What Women Want from Men. (It’s Simpler than We Think.)

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Relephant: What Women Really Want.

My guy friends and I get in arguments about “what women want,” all the time.

Several of them have stated that women’s expectations are too high. According to them, women want this prince charming type of man who doesn’t actually exist—someone with the charismatic sensitivities and good looks of a Ryan Gosling type mixed with a protecting sort of super-asshole like a Robert Downey Jr. dude.

And okay, if one peruses online dating sites, it could be pretty easy to get that impression, since thousands of women’s profiles state what they’re “not” looking for, to the point where they could have written a book on the subject.

Perhaps they have such a long list of dislikes because it’s hard for them to find a partner who even begins to remotely fulfill them.

The truth of the matter is that expectations are not too high, they are just misunderstood. Besides the obvious request that a partner be good-looking, well-endowed and rich, those qualities aren’t nearly as important as these three.

1. Thoughtfulness.

One of my close friends went out with a guy who drove off without her, leaving her stranded at 2:00 in the morning in the middle of the city because he “couldn’t find anywhere to park.” This older man on a bicycle started circling around her, cat calling, and she had to hide in the corridor of an apartment building until a cab came to pick her up. Needless to say, he didn’t win a prize for date of the year.

Yeah, so don’t be that guy. Be the opposite of that guy.

Everyone wants to feel that they are special, and this is particularly important when it comes to romantic relationships. Pay attention to detail. For example, if you went out the night before, send a text that reveals something specific about the evening. “I really liked our discussion on the poetics of Tom Robbins’ sentence structure.” Or “You looked really cute in that green shirt.” There is no need to text all day, in fact that’s kind of repulsive and reveals a sort of desperation.

But show you care; prove that there is excitement about the possibilities of continuing adventures together.

Other ways to be thoughtful is to show generosity and respect to everyone encountered. For example, tipping a server well is not so much an indication of wealth but proof of compassion; it shows that one cares about the livelihood of others. In a woman’s mind that correlates with lack of selfishness; selfishness is one of the biggest culprits in the ending (or lack of beginning) of many relationships.

2. Stimulation of the mind, body and spirit.

The thought of going home to Jake Gyllenhaal wearing just an apron, pulling a fresh baked pie out of the oven is probably my biggest fantasy, but say after he put the pie on the kitchen table he just looked up at me quizzically and grunted.

Sure, I might still jump his bones, but I wouldn’t stick around for coffee or anything. And that’s the thing: women understand that looks aren’t everything, though we’d never deny that mega-attractiveness hinders prospects, we want our relationships to have substance.

I’d seriously consider giving up one month of sex to have one mind-blowing conversation. Perhaps that’s extreme because I’m sapiosexual, but no one wants to be bored to death.

Creating substance is simple—all it takes is communication. Talk, yes it’s that easy. Discuss the news, friends, family, whether or not Donna Haraway made a good point regarding our cyborgness, whether or not Jake Gyllenhaal actually knows how to bake a pie, you know, whatever people chat about these days, or whatever it is that the two of you have fun chatting about.

When you’re in bed don’t just touch us, ask us where we want to be touched and do it. Discover the finer details of our individual bodies. Get us off. Many women act like it doesn’t matter when the other person orgasms, rolls over and ends intimacy. It does. It matters.

If you want me to get technical, I’ll tell you why.

When a woman has an orgasm, she releases oxytocin, which creates an attachment hormone. It causes us to relax and actually want to be around the person more. (This could be why we’re pickier about who we sleep with too, because we don’t want to attach to some random good-looking-but-dumb fling just because our body releases a hormone after orgasm.)

Nurture our spirit. Help us to reach our full potential, even if it’s just words of encouragement. Knowing someone else truly believes in us can help give the energy necessary for success. What’s the point of being with someone if you’re not being there for them?

3. Make Decisions

If I’m with a guy and the conversation starts to feel like a sequel to that bird scene in the Jungle Book then I basically want to end our interaction immediately.

There is something to decision making; it showcases one’s sense of confidence. It’s refreshing to see someone know what they want and not apologize for it.

Also when someone is assertive it highlights a protective-esque quality, a quality that we want from anyone close to us in our lives. It’s the idea that if someone tries to harm us, whether it’s verbal abuse or a literal physical altercation, the person we are with will have our backs.

So, decision-making is linked to assertiveness and confidence, which is linked to loyalty and that is one of the basic building blocks for a healthy relationship. This does not necessarily mean that you always have to decide where to eat dinner or what to do over the weekend, but being able to do such things is an easy way to a lover’s heart.

Yeah, so, pretty simple right? It basically comes down to being a decent human being. And really, that’s not too much to expect in a partner.


Like elephant love & relationships on Facebook.

