One of the things that a lot of people get wrong about sex and sexual attraction is that it’s not about arousal. After all, as anyone who’s gone through puberty can tell you, arousal can happen to anyone at almost any time.
Nor is it about attraction or hitting the right numbers on the checklist. Sex and sexual attraction are holistic processes; as sexologist Emily Nagoski has pointed out, sexual attraction involves the whole brain. It’s a complex interaction of gas and brakes, reasons to have sex and reasons not to. And for women, there’re many good reasons to say no to sex. After all, a woman may well be aroused to the point of absurdity, but that doesn’t mean that she’s going to leap on the first available partner. Especially not when vibrators and showerheads are still a thing.
This is why men who want more sex – whether they’re a serial monogamist or someone who wants more variety – need to understand why women say yes to sex.
Reason #1: He Wants Her For Her
There’s a very common sticking point I see in men. It’s what I call the Somebody, Anybody, Everybody problem: they want A Girlfriend or A Hook Up and they’re not terribly picky about who’s going to fill that particular hole. This is attitude is one of the quickest ways to turn a woman off. When a man gives the impression that he’s looking less for a specific person and more of an animated sex doll, 99% of women are going to hop the Nope Train to Fuck That Shitsville.
Even women who are explicitly looking for casual sex or who are up for a same-day hook-up don’t appreciate being treated like a piece of meat. The guy on Tinder who leaps straight to “can I fuck your tits?” is demonstrating that he couldn’t care less about her as a person. The guy at the bar who leads with crude come-ons and can’t seem to drag his eyes from her cleavage is advertising that he’s not the hook-up she’s looking for.
If you want a woman to say yes to sex – even if it’s just for that night – you want to make it clear that your attraction is based on her as a person, not just a collection of parts. She doesn’t need to be the love of your life, or even the next fifteen minutes. She just needs to be a person you want to sleep with.
How Do You Make This Work?
Want to show her that you’re someone worth saying yes to? That you’re interested in her as a holistic person? Then talk to her.
This doesn’t mean that you need to butter her up and convince her that you think she’s the sun and stars. Over-the-top flattery is just as much of a sex-killer as “nice tits, want to fuck”; it radiates insincerity and a contempt for her intelligence. All it means is that you need to actually show interest in her. Not just her boobs, not her ass, her legs or whatever it is that attracted you at first, but her. Find out more about her – who is she, what makes her tick, what’s she passionate about? You don’t need to get deep into her hopes and dreams, but you do want to show that she interests you as an individual.
One of the telltale signs that a guy is not worth banging is that he never asks questions; all he does is talk about himself and the things he’s interested in. Like an opera singer warming up, the only thing he says is “me me me me me me me”. He dominates the conversation, directing it to topics that he cares about. He never asks about her or shows any interest in her answers. All he wants is to get back to waving his supposed value around like the tail of an insecure peacock.
When literally everything you do shows that you’re only interested in your shit, not only are you advertising that you think she’s a convenient hole, but you’re also demonstrating that you’re almost certainly going to suck in bed.
Speaking of which…
Reason #2: The Sex Will Be Worth It
When it comes to deciding whether to act on sexual attraction, one question stands out: will the sex be any good? Is this person a more attractive option than a Hitachi and some really good fan-fic? Or will going home with them involve minimal foreplay (if any) and five minutes of awkward techniques they picked up from porn and having to finish things up herself in the shower later?
The fact of the matter is that men get more from a casual hook up than women do. While most men are all but guaranteed to get off during sex, less than 66% of straight and bi women do. In fact, many men don’t see the point in putting the effort in if they don’t anticipate seeing her again. What’s the point of making a lot of effort for that one-night stand?
Small wonder, then, that a lot of women want some signs that going home with somebody is going to be result in more than awkwardly trying to find their underwear in the dark and sneak out so they can pretend that the night never happened.
If you want to be the guy that she says yes to, then you want to assure her that it’s worth saying yes at all.
How Do You Make This Work?
When it comes to showing that you’re a good time, it’s about the little things. After all, you can’t exactly just provide a list of references. Well… unless your previous lovers are the ones who’re introducing you, that is.
