Hey guys I love this thread.
I've done some research in this subject and I've found one interesting article about mammalian model that links olfactory/pheromonal input from the social environment to hormonal influences on sexual behavior. We humans are mammals and by that fact we share some common traits like all mammals even we have been to some degree more complex because of our ability of cognitive thinking. So in case of researching human sexuality it is very difficult to separate cognitive effects, like thoughts, from unconscious affects, like neuroendocrine changes, that may be manifest as human emotions. It seems that there are some facts that are showing us that some our preferences are resulting from very complex interactions of our genes and social environment resulting in specific sexual preferences. I find some parts of article very interesting so I've copied it here:
"In non-human animals, a causal relationship must exist among the development of sexual preferences for attractive physical features and how these preferences are manifest in sexual behavior. This causal relationship must develop before sexual preferences or sexual behaviors are expressed. Whether or not it is acknowledged, such a causal relationship appears to exist before human sexual preferences are fully developed and long before adult sexual behavior is expressed."
"Kohl, Atzmueller, Fink, and Grammer (2001) have integrated research findings that link mammalian pheromones to unconscious affects on human behavior. They proposed that sexual preferences for attractive human physical features are readily influenced by the effect of pheromones on gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH)-directed, gonadotropin-modulated androgenic and estrogenic changes in the brain. Because androgenic and estrogenic changes in the brain are not consciously perceived, the hormonal changes associated with pheromones and their effect on GnRH are considered to be unconscious affects. These unconscious affects supposedly occur in the brain during conditioning of the human visual response to olfactory/pheromonal input. Thus, hormone-dependent putative human pheromone production and hormone-dependent pheromone distribution from conspecifics (other members of the species) are what condition sexual preferences for hormone-associated characteristics, such as facial symmetry, facial attractiveness, waist-to-hip ratio, and most, if not all, hormone-associated physical features."
"Gottfried and Dolan (2003) have shown that appetitive neural responses to a particular food can be generated by pairing odor with the sight of a computer-generated image. The ability to make neural connections between appetitive or aversive odors and relevant or irrelevant visual stimuli is a part of learning that is probably common to all animals. This type of learning is how picture advertisements might effectively enroll the development of human food preferences. For example, a picture of a steak may positively or negatively influence appetite. The unconscious affect of the picture on appetite involves a form of classical conditioning of the visual response to olfactory input."
"Obviously, no mammal cognitively chooses to eat food that lacks olfactory appeal, and humans do not eat pictures of food. On the other hand, even though the same visual stimulus is processed, a picture of a steak is unlikely to look good to someone whose classically conditioned odor-associated food preferences and ingestive behavior make them a vegetarian. Therefore, it is reasonable to consider individual comments on how food looks as little more than a means to describe the food’s chemical or olfactory appeal."
"People who have developed different food preferences in accord with variations in the reward value of ingestive behavior may not agree on olfactory/odor appeal; the food might not look good to everyone. Similarly, preferences for erotic imagery could be expected to correlate with one’s conditioned visual response to olfactory/pheromonal input and its reward value or sexual effect. Thus, erotic visual imagery of a female, and most likely the female herself, will lack any classically conditioned olfactory/pheromonal (e.g., hormonal) association and chemical appeal for a male who has developed a sexual preference for other males. This may explain why some erotic imagery of human females does not always attract, arouse, or look good to all human males, why erotic imagery has no value to other mammals, and why humans develop sexual preferences for specific erotic imagery.
"Sexual preferences might even compare well with categories of carnivore and herbivore ingestive behavior. Further classification of the animalistic behavior of human “carnivores” and “herbivores” might include preferences for steak or broccoli, leading to the categories of steak-lover or chicken-lover, and broccoli-lover versus broccoli-hater, ad infinitum due to the nearly infinite number and combinations of categories that could be associated with food preferences."
It seems that there are some specific reasons why every one of us has been attracted to some person (no matter on sex). Those attractions seem to be unconscious result of some chemical stimulus to which we are sensitive because of our genetics. I've found some of this very interesting giving us some other perspective, don't you think?
Here is the link to article: http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/BIB/kohl.htm#ARE