08/27/2014 12:34 EDT | Updated 10/27/2014 05:59 EDT

This One Simple Thing Can Push Your Sexy Quotient Through the Roof

Mouth gaping open, struggling for breath, tears streaming -- yes, this is what laughter looks like. Not what we normally think of as "sexy." And yet laughter (and humour) is believed to exert a powerful effect over how attractive we are to others. Especially for women. That pouty, somber look may well look sexy in a magazine ad or a selfie, but in real life, laughter will do much more to boost your sexy quotient.

Here is some proof. Humour is one of the highest rated traits for attracting a lover -- ranked by men as appealing, topping even 'wearing sexy clothes'. Both men and women considered humor to be in the top three traits that make someone appealing for short-term (read "sexual") or long-term (read "partner") connections.

HOW we are humorous is different for men and women. It was believed that while women found funny men to be more desirable, men preferred women who appreciated their humour -- by laughing. But in a recent study, researcher Marie Louise Cowan found that funniness was indeed more desirable in women too, especially in short-term (sexier) relationships, in part because funniness is seen as being flirtatious.

But not all types of humour are equal in increasing our appeal. Of the four distinct types of humor, only two work to make us more appealing. Can you tell which?

  • Telling funny stories, (jokes and plays on words)
  • The absurdities of life, (laughing at life)
  • Sarcasm or teasing, (making fun of another person or group)
  • Self-defeating humor, (personal put downs)

The first two types of humour are considered "positive" (or affiliative) because they bring us closer to another person or group. It is these two types of humour that are associated with sexiness. The last two, sarcasm and self-defeating humor, are both considered "negative" because they distance us from others. Though negative humor can be used to bond us with someone who shares a negative opinion, it may also work against us, making us seem bitter and hardened -- neither sexy traits.

So, why does positive humour work so well to amp up sex appeal? Humor and laughter demonstrate several qualities that contribute to being a good lover (and partner). Laughter demonstrates:

  1. We are similar. We consider those who see the world the way we do to be more attractive. If someone laughs at our jokes, or tells jokes we think are funny, they are showing us a similar world view.

  2. We cope better with stress When we can laugh, we show others that we handle difficult situations in a positive way. Sexuality and partnership thrive with less stress, and we value this in a potential sexual partner

  3. We have a positive attitude. 3. Being able to see things in a funny light tells others that we look at the world in a positive and happy way. Positive emotions are considered sexy.

  4. We are social and popular. Laughing together smooths over initial awkward moments and allows us to be seen as more socially at ease. Studies show that we consider humorous people as more attractive people and thus their social status is elevated.

  5. We are healthy. Laughter has been associated with better circulation, immune systems and fewer diseases. We are naturally more drawn to healthy/fit bodies.

  6. We have good-relationships characteristics. Laughter and humor have been associated with qualities associated with relationship ease -- greater intimacy, trust and conflict resolution. ) And, finally, people who laugh together report feeling an immediate sense of "closeness", which can step attraction in motion.

Not all laughs are equal, however. Songlike laughs with lots of vowel sounds were seen as much more attractive than snorts, grunts or cackles, especially when men rated women's desirability

Sexiness is boosted by happiness, warmth and joviality -- all the things laughter can bring. If you want to boost your "sexy quotient," you may do well to rethink your luring tactics to incorporate joke rehearsal in front of the vanity along with your lipstick application.

Do you have the other qualities of a sexy person? Take the (science based) sexy test to see where you are weak and strong on sexy traits.


Body Image Heroes