Confession: I’m not married to the most attractive guy I’ve ever dated.
I’m married to the one I get along with best. I’m married to the one I have the best conversations with.
When we first met, I didn’t focus that much on his appearance. I focused on his personality.
There’s a lot more to attracting a woman than six-pack abs, a six-figure salary, world travel, great hair, and a luxury car. But when you look at what single guys are talking about, that’s what they fixate on.
Personality counts more than most men think.
First, here’s what doesn’t turn women on:
Lots of single men assume they’ll never attract a woman because they’re cursed with bad genes.
I’ve watched videos where guys narrate their difficulties with women at length, even expressing anger at them. Often, I’ve found myself thinking crap, he looks pretty good to me. If I were single, I’d go on a date with him. That attitude, though, not helping…
These guys have decent jobs. They dress well. They’re good looking. But they’re not Tony Stark. All of this leads them to conclude they can’t find a woman because all women are vain, superficial, or straight-up crazy.
Here’s a list of things that men tend to assume turn women on, when it only turns some of us on:
>> A perfectly chiseled body
>> A closet full of designer suits
>> A European accent
>> At least one sports car, and a side Tesla
>> A bloated salary
>> Unshakeable alpha-male confidence
>> Unlimited libido
Sure, some women want all this out of a man, but not most. Plenty of us actually don’t want to date someone with eight percent body fat. And a beefy salary could mean that he’s going to spend all his time at work, or solo travel, and invest nothing in the relationship.
You know what the seven traits above say to lots of women?
He’s not going to be satisfied in a long-term relationship. He’s almost guaranteed to have an affair. Because a man who chases all these things cares about one thing most of all: himself.
Narcissism isn’t a turn-on.
Depending on where you spend your time, it just looks like this is what all women want. It’s an easy story sold by magazines and social media, and movies. When men constantly swipe right on insta-models, they’re only meeting a fraction of the dating pool.
Stop trying to date a perfect 10.
Lots of men still have debates over whether or not they deserve to date a 10. In case you’re wondering, that attitude right there—it turns women off. We’re not stupid. We visit online forums. We know these conversations are happening. And we know when someone’s rating us up in their heads. It doesn’t make anyone feel sexy.
Here’s the irony of landing a true 10—a true 10 will never date someone she suspects is putting her on a scale.
It doesn’t matter how attractive she is, or you are. A relationship based purely on looks (or money) will last a few months at best.
Stop talking about your job.
Success in your career has nothing to do with success in a relationship. A lot of men get ahead in the corporate world by putting themselves and their interests first, trampling their competition, and pretending to work with a team while secretly gunning for personal advancement.
None of this makes a man attractive to a woman. None of it makes him look like relationship material.
So, what does turn a woman on?
A good conversation turns her on.
The first mistake a lot of men make is thinking they have to impress a woman right away. They’ll talk about everything from their career and travel stories to their workout routine. They’re trying to impress her.
Honestly, nothing impresses a woman like having a real conversation—asking her questions, listening to her, trading stories and anecdotes, and ideas. Those seriously turn women on, like you wouldn’t believe. It’s okay if the woman has a better job, or if she’s traveled more.
A handful of people have told me that a woman decides whether she’s physically attracted to a man in a few seconds. Well, that’s just not true of every woman. In general, a mature person is fine dating outside their type. They care about a lot more than looks.
Relax. Focus on stimulating her mind at first, not her body. Anyone who rejects this premise doesn’t have a great view toward women in the first place, which could be part of the problem.
Here’s an example, adapted from real life:
Girl gets set up by her friends. She meets a guy at a party. They start talking. She mentions she lived in Europe for a couple of years after graduate school. Innocently, she asks him where he’s traveled.
He says, “I’ve mainly traveled around the states. I’ve only been outside the country once or twice for short trips.”
She makes a pity groan. “Awww, that’s too bad.”
He shrugs. “Yeah, I’ve spent a lot time on my career and helping take care of my aunt the past few years. But I’m still young.” He smirks. “Who knows, maybe you’ll get a chance to show me around Paris.”
See, this is a conversation.
The guy doesn’t try to compete. He knows it’s not a competition. He takes the opportunity to open up a little. He gives a good reason for why he didn’t travel. But he gives her a little safety net, too. Instead of milking sympathy points, he ends his story with a little flirt. Plus, he also shows that he’s up for travel—and he’ll let her take the lead.
Sounds like a keeper to me.
A sense of humor turns her on.
A lot of guys assume they have to be funny the entire time they’re talking to a girls when they first meet. That’s not what having a sense of humor means. A sense of humor means telling one or two jokes at the right time. It means appreciating irony in the moment, and laughing at yourself a little, too. You don’t need to make her laugh out loud. Make her smirk.
Understatement and subtlety are your friends. In case you’re wondering, take a light touch with sex jokes.
A sense of humor also means knowing when a girl makes a joke or teases you a little. She’s not making fun of you—she’s flirting.
Here’s an example, adapted from real life:
Girl goes on a Tinder date. They chat for a few minutes at a local bar, then she notices his cheap Iron Man watch.
She smirks and says, “Nice watch you got there.”
