What women really want

Updated: 3 July 2015

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Dad's experience

Of course, every woman is different. Some women are crazy for shoos, others like to manicure their finger nails - and quite a few like both. Some like to cuddle babies, others like to seduce men. Some women like to dance, others prefer to sunbath on the beach. Many women like to chat about friends and family, others like to be famous. Some women really hate men; many want to be admired by men. More and more women like to be smart and successful, while others still play the "dumb blonde" (or do both). But there are a few things most (heterosexual) women really want from a man:

Attraction & admiration. In the presence of men, women usually seek admiration and want to appear as attractive as possible. Most women spend long hours selecting the right dress, getting their heir done and applying make-up to be as beautiful as possible. All women know that physical attraction is what makes men (and other women) take notice. This is why almost all women, openly or secretly, pay attention to their appearance.
Even the most beautiful women are frequently concerned that men (and other women) would notice some imperfection. Many women endure the most painful procedures to make their body look perfect. They accept the pain of liposuction to reduce hip and stomach fat.  They torture themselves by waxing intimate body hair, they exercise madly and they wear the most uncomfortable shoes just to look good. The urge to improve body shape and appearance can reach pathological dimensions, when (young) women develop an obsession for having an ultra-thin figure. Their physical self-image can become so distorted that they develop the life-threatening condition of "anorexia nervosa".

Feel safe. Most women have experienced violent, cruel and sexually abusive men at one point in their lives. They might have seen her father hit her mother when they where a child or they might have had an abusive boyfriend. They might have experienced sexual violence themselves or might have seen reports of brutal gang-rapes on TV. All women with some life-experience know that there is a very thin line in men's behavior between protective strength and (sexual) violence. Some men can be sweet puppies who seem to adore their wives and treat them like saints - and then harass and brutally rape the chamber maid of a hotel during a business trip.
The greater physical strength of men, their explosive aggressiveness and the danger of sexual violence by men frightens many women - even if they won't admit it. What most women really want is to feel safe and secure in the presence of a man. They want to be sure that he will not suddenly become nasty jerk or a dangerous predator.

Love and protection. If a woman pays attention to a man the first thing she thinks about is his strength and status and whether he is a brutal jerk or a good man. For a woman it usually does matter a great deal if the man is a successful Harvard-graduate, a muscular construction worker, a rich play boy, a sexy womanizer, a brutal pimp or a penniless tramp. If they have a chance, most women would prefer a successful and strong male for a relationship - even if they might be physically attracted to the sexy womanizer. If a woman is seriously interested it is usually about his ability to love, protect and provide for her (even if she has her own career). Most women's behavior towards men is ultimately driven by the desire to find love and safety.

Independence. Most women in the world are still looking for love and a stable, supportive relationship that would allow them to bear and raise children. A family is still the dominating female ideal. But most women are also well aware that marriages can break and families can fall apart. Therefore they increasingly seek security and meaning outside (or in addition to) a marriage and family. More and more women want to participate in the labor market and have their own income and economic independence. Combining partnership, children and work is an enormous challenge for women, because our societies and economies have not adjusted for such new life styles. There is still massive economic discrimination of working mothers - not to speak about the fact that most husbands still provide little support to their working wives.

Professional success. There have always been women who had been pursuing their own career. They became famous novelists, painters, researchers, business leaders or leading politicians. In the past, only a very small minority of women had a chance to such exceptional careers. However, in many developed countries women are now better educated than men. They increasingly want to pursue their own career and fulfill professional aspirations - not just to gain economic independence from their husband. Usually, this means they have to forget about children; and sometimes they have to forget about a stable relationship with a man. Other than men, career-women often remain single and childless.
 

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Daniel Bergner (2014)
What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire. Ecco

Lundy Bancroft (2003)
Why Does He Do That? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men. Berkley Books

W. Anton (2010)
The Manual: What women Want and How to Give It to Them. Create Space Independent Publishing

Simone De Beauvoir (2012)
The Second Sex.

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Advice for men

Pay attention! If you are interested in a woman, pay attention! Don't just figure out how you can get into her pants (you can do this later) - figure out what kind of perfume she has been using, what she has done to her finger nails, what color and design she has chosen for her dress - and why. How has she done her hair? Does she want to appear business-like, classy, elegant, shy or provocative? She will greatly appreciate, if you show her that you have noticed. And listen to what she is telling you!

Give women safety and security! Don't threaten a woman! Men, who misuse their greater physical strength and exploit the vulnerability of women are the scum of the earth and not worth to get a woman's love and companionship. There is absolutely no excuse for sexual violence and exploitation. Cultural values, traditional practices and religious ideologies that degrade women, excuse or even glamorize (sexual) violence and suppress women are primitive and not acceptable in a modern, enlightened world. I don't give a damn if you believe your culture or religion gives you the right to look down on a women. Misogynistic tradition and religious belief that degrades women are a violation of basic human rights and a sign of cultural decay.

Be strong and reliable! There is nothing wrong with a man who is self-confident, decisive and strong in a relationship with a woman - as long as he is not misusing his strength to suppress, exploit or even threaten or hurt his female partner. Women usually don't like spineless wimps who suffocate in self-pity. For a man it is a most noble role to protect his wife and children and to be dependable in times of crises.

Don't just follow your lust. Scores of men have ruined their lives by focusing too much on what they have between their legs, instead of using what they have between their shoulders. Men are essentially brain-dead when in sexual heat. This is why men marry the wrong woman, ruin their marriages or waste their lives in an endless succession of one-night-stands.

Change! Let's face it: In terms of social behavior and psychological constitution modern men are still only a small step away from a Neanderthal or early homo sapiens. Many men have not really adjusted to modern life. They are still the hunters and warriors of prehistoric times - expecting their wives to stay at home and take care of the children. Most men have failed to really understand the fundamental change in females' life options. A man usually still expects his wife to wash his socks, go shopping, cook the meal, pick up the children from kindergarten or school and clean the apartment - even if she has a doctorate in physics and earns twice as much as he does. Since smart and successful women increasingly get fed up with such male ignorance, they become more and more reluctant to marry and have children. Men usually can find a wife who is willing to give up her career. But these men are not participating in what could be totally new forms of partnership and family life.
 
 

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Bryans - What Women Want Ryan - Sex at Dawn Katz - The Macho Paradox Solnit - Men Explain Things To Me

Bruce Bryans (2013)
What Women Want In A Man. How to become the alpha male women respect, desire, and want to submit to. CreateSpace

Christopher Ryan / Cacilda Jetha (2011)
Sex at Dawn. How we mate, why we stray, and what it means for modern relationships. Harper

Jackson Katz (2006)
The Macho Paradox. Why some men hurt women and how all men can help. Sourcebooks

Rebecca Solnit (2014)
Men Explain Things To Me. Updated Edition. Haymarket Books

In Association with Amazon.com


 

Further reading

Mona Eltahawy: Why do they hate us? The real war on women is in the Middle East. Foreign Policy, April 23, 2012

 

Copyright 2014, 2015 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved.

Updated: 3 February 2015