Convincing evidence suggests that it takes only one thing to get a woman’s attention: money. (See Trump wedding, photos of.) But if you eliminate cash and gifts of Manolo Blahniks from the equation, it is unclear which of the more intangible attributes contribute to a man’s sexiness.
To identify, quantify, and rank the traits that make a man “hot” to women.
Methods and Subjects
We surveyed more than 1,000 American women ages 21 to 54 in two online polls. One was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, based in Princeton, New Jersey, and the other was done on BestLifeOnline.com.
We organized traits and characteristics according to the percentage of women who ranked them within the top 10 attributes. Women rated traits relating to character and personality much higher than they scored those reflecting physical attractiveness. For example, only 13 percent of women included muscular build as a requisite for hotness, while 66 percent placed moral integrity as a “make me quiver” characteristic. Check out the supporting data.
Top 5 Character Traits
More than 8 out of 10 women rated “faithful to me” in the top 10 attributes they find sexy in a man. A woman’s tendency toward attachment is a biological imperative, a matter of raising offspring right. Reassure her (often) that you’re not going anywhere.
Three out of four women say they look for a man who makes commitments and follows through. Being responsible—even if it’s just remembering to pick up salad dressing on your way over to her place—sends a positive signal that someday you might commit.
Young women may still fall for the bad-boy type, but more-mature women are turned on by kindness, because kindness inspires confidence. In other words, if you treat the waitress well, your date figures you’ll treat her well, too.
4. Moral Integrity
Having the guts to tell the truth means to a woman that you have the guts to be a good, caring, decent partner over the long haul. White lies are okay; just avoid any that are tinged with gray.
Being a good dad (or having the potential to become one) is about being a good role model—and about being patient and caring, qualities women like in a partner. If you’re not a father, then tell her about your favorite niece or nephew, or the employee you’re mentoring at work.
Top 5 Personality Traits
1. Sense of Humor
Being able to laugh at the stresses of this world is a must, according to the women on our panel. You get bonus points if you can make them laugh. Humor tells a woman that you can laugh at—read, handle easily—the many difficulties that life throws at you.
A worldy, interesting man is a man she likes to show off. Men who are take-charge problem solvers make women feel secure, and men who are always improving are never boring.
Why have women always melted for musicians? Because rock stars are passionate in public. Women like displays of passion because they’re not accustomed to seeing them from men. Get passionate about something: kayaking, impressionistic art, barbecuing, or Habitat for Humanity. It’s proof that you care for and about something beyond yourself.
A man who feels secure in his own skin makes the woman he’s with feel secure. By showing you can handle unfamiliar people or situations, you tell the woman in your life that she need not fear, either.
This is more important to women over 35 than it is to those under that age. Generosity, however, doesn’t just mean springing for dinner at a four-star. Your willingness to give your time and lend your ear is what women crave.
Top 5 Practical Skills
Pay attention. A woman feels safe and secure when she knows her man will put down his BlackBerry and listen to her. Magic words: “I’m here. Tell me everything.”
Romance appeals to a woman’s right-brained, less-logical side. Every woman fantasizes about being swept off her feet. Romance is bold because you’re displaying your desire for a woman and revealing a softer, more vulnerable side that women find irresistible.
3. Being Good in Bed
It’s not just the orgasms. A woman knows that a man who takes care of her in bed will take care of her out of bed. (Of course, the orgasms don’t hurt.) Your enthusiasm for her body is more important than your sexual prowess.
4. Cooking, Cleaning, etc.
Self-sufficiency means you’re not going to expect her to be like your mother. Learn how to make one or two killer breakfasts or dinners, and you’ll win her heart.
5. Earning Potential
One in five women surveyed said a man’s successfulness in his career contributes to his sexiness. If you’ve demonstrated talent, goal achievement, and follow-through, you give women confidence that you will be a good provider.
Top 5 Physical Attributes
1. Sense of Style
The way you dress reflects on the woman you’re with, and she knows it. The man who knows how to match a patterned shirt and tie will notice when she’s dressed well, too. (And maybe he’ll pay for the Blahniks.) Keep your tailor and your dry cleaner busy, and spring for posh, touchable fabrics like cashmere, suede, pima cotton, and brushed corduroy.
2. Handsome Face
The science of attraction, which has been studied ad infinitum, says it’s all about symmetry. Imagine you have a dotted red line (Nip/Tuck style) vertically through the center of your face, down your nose. Are your features similar in form and arrangement on both sides of the line? Do your eyes and ears match up? The closer one side mirrors the other, the more attractive you are. Women in cross-cultural studies have also ranked men with broad chins, high cheekbones, and large eyes as the most attractive. Best way to improve your looks: Smile more, and make certain your sideburns are even.
Tall, dark, and handsome isn’t the be-all and end-all. Women say they like feeling smaller than their men, but height doesn’t necessarily mean might. They will feel comfortable as long as they aren’t towering over you.
4. Muscular Build
Spend more time with the bathroom mirror and less time with the gym mirror. Nearly three times as many women value a clean-shaven face over the clean and jerk. Muscles help ward off rivals and assure a woman that you won’t drop her during a dip, but your overall appearance is more important than the size of your biceps.
Women recognize a good body as indicative of a man of discipline and self-control. It tells a woman you can keep up with her, in bed and out.