Guy shows mock offense. “My great-grandfather gave me this watch. It’s been in the family for generations. His granddaddy wore it at Gettysburg.”
He delivers the comeback with such deadpan, she takes him seriously for a few seconds until it dawns on her. Digital watches most likely didn’t exist in the 1860s. She laughs. “Oh, I get it. You’re f*cking with me.”
She was messing with him. He didn’t suddenly get defensive and insecure about the quality of his watch. He saw that she was teasing him, and he rolled with it. She was turned on…
Too many guys assume upfront that girls don’t have a sense of humor. So they take everything we say literally. They interpret sassy remarks as insults and get hurt or offended. They don’t joke back. They get defensive. And nothing turns a girl off like getting defensive.
So lighten up. You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian or brilliant satirist. Most people are funny when they stop trying. Most of us come with a built-in sense of humor. Use that.
An apartment with books turns her on.
I’m not alone in this. Anytime one of my friends started dating a guy, she would describe his bookshelves in detail to her friends. One time she went home with a guy who had so many tomes, one of his shelves had collapsed under the weight.
“It was one of the hottest things I’d ever seen,” she told me. She wasn’t planning to have sex that night. But she did.
Women like someone who isn’t just intellectual, but confident enough in their intelligence that they don’t have to show it off. It just comes out.
So if you want to get laid more, read more.
An interesting life turns her on.
You don’t have to be a mogul, an entrepreneur, or an influencer. You could be someone involved in community organizing. You could be a devoted teacher or veterinarian, or Mr. Rogers.
Loving your job, that’s a turn-on. Side projects and hobbies that matter to you, that you’re willing to share with her—also turn-ons.
Watching you hang out and laugh with a couple of your friends, very much a turn-on. Girls like to see a man who can connect with other people. It shows that his presence makes others feel good.
Every girl loves to watch a man socialize. She likes becoming a part of his social group, and vice versa.
A pet and/or plants turns her on.
You’re showing her that you can take care of things. A man with a dog or a pet is a big turn-on. Pets take emotional investment. They have to be fed on a schedule, cleaned, groomed, and tidied up after.
Even plants have to be watered and trimmed.
If you’re single, consider adopting a pet and learning how to take care of it. You’ll learn how to nurture something. Showing a woman that you can care for and facilitate life, that’s a huge turn-on.
The ability to cook turns her on.
If you want to get into a woman’s pants, invite her over to your place for dinner. Cook for her. Or cook together.
Show her you know your way around a kitchen. Show her you know a handful of recipes. While you’re at it, show off your clean apartment—and especially your clean bathrooms with plenty of toilet paper.
Don’t just pretend to like cooking. If you don’t, actually learn how to do it. Show her that you can chop an onion and know how long to bake salmon. It’s all a huge turn on.
Giving her a massage turns her on.
It’s one thing to say you care about someone, another to actually start showing it with your hands. Learning how to give a woman a massage does that. (Obviously, with her consent.)
You don’t have to become a masseuse. Just learn how to give a passable back rub. Learn how someone’s body responds to the pressure of your hands and fingers. Learn how to be rough, firm, and gentle at the same time. Bonus—it’s great foreplay.
And it also trains you in knowing what women want. As we’ve learned in recent years, porn makes men terrible in bed. It teaches men to focus exclusively on their own pleasure, and to mistake women’s pain for the same thing. So if you want to deprogram your porn habits, learning how to give a massage is a good start. There are books, videos, and even classes.
A man who knows how to give a good massage is probably damn good in bed, because he’s learned how to pay attention to her pleasure.
This counts for a lot. And if you’re wondering, “Am I going to have to give her massages for the rest of my life?” The answer is yes.
But you get her. So, fair trade.
Dancing turns her on.
Last time I checked, most girls liked to dance—at least a little. Even the nerdiest girls I know want to hit the floor every now and then. In a bygone era, men used to suck it up and take some dance lessons.
They even enjoyed it.
It sounds silly, but here’s the reason. Dancing is a partnership. It’s not that fake ass partnership bandied around in corporate board rooms. To dance well, you have to get in sync.
You have to communicate with your body.
You have to be responsive.
Not all great dancers make great life partners. But someone who learns to dance will always learn something about partnership. They’ll learn how to read their partner without even saying anything.
Emotional maturity turns her on.
An attractive man doesn’t overreact if she postpones a date, disagrees with him, or happens to have a higher-paying job. He doesn’t have to be the best at everything, or even anything.
Women find a sense of inner confidence attractive. We like a guy who has some inkling of who he is, and what he’s about.
That’s harder to come by these days, for a few reasons. It’s harder than ever to play out the toxic male fantasies of spy movies and millionaire social media feeds. Few men ever get there, and the rest of them are crushed by the lie that women only want to date James Bond.
Heads up, we don’t.
Feminism turns her on.
A lot of single guys waste endless time and energy railing against feminism. Heads up, feminism isn’t just here to liberate women.
It’s here to liberate men too.
Real feminism teaches everyone that you can be fit, healthy, and attractive without conforming to stereotypes. So stop trying to be some strange amalgam of James Bond and Jeff Bezos, and start learning how to do you—and also maybe learn how to dance.