10 Things I Find Sexy in a Man (that Aren’t All About Sex).

Via Melanie Curtin
on Jan 28, 2013
get elephant's newsletter

d1073220bcd79c9e237d4e1f67d9b91d

Image Source: inspire.maxtonmen.com via Kevin on Pinterest

I love men. I love how they move, how they sit, how they kiss.

I love how they play air guitar, quote Wedding Crashers, man the grill and roughhouse together.

I love to hear them bitch about their sports team losing, observe them trying (and failing) to be subtle when checking me out, or watch them wrestle their dog. I love how they beat the steering wheel when they get really into a song, how they posture when a really hot girl walks by, and how most of them genuinely want to be good lovers. I love how different they are from me and how similar they are underneath.

And don’t get me wrong—I love a man with a six-pack, with that to-die-for body. But when it really comes down to it, the things that make a man sexy have very little to do with the packaging.

Here are the top 10 “non-packaging related” things I find sexy in a man.

10. Lift Me Up

The guy that picks me up and spins me around, or holds me tightly with my arms and legs wrapped right around him, will always win my heart. Depending on the context, it is one of the sexiest, most comforting or most erotic of experiences. Even if we’re not dating, I always feel happy and free and feminine.

Perhaps it is the reminder of your strength, or my petite-ness, or both at the same time. Perhaps it’s the sensual, spontaneous experience of the way we fit together, the way our bodies are connected in that moment. Perhaps it’s just the fact that you’re bigger than me.

Whatever it is, it’s sexy.

9. Open Doors & Give Up Seats

I find it annoying when people say chivalry is dead. It’s not. It’s alive and kicking—yes, even in the younger generation.

I know this because, amongst other things, I ride the NYC subway. There, I’ve experienced many men—good men, great men—give up their seats for the elderly (both women and men), open doors for others and help me lift my (many) suitcases up the (many) stairs. To them I say, I salute you. I thank you.

Some women hate it when men open doors for them. They may interpret it as a statement that they can’t take care of themselves, or that they’re somehow less independent because a man is doing something for them.

I am not one of those women. I love it when a man carries my groceries for me, lets me go ahead of him in line, opens a door for me or schleps my luggage.

I know I could do these things by myself, for myself. I’ve done them plenty of times. But when someone else does it, it really does make my life a little bit easier. I feel taken care of. Especially in cities, where we spend a lot of our time with headphones on, consciously ignoring everyone around us, it feels really good to be noticed. The way these men are says, “I see you and I care about you, simply because you’re alive.”

I also look at that guy who just gave up his seat in a new light. He comes across as strong, aware, trustworthy, significant. He comes across like a man.

 She is my drug8. Initiate Middle-of-the-Night Sex

If you know how to do this right (slooowly, softly, gently), it is one of the sexiest things in the world. I love the feeling of being touched between states of consciousness, of arousal before awareness. I adore the dissolving quality of dark, sleepy caresses, the extension of the dreamlike state of not knowing where you stop and I begin.

And I love the slow build, the way a man who knows what he’s doing carefully rearranges my body for me, gently positioning me so that I don’t have to do anything. The fact that he’s guiding the situation, softly but firmly in control, means that I can just lay there languidly and enjoy the ride.

Yes, please. Over and over and three times on Sunday.

7. Deal With Sh*t

I have many talents. I can speak five languages. I’m a good writer. I’m exquisitely empathetic. I kick ass at Trivial Pursuit. I can even dance the tango at a near-professional level.

However, I suck at practical, common sense stuff. I can barely change a light bulb, let alone fix sh*t around the house.

But my dude roommate can. And I gotta tell you, it’s sexy. I came home the other day and a set of lights that had been out for months (literally months!) were fixed. Just like that. Ditto the thermostat. When I asked him how he did it, all I heard was, “Wah wah wah,” like Charlie Brown’s mother. I didn’t follow it because I just don’t care. I do, however, care that I can now actually see objects in the living room.