Ed: Catherine Monkman

{photos: Barbara Doduk, Bert Werk}

Image: Lucas Favre/Unsplash

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Krystal Baugher

Krystal Baugher lives in Denver, Colorado. She explores the real truth at goeatacarrot.com and the real fake news at whattheconspiracy.com. You can follow her on Instagram here.

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anonymous Feb 5, 2016 4:10pm

There is no logic in love. be spontaneous is the secret. we became more confused and lack confidence because of your rules. so please stop, because this is the only help we need from you

anonymous Feb 5, 2016 2:17pm

well well well… let me break it down MY WAY after reading this and the comments associated with it.

1) What a female says she wants is her conscious mind speaking. Yes, you read that correctly!! A female will, just like a male, will always express and say what they want… just like a child. However the difference between a female, a child, and a male is.

females say they want… when they get it they don’t want it any longer and they will run.. yes run as fast as they possible can. It’s simple, why? THEY WANT IT…. BUT IT IS NOT WHAT THEY ARE ATTRACTED TO!!! You can’t make it any simpler than that. Just like the person who wrote this article. she stated WHAT WOMEN WANT not what they are ATTRACTED TO!! HUGE HUGE DIFFERENCE. A female adult unlike a child has a developed mind and where a child says i want this because its truly what they want. a female in this scenario yes does want those things but they are not attracted to it and when they get it they are not attracted because it leaves no room for any type of fantasy… hence two children fighting over a toy.. once one is issued permission they only want the toy because they can’t have it. no i am not saying women are children. just putting it into perspective.

2) wants in conscious mind vs. wants in subconscious mind. living in the subconscious state you don’t think you only feel. subconscious is reaction in turn that is where the attraction falls into place. you can’t help how you feel you can’t help who you are “attracted” to because its in the subconscious mind… which is UNCONTROLLABLE FEELING. yes we being human beings mostly have the mind strength to use logic and a rational thought process to decide what is “right” and “wrong” based on our own values and how we were raised… however when the subconscious takes its part ppl tend to justify a reason to be right or wrong… hence why ppl sometimes cheat… the know its wrong and they know they shouldn’t but again YOU CAN’T HELP WHO YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO. that, is sometimes why people possibly cheat, it is because when the subconscious takes over and our emotions out weigh logic and rational thinking we like animals just act with no thought process.. we don’t take the next step and think about what we are doing we react. just like two dogs.. humans are the same.. we just act because its NATURE. humans however have the ability to think and decipher what is right and wrong due to how we are raised.

the bottom line is, in my eyes, this people want to chase.. they don’t want to be handed ANYTHING. you want a gf or a bf make them chase you. show them you have something they want… and don’t make it easy for them to get EVER.

we are all human and ultimately we are all “designed” the same way. yes what this person says in the article is her view point and i am willing to bet its true on how she feels and what she wants in her conscious mind but i ask here is that what she finds attractive? I will bet anything it’s not what she finds attractive… its what she WANTS from who she finds attractive.

I will be the first to tell you i give my whole heart and i fn pay for it every relationship i am in because… doing those things a women wants is not attractive. love to hear everyone’s feedback.

anonymous Dec 4, 2015 4:43am

So what happens if you’re someone who isn’t necessarily that great at initialising small talk or conversation? Does this link to not being able to make decisions, and then untrustworthiness?

On your first point, I spent 13 years with someone, and throughout that I was constantly thoughtful toward her. My reward for my loyalty plus several other things was her attempt to screw her sisters partner in our shed.

Evidence to me would suggest a lot of this article is wrong. I would believe that’s not the case for everyone, but it’s not what women in general want from men. Why? Because all women are different and like some men, some womens’ appreciation plus their moral compasses sit at the lower end or they can be pushed to operating them at the lower end.

Human nature.

anonymous Oct 10, 2015 6:13am

There are thing s that are correct-and as a an earlier commentor had stated "nice in it's simplicity" However there are flaws. This is like with anything-as an earlier person stated "all" women want this? That gets pretty loaded. All women are different. This will also depend on what stages of life and what relationship history the woman has.
Lastly -I always love the "decision making" statement. I am a respectful caring modern male. I respect and desire a strong woman with her own mind and opinions. This in mind-I want her input. I may still make the decision in the end-but I will not blindly make a decision for both of us without her input–not if it will have an impact. This is not lack of assertiveness-this is respecting and being in tune with another person's needs. I will still have her back in the given situations-it is asinine to think that I wouldn't stand up for her just because I won't treat her like her like a second class human being and just "make decisions" for her. I think in some ways #3 is almost the opposite of #1. This doesn't mean that I can't be in control when the situations call for it. Case in point-I was with a close female friend in the town she grew up in-I let her kind of take control because of my unfamiliarity-she had a general idea of what we wanted to do-she was aware of the best places. I told her-" when you come to Chicago" (my hometown) "I will be in charge completely."
I thought women wanted to be viewed as strong and equal?

