Social and biological factors
Human sexuality has many aspects. In biology, sexuality describes the reproductive mechanism and the basic biological drive that exists in all sexually reproducing species and can encompass sexual intercourse and sexual contact in all its forms. There are also emotional and physical aspects of sexuality. These relate to the bond between individuals, which may be expressed through profound feelings or emotions. Sociologically, it can cover the cultural, political, and legal aspects; philosophically, it can span the moral, ethical, theological, spiritual, and religious aspects.
Which aspects of a person's sexuality attract another is influenced by cultural factors; it has varied over time as well as personal factors. Influencing factors may be determined more locally among sub-cultures, across sexual fields, or simply by the preferences of the individual. These preferences come about as a result of a complex variety of genetic, psychological, and cultural factors.
A person's physical appearance has a critical impact on their sexual attractiveness. This involves the impact one's appearance has on the senses, especially in the beginning of a relationship:
As with other animals, pheromones may have an impact, though less significantly in the case of humans. Theoretically, the "wrong" pheromone may cause someone to be disliked, even when they would otherwise appear attractive. Frequently, a pleasant-smelling perfume is used to encourage the member of the opposite sex to more deeply inhale the air surrounding its wearer, increasing the probability that the individual's pheromones will be inhaled. The importance of pheromones in human relationships is probably limited and is widely disputed, although it appears to have some scientific basis.
Many people exhibit high levels of sexual fetishism and are sexually stimulated by other stimuli not normally associated with sexual arousal. The degree to which such fetishism exists or has existed in different cultures is controversial.
Pheromones have been determined to play a role in sexual attraction between people. They influence gonadal hormone secretion, for example, follicle maturation in the ovaries in females and testosterone and sperm production in males.