What Men Want --
What Do Men Find Attractive?

When asked what men want in a relationship, what do men find attractive, what makes them say, "There's something about her…" and what makes a man feel COMPELLED to provide for/take care of/protect a woman, Alison Armstrong from PAX (who has been studying men for longer than I have!) says the answer is these top four things --

Passion, Authenticity, Confidence, and Receptivity...

So, what they want is this: They want a woman who has passion about something in her life other than her man, she is her authentic self and does what makes her happy, she has confidence about who she is and what she has to offer and she is receptive to what he can provide for her and who he is.

She goes on to say that if you ONLY want a man to be sexually attracted to you, then you should work on having shiny hair, a shapely body, and display your sensuality and sexuality as a way to attract him. The media has brainwashed us into thinking that we need to slim down/tone up, have bouncy, shiny hair and wear sexy outfits and act seductively in order to attract men! However, those four attributes ONLY signal men to want to have sex with you and that's it!

If you want a man who feels compelled to provide for you, protect you, and cherish you, you are much better off working on the "There's something about her" list above!

dating advice for women

Over the years I've asked countless men (friends, co-workers, roommates and even dates) in my quest to answer the question of what men want. Here are some additional attributes that I've heard over and over.


  • They want a woman who they are physically attracted to. (DUH!) But the reason for this is that for the last 50,000 years, men's DNA has told them to go forth and multiply for the survival of the species -- and the fastest way to find a healthy mate for their offspring was to do a quick visual check: Too skinny or too heavy = possible infertility problems. Shiny hair and some curves = enough fat in the diet to be fertile. It soooo ingrained in their DNA that they don't know they are doing this! They just know what they like!

    The first thing a man will notice is your shoulder to waist to hip proportions and he will focus on your boobs. (Why? Women with larger breasts and smaller waists are subconsciously thought to be more fertile, therefore more sexually attractive.) Then he'll check out your lips, eyes, hair length and your entire face. Finally, if you've piqued his interest, he'll check out your rear end. When a man is attracted to you, his DNA looks at your DNA and says, "We'd make really healthy babies," though he is not consciously aware of this and might not even want to have kids!

  • What men find attractive is a proportionate body that is "womanly" - in other words, she has some natural curves. Most men will choose a Marilyn Monroe over a Kate Moss any day of the week. But regardless of how "proportionate" you are, men like a woman who is healthy and has a vibrancy and energy for her life no matter what her body size is (slim, heavy, tall, short, etc.). This doesn't mean she needs to live in the gym, but she should do the best she can to stay healthy -- water, good food, vitamins, exercise -- the usual stuff we all know about!

  • Men want a woman with sensual, full lips -- because there are a million and one fantasies about what you are going to do to them with your lips! And the easiest way to create beautiful sensual lips is to line your lips and fill them in with a lip liner in a color close to your own lip color and then add a neutral lip gloss over the entire thing. This will give you a fuller, kissable look.

  • Men love big, sexy eyes! All you need is a little concealer to make your eyes pop (but make sure it's not cakey). Don't bother with anything other than a little natural eye shadow - save the crazy bright blues and greens for the 10 year olds playing dress up. Finally to really make your eyes brighten, either use a very dark lengthening and thickening mascara and some liquid liner (liner only on the top lid), or a few false eyelashes along the outer corners of your lash line. You will instantly look ultra sexy!

  • They love feminine women - soft, warm, sweet, touchable. They especially love long, silky, touchable hair. Most men are turned off by short, spiky hair, lots of hair spray, really long painted nails, scratchy or rough fabrics and scary Tammy Faye Baker makeup! And all of that extra stuff makes you seem high maintenance.

  • What men want is a woman who doesn't look to him for validation that she is ok -- she gets her validation from someplace other than men, and if she has validation from within, that is the most attractive.

  • They like a woman who doesn't take everything in her life personally and she knows that if she is rejected by a man it is not about her; it's his issue.

  • She is a "cool" girl (this is one of the biggest compliments a man can give a woman). In other words, she is not needy. She knows how to get her own needs met so she's not clinging onto him all the time. And she never loses her own identity once she is in a relationship.

  • They like a woman who is honest, trustworthy and loyal. And what men want in a relationship is that you trust them too. They want to feel accepted and admired for who they are, appreciated for what they provide for you, approved of, and encouraged.

  • What men want in a relationship is a woman who is cool with him hanging out with his friends and having guy time.

  • They love to know you are interested in them. They do NOT get hints so even if you think you are outrageously flirting with them, you may STILL have to say, "Hey, I think you're really cool. If you'd like to get together for coffee sometime, give me a shout."

  • They love to see a woman smile! Sometimes the smile you give to a man is the only smile he sees all day! And it just melts them.

  • They love a woman with a sense of humor who doesn't take herself too seriously, and it's a total bonus if she can make him laugh.

  • They like a woman who respects herself - she sets boundaries when she needs to with her time, commitments and how people treat her.

  • What men want in a relationship is a woman who truly loves having sex with him! Don't say yes to sex too soon. (More on the right time to have sex in a new relationship in another section -- link coming soon!) But once you are involved, nothing frustrates men more than a woman using "sex as a weapon" and who plays games, withholds it to get him to do things, and never makes time for sex.

  • What men find attractive is a woman who is a bit of a challenge. You don't have to play hard to get, but you should not be **too** available either. (More about this in another section - link coming soon!)

What men want is to feel that, by winning you (the awesome you who is nearly all of these things on this list), he has won something precious and wonderful. That is truly what men want!

So, how can you use this piece of dating advice to your advantage? You don't have to change who you are intrinsically, but if you understand what men want, you can think about those areas where you could use a little bit of improvement and a little tweaking. These are all attributes that would make you a better person in other areas of your life -- seriously, who couldn't stand to be more vibrant, have a great sense of humor, smile more, have more passion for life, more confidence and learn how to set good boundaries?

Next up... Gaining Self Confidence and Overcoming Low Self Esteem

dating advice

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