anonymous Jun 21, 2015 12:54pm

I’d like to add that to the points regarding thoughtfulness and stimulating the mind. I know guys don’t generally communicate like women, but damn, ask questions about us in trying to get to know who we are at our core. That type of thoughtful questioning makes me feel cared for and builds trust with him. So many guys are not thoughtful in their approach to getting to know someone. It turns me on when a guy remembers little things I have said or pays attention to my words/thoughts.

    anonymous Oct 10, 2015 6:20am

    As a man Mary, I agree. I am this way not just to "get somewhere" but it is in me to want a meaningful dialogue with someone and for a mutual thoughtfulness. Frankly I don't want someone that I can't spend time with and get that close to as you suggest. I want more than a warm body and someone to share oxygen. However often that isn't the case with the female side of the coin always either.

anonymous Jan 18, 2015 5:52am

Marvelous !

anonymous Nov 16, 2014 4:57am

I am male and want the exact same things from a women! It's a 2 way street…

anonymous Nov 13, 2014 9:59pm

I think this is what a woman the authors age wants.

It definitely isnt what my 38 year old wife (of 10years) mother of two children wants.

Its all rather Romantic ♡ but lacking the strength and independence of an older woman.

anonymous Nov 13, 2014 11:34am

You lost me at "leave a big tip which shows wealth"

anonymous Nov 12, 2014 11:50pm

confidence, reliability and charm……its not rocket science guys. And yes the three things mentioned in this article fit into these categories as do a multitude of other possible behavioural traits. Laws of attraction it aint nothing new, this s**t been going down since the cave man days.

anonymous Aug 28, 2014 9:29pm

Try finding this mindset with females that are on college campuses, beach, malls, clubs, or even just simply walking outside. The qualifications you have to have to say "hi" to most of them, you have to be out of your mom's house, your own car, a respectable job, be respected by many, superior talking skills, tall, able to understand her, deep voice, nice clothing, and much much more. For guys, all we would want is for her to at least look decent….even though that should not be the main thing to start a conversation.

anonymous Jan 16, 2014 12:48am

Every time women write articles about women's wants, men come along and try to tear it apart because it doesn't fit their own experience. Look, males, some women actually *do* want what she described. It's easy enough to prove by research. Just because you haven't met a woman with her wants doesn't mean women like her do not exist. She's speaking from her own point of view, experiences, and research, so she can generalize. Generalizing and stereotyping are two different things. Some of you are critiquing her work, as if she's stereotyping. Read it again, that isn't the case. Instead of debating her ideas, why not accept her ideas as *her* ideas, and move along. There is nothing in this article that would offend an unaffected mind. Only those that are petty, convicted, and/or bitter would have a complaint. In those cases, it isn't the article that's the problem, it's the reader.

anonymous Nov 21, 2013 5:29am

I like the first two, but take issue with point number three. Not that I think it is inaccurate, I think it is, but I think it is problematic.

You say you want men to communicate, to ask you where you want to be touched and then touch you there. Then you say you want men to be assertive and make decisions. So which is it?

If we ask what you want first we are often seen as weak, or unconfident, or indecisive. This, I think, is a big problem for us 'nice guys' or feminist guys who believe in consent culture and want to make sure everyone is on the same page before moving forward. We are seen as weak and dropped.

This leads to other guys who just plow forward making decisions and being that assertive confident man who knows what is best and is 'the decider'. Isn't this kind of man, and the women who desire them, a big contributing part of rape culture? We are taught that women want us to act, to decide, to be assertive. Asking permission or consent makes us look weak.

In essence we are asked to think for women, to act on their behalf, make their decisions. Not only is that an exhausting responsibility for us nice guys, who genuinely want to do what is best for our women (and seem to have to have superhuman abilities of guessing what they want), it creates a system that is often abusive and domineering. This idea that guys make decisions on behalf of two people (or more) seems to be what feminism was all about opposing.

    anonymous Apr 15, 2015 3:26am

    this is sooo true..!

    anonymous Jun 21, 2015 1:19am

    Great comment, exactly what I experience every day in Vilnius!

anonymous Nov 21, 2013 2:30am

I am a lady in my 60s and totally relate to your article Krystal. I would be a very happy and contented woman if my man of 43 years had those traits. Are men like that out there ? I would give a 150 % to a man who could make me feel that fulfilled . To be honest I am even struggling with women friends for a while now. They are not following through either. I know I do. How do I find some soul mates of either sex at this stage of my life ? ? Help !

