10 qualities that make a woman exceptionally attractive, according to psychology

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

What makes a woman irresistibly attractive? Is it a body that turns heads around? A face that could launch a thousand ships? An accent that makes her seem mysterious? 

Attractiveness is such a subjective matter, isn’t it? What one might find attractive, another one wouldn’t. 

Hold on…maybe physical attractiveness is. Different cultures have different preferences and values, after all. But that aside? It’s a different matter. 

Turns out, there are universal markers for attractiveness that have nothing to do with physical beauty, according to psychology. 

Let’s hear what psychologists have to say about it and discover the 10 qualities that make a woman exceptionally attractive: 

1) Intelligence

First up, there’s something undeniably attractive about a woman who loves to learn and knows her stuff. 

That’s right – intelligence is sexy. 

In fact, a study highlighted how men prioritize intelligence, especially when looking for a more serious relationship. 

Women who can hold a conversation on a variety of topics show that they’re fully engaged with the world around them. They’re witty, insightful, and able to think critically. 

In short, an intelligent woman makes for a more intriguing and interesting conversation partner. And who doesn’t want to be around that?

2) Confidence

Intelligent women are also likely to be more confident, and that’s a double win in the attractiveness department. 

Think about it – who do you think would be more likely to turn heads when they walk into a room: 

Someone who’s self-assured, or someone who’s unsure and maybe painfully awkward? 

I think you know the answer. 

I’ve been on dates with guys who belong in the latter category, and though they were perfectly nice, they didn’t exactly inspire in me a desire to go on a second date. 

According to psychology, this goes for everyone, regardless of gender. Research has shown that both men and women find confidence to be a very attractive trait in a potential partner.

Why is confidence so attractive? Well, because it implies that the woman has all of these other traits: 

  • Competence
  • Drive
  • Social status
  • Kindness

This brings me to my next point…

3) Independence

Forget the damsel-in-distress persona. This might be attractive to some men, but generally, it’s kind of a turn-off.

Women who can hold their own and have a strong sense of self are exceptionally attractive because, well, they’ve got a lot to offer. 

They’ve got their own interests, thoughts, and passions. They know what they want and aren’t afraid to go after it. 

They bring their own flavor to the relationship and aren’t the type to depend on their partner to make the relationship exciting.

Above all, there’s the thought that when an independent woman likes you back, it means she chooses to be with you, not because she needs to be. 

Whether you admit it or not, that’s a huge ego boost, isn’t it? 

4) Kindness

On the list I laid out earlier, kindness pops up as a trait that makes a woman exceptionally attractive.

Lots of Hollywood movies, especially the ones about high school cliques, portray mean or aloof girls as “cooler” and more attractive, but psychology says differently. 

In fact, according to the Greater Good, a  kind personality can even make one physically attractive, even though they might not be considered beautiful by society’s standards! 

Isn’t that amazing? It’s comforting to know that for all the value we place on physical beauty, in the end, it’s a person’s character that we respond to best. 

5) Flexibility of mind

What else makes a woman exceptionally attractive? Open-mindedness. 

This goes back to intelligence, I suppose. A woman who can easily see things from different perspectives is always refreshing to talk to. 

It’s about being open to new ideas, willing to change your opinion, and not getting too hung up on being right all the time. 

And for me, it showcases another important trait – humility. That matters a lot in relationships. It shows a level of maturity and understanding that’s just so appealing. 

As personal development writer Tim Denning points out in this Medium post, open-mindedness is “the one hack that makes you appear different to everybody else, on another level, portrays you as empathetic, and most of all, it makes you an optimist by default.”

6) A sense of humor

It’s hard not to crush on a woman who laughs easily and doesn’t take herself seriously. 

Research shows that both men and women find humor attractive, albeit in different ways. While women like men who make them laugh, men, apparently, like women who laugh at their jokes. 

My own experience proves this to be true. Back when I was still single and going out on dates, I always found the funny ones to be more attractive, even though they weren’t classically handsome. 

And apparently, even though I’m not classically beautiful as well, they found me attractive right back, merely because I found them funny

It’s a lovely, symbiotic relationship, isn’t it? 

7) Playful

Similarly, playfulness is another trait that makes a woman exceptionally attractive. How so? 

Well, adulthood is already serious enough. So, anyone who can make you forget the direness of it all for a bit is going to be very, very attractive. 

True enough, researchers at Penn State University found that men see women with a playful streak in them to be youthful, fertile, and vibrant.

Those are desirable traits when you’re looking for a potential mate. We’re naturally drawn to people who can infuse life with fun and who remind us that, no matter our age, we can still experience the world with the wonder and enthusiasm of youth.

After all, no one wants to be stuck for life with an old fuddy-duddy who thinks fun and games are just for kids.

8) Passion

Along with playfulness comes passion, another trait that exceptionally attractive women have. 

Have you ever watched a woman (or anybody, for that matter) talk about something that lights her whole face up? 

It’s mesmerizing, a joy to watch. You can’t help but be drawn in because her excitement is contagious and it makes you want to learn more about it, and about her in general. 

I remember a friend of mine who told me when he knew his wife was THE one. It was on their third date, when she got into a whole monologue about the Star Wars trilogy. 

He wasn’t a Star Wars fan by any means, but he fell in love with her heart. He knew that such a passionate woman would be a joy to grow old with – life would never be dull! 

9) Resilience

Another trait that makes a woman exceptionally attractive is resilience. 

There’s something to be said about having a thicker skin – it shows she’s got grit, optimism, emotional intelligence, all the underlying traits that one needs to deal with life’s challenges. 

The reality is, no one wants a partner who easily falls apart in the face of failure. That’s why there’s something incredibly attractive about a woman who can bounce back from setbacks. 

Dr. Madelyn Blair frames resilience in a wonderful way – as “our ability to find a path to beauty from a shock or disruption”. 

For me, it’s such an apt description of why resilience is now being touted as a “new sexy”.

It shows a certain grace and a strength of character that’s both admirable and unarguably appealing. Men who are looking for a great partner appreciate this. 

10) Authenticity

Finally, we get to what’s perhaps the trait that most makes a woman exceptionally attractive – realness. 

Many people feel the need to put their best foot forward when dating, but if we were to follow what the research says, that isn’t the best dating strategy. 

Because being yourself wins, every single time. 


First, authenticity means you’re confident, which, as we’ve already established, is already a damn attractive quality.

More importantly, though, it means you’re willing to be vulnerable. This takes attractiveness to the next level, literally.

When you’re willing to share who you really are, you’re expressing a desire to connect and you’re telling the other person that it’s okay to be themselves, too.

Basically, you’re creating a safe space for them as well, and that’s hard to resist.

And lastly, authenticity conveys honesty. This is important especially for those who are seeking long-term partners; they want someone who will be loyal and honest. 

Final thoughts

As you can see, attractiveness isn’t always about looks. It’s about the qualities and traits that make someone shine from the inside out.

The bottom line is, it all comes down to how someone makes us feel. How they think and interact with the world around them.

Women who are exceptionally attractive are that way because they encourage us to see the world in new ways and inspire a quickening of the senses, an awakening of the brain cells.

And that, I’m sure you’ll agree, is undeniably irresistible. 

8 little things to start doing now if you want to be ahead of everyone else in 10 years

7 signs you’re on your way to success, even if it doesn’t feel like it