Why are people sexually attracted to cartoons? Evolution

Visual cues denoting reproductive value include youth, health, and social status. In short, men are primed to seek attractiveness in mates. While attraction varies from culture to culture, its more common features include “full lips, clear skin, smooth skin, clear eyes, lustrous hair, and good muscle tone, and features of behavior, such as a bouncy, youthful gait, an animated facial expression, and a high energy level.”

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Hentai takes these visual cues and dials them up to 11. The female characters in these movies morph the natural cues men have evolved to seek in mates to levels beyond what is sustainable in nature. Basically, they are polka-dotted eggs for the heterosexual male mind.

To keep us squarely in SFW territory, let’s consider Jazz-Age sex symbol Betty Boop. Boop checks all the boxes Buss notes clue men into health and reproductive value. She has smooth skin, full lips, good muscle tone, and large, clear eyes. She’s bouncy and displays vast amounts of bubbly, youthful energy.

In fact, her youthfulness represents an unnatural extreme, with features exaggerated to absurd, neotenic levels. Her head is impossibly large, her legs too long given her torso, her arms too short, and her hip-to-waist ratio would prevent her from walking. A real-life Betty Boop surviving to puberty would be a medical marvel. As a cartoon, she has lived on as a sex symbol for nearly 100 years.

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