Once upon a time, being a man meant bringing home the bacon, being able to change a tire, and fighting to protect your family.
Today, the definition of “how to be a man” is a little more fuzzy. In fact, gender roles seem to be more of a personal preference and the things that would once deem you manly are now a turn off to some women.
So, how do you be the type of man that women want?
Of course, there’s no one size fits all answer to this question, as different women want different things. And of course, what constitutes as husband material may be completely different in Los Angeles, California vs. in Mobile, Alabama.
But, there are a few core principles that women tend to be attracted to across the board. So, here’s how to be a man that women want, respect, and even love.
How to be a Man: Learn who you are and what you want, then own it
Before diving into another relationship, spend some time learning more about you. Assess what you value, what makes you happy, what doesn’t serve you, etc. There’s nothing sexier than a man who knows who he is, what he wants, and what he doesn’t.
Instead of trying to be the Prince Charming that you think will attract women, be unapologetically who you are.
If you’re only looking for a sexual partner right now, be honest about that. If you want a relationship but know that you’re introverted and need a lot of alone time, be honest about that as soon as you start dating someone.
Not only will this prevent relationship problems down the line, but it also helps you find women who want you for you, not the door-holding, sweet-talking, sweater-wearing guy that you were pretending to be in hopes of winning her over.
Of course, owning who you are doesn’t mean stubbornly holding onto your negative qualities rather than working on them. It’s one thing to tell a dating partner that you like to drink on the weekends with your boys to decompress, it’s another to tell a dating partner that you have a drinking problem and she’s going to have to accept that if she wants to date you.
Get curious about why you are the way you are, and why you tend to fall into the same patterns with your dating life. It may help to speak to a licensed therapist to really get deep into what makes you, you.
When you understand yourself, it’s much easier to find a partner who understands you. And having a partner who truly understands you is one of the best parts of being in love.
Be the kind of man who can take care of things (or, of a woman)
Shifting gender roles have allowed us to re-evaluate who needs to be the breadwinner, who’s in charge of cooking, and who should do the child-rearing.
But, whether biologically or not, most women still crave a man that can take care of them in some way. This doesn’t have to mean financially, even though many studies still show that women prefer mates with good earning capacity.
Instead, think of it more as being a man who can think on his feet, be resourceful, and have a plan B.
For example, let’s say you’re on a road trip and you drive over something sharp that punctures a wheel. Can you change a tire? Great! But if you can’t, can you quickly call AAA and describe to them where you are and what you need? Can you have a positive attitude while you two wait for the repairman? Can you calm your partner down if she’s stressed about being late to the wedding you were headed to?
How to be a man doesn’t have to mean being able to change a tire. But, I think most women can agree that what they look for in a man is someone who can take it in stride when things go wrong.
In the above scenario, a woman could absolutely change the tire, call AAA, and even calm herself down if she’s stressed. But, many women feel like they’re always in charge of doing damage control and would love to date a man who can take care of things from time to time.
Work with your anger (and testosterone), not against it
It’s a stereotype that women are overly emotional and men are overly angry, but in reality, studies have shown that both men and women are equally emotional. The difference is that both genders tend to express emotions in different ways. Women are generally more comfortable crying or showing vulnerability, where many men may choose to punch a hole in the wall or yell.
Of course, these are all generalizations and every individual is different. If you’re a man who tends to get angry, the solution isn’t to completely repress your emotions and your anger. Instead, find a healthy way to channel your anger, perhaps in martial arts or some form of exercise, in a creative pursuit like painting or drumming, or whatever feels right to you and doesn’t harm others.
Simultaneously, work on being more in touch with your emotions as a way to diffuse the build-up of anger or negative feelings.
Being vulnerable can be incredibly sexy to a woman when done with confidence and openness. If you’re feeling lonely and want to see the women you’re dating? Tell her that. Not only will your needs get met, but your partner will likely be honored that you can open up to her and that she gets a chance to take care of you.
Of course, a woman is much more likely to want to take care of you if you’ve shown her that you can do the same for her.
When it comes to sex, apply the same principles as above. Do not feel ashamed of your desires, fantasies, or kinks. Be open to exploring so that you can learn what really turns you on.
Take time to form an intimate connection with someone so that you can truly open up in bed. Trust me, that’s exactly what will keep a woman coming back (and also, the other kind of coming).
How to be a man doesn’t mean sleeping with the largest amount of women possible, it means being a sexual being that pleases his partner before, during, and after intercourse. Someone who isn’t scared to cuddle or do something “unmanly” surrounding sex if that’s what really turns him on.
And of course, one who knows how to communicate.
Read the room, and learn to work all kinds of rooms
Studies have shown that women tend to be far more emotionally intelligent than men.
This may be the reason why more often than not, it’s women wondering why men won’t “take a hint.”
If you want to learn how to be a man that women respect and admire, learn to read the room, read a woman’s signs, and adjust accordingly.
If you’re still working on reading a woman’s signs, simply just ask.
There’s nothing wrong with asking, “hey, are you still interested in going out with me? If not I totally understand.” Or, if you’re already in a situationship, asking something like, “I know we just started dating and I don’t want to cross any boundaries, so I want to know what you’re comfortable with sexually if you don’t mind sharing.”
On the other side of this coin, every woman wants a man that can blend into any situation. In fact, I’d argue that both men and women want a partner that can do equally well by their side at a high-end business dinner, their best friend’s midwestern wedding, or on a rugged vacation gone wrong.
How do you become this type of person?
Explore, meet new people, try new things, travel, and get yourself into novel situations.
With experience comes social awareness and emotional intelligence. And with emotional intelligence comes healthier, happier, and more harmonious relationships.
Be the best man you can be
While I can’t tell you what the cute barista at your coffee shop wants in a man, I can tell you that the happier you are with yourself, the more likely you are to attract Ms. Right (or just Ms. Right Now).
Instead of focusing on how to be a man that women want, try focusing on simply bettering yourself and your current relationships, even if this just means your relationships with friends, family, and with yourself. There’s always more learning and improvement to do, and the right woman will swoon over a man who pushes himself to be better every day.
If you’re looking for some more reason on this topic, you might want to check out For The love of Men: From Toxic to a More Mindful Masculinity or The Future of Men: Masculinity In the 21st Century.