The distinction between (Li et al., 2011) can help us understand the importance of a moderate level of physical attractiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(5), 993–1011.
According to Li et al., “a necessity is something that is initially extremely desirable…but as more of it is acquired, it diminishes in value.
A luxury, in contrast, is not important when necessities are lacking, but becomes more desirable once basic needs have been met” (p. The research reviewed above suggests that most of us, consciously or not, view a moderate level of physical attractiveness as a “necessity,” while a higher level of may be a “luxury.” When we say that physical attractiveness is not important to us, we are likely referring to the luxury of attractiveness and not the necessity of a minimum level of attractiveness. We don’t need to be supermodels to find a mate, but whom we consider to be “moderately attractive” varies from person to person.
More attractive people tend to perceive fewer others as physically attractive while less attractive individuals may consider a broader range of others appealing (Montoya, 2008). Parent-offspring conflict over mating: Testing the tradeoffs hypothesis. Buss, D., Shackelford, T., Kirkpatrick, L., & Larsen, R. A half century of mate preferences: The cultural evolution of values.
And looking for someone who shares a similar level of physical attractiveness to your own can enhance your long-term relationship success (Feingold, 1998; Fugère et al., 2015; more on matching in physical attractiveness in this post ). Journal of Marriage and the Family, 63(2), 491–503. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 24(3), 285–290.
But no matter our personal level of attractiveness, or our partner's, as we get to know, like, and respect each other more, our attraction naturally grows and deepens (Kniffin and Wilson, 2004). Parent–offspring conflict over mating: Domains of agreement and disagreement. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2001.00491.x Dion, K., Berscheid, E., & Walster, E.
For example, attractive individuals are expected to be happier and to have more rewarding life experiences than unattractive individuals (Dion et al., 1972; Griffin and Langlois, 2006).