I get that this is a cliché—trust me, I do. It’s also true I find it somehow deeply satisfying that men are distinct. I love that I’m good at things that they’re not, and that they effortlessly do things I don’t understand at all. I compliment you for complementing me. I get to relax because you just take care of sh*t. It’s freeing.

It’s also sexy.

6. Be Super Solid While I’m Freaking Out

When I am absolutely losing it about something (legitimate or not), I don’t need to be fixed. I don’t need to be told what to do, I don’t need advice, and I certainly don’t need someone to tell me to calm down.

I just need to be witnessed.

That’s right, when I’m on my crazy train, I don’t want a man to try to stop it (he won’t be able to, anyway). I just want him to be with me while I’m on it. I want to know I’m not alone.

So the man who quietly listens, who takes it all in without taking it too seriously, is unbelievably sexy. He is sexy in his solidity, he’s sexy in his presence, he’s sexy in his naturally grounded nature. He’s extra super really sexy when I can tell that not only is he not intimidated by my freakout, he’s actually (respectfully) entertained by it—he welcomes it.

Those exceptional men I’ve been with who enjoy the ride, who witness my storms or those of other women with a knowing look, a wisdom that goes beyond my high-strung-ness or defensiveness or just general freakout, are rare.

They’re also sexy.

 Father and son surf lesson in Morro Bay, CA 12 of 125. Play With Kids

Straight up, it is hot when a man is genuinely good at playing with kids. This does not include faking it to get attention from women—obviously that’s a huge turnoff (and dude, we’re biologically made to know when you’re faking it). No, it’s only—and very—hot when he actually likes them. It’s probably something primordial, basic, an animalistic understanding that he’d be good at playing with our kids. But who cares?

Because it’s not just a sweet moment, like, “Awww, look how good he is with that kid.” It’s an actual, visceral turn-on—I literally feel a tingling in my nether regions. It doesn’t make me want to have babies with you, but it sure makes me want to make them with you.

(Just kidding. Sort of.)

 4. Accept Emotions

I recently called a guy friend to let him know that I was on my way to meeting up, but I wasn’t feeling all that great. Being a little sad and irritable, I said, “Sorry in advance for not being very fun. I’m going to try to get into a better mood.”

Do you know what he said?

“If you are, great. If not, great. Whatever you got, bring it.”

I felt so accepted I started to tear up. I knew it would be okay even if I wasn’t okay—that I wouldn’t be blamed or shamed for not being cheerful or upbeat. I could bring my truth—my real truth—and he would still be there.

I wasn’t a problem.

When a man resists emotions—mine or his own, I feel repressed and uncomfortable. A roiling sensation in my stomach builds, that I just can’t kick. And in my experience, many men (many people, but men in particular) are threatened by emotions like sadness, anger, or fear. They want to fix it right away to soothe their own anxiety. They can’t tolerate the idea that a woman is unhappy. They can’t tolerate the idea that they might be blamed for it.

Then there is the man who accepts me in all of my facets, not just the ‘pretty’ ones. He has learned to be with emotion—just be with it. He doesn’t feel the need to make it go away or turn it into something else. He just accepts, and genuinely wants to know.

With him, I feel deeply safe. I know I can bring all of me, and he’s going to be able to handle it. I don’t have to manage his experience of me. I can just be.

And the fact that he wants to know me makes me want to know him.

Biblically.

 3. Care About His Friends

I fell in love with my last boyfriend in stages. The first was one night when we sat in his truck outside his place while he called his best friend, who had just lost his grandfather. He listened, made manly sounds of sympathy (like grunts), asked about his friend’s family members, told his friend he loved him in his own way, and promptly got off the phone.

It was brief, but real and heartfelt. And when I saw him care about his friend—really care about him, but in a totally different way than I care about my female friends—I fell pretty hard.

I think he was surprised by how much I wanted him after that phone call. I may or may not have given him a minute, then attacked him right there in the truck.

 S is for Superman2. Show His Backbone

If you’re my man, I want you to be vulnerable with me. I love watching you agonize over which stuffed animal your three-year-old niece would like better: the panda or the whale? I enjoy when you tell me about something that’s hard for you to admit about your past, or how you didn’t have it all together for that presentation at work today, or when you own up to just how much you want me to like the necklace you just gave me (and how stressed you are that maybe I don’t).

