to show interest for both males and females. Thanks for your comment! -Danielle and the Science of People Team

  9. Stacey Crutcher

    After watching 5 Habits of Exceptionally Charismatic People… while it’s true that charismatic people tend to think of the most interesting questions to ask I’ve found in my own experience that wasn’t the case. I am much more reserved more so introverted, sensitive and attentive to other people’s emotions and feelings on a personable level without passing judgment. When conversing with other people I like to engage in conversations that are much more meaningful. I know in my own experience while observing the other person I was conversing with 10/10 I never really had to ask a person to open themselves up to me. I’ve had many experiences where some people felt the need to share their story and open up to me on their own. I’ve always wondered, why is that?

  10. Pingback: Attract Her With Body Language: 7 Flirting Cues Every Man Should Know | Newspaper Cat

  11. Pingback: Science Explains How Body Language Can Make Or Break Your Date - Ice Trend

  12. Robby Smith

    These are all great tips with meeting someone in person. I just hope that with the emerging digital age, people won’t forget about these.

  13. Richard

    Your body language must be great Vanessa due to your general physical appearance.So keep on teaching this art of being and you will succeed…

    1. Danielle McRae

      Good question, Bella! Men could block with a chair, a notebook or a drink depending on what’s around them. They may also block by crossing their arms. It’s not as easy for them to block since women typically always carry a purse but it can happen if they are feeling uncomfortable or nervous!

      Danielle | Science of People Team

    2. Martin Johncox

      Probably a briefcase, if a man has one. If he doesn’t, then you have to look for other cues, I suppose. I notice I move my briefcase around in ways just like this article describes, although I never clutch it over my chest.

  14. Lauren Freeman

    Some of these I have heard before, but something that really intrigued me is that women tend to touch their suprasternal notch when the conversation takes an intimate turn. As soon as Vanessa mentioned that, I thought of times I’ve touched my little “notch” when talking to someone. These are so interesting ! I work at a bar and I see either a lot of dates or a lot of men hitting on women so I want to take all of these body language cues and see if I can see them in action as I people watch at work!! 🙂

    1. Mark

      So is the article correct in the assumption that women who touch their “notch” subconciously are opening up more to the possibility of dating the person they are engaging with? Honestly, I haven’t bought in to it. Maybe some women are just overly sensual. Or maybe they are picturing a different person in that scenario.

  15. Pingback: Why Body Language Speaks Louder than Words – AuCare À la mode

  16. emelia

    And to ask is it everyone that understands body language? Because you might be seriously expressing your feelings in body language to your admirer and might seems not to realize your emotions.

  17. Dr Ajay Kumar Singh

    The available text has to do with the love attraction at the first sight. A signal that one is fertile and available to the opposite sex. I do agree that the attraction changes immediately as the partners reveal their identity. It may be negative or positive depends on the mental aptitude of the one. Such love attraction May continue or may not depends on the mental aptitude of the partners. The text has more to do with the physical love but most of us do not cherish physical love all the time. Healthy life continues with emotional love with some sort of piousness. The text lacks in such attraction of love.

  18. Mark

    Am I correct in concluding that the only way to interpret body language as flirting is if you see more than 2 signs? Because, I see this behavior alot from opposite and same sex genders. I tend to see a variety of body language signals from several different people. I don’t know. It’s all contextual and it’s interesting to see the behavior on a regular basis at work. I notice more at work.

    There is only one person who has exhibited multiple signs that they might be interested in dating. I like her but I don’t know if I would date her. It’s interesting because I recognize the flirting subconciously and I feed off the flirting and escalate it not really knowing if I am interested in her. It’s only after we get done interacting that I conciously recognized we were flirting. In the moment my brain is asking my body “wth is going on stay on target”. I’m confused. My brain says one thing but my body enjoys the flirting.

    1. Melissa

      I think you can separate feeling flattered that someone finds you attractive enough to flirt, and having a further interest in that particular person. They are separate things. Oh, and “I don’t know if I would date them” means you’re not interested in dating them. 🙂

  19. Pingback: Attract Her With Body Language: 7 Flirting Cues Every Man Should Know » Newspaper Cat

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