How do I be sexy?
July 16, 2010 9:10 AM   Subscribe

I want to be sexy. Unfortunately, I'm a straight man.

In all my efforts to protect a sexy image--not "decent", not "mildly attractive", not "ok", but straight-up sexy--I have not been able to hit that middle ground between "that's nice, kiddo, but we have grownup stuff to talk about now; go back to your little toys" and "OMG if I spend any more time with this guy they're gonna find my head in a ditch if I'm lucky." Actually, I guess "eh, whatever, I don't care" is a pretty common reaction too. Probably the most common, but the proportions don't really matter. The point is that all of these reactions suck.

I'm shooting for something like "I'm interested in spending some time with you, one-on-one, in the very near future" or "I'd very much like to know you much more intimately" or ideally "oh, I wish you would fuck me." That last one may sound like some kind of stereotypical-het-male porno fantasy, but I know it happens, because I've had multiple female friends express it to me about multiple other men. Of course, I don't need them to say it immediately or explicitly; I just need to be the kind of man who gets that sort of reaction, whether or not it's expressed verbally.

And before you ask: no, I have not had and will never have sex with anyone without absolute, clear, utter, unimpeachable assurance that they want to have sex with me.. Once I dated someone who said "I might let you fuck me." I didn't, because that boils down to "Well, you're not a rapist, but only just barely." It was frankly insulting--honestly, "let you fuck me"? I want my partners to want to have sex with me--call me frigid, call me impotent, but that's the deal, take it or leave it. Ya wanna get raped or technically-not-raped, talk with someone else.

So. What do I need to do? Become the most charming guy around? Whip myself into Adonis-like shape? (I look decent, but I'm definitely getting thin on top--I think that's tied with "not overly muscular" for my worst physical feature.) Accumulate an insane amount of money, power, and resources? Something else?

Answers that say "just be a good guy" or equivalent are nonresponsive unless they clearly and explicitly articulate how "just being a good guy" has brought the man in question the success in this field for which I'm looking, and exactly what I can do to give that impression and get the reaction for which I'm looking. This is a difficult--impossible, I'd say--set of criteria, because advice that hasn't worked for me for well over a decade is not going to do the job without a clear, explicit, and foolproof level of exposition behind it.

And once I figure that out, how do I do that? Remember that "clear, explicit, and foolproof" are the watchwords, and given my success up to this point, I'm a fool who's been quite proof against clarity and explicitness.

I know this isn't the sort of thing that you can boil down to a 100% effective algorithm or some kind of "dating kata," and I know that women's reactions will vary by the woman. I'm really just looking for heuristics I can use to present myself better in general, because I'm obviously doing something wrong.

ASL: 30/M/SF Bay Area. Any therapy suggested needs to be obtainable via Kaiser Permanente or a low- or no-fee outside service. Obviously-fake-email: yagottawntit@gmail.com.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (60 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
You're thinking way too much. Different women find different things attractive in men. For some, it's physique, for others it's bank account, for others it's the brain, etc. Focus on finding women interested in what you have to offer, and worry less about whether you meet an amorphous ideal of "sexy."
posted by dfriedman at 9:14 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yep, thinking too much.

Faking a nebulous "sexy" persona on your way to net whatever target audience is a surefire way to create a good groundwork for awkward relationship drama down the line once your act loses steam, if you're into that sort of thing.

I suppose soap opera characters could be conceived as "sexy" in this way.

Be true to yourself. And get into hobbies that encourage meeting other people with similar interests. Or you could do that online matching thing I keep hearing about.
posted by Ky at 9:19 AM on July 16, 2010


Be comfortable with the consequences of rejection. Women will flock to you.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:20 AM on July 16, 2010 [16 favorites]


I agree with dfriedman that maybe you're overthinking this, and I'll give you one piece of evidence:
nce I dated someone who said "I might let you fuck me." I didn't, because that boils down to "Well, you're not a rapist, but only just barely."
"I might let you fuck me" does not usually mean, "I don't want to have sex with you, but I will if you rape me."
posted by muddgirl at 9:20 AM on July 16, 2010 [19 favorites]


You know what I find sexy? Someone who finds me sexy back. Why are you focusing so much on yourself? A partner like that sounds like the complete opposite of what I'd want in a sex partner, let alone a longer-term fuckbuddy or romantic partner.
posted by Madamina at 9:24 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Once I dated someone who said "I might let you fuck me." I didn't, because that boils down to "Well, you're not a rapist, but only just barely." It was frankly insulting--honestly, "let you fuck me"? I want my partners to want to have sex with me--call me frigid, call me impotent, but that's the deal, take it or leave it. Ya wanna get raped or technically-not-raped, talk with someone else.

This sort of talk is called flirtation. It was an invitation for you to be assertive.

Your assumption, um, does not paint a very flattering picture of you as a date, I'm sorry.
posted by desuetude at 9:28 AM on July 16, 2010 [13 favorites]


And before you ask: no, I have not had and will never have sex with anyone without absolute, clear, utter, unimpeachable assurance that they want to have sex with me.. Once I dated someone who said "I might let you fuck me." I didn't, because that boils down to "Well, you're not a rapist, but only just barely." It was frankly insulting--honestly, "let you fuck me"? I want my partners to want to have sex with me--call me frigid, call me impotent, but that's the deal, take it or leave it. Ya wanna get raped or technically-not-raped, talk with someone else.