(Yes, that does happen, and is a great reason to stay on good terms with exes after amicable breakups.)
Instead, women look for signs that indicate you’re worth taking a shot on – subtle indications that you make a good lover.
Dancing is one of example – and, in fact, is so common that it’s almost a cliché. Dancing, after all, demonstrates that you can do more than just tear up the dance floor. Beyond showing that you know how to work your hips and you’ve got a great sense of physical coordination, dancing is all about how you sync and communicate with your partner. A good dancer knows how to move and react to his partner, to lead and to respond. Being able to read somebody’s body and respond to it is the difference between a guapea ocho and stepping on their toes.
But not everybody dances, nor is dancing the only sign of that you’d be a good lover. Do you know how to flirt and build sexual tension with someone you’re interested in? Can you tease someone by letting the tension build slowly, rather than just trying to rush to the end? Can you show that you can take your time and savor the anticipation rather than trying to go straight to the pay-off?
While we’re at it: how are you treating her? Remember what I said earlier about not just treating her like a walking Fleshlight? If you can show that you pay attention – actually pay attention – then you’re far more likely to be the type of person who actually pays attention to what she wants in bed too. And, just as importantly, are you listening and able to take suggestions or criticism without losing your shit? The best lovers are the ones who can follow directions without getting hung up on proving that they know better. You may be proud of your mastery of the Swirly-Go-Round, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to work on everyone.
And while we’re on the topic: confidence is great but do not brag about your sexing skills. Not only will nobody believe you, but it’s as strong a sign that you don’t know what you’re doing as you can find. It’s embarrassing and you look like an idiot.
Reason #3: You Smell Good
Smell is quite possibly the most influential of our senses. Not only is it the sense most intimately tied with memory, but it affects us in profound and subtle ways. Scents, even ones we aren’t consciously aware of, influence us on an almost subliminal level. Casinos, for example, subtly scent the air with unique aromas in order to affect your mood and make you more willing to take risks at the craps table. Pleasant aromas make people people seem much more attractive. On the other hand, unpleasant scents – including cigarette smoke and body odor – are immediate turn-offs... even when they’re so faint that you’re barely able to smell them.
And if a woman is contemplating spending any amount of time in close contact with you? Well, she’s going to really care about how you smell.
How Do You Make This Work?
Dude. Really. Do I need to spell this out for you?
SHOWER. For real. I can’t count how many times I’ve been out and about and gagged from the smell of guys who decided that hot water and soap was just a step too far that day. Guys at the office, guys at the mall, the comic store, even the bar, all of whom decided that a few minutes with a bar of Irish Spring was something that happens to other people. These are people who will not be getting lucky; if a woman can detect the funk from your pits at a distance, she’s going to be horrified by what happens when your pants come down. A shower and deodorant is the start of someone wanting to say “yes” to sex with you.
So is brushing your teeth and using a decent mouthwash, for that matter. No woman on earth is going to want to kiss you if doing so is going to involve the smell and taste of stale coffee, cigarettes and capicola.
Making sure your clothes don’t stink is just as important. It doesn’t matter if you’re diligent about your BO if your clothes smell of must, mold and cigarette smoke.
Just as importantly: use any scents sparingly. The guy who bathed in Axe or Drakkar is a cliché for a reason, and even the memory is enough to make sex disappear.
It doesn’t matter how good or expensive your cologne is; if you’ve applied enough to make somebody’s eyes water, it’s gone from being attractive to “chemical warfare”. No woman should be able to smell you unless she’s close enough to kiss you. And at that distance, it should be just enough to smell. No more. The hint of a good smell is almost more tantalizingly appealing than even if you smell like fresh-baked cookies.
Reason #4: You’re Kind
If there’s one myth that continues to endure like a sexual cockroach, it’s the classic “women love assholes”. Even people who should know better continue to buy into the idea of the alpha/beta division – the swaggering, harassing Neanderthals who crush all the pussy while nice guys go ignored by women.