I cherish those moments.

But it also turns me on when you have to be a hardass and you’re willing to go there. Pointless aggression is a turn-off, but watching a man enforce strong boundaries is a huge turn-on. It’s hot when a man stands up for himself by telling his boss to find someone else to work this weekend, or puts his foot down with the slacker on his team, or quietly but firmly tells his brother that he can’t borrow the car (given that he drove it drunk the last time he did). Even when it’s directed at me, I love seeing that fire within you, that point of resistance that says no.

In fact, your “no “has me saying yes.

Yes, yes, yessss.

 1. Listen

The sexiest thing a man can do is listen to me—all of me. With all of him.

Some men don’t listen at all. They just don’t. They talk about themselves ad nauseum and then wonder what happened when I wander away. These men are generally referred to as “douchebags.”

Other men listen in such a manner that they practically collapse into me. They fall all over themselves to “do” listening right, keeping their focus and attention so on me that they lose themselves. In a way, they actually stop listening in their attempt to prove how well they do listen. These men are generally known as “nice guys.”

Either way, not sexy.

Then there is the man who maintains his own core while also holding space for me.

This man has a way of drawing out my deepest truth simply by being fully present. He isn’t thinking about what to say next, whether I still like him, how to get me to stop crying, or what to do now. He’s just noticing me, tracking me, attuning himself to me. He’s letting the moment unfold without trying to control it. And him taking the lead in this way has me stop trying to control it as well. Which feels good.

This man listens to what I’m saying and what I’m not saying; he listens with his body as well as his heart. He listens with his mind, with his emotions, with his curiosity, with his soul. He asks questions when the time is right, because he really wants to understand, not because he wants to coach me to get somewhere else. He listens to all of me, with all of him.

When I am in his presence, my entire being relaxes. I become more gracious, more present, more in flow. I am expressive without being self-conscious.

I am emotional without being reactive. I am beautiful without being perfect. I feel safe, I feel seen, I feel radiant.

In other words, I feel like a woman. With a man.

And that is sexy.

~

Bonus: The one Buddhist Red Flag to watch out for & how you’ll know if he or she is The One.

~

Like elephant journal gets sexy on Facebook.

 

Assistant Ed: Lori Lothian
Ed: Kate Bartolotta

1,213,829 views

About Melanie Curtin

I help men win with women. Specifically, I coach men on how to rock their love lives in order to get the sex, dating, and relationships they really want. I do this a) because I love men and feel a lot of compassion for them and their journey in this crazy world; and b) because I believe that when the healthy masculine meets the divine feminine in his power, the world is transformed from the inside out. Interested? Come talk to me.

Comments

155 Responses to “10 Things I Find Sexy in a Man (that Aren’t All About Sex).”

  1. Lola says:

    spot on

  2. michellec433 says:

    Brilliant! I adore this!

  3. Cristin Whiting says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

  4. jim fry says:

    Since you've provided an incredible list, numerically, I wanna play, too. I rate, from 1-10, for all of your items a 10 (seriously!). Well, actually, #s 4, 8 & 10, get a 13s! #3 generally will reveal quickly what someone will be like over the long term.

    I'd offer, that one of the sexiest things a woman may do, in reflections to a normally chivalrous guy, is scoot ahead now & then and open a door for him. I have been fully enamored by this simple gesture, which is received as playful recognition & gratitude. Oh, and the*gaping* stares from others, when a woman opens a car door for a guy – priceless 🙂

    I've found the simple solution to the some like, some don't door issue is to ask upon first intersection and then just *remember*. Another question I love to ask, up front is: "Do U like your hand under or over, when holding hands?" I haven't inquired yet without receiving the response that no one had ever asked them that.

    Deep appreciation for the enchanting read!

