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And while I’m drawn to extremely beautiful people, I more often want to just stare at them or hang an oil painting of them on my wall rather than lie on top of them nude.

But I’ve also wondered if, deep down, I’m just intimidated by the idea of dating someone hotter than me.

I hated myself for having such superficial impulses, but I couldn’t help it: I want to be able to show my partners off to the world for both what they do how they look. In the past, when a friend has introduced me to a new partner who’s superhot, but clearly an idiot, I’ve judged them for it.

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Popular culture tells us that it’s normal for average-looking or even unattractive men to date beautiful women, as long as the men are successful—the trollish tycoon with the supermodel wife is a classic archetype—but that the reverse is somehow remarkable.

In sociology, this is called the “beauty-status exchange”—an attractive person pairs with a wealthy or powerful person, and both win. But according to new research by University of Notre Dame sociologist Elizabeth Mc Clintock, despite outliers like Anna Nicole Smith and J.

Is it because, with age, we care more about a relationship’s potential longevity, rather than just instant sexual gratification?

Or perhaps we become more acutely aware of the impermanence of beauty after experiencing our own signs of aging?

The other day, at a Fashion Week party, my friend Alan and I stood against a wall, scanning the room for hot people, as you do.

“It’s weird,” he said contemplatively, staring into a sea of models.

The attraction felt almost indefinable, relying on everything from their looks and style to their mind and profession, to the smell of their skin and the sound of their voice.

Deep attraction is, of course, a multisensory experience.

“Lately, in order to want to sleep with someone, I actually have to them as a person.” He said this as if it were a mind-blowing revelation.

I told him that, at 31, the realization was probably a bit overdue, but I knew what he meant: As one gets older, it becomes harder and harder to be attracted to someone simply because of the way they look.

Most of us, at some point in our lives, have hung posters of models and movie stars on our bedroom walls.

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