Men like nice women, but what do women want?

Men like nice women, but what do women want?

Being concerned about a significant other’s welfare is the foundation of any relationship, but when it comes to wooing a potential relationship opportunity, men may be at a disadvantage by showing too much interest in the other person, research says.

The findings, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, came from three studies. The first two showed men perceive a responsive stranger as more gender typical, as in more feminine or masculine, and therefore more sexually attractive. The third study found men responded to more responsiveness from women, a signal indicating concern about one’s welfare, with higher sexual arousal, which led to mutual attraction and a strong desire for a long-term relationship.

“Sexual desire thrives on rising intimacy, and being responsive is one of the best ways to instill this elusive sensation over time,” lead researcher Gurit Birnbaum said in a news release. “Our findings show that this does not necessarily hold true in an initial encounter, because a responsive potential partner may convey opposite meanings to different people.”

But while all three studies found men were more attracted to women who showed greater concern for their welfare, women did not find responsive men more attractive.

“We still do not know why women are less sexually attracted to responsive strangers; it may not necessarily have to do with ‘being nice.’  Women may perceive a responsive stranger as less desirable for different reasons,” Birnbaum said. “Women may perceive this person as inappropriately nice and manipulative (i.e., trying to obtain sexual favors) or eager to please, perhaps even as desperate, and therefore less sexually appealing. Alternatively, women may perceive a responsive man as vulnerable and less dominant. Regardless of the reasons, perhaps men should slow down if their goal is to instill sexual desire.”

Dr. Shastri Swaminathan, a psychiatrist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, says responsiveness is a good thing in any relationship between men and women and even parents and children, but when it comes to being manipulative, Swaminathan said women may be able to differentiate casual responsiveness from a genuinely responsive person that is catering to their needs.

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3 Comments

  1. How did women not liking responsive guys (ie the nice guy) become men’s faults claiming that we are just being manipulative!?! All I got from this was, “Hey men! Stop being so strong and stoic because you should be nicer to women, oh and also…Stop being so nice because you should be stronger and more stoic for women to like you!” Great, that should really help everyone involved! Maybe, and I am sorry if this shocks people, but maybe it’s the responsibility of the individual woman to select an appropriate mate/partner? Maybe women are equally autonomous human beings to men and are responsible for their own actions or inactions? And maybe a medical professional should not immediately jump to the conclusion that men on mass are to blame for women’s choices by being apparently so bad and manipulative in society? It just seems pretty sexist to me if I am wrong.

  2. Hard to interpret, but I’m sure many guys will say this article in general rings true. As for the others–they’re not reading this. HA HA.
    Hello ladies! I’m responsive, but not necessarily authentic. You might think I’m disingenuous. It’s all good, I’m happy anyway. Nice meeting you.

  3. I agree with the one commentator, this dichotomy that says we need to be strong and stoic but also we need to be the opposite is just confusing. I think men respond to responsive women because we look for the same qualities we project. The interesting thing that I find here is that women don’t respond to men who seem to care to much because it seems disingenuous but often women spend a lot of time in relationships with men who don’t care and actually are disingenuous. So, it seems that, from an evolutionary stand point, women are less evolved than men.

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health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.