  5. Samba says:

    # 7 ~ I suck at practical, common sense stuff. I can barely change a light bulb, let alone fix sh*t around the house.
    weak and helpless at practical stuff expecting a man to do it because she doesn't care to make the effort -very unsexy.
    " When I asked him how he did it, all I heard was, “Wah wah wah,” like Charlie Brown’s mother. I didn’t follow it because I just don’t care."
    Goes really well w/ #7 " The sexiest thing a man can do is listen to me"

  6. Brianna says:

    I love this! Thank you! Now I know I’m not the only one who feels this way 🙂 Very well written!

  7. Kim says:

    AMEN! Where are these men??

  8. J.N. says:

    Exactly!!! Great concise read and so on point! Thx.

  9. SAndy says:

    I am loving #4, 6 and 1. Spot on! Fabulous Melanie!

  10. jim fry says:

    It is all about complement.

    When *anyone* shows up, & steps forward with (authentic) playfulness, passion and peripheral perception (which R what all these R, for me), then relationships shift and spiral up.Up.UP in wondrous positive feedback swirls.

    It is interesting how these blend across the 5 Love Languages (Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service & Physical Touch). Words and Gifts may not be immediately apparent, bet they R embedded in Melanie's list.

  11. Starre Vartan says:

    I found much of this really insulting, as a woman. The parts that I didn't were all about being a good human being (playing with kids, caring for friends, listening well, giving seats up to the elderly (yes, I ride the subway too, and I do this as well, does it make me a 'sexier' woman or just a decent human?). Would ANYbody write how these traits are so great in women? No, because they are just automatically expected of us. But when men act decently, all of a sudden, it's applause time! This is, at base, incredibly insulting to men.

    I own my own home, and I'll tell you something – you're missing out not fixing your own stuff. I do my own electrical work, my own plumbing and I can build and fix things small and large. Who taught me this? How good it feels to do things for yourself? My grandmother, who experienced first-hand how problematic it is to depend on men for this sort of thing, being raised in the 30's and 40's and going to finishing school instead of college. When women express how great they think it is that men can do this stuff, they not only lose that sense of do-it-yourselfness that's so great, but they give their self-confidence away. The most crazy-making aspect of this article? That when basics about how to change a damn lightbulb are explained to your (perhaps a kind suggestion so that next time you can do it yourself, you grown woman), you don't even bother to listen? How very Disney-princess, and I feel for your roommate, who has to live with someone too lazy to do their part around the house.

    And middle-of-the-night sex? UGH. Any article encouraging men to do this makes me want to tear my hair out. HATE IT! But here I will digress; that's just a personal preference that you have and I don't. Fair enough.

    I love men too. But not for simply behaving like decent human beings, and not because they're bigger or stronger than me (as a tallish, strong-bodied woman, that's often NOT the case – we are not all petite-ish actresses yearning to be protected), which is actually incredibly insulting in the light of the women in combat discussion that's going on.

  12. Kelly says:

    This is an amazing article! Love it and totally relate.

  13. jim fry says:

    My #1 Unsexy Facet in any Human?

    Seething condescension and vitriol projected upon fine writing and authors, resultant from differing perceptions (or deep wounds?). When anyone pours their heart, emotions and soul out to us to reflect upon, the art of nonviolent communication is warranted, and loving, when seeking to constructively critique.

    In addition, reading some of these comments, I feel as if someone has totally stepped upon my sovereignty, as both a human and a male, by presuming to have the authority to speak for me. My voice works fine.

  14. I loved editing this one — it made me go, OH YEAH and then want to share with all my friends–male and female. It's interesting to watch how the women love this one because we yearn, perhaps, for the noble, old school masculine in a new light, one of equality and yet, gentlemanly-ness.

    I am waiting to here from more men….?

  15. Meredith says:

    I completely relate to this!! I love those qualities in a man! Thank you for writing and sharing this!!

  16. Super solid list, and I agree 100 percent.

  17. Judy says:

    Eloquent. Concise. Perfect!

  18. Maggie McReynolds says:

    YES. I'll have what she's having.

  19. Denisedanchesfisher says:

    I like Number 5. I always attract the tune outs or freak outs. Nice to have someone listen and be solid and neutral!

  20. Denisedanchesfisher says:

    Sorry that was number 5…all wonderful regardless!