In reality, the opposite is true. Altruism and kindness are consistently greater predictors of sexual success and mate value. Despite the Reddi-fueled fantasies, women don’t go weak in the knees for a guy who’s going to treat them like shit. In fact, women are far more likely to be into someone who displays some genuine sweetness. One of the reasons why women go gaga for men with babies or dogs is because it demonstrates that they have a soft, nurturing side. The combination of strength and kindness is like a perfect storm of sexual attraction.
How Do You Make This Work?
Let’s put this out there right away: the answer isn’t about performing niceness. There’s a reason why women don’t like Nice Guys – they know that “niceness” is an act. Nor is the answer to keep talking about all the charity work you do. It’s about your behavior.
To start with, what’s your general attitude? Are you full of contempt for others? Are you always complaining about other people? The guy who’s continually surrounded by assholes is signalling that he’s almost certainly the real asshole in the picture. On the other hand, if you’re more positive – having a happier, more accepting attitude towards others – you’re showing that you actually care. A good man, an attractive man, is one who has empathy and understanding for others. It doesn’t mean that you’re a push-over or someone who’s over-the-top with his generosity, but it does mean that you’re someone who’s kind and considerate of others.
But it can’t just be lip-service. Your behavior counts far more. Women are very conscious of how you treat others. The old saw to never trust someone who’s rude to waitstaff is 100% accurate. Somebody who’s polite to the person he wants something from and rude to the people serving him is showing his true self. It’s as accurate a predictor of his post-coital behavior as you’re want to find.
After all, the real question here that women are asking isn’t “does he love puppies”. What they’re asking is “will he be a complete asshole to me after we have sex?” Almost every woman out there has had a guy do a 180 and reveal themselves to be a colossal shitbird afterwards.
Which actually brings us to the biggest reason:
Reason #5: You’re Safe
The single biggest question women want an answer to before they decide they’re good to go is “is it safe to go home with this person?” Sex is exponentially more dangerous for women than it is for men – emotionally, socially and physically. Every woman out there is aware of Brock Turner, Matt Lauer, Eddie Berganza, Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby. They’re just as aware of every revenge-porn site and the way angry exes have weaponized the Internet against their former lovers. That lingering question will snuff out any attraction like a candle in a hurricane if it goes unanswered.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got Ryan Gosling’s eyes, Ryan Reynold’s abs and Morris Chestnut’s smile; if a woman doesn’t feel that she can be safe with you in her most vulnerable moments, then it is not going to happen.
How Do You Make This Work?
The magic word here is consent, consent, consent. Prioritizing enthusiastic consent, respecting her boundaries and showing that you care about her comfort are all ways you show that you are someone safe. Sexual attraction and mortal fear can’t co-exist. No woman is going to feel sexy when she’s with someone who she feels that she can’t let her guard down around.
On the other hand, a guy who demonstrates that he’s aware of her comfort and wants her to feel safe is a guy who she can trust.
And showing that you’re safe and respecting her boundaries is about more than just asking before going for a kiss. It’s in the little things too. Guys often push against women’s boundaries in ways that aren’t as dramatic as trying to get her to agree to sex. Cajoling or “teasing” her into, say, having another drink when she’s pretty sure she’s done is a subtle way guys ignore boundaries. So is trying to get her to “loosen up a little” when she’s clearly uncomfortable. There’s a difference between trying to gently draw someone out of their shell and trying to get them to comply with your demands. The former involves creating an environment where she feels comfortable relaxing and letting her hair down. The latter is about pushing her to play along, to not make a fuss and be the “cool” girl.
If you want a woman to want to say yes to sex, then you want to be the guy she feels absolutely safe with. That means being not just being willing to respect a “no” but to make sure they actually mean it when they say “yes”. The guy who’s willing to wait a little bit longer just to be sure? That’s a guy who’s willing to take the time to let her be comfortable.
The best lovers are the ones who understand that amazing sex comes with trust and security. Being the person that she can trust to be vulnerable with? Being the guy who she can feel secure with, who she can have faith in her emotional, social and physical safety?
That’s the best aphrodisiac of all.