I have a type. Pretty much unapologetically so. At least 6'3". Dark chocolate is preferred. Please have bowed legs and a toned body (like a basketball or soccer player). I've accepted that I'm kind of into pretty boys, but they must be a little rough around the edges. As far as characteristics go? Brilliant. Quick- witted. Uber masculine. Mad creative. Drawn to philanthropy. Spiritual. Sexy. Yeeeah, just thinking about my list brings a smile to my face; some pretty cool memories too.
Not to say that my type hasn't come with some of its own specialized brand of bullshishery too. It has. Boy, has it. I think that's a part of the reason why I'm not so big on sticking to a type, just for "type's sake" as much as I used to be. I mean, my late fiancé wasn't about half of the things on my preferred list and he treated me better than most of the men I've dated—or sexed—who were my actual type. Wisdom has taught me that this reality is a fact that I certainly should not overlook.
At the same time, being that so many people in my world (both men and women alike) have a traditional type, I was curious to know why we keep searching for someone who fits into our desired specifics, even if our past has taught us that our type may not be the best thing for us. Believe it or not, science has something to do with it.
According to an article that TIME published a few years back, a lot of what we find to be attractive has to do with our personal life experiences; that although we could walk up to any random person, have a discussion about what we both find attractive and agree half of the time on our stated traits (that's what the article says anyway), the other half is all our own. It's based on where we live, what we've been through and who we've made personal connections with. Matter of fact, Laura Germine (one of the authors featured in the study) said that if we see a face and then have a positive experience with that individual, not only will we find them attractive, we'll also be drawn to others who have a look that is very similar to theirs.
Another thing that can make us decide whether someone is attractive or not is the amount of exposure we have to them. Meaning, if we keep looking at the same face over and over again, we can start to find them attractive as well (I'm pretty sure that's exactly what the media is betting on, which is why we get inundated with certain faces and body types all of the time). Then, when a face that we're not familiar with comes along, we might initially deem it as being unattractive because it's not a look that we're accustomed too.
This whole "type thing" goes well beyond looks, though. Another scientific study that I checked out said that although when we break up with someone, our initial intention may be to look for the next individual to be different from our ex, more times than not, we tend to gravitate to a person who is very similar to them. A part of the reason why is based on something that a lot of people choose to give push back on—that "We are what we attract".
Why do I say that? It's not me, it's the article. According to it, we tend to be interested in people who have some of our similar personality traits (traits that are good or not so good). There's more—we also have a strong attraction to individuals whose personality is a lot like our exes—the good and the not so good. It's not so much about whether we like all of their traits so much as we are familiar with them.
And still, there's more.
Something that I share in my first book is, once I decided to go through some sexual detoxing—in part, so that I could see if I had a "type" in that area—something that I recognized was many of my sex partners physically resembled the family member who molested me (over 6', chocolate and because he was an adult and I was a child, well-endowed) and the first sex partner that I chose to be with (also over 6' and chocolate; not bad in the genitalia department). Yeah, I've always believed that sex is so powerful that our first time (or best or worst time) can significantly influence/affect the kind of partners and sex we have after them. It would appear that I'm not alone in feeling this way.
In the article "Age of First Sexual Experience Determines Relationship Outcomes Later in Life", it stated that "the timing of when a person first has sexual intercourse clearly influences the stability and quality of future romantic relationships" and in the article "Can Your Sexual Debut Predict Your Future?", the author of it shares that having sex under the age of 15 (whether it's consensual or not) "raises the level of risk for future delinquency as well as mental and physical health difficulties (depression, eating disorders, unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases)". The author also shared that if our first experience is good, we'll tend to have a healthy view of sex. On the other hand, if it is shrouded in guilt or shame (including getting caught by a parent), that could put a "cloud" over our sex lives for years to come.
You know what they say—when you know better, you do better.
So, think about your type for just a moment. Do you keep picking people who are a mirror reflection of yourself? Maybe it's individuals who resemble your ex (or exes). When you reminisce over your first time, does it have any striking similarities to the kind of sex that you prefer even now?
It really is interesting. After doing all of this research and reading, the word that came to my mind for type was "pattern". And when I went to Google signs that we have patterns that we need to break, tons of links about unhealthy relationships and toxic connections came up. I'm sure that's not some random cosmic coincidence.
Look y'all, I'm not saying that having a type is always or necessarily a bad thing. But what I am trying to convey is if you know that you've got one but things have not been working out for you in the way you would like, perhaps sticking to your type is a part of the reason why; especially since you now know where having a type comes from.
I still want a tall Godiva Black man. And honestly, the Black part is non-negotiable. But because I know trauma and familiarity play somewhat of a direct role in why that may be the case, I'm open to go "against type"—finally. Are you?
Featured image by Unsplash