anonymous Nov 21, 2013 12:44am

amazing. a list of three basic things that make a decent human being and somehow the men in this thread have found a way to rip that a part. and here in lies why so many women have issues with men. a list of three things and still it's turned around on us as having a problem. my god.

anonymous Nov 20, 2013 2:13pm

Try honesty.

anonymous Nov 19, 2013 5:11pm

Oh my. There is a need hear for an understanding of what disciplined and prolific writers call "the rhetorical situation." Crystal is writing to and about a specific audience and I don't think anything here suggests she is intending to speak for ALL women – just women with similar values to hers. I agree that not ALL women want these things. Some are manipulative and selfish and incapable of the kind of intimacy Crystal's claims here would create. So are SOME men. Rather than attack the article with possible exceptions, I choose to embrace it's kind and loving sentiments that portray the possibility of women who can and do really appreciate real connection over superficial concerns. Nice article Crystal. I wholeheartedly agree.

anonymous Nov 19, 2013 2:40pm

I’m tired of this particular author. She’s simple and drab, most of what she writes is her own opinion projected on the lot of us…. Please stop publishing her rubbish.

anonymous Oct 5, 2013 8:12pm

You bloody liar! ;-P
(the author, I mean)

Do the above qualities matter? Of course they do.
Are they enough? Of course they don't! Not even remotely.

Women need lots of qualities to be interested in a man (hey, it's the third millennium, everybody wants MORE!), and the author lied about it using an old trick: pointing to the tree and "forgetting" the forest.

Be honest about it: you want it all. Or, at least, a good chunk of it.
And, even if the author sincerely don't, most of other (Western) women do.

anonymous Oct 4, 2013 10:21pm

I personally find it refreshing to hear that some (even if not all) woman truly want the basic simple things that every human connection deserves. A thoughtful compassionate person who can hold a conversation should be the price of admission for any meaningful interaction!

anonymous Oct 4, 2013 10:46am

Decision making, yes!! Thank you for this. 🙂

anonymous Oct 3, 2013 10:16pm

I am such an idiot: I though it would be food, shelter, and sleep.

anonymous Oct 3, 2013 5:31pm

Really? That's what all women want from men? Every single one of them? Including all cultures, generations, life experiences, etc? Every single one? That's convenient that 50% of the population would want the exact same thing. Makes it really easy to write an article. Or it may be that men and women are human beings, full of complex needs and wants that require some thougtfullness to understand what each individual wants. When you try to summarize the wants and needs of an entire group, ESPECIALLY one as big as "women", you basically simplify things down to an almost absurd level. That may be what Krystal wants, and perhaps even what a group of other people that Krystal knows wants, but I can guarantee that if you were to do a sampling study of 10,000 women in Denver (where she lives) you would find that….different women want different things. In fact, some women don't want men….at all! Also, when writing what someone wants, it would be good to site at least ONE source. You guys keep posting things like this. It's a waste of time to read and will drive readers away in the droves.

anonymous Oct 3, 2013 4:55pm

Crystal, I am a man and take what you've said as truth. I base that on my own life experience with wonderful strong women who, in fact, do know what they want.

anonymous Oct 3, 2013 3:51pm

I quite like this. There's a sweetness and simplicity to it that I appreciate. Thanks Krystal.

anonymous Oct 3, 2013 2:01pm

What year is this? 1952?

anonymous Oct 3, 2013 10:20am


    anonymous Oct 3, 2013 10:25am

    Truth is, women don't know what they want most of the time and if they do it changes. Nothing is permanent.. specially the imagination of a woman

      anonymous Oct 3, 2013 11:54am

      +1 to Dylan!

      anonymous Oct 3, 2013 5:22pm

      Thank you for mansplaining what women want, back to us! It's always so very, very appreciated, because we can just NEVER MAKE UP OUR LITTLE LADY MINDS!

        anonymous Nov 19, 2013 2:32pm

        I'm going to guess that Dylan is still single….

          anonymous Nov 19, 2013 11:17pm

          firstly, to jennifer:

          *points out a logical flaw*

          — "clearly you have a small penis/ are insecure/ can't get laid"

          some good points in this article… like the way you think.

      anonymous Oct 4, 2013 8:33pm

      Have you noticed that nothing in life is permanent????

      anonymous Nov 20, 2013 7:29am

      Women don't want these things, unless they can get these things from a guy they already found attractive. There are things that build attraction, and make a man desireable to a woman, and there are things that build comfort, so she's confident that her attractive guy won't leave. The majority of these lists of things women say they find attractive in men are actually a list of those comfort building things.

      Do these things before she finds you sexually attractive, and you'll just end up being an emotional tampon for her while she cries on your shoulder about the guy she's sleeping with.

      anonymous Nov 21, 2013 12:43am

      shut up. clearly you are dealing with children or you are a child yourself.