The Sound of Attraction: What’s in a Voice!


Updated: February 21, 2010


Have you ever met a drop dead gorgeous person only to have all the attraction fade the minute they open their mouth? When it comes to dating, chemistry, and love, that getting-to-know you chat and flirtatious sweet nothings have impact far beyond that words being said. In fact, several studies have shown that the qualities of our voices transmit important details about attraction, health, and fertility to potential partners.

I actually knew my husband Marc was “the one” when I first heard his warm and friendly voice on the phone before meeting him in person. (We first connected on the Internet.) Hearing his voice took me intuitively to the friendliest inner sense of awareness; it was like coming home to a place I’d always wanted to go but hadn’t been to yet within myself. This inner-knowing came simply from hearing him for the first time. So, I was especially fascinated by some of these recent findings on the correlation between voice and attraction.

Studies show that listeners are able to match a voice with the correct speaker’s photograph over 75 percent of the time. And those people with symmetrical traits (a sign of genetic fitness) were rated as having more attractive voices. And, it’s no myth that good-looking men often have deep voices. A study conducted at Northumbria University in the UK recorded men speaking and had men and women rate their voices based on attractiveness, dominance, confidence, and sexiness. The listeners then looked at pictures of the men and rated them. The men with deep voices were rated higher than those with high voices. And the deep voices also corresponded to more attractive faces.

Just as women smell more attractive during ovulation (which I talked about in my last blog), it also turns out their voices are rated as more attractive when they’re most fertile! A 2008 study recorded women’s voices at four different times during their menstrual period. The women’s voices were rated as most attractive during ovulation and least attractive during menstruation. For women, voice pitch depends a lot on estrogen, which is the female hormone produced by the ovaries. So, high levels of estrogen result in higher pitched voices.

And, what about accents, speed, and inflection? Studies show that we judge fast talkers as more educated and those with varied inflection as more interesting. Pitch correlates only loosely with height, but is closely tied to hormone levels—meaning it’s a good indicator of fertility or dominance, as well as health and attractiveness.

Beyond all the science, it’s crucial that you use your intuition when it comes to dating and love. Close your eyes and listen to your partner. How does their voice make you feel? Your intuition will speak to you with in the first 30 seconds. For example, you may not like their nervous laugh, but still feel good when you hear them. Or, they may be incredibly good-looking, but their voice just doesn’t resonate with you.

Since we’re talking about voice, I’d also like to encourage you to think about sound in general and how it impacts your well-being and thus your attractiveness. What sounds make you feel GREAT about yourself? It might be sounds from nature, your favorite music, or even day-to-day sounds like cooking or kids playing. Be sure to take some time each day to enjoy sounds that make you feel amazing. And I’d love to read your comments on voice and your favorite feel-good sounds!


PS: The song you just listened to is  Breath of You from my EMI cd Magdalene’s Garden. I think it represents the feeling you get when you meet the right person and what their voice does to you.  Follow the links to our store to find the song or CD.

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