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How the Right Name Makes You Sexier

The sound of your name can make you sexier--or not--in the eyes of others.

Men with "front vowels" in their names, which are sounds that are formed at the front of the mouth like the "a" in Matt, are considered sexier than men who are stuck with "back vowel" sounds like the "au" in Paul, reports New Scientist of research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

Interestingly, the opposite is true for women, whose names are sexier with back vowels than front ones. That means Dawn is sexier than Amy.

Led by linguist Amy Perfors, the MIT team posted photos of men and women on a Web site so users could rate who was hot and who was not. When the same photos were posted with fake first names, the attractiveness scores went up or down depending on the vowel sound in those names. Perfors told New Scientist that front vowels, which are produced in the front of the mouth, are often perceived as "smaller" than back vowels, which are produced in the back of the mouth. So women who are seeking men who are sensitive or gentle would find a name with front vowels to be sexy.

Sexy male names:

  • Craig
  • Ben
  • David
  • Ed
  • Matt
  • Michael

Sexy female names:

  • Julie
  • Lucy
  • Donna
  • Halle
  • Holly
  • Britney
  • Carmen
  • Laura
  • Moira
  • Paula

Not-so-sexy names:

  • Paul
  • Sean
  • Roger
  • Tom
  • Rob
  • Mimi
  • Nina
  • Liz
  • Isabella
  • Judy
  • Cindy

Just remember this: Your name can't compensate for everything. "An attractive person with a bad vowel name is still more attractive than an unattractive person with a good vowel name," Perfors told New Scientist.

The study results were presented at the Cognitive Science Society meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

 
 
 
 
  
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