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In my last post, we explored what women want from us men.
(You can read that here.)
But what do men want from women?
While my social media channels represent a very small slice of men (and what they think), it’s enough to see some themes and patterns emerge. As you read, notice if any of these are true. I asked my followers this question:
Hetero-Men: What are you wanting from women in the context of an intimate monogamous partnership?
The responses were far-ranging and one particular man’s response received what might be a standing ovation from the women in the thread. (I posted it below for everyone to see.)
It goes without saying that the responses apply to most humans, regardless of gender. Yet, there was a stark difference between male and female answers to this question, which is what makes it interesting. I should also mention that my list and social channels are predominantly people who are interested in growth and development so the responses likely reflect that.
So, what do these types of heterosexual men want from women?
I know what you’re thinking—sex, right? No, although that was on the list, just lower down.
Do men want women to stop being so emotional? Nope.
Here’s what this group of men said:
1. I want your acceptance.
Interesting, right? Or maybe not…
What is going on here? Are men just insecure? Sure, sometimes. But look closer and you may find some empathy for their situation.
In my experience coaching countless men and couples, a lot of men have an old wound around not feeling accepted. It predates their current or last partner. For example, many men grew up with stern fathers, coaches, siblings, and even mothers who were critical. A critical environment leads a young boy to believe that he is not doing it right, not good enough, or doing something wrong. If this old narrative goes unchecked, this boy turns into an adult man who feels sensitive around not “getting it right.”
Men want to be accepted as they are, yet many men are in partnerships where they don’t feel like they are enough.
“Simply put, to f’ing accept me as I am. And that doesn’t mean I’m trying to absolve myself of any responsibility. Glad to add details later.” ~ Paul
So women, men want your acceptance. Accepting a man for who he is—instead of trying to change him—will be what allows you to move on from men that don’t want to change. And, ironically when you accept your male partner as he his, he may just feel room to grow and evolve. It’s human nature and paradoxical that when we feel accepted and loved as we are, we tend to be more inspired on our own accord to change or transform the parts of us that create problems for others.
2. I want your willingness.
A close second was that men want your willingness. What exactly does this mean? It means he wants you to be willing to check your judgments and your desire for him to change. He wants you to challenge yourself, to speak up, to push back, to lean in with him. He wants you to be willing to figure things out with him.
“Trust. Honesty. Integrity. Acceptance. Humility. Willingness to problem solve.” ~ Gregory
A lot of the responses indicated that men are more attracted to women who advocate for themselves. This may be confusing, since he also wants to be accepted. But if a man perceives his female partner as insecure or tip-toeing around him, he will feel like pushing or pulling away. He doesn’t want you to speak up from a sacred place and criticize him so much as he wants you to speak up and take a stand for yourself in your own life.
Bottom line? Be willing to advocate for yourself and the relationship.
3. I want your support.
If a man is sensitive to judgment and criticism, then it makes sense that he prefers acceptance and support. Not only does he want to be accepted for who he is, he wants to be supported in his choices in life. He wants you to be his cheerleader and believe in him.
“I want a woman who is my biggest cheerleader as I do my work. A woman who wants me to “do me” instead of change, restrict, fix, or control me.” ~ Jason
This gets tricky for some women because they feel like they’re already supportive. And if you’re a woman who is financially supporting a guy who has not had a job in two years, then at some point you’ll reach the end of your rope with “supporting” him, right?
Be mindful about the level of support you offer. None of the men said “rescue me” or “enable me.” There’s no need to coddle or “over support” any man, because adults don’t need that. Adults need both support and challenge in order to grow.
My hunch is the men who responded feel overly challenged sometimes in life or in their relationship and they want a woman to stand by them and believe in them.
4. I want good communication.
Another one that might be surprising for some women to hear is that men want to be with a woman who is a good communicator. To be more specific, men want you to be able to join them in their logical, heady, conceptual world sometimes—just like you want them to be with your feelings and emotions. Both genders have a lot to learn here and both can benefit from learning each other’s communication style and preferences.
Any good relationship requires good communication. Men can think they are great communicators, and they might be in certain contexts, however, in the context of an intimate partnership, men may struggle. Men who responded with good communication are acknowledging that it takes work on both sides to communicate well.
