What a man really wants from a woman

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What a man really wants from a woman

By Eric Jaffe published March 13, - last reviewed on June 9, Cue the incoherence. Nearly 70 percent of men agreed to visit the lady's apartment, and 75 percent accepted the sexual proposition. At least one man asked why wait until the night. Another checked his mental calendar and said he couldn't today but what about tomorrow. Another who refused on of being married apologized for having to refuse on of being married.

Meanwhile just half the men agreed to go out sometime. Extrapolating the finding to the real world means that on any given first date, the man would sooner sleep with the hostess than dine with his companion. The study seemed to confirm every stereotype anyone ever held about what men want for the purposes of this article, what heterosexual men want. We want women. Now, please—although tonight will do. At worst tomorrow. We want them like that old Army poster with the finger pointing outward. We want you. We want you like we're all Uncle Sam, and dammit if the Germans aren't at it again.

Pack up the lab equipment, please, shut off the lights, and move on to more important behavioral studies.

What a man really wants from a woman

Like finding out who drinks "lots of pulp" Tropicana. But the research did not stop there.

What a man really wants from a woman

What psychologists discovered is that underneath the simplicity, we men can be surprisingly complicated. We want women, yes, and we want sex. But we don't always want a slender frame and sharp curves. Sometimes we want a good personality. And a good romantic comedy. And to cuddle. This is laboratory science talking—not Hallmark or four martinis. And our motives for sex have diversified as have women's —a reality Hatfield now calls "one of our planet's most important new developments.

We want to say "I love you" before you do, some of us; we want to race you to love, and win. We want to love you so much that when we see a pretty face we think it's less pretty than we would if we didn't love you. It doesn't take a psychologist to know what men want. But give a whole lot of them a whole lot of time and you begin to understand the considerable nuance that governs what men want.

Some people like pulp in their orange juice, after all. Often while walking the streets of Manhattan I adjust both the pace and position of my stride so as to follow close behind, but not illegally close behind, an attractive woman. I must stress here to my girlfriend and mother that I do not do this to admire the view. All right, so partly I do this to admire the view. But another part of me likes to observe the reactions we—we're a caravan, now—receive from the menfolk we pass. To walk this way is to witness the spasmodic necks and detoured eyes and high-pitched whistled salutes and deep, perfumed inhalations and even, at times, affected indifference that together form the grand choreography of male desire.

The performance is a haphazard one, and far creepier to the audience than to the actors, but it remains sincere as instinct. When evolutionary psychologists review this show, they find evidence for a universal male urge to reproduce. A woman's figure is a hallmark of her fertility, they argue, and men subconsciously know it.

Researchers have documented a widespread, magnetic male attraction to a waist-to-hip ratio of. An eye-tracking study last year found that men start to evaluate a woman's hourglassness within the first milliseconds of viewing, which, based on my pedestrian observations, seems slow. But to call this desire universal is to ignore a great deal of competing information.

While men in developed societies go numb for sinuous curves, those in many developing countries surrender to a larger, more parallel contour. Plumpness may be a of poor health in the West, but elsewhere it's a that a woman has access to money and food. Some cultures even prefer a body type that health experts consider clinically overweight.

What a man really wants from a woman

And when a man changes culture, he adjusts his preferred measurements accordingly. In many developing societies, on the other hand, the ideal female body size is heavier. As their social networks changed, so did male preferences. Maybe men don't lock their eyes onto like some broken slot machine after all, but instead possess a "flexible behavioral repertoire" that adapts sexual preferences to changing environments, the researchers conclude in Evolution and Human Behavior. A subsequent study corroborated the shortcomings of a global thin ideal, as well as the role of Western media in propagating it.

Women need not move to Mpolweni to find such flexibility in action. Even among developed societies, shape preferences vary sharply. In countries like Britain or Denmark, where women have achieved social and economic independence, a low waist-to-hip ratio is less important to men than it is in places where women rely more heavily on men for resource acquisition, such as Greece or Portugal, Swami and other researchers find. The more resources a woman can gather on her own, the less men care whether or not her figure conforms to the supposed ideal.

Time and chance can change a man's physical ideals as much as place. One research team recently compared the measurements of Playboy Playmates of the Year from to to economic conditions in the United States over the same period and found that tougher times called for larger playmates. A study in Psychological Science reported that men who were manipulated to feel either hungry or poor preferred heavier female figures—a that, according to the researchers, resource availability can "influence preferences for potential mates" even among Western males in a wealthy culture.

In other words, we can live in New York but possess a Zulu state of mind. Just as our bodily ideals aren't stuck on the hourglass, neither is our general desire stuck on the body. A survey conducted around the time of the Clark-Hatfield study reported that about a third of men have imagined sexual encounters with more than 1, different women. In our minds, at our best, we are not Einstein but Warren Beatty. Swami's studies support the concept of dynamic attractiveness —the idea that no matter our age or body preference, looks are but a single line of code in a complex algorithm of attraction, alongside others defining sense of humorcore beliefs, personality, and more.

Studies indicate that a majority of people are concerned with their appearance, "but studies also indicate that attraction and relationship formation are often more strongly predicted by factors other than physical appearance. Physical attractiveness might matter in the absence of social interaction, but once social interaction takes place, the importance of appearance diminishes rapidly. Swami and colleagues recently showed a couple thousand young men in London pictures of young women accompanied by brief personality vignettes. The guys rated each image and also indicated the largest and smallest female figures they found appealing, effectively producing a range of acceptable attractiveness.

Men who looked at the images while reading positive personality briefs expanded their ranges, while men who read negative bios shrunk theirs, the team reports in the Journal of Social Psychology. The greatest range change occurred with heavier women, judged much more physically attractive when paired with an appealing character trait like openness or emotional stability.

Of course, it's easy for men to say on paper that they care about personality. What really matters is how things unfold when they're two feet from a push-up bra and nice-smelling, fruit-conditioned hair. Northwestern University psychologists Paul Eastwick and Eli Finkel recently arranged a speed-dating event for university guys and gals and had them indicate beforehand what they wanted in a mate: attractiveness, earning potential, or personality qualities.

The men—no surprise—overwhelmingly said they wanted looks. But when they got to the table something changed. Eastwick and Finkel discovered that pre-event ideals failed to predict a person's true romantic interests. In other words, saying you value physical attractiveness doesn't make you more likely to feel a spark with those you consider physically attractive, the researchers report in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

A subsequent study led by Eastwick confirmed that men don't always recognize what they want in a woman. The researchers asked male participants to list a few traits they like in a lady. Then some of them had a brief, live interaction with a female who matched these interests, while others had a similar interaction with someone who didn't. As the team concludes in a recent issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychologymale hearts don't seem to care what type of preconceived romantic preferences reside in male he. Interestingly, the same effect occurs in female participants.

That something may be the malleability of attraction: A girl with the pretty picture can be too cookie-cutter in person, while one with an average photo can be endearingly cute. So we males articulate our desires with the precision of a leaf-blower.

That may not help our Match. Sociologist Rebecca Plante of Ithaca College says it's a massive oversimplification to think that a man's sexual desire is "as plain as the erection in his pants. What Plante has found so far defies all simple expectations: While some guys do view sex and desire as one and the same, many others—even those in the early stages of a casual engagement—want someone they know and trust on a deeper level. I like to be in a relationship with her. I like to be connected to her. That's what turns me on, more so than that she's attractive.

Male stereotypes fail to take into the importance of what might be called a commitment continuum. At one end are married men, at the other are gigolos, with all shades of monogamous and polygamous moderation in between. The oversight helps perpetuate misunderstandings of what men want.

What a man really wants from a woman

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