What’s the point of getting plastic surgery? What do the millions of men and women who seek out cosmetic procedures every year hope to achieve?

Ask the haters, and they’ll say it’s all about vanity: “It’s shallow. It’s dangerous. It’s a choice, therefore it’s fair game. It’s caving to the patriarchy. It’s lying, it’s cheating, it’s vanity unchecked — our beautiful people are supposed to be flawless naturally and without effort,” read one litany of the stereotypes people echo.

Is any of this surprising? We didn’t think so.

[TWEETBLOCK text=”Tweet this”]Nearly 2x as many people picked confident over sexy when describing how they want to feel after plastic surgery. [/TWEETBLOCK]

What might be surprising are the reasons people who actually want plastic surgery say they’re getting it.

RealSelf surveyed 700 men and women who’ve contacted a doctor to set up a consultation about a desired treatment. They’re committed enough that they want to meet in person and discuss their options. And if they go through with a procedure, how do they hope to feel afterwards?

Confident. When given a list of emotions and asked to identify how they hoped to feel, 76 percent of respondents picked the word confident. It was nearly twice as popular as sexy, a feeling many assume is the sole motivator for getting plastic surgery. Feeling sexy’s a big part of it — 39 percent of people picked that adjective — but it’s clearly not the primary motivation.

As one woman put it, “I hope to feel whole again.”

Why Get Plastic Surgery? 76% of People Say They Want to Feel...

Read part one: Surgery or Nursery? People Put Off Kids for Plastic Surgery, Survey Says
Read part two: Plastic Surgery Fears: Survey Finds People Are Scared of Bad Results More Than Death

Interested in learning more about a procedure? Ask a doctor