  21. Sarah says:

    As a woman, I agree with your critiques of this article. Thank you for being bold and writing this. It needed to be said.

  22. ronna26 says:

    The title is : 10 Things "I" ( I repeat I, not YOU) find sexy in a man.

  23. Kat says:

    Well said! I would only ad : A man who is spontaneous with sex and can take charge. Nothing is more hot in my opinion is a man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to get it. After maybe 35, most women want sex more often and in more new, exciting places.

  24. mfpfaff says:

    I really appreciated this article, spot on. Sometimes I feel like these values are lost in modern society (six-pack abs! A bigger paycheck!), but I felt like coming home with this one. It IS much more about presence and vulnerability.

  25. Loved this, Melanie. When I saw the title and got ready to edit I thought (and forgive me…but we tend to get these) "Oh no, another Cosmo-esque list of what we think men should be doing better," and then was completely and pleasantly surprised. I would agree on all 10—totally sexy.

  26. jim fry says:

    Vulnerability? (plus, shame vs. guilt, becoming authentic & more)

    For a really informative, transformative, investigation of this term, state of being & phenomenon, I recommend the book (& TED Vid) Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.

  27. Pete Waters says:

    Totally agree, Jim. As an ex-military guy who spent two decades confusing "vulnerable" with "weak", I've found that Brene Brown's TED lectures could be subtitled, "Learning How to Be an Integrated Person in Two 10-Minute Videos". Two of her books — including "Daring Greatly", which draws from my all-time favorite quote (by Theodore Roosevelt) — are sitting on my kitchen table waiting to be read.

  28. DaveTelf says:

    We're busy aspiring to embody the qualities described here…

  29. jim fry says:

    Thanks for sharing Pete!

    What I learned from that book, which happened to be one root in the fading of my last relationship (oh no!) was that when we really "show up" and share our composite & integrated truths, when we R naked & "vulnerable", while we R exposed, we R also authentic, to & for ourselves, and all others.

    The entire gig does relate to our boundaries and our intimacy. When delivered with sincerity & nonviolent communications, we've done our best and the chips fall where they may. U *really* find out if someone else wanted answers to their questions, or they just wanted U to know they had particular questions (this is *HUGE*; in my experiences). For me, no one has nailed this quite so exquisitely as author Esther Perel, in her Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence book and Videos (on YT), related to Infidelity.

    The beauty I've found in these states of being is that it is all so damn much easier, when the masks drop. So much less drama & regret; we've been as true to ourselves & each other as possible, in these human suits on this amusement ride of life & love.

    .J.

  30. jim fry says:

    Ohm Y.

    .PERFECT.

  31. Andy says:

    My woman just read this and recommended that I read it, too. I needed the reminders in the 'Be With Emotion', 'Listen', and 'Middle of the Night Sex.' I enjoyed and was entertained how this is written from a personal perspective- just putting it out there: It's an example of what I often want out of those (usually disappointing) 'What Women Really Want' articles in Men's Health. In a time when I often see 'manly' qualities subtly rejected or competed with in men by so many women (big discussion…), this is refreshing. I personally love it when women love men who love being men. And when sharing what that means doesn't have to involve a dictionary full of gender studies terminology. : ) It feels great to be not only accepted, but encouraged to express -even mature- these qualities that are core to who I am, and how I connect with women.

  32. alrishi says:

    Great Article Melanie. I appreciate they way you share the things that you find sexy without projecting any of that onto what men or women should be or feel. My favorite was the distinction you make in the last point about listening and how some men "collapse into you", losing their integrity and thinking that would impress you somehow. We can only be as intimate with someone as we are first intimate with ourselves.

  33. Melodie says:

    Couldn’t agree more!

  34. paul says:

    Excepting #9 and #10 I think most guys find these qualities sexy in ladies. I like it when people like doing these things for themselves.

  35. Mike Morrell says:

    Melanie, I experience you to be as witty/hilarious (srsly, some laugh out loud moments) as you are insightful. I loved reading this. Will share (later) in the AM.