5. I want more affection and a good sex life.
Not surprisingly, men want affection and sex. Yet the answers were not so simplistic as some women think men are around this subject. The men’s responses were honest, yet thoughtful, such as:
“Honesty. Affection. Support. Clearly expressed desires whether it’s mundane stuff or intimate desires (don’t make me mind read, whether it’s about what to have for dinner or what sexual position you like). Accept my faults but hold me accountable to improve myself.” ~ Patrick
Or this one:
“Transparent communication. Not being fickle, flakey. Clear sexual communication as well. Giving with everything you have, not holding back if I’ve earned your trust. Requesting needs, not expecting a psychic man. Sharing impact if I’ve done something that’s turned you off or pissed you off, not keeping it a secret and taking it out on me passively. Willingness to work on yourself in the areas that limit our intimacy.” ~ Maxwell
Good sex is something we all deserve. And a good sexual connection is important in a long-term partnership. If women listen to what men want and men listen to what women want, and both groups communicate well (using the heart and mind) it’s likely that both parties will have a stronger sexual connection.
Finally, there was one response that stood out above all the rest. One of my readers, Jason, dropped the mic with this response on my Facebook wall:
“Long version: Give me a woman who is carrying a few extra pounds because she loves a good meal more than she loves skinny jeans. Give me a woman who doesn’t have time for thirty minutes of makeup each morning, and is happy to show her real face to the world. Give me a woman with a few tattoos she regrets, or maybe she doesn’t, or maybe she regrets she hasn’t gotten a tattoo yet, or maybe not.
Give me a woman who is happy outside—running or biking or climbing a rock or sitting under a tree or hiking or walking barefoot along a beach or just sitting quietly and listening to the birds. Give me a woman who is comfortable in her own skin, even if that skin has a wrinkle or a blemish or a scar or a bump or ripple that you don’t see in a magazine. Give me a woman who loves to laugh, can tell a joke and can take a joke.
Give me a woman who likes sex, but only good sex, with someone she genuinely likes, who likes her back, and who is willing to have a contest to see who can blow the other person’s mind better in the bedroom (either way, you both win!). Give me a woman who wants to make her man happy, but only if he works just as hard to make her happy, and if he doesn’t then bye bye mister. Give me a woman who is beautiful because she is INTERESTING and has something to say and looks you in the eye and challenges you and KNOWS that she’s all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips, but only for guys who are smart enough to see it.
Give me a woman whose definition of manhood doesn’t include being aloof and mean and angry and brooding and aggressive, but includes being gainfully employed, responsible, respectful, and loving. Give me a woman who is prepared to break it off with a man who doesn’t know the difference between their, there, and they’re, because there are some things that are just non-negotiable. Give me a woman who loves a five-star hotel but can also see the humor in staying in some shit-hole because that’s all that’s available and we just had to make last minute plans. Give me a woman who will read a book and argue a point and have an opinion and is smart and not afraid to show it and if smart women are intimidating to men then FUUUUUUCK them, because the RIGHT man knows that smart women are sexy, and a big brain is far preferable to big boobs.
Give me a woman who thinks life is short and it’s time to get busy living or get busy dying and living sounds like a lot more fun so let’s find something new and exciting to try. Give me a woman who can be happy to be snuggled up in sweatpants on the couch watching some stupid movie because sometimes just turning off your brain and being together is a perfectly good time. Give me a woman who will dress up in that schoolgirl outfit because it’s a stupid guy thing and why not give him a thrill, but he’d better play along when she wants to try the vampire/human fantasy things that she’s sort of into even though it’s kind of embarrassing. Give me a woman who loves music—any kind of music—but loves it deeply and fully and passionately.
Give me a woman who will put me in my place when I’m an asshole, but wants to be put in her place when she’s inadvertently being kind of bitchy, and who understands that no, saying a woman is kind of bitchy is not misogynistic any more than it’s anti-male to tell a dude he’s being an asshole—as long as it’s true. Give me a woman who will live with every ounce of energy she has, love with all of her heart and all the way down to her toes, laugh loudly and with her entire body, and wants a man who will do exactly the same.
Give me a woman—not a girl, not a chick, not a broad, or some babe, but a grown-up Aretha-Franklin, R E S P E C T woman.” ~ Jason Berkowitz
I think we’ll leave it at that.
What do you want in a partnership? Leave your comment below and join our relationship-focused Facebook group here to engage in a respectful conversation around this.