Grace McDaniel and her normal looking son are on the left; Joseph Merrick is on the right and we know his mother was considered attractive. Sheer chance makes most freaks. Symmetry plays a large part in what we consider attractive and we use symmetry to gauge health and odds of having well-formed babies. Obviously, the symmetry does not predict everything, but it probably does affect physical affection.
In the news today, I saw an article about elephants having tumor-fighting genes; which, reminded me of the tumors that caused the Elephant Man’s deformities. I’m curious how many people would choose gene therapy if it extended their life but created a deformity. I’m 99% sure, many women and slightly fewer men will choose to have tails if gene therapy makes the option available. Men are slightly less likely to follow a fashion trend. Yes, those numbers reflect gender stereotyping, but I see women as the peacock of the human species.
I have a character in my novel, with severe deformity and I can’t help but love her. Erotic attraction is difficult to imagine. How much inner beauty is needed to surpass outer preference? Inner beauty takes time to see, so standing by someone with lost beauty is easier than creating the initial attraction.