  36. Matt says:

    Regarding number 6: Why not try to freak out less and not subject your man to your your hysterical outbursts so much? Why not be considerate of your man and think about his feelings and realize that for a man to be subjected to all that freaking out is not pleasant? Why not recognize that maybe you should grow up a little bit and not throw tantrums and act like a child and deal with your emotions in a more grown up way? Wouldn't that be better for you and your man? Time to let go of the "I'm a woman and I have a right to be hysterical and subject my man to my unreasonable tantrums" type of thinking. Good luck to you in that endeavor, I am sure your man will appreciate those steps toward growth and consideration on your part.

  37. jim_fry says:

    Hi Matt,

    From a previous comment, in reply to a similar critique as yours, another wrote:

    "The title is : 10 Things "I" ( I repeat I, not YOU) find sexy in a man."

    The context, here, is someone telling their current chapter of their storyline. Esteem, Community, Growth, Love and Sovereignty are all nurtured by building up, not tearing down. May we each, be, impeccable with our words, using them to serve and honor each other. Please fertilize the garden, with this in heart & mind.

    "The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them."

    – Thomas Merton

  38. Lora Roberts says:

    I couldn't agree more! The great news for men is that these turn ons are innate qualities we have as humans– so all you have to do is be genuine. It's when we lose ourselves that these qualities get lost….

  39. michael says:

    I think maybe I’m very lucky in that I dont care, at all, about what women like the author think. She sounds like a bit of an entitled baby, quite frankly. Chicks wanted equality. They got it. Now they want to eat their cake too. Get over it.

  40. I don't think that's unique to women. We all have our freakouts and it would be nice to have someone around us who is witnessing it, supportively and solidly, rather than trying to talk us out of it or fix it. Kudos to you if you are always able to respond gracefully to whatever comes along. I know I'm not!

  41. Johny says:

    We are all unique, you did good in state your point of view, men and woman should see prioriti in values as to caring for the next as the most grateful thing they will experience as Being
    By the way it is very amusing, it is a pleasure, to know how to deal with simple, or not, things of the nowadays life.

  42. Gloria says:

    Michael, please lighten up a bit. This is not a blue-print for all men or for all women. Not all women want a caretaker or the strong, stoic, silent type of man, which this article seems to portray. And truth is, some men do actually enjoy playing the chivalrous role.
    Like the Author, I'm a petite and beautiful woman, but that's where our similarities end. I do not like to be carried, except very briefly, during foreplay. I live alone, I own a tool box, I LOVE fixing things around my house. I absolutely hate to be woken up at night. I love and respect men and their strength and differences; I'm always grateful when a man offers to help out but I don't live expecting it all the time. And truth is, some men like my type. Let's accept our our differences OK?
    It is a very beautifully written article though.

  43. Chris says:

    We are alaround you! Open your eyes, listen with heart and stop judging. That is when we appear!

  44. Edith says:

    Loved that article… Thank you! It was timely for me! I'm going to share it with my friends! I love how you were able to put into words what I thought, but couldn't explain. Looking forward to read more from you!

  45. playmore says:

    All I can say to this list is, yikes. If I were a guy, I'd be stressed, Paul Newman pic aside…

  46. A woman who knows herself, knows men, loves both, AND can articulate it?
    THAT was, is, and always will BE sexy.
    Thank you.

  47. Laure says:

    Damn. That was so very well said. Straight from my heart. Thank you for sharing this.

  48. Madison Canary says:

    Great article! These rang true for me on many levels. I am currently getting over a relationship where the man started this way and then got more and more closed off as time went on. He lost track of being this amazing man and just turned into a douchebag. Very unfortunate, he had such wonderful potential. I hadn't been able to fully articulate what some of the traits, that I first loved and then missed, were and this article articulated them beautifully. Thanks

  49. jim_fry says:

    Reading many of the comments in this thread, I'm reminded:

    *Every* relationship is an equation with a human operating on each side. We gravitate to each other for an integrated spectrum of facets { needs, desires & attractions, to name a few }. We rarely find some nebulous perfection, and we're left with choice. Fate is what happens to us, our responses are the Reality we shape.