In a revealing MSN poll of nearly 6,000 men, the majority of men’s reported likes and dislikes weren’t about looks.
Attraction is about many things
When it comes to feeling attracted you might think how she looks is at the forefront of men’s minds but it doesn’t seem to be the case. For instance, men aren’t particularly worried about her being stylish with only 1% being put off by a bad dress sense.
Relationship expert Jo Hemmings comments: “Initially, men notice what makes a woman sexy like her smile, figure, style and hair. Crucially, when he gets talking to her these elements meld together along with sense of humour, kindness and general approach to life, which make her sexier still.”
Things like personal hygiene play a big part
It might seem surprising that as many as 45% of men report body odour and/or bad breath as a key turnoff but psychotherapist Phillip Hodson agrees. “In my youth I’ve said no to women who don’t wash once in 24 hours and ones who never stop talking,” said Hodson. “Men are consistently repelled by cheating, disloyalty – and definitely hygiene problems.”
Preferences change with age
Similar to research showing that women’s tastes change with age – younger ones frequently falling for ‘players’ but with maturity wanting more – so the same seems to be true of men.
Fabulous magazine’s relationship expert Stuart Hood said: “What attracts or puts someone off often depends on how old the man is. Teenage guys are shallow and it’s all about looks, looks, looks, whereas into their 20s men will be looking more at personality as well as attractiveness.”
Confidence plays a part in attraction
We assume men are confident and this confidence makes them overly choosy about things like looks. But confidence coach Jeremy Milnes isn’t surprised by the survey results suggesting men aren’t so shallow. “I think men are far more complex and far less confident than people think,” said Milnes. “Yes, some overly confident and arrogant men might go for top notch looks but otherwise that’s not necessarily the case.”
With women, confidence can be an asset, adds Hood. “No one wants to be with someone who doesn’t like anyone, including her friends or importantly herself – confidence is very attractive. There will be other things that put men off, including not being faithful, and desperation as well as a lack of confidence. ”
So why is there less concern than expected with physical attractiveness?
Image © MSN
Hodson notes that much of attraction is to do with the survival instinct. “It’s natural and part of survival to avoid obviously toxic entanglements.”
“That’s why we still exist here in 2012! Yes, men like sex, and easy sex at that, but ultimately we aren’t daft when it comes to relationship choices.”
In my own work I find largely men want commitment and have the emotional intelligence to know that the relationships likely to stand the test of time are those based on more than looks and hot sex. Lots of experimentation might happen along the way with different types of relationships from one-night stands to shorter flings, but when they get into commitment-mode it’s more about personal qualities.
Tackling issues that potentially turn you off
If you like a woman but there is a stumbling block to things becoming more serious it’s not hard to turn things around. These stumbling blocks range from things like 10% of men being put off by excessive make-up to 12% by a woman flirting too much with his friends.
Hodson recommends a positive approach when tackling such issues. “If the relationship counts then always work with better ‘carrots’ to change any negative issue.
“For instance, stress how much you love it when she remembers to be tactful in front of your friends rather than, say, flirting with them.”
I recommend starting a conversation about a negative turnoff with something positive first. So if you hate the fact she heaps on makeup let her know how gorgeous she looks in the morning before she applies it. Genuine compliments about how little she needs will get the message across. Then you’re not going to be sitting opposite circus-clown levels of makeup shovelled on.
Do women get second chances when initially a man’s not attracted?
Milnes says that second chances are a possibility if at first the man’s been put off by a particular trait. “It depends on whether he is going to meet the woman often enough – like through work – to get to know her personality. If he is, then feelings could well develop. If he isn’t, then, I’m sorry, that door is closed.”
For a woman’s part it might seem fairly black and white when it comes to a man finding her attractive. She may fear that door closes very quickly over a single attribute he doesn’t fancy. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case and men thankfully are willing to look beyond surface qualities especially if they’re looking for real love.