Skip to content

Intercultural marriage predisposition: physical attraction and stereotypes


Physical attraction seems to be a universal predisposition for marriage, whether intercultural or not: « She is beautiful – he is handsome. »  Most would say that they got attracted because they first noticed someone’s  physical traits.

Researchers believe that physical attraction can be a predisposition for intercultural marriage in the following way: Because physical relationships with someone who « looks different », who belongs to a « different group », a foreigner, is not easily accepted in a given society, such a resistance and even forbiddance may, in fact, act as a motivation, the foreigner consequently becoming more attractive in his expression of feminity or masculinity.[1] To summarize, the forbidden becomes the attractive and the beautiful.

Physical attraction to someone from a different cultural or ethnic background may well be reinforced by positive stereotypes leading to what some researchers call « racial fantasy. » French sociologist Barbara notes that cultures and its medias, such as movies or books may actually reinforce some stereotypes: a person belonging to a particular ethnic group may be described to have greater sexual qualities or be excessively romantic whereas a particular woman is attractive because her skin color is thought of or represented as a symbol of beauty and « purity. »[2] Those are dangerous clichés. Psychologist Joel Crohn warns that “While these alluring images, some based on partial truths, others on wishful fantasy, are part of what motivates some marriages, they often do not fit with the reality of the people’s actual experiences.”[3] Other researchers seem to agree: Char notes that “the sexual basis for intercultural marriages is often based on stereotypical fantasy rather than reality.”[4]. When one has been led by these stereotypes, disappointments are expected.

Researchers conclude that, in the case of intercultural marriage and relationships, “exotic can become erotic and the lure of the ‘forbidden fruit’ is very strong especially if the individual is not comfortable with his or her own sexuality.”[5] While physical attraction is a strong motivation to select a mate even from a different cultural or ethnic background, such a foundation because often based on stereotypes, is rather thin and dangerous.


What attracted you in your partner / spouse first and foremost?

How familiar have you been of his or her culture prior to your relationship?

twitter-icone-5603-128Don’t forget to sign on our twitter account: INTERCOUPLECULT

[1] Petit, La migration dans l’organisation psychique des couples interculturels, 32.

[2] Barbara, Les couples mixtes, 36.

[3] Joel Crohn, Mixed Matches: How to Create Successful Interracial, Interethnic, and Interfaith Relationships , 48.

[4] Walter F. Char, « Motivations for Intercultural Marriages, » in Adjustment in Intercultural Marriage, ed. Weh-Shing Tseng, et al., 37.

[5] Ibid.

No comments yet

Répondre / answer

Choisissez une méthode de connexion pour poster votre commentaire:


Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Déconnexion /  Changer )

Photo Google+

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Google+. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion /  Changer )


Connexion à %s

%d blogueurs aiment cette page :