I think this really sums it up here -- you have some pretty warped ideas of how people communicate sexually, which is part of the issue. Teasing, playing hard to get, etc. are all things that people do normally. The appearance of indifference is a common strategy to increase one's appeal. The other main thing I see from your question is that you are looking for "foolproof" ways to appear sexy -- there's no such thing! You can play the averages (bathe, exercise, don't talk excessively about bestiality) but there will always be people who find the opposite to be sexy.
posted by proj at 9:29 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Unselfconsciousness is sexy. Not worrying about whether you look silly. Being passionate about things you care about. Focusing on other people, most especially your partner. Laughing it off when you trip in public or someone spills a beer on you.

One of the times my now-husband was sexiest was when my friends coerced him into a hula hooping contest at a restaurant when he'd never hula-hooped before in his life and he is gangly so there was a lot of flailing. He got up and gave it a game try and laughed along with everyone laughing at him. (And oh, there was a lot of laughing.) And my friends were like, "Wow, I can't believe he actually got up and did that, he is really cool!" And I was like, "Wow, I have never seen such sexy flailing in my life."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:29 AM on July 16, 2010 [20 favorites]


Whatever you *are*, figure it out and BE that, 100%, all the way. What you are might change; that's OK. But in committing to yourself, your unique self, and surrendering, at least temporarily, any desire to be something else, you will be both fascinating and unique.

People like people who are familiar enough not to be frightening, and different enough to be surprising. Where that line is will vary from person to person, but don't you worry about them, because if you are filling out your own shoes fully, your you-ness can be visible to enough people that the _right_ ones, the ones who find you different enough and familiar enough, will be able to find you, and the vigor and confidence that accompanies your strong choice to be yourself, and to let yourself change, will be irresistible.

This may sound a little age-of-aquarius-ish, but I've tried to find a better way of expressing the sentiment behind "Be confident, and be yourself".
posted by amtho at 9:30 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is one of the tragedies of masculinity. Traditionally, male sexuality is based on how well you can attract women. I would suggest abandoning this definition because, as dfriedman says, there's nothing you can do that will attract all women.

Instead, I would ask you to figure out what you can do to feel sexy. Forget everybody else— this has to come from within yourself.

muddgirl: ""I might let you fuck me" does not usually mean, "I don't want to have sex with you, but I will if you rape me.""

Yeah, but I see what the OP is saying. If a woman says "I might let you fuck me" it sounds as though she's doing me a favor and she's not really enjoying it. This also boils down to how it was said.
posted by anonymuk at 9:32 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seems like you're able to take a statement that's actually a pretty nice come-on and turn it into an accusation that you're a quasi-rapist, or something. Maybe try adopting more positive, less accusatory or rape-laden interpretations of things women say to you?

Though I'm also a straight male and am surely not the best source of advice, I like Madamina's comment: "You know what I find sexy? Someone who finds me sexy back. Why are you focusing so much on yourself?" There's this frequently repeated meme out there that women have been horribly oppressed by being viewed as the object of male desire. But guess what? Feminist memes aren't always the most useful prisms through which to view the world of dating. Women often like being the object of male desire more than they like the idea of a man trying to beautify or sexify himself.

Of course, I do think it's fine to take care of your appearance, hygiene, etc. -- for instance, there's this thread on how a man can dress sexy. But it seems like you're going way beyond that, and way over the top in your view of yourself and women. (Just a thought, FWIW.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:33 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


You may appreciate the answers in this question I asked awhile ago:

Catnip to the ladies:
Four female friends of mine recently had a conversation about what makes an attractive man. Opinions varied, but in the end, three traits were deemed "universally very hot": riding a motorcycle, building things out of wood, and having been in more than a few fistfights growing up. This baffled me to no end. Help me compile a longer list.

posted by the jam at 9:36 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


The guys I've found sexy are the ones who weren't TRYING to be. They just were who they were and beyond basic social conventions, didn't care much what people thought of them. TRYING to be sexy comes off as creepy, e.g. guys who make too much eye contact, physical contact, or make sexually suggestive comments when I haven't been flirting with them.

Confidence trumps appearance, money, power, and anything else.
posted by desjardins at 9:38 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


#1 way to boost your sexiness: never ever ever let on that you care whether people would fuck you.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:38 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


How I did it:

Figure out what sort of woman you like. Then figure out what sort of woman generally likes. Figure out if you like that sort of thing. If so, do those things and market heavily to that demographic of woman.

Example: I like women who like comic books. That sort of woman generally likes pop culture, art, reading, laughter, and intelligence. A good body helps, but may not be explicitly required, results vary on an individual basis. Cool, I can and do enjoy those things. Where do such women hang out? Comic book conventions. I should go to a comic book convention and flirt in a non-stalkerish way. Viola.

Adjust procedures to your preferences, young grasshopper.
posted by new brand day at 9:42 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


There isn't a silver bullet, but it seems to me that a lot of women find passion sexy. Not passion towards them, but a guy who is absolutely passionate about something meaningful (computer games or watching movies doesn't cut it. Making your own movies might), and good at it.

Passionate about something that has a hint of "this might really go somewhere!" is double the effect - if the thing you're obsessed with could conceivably end up making you a fortune, for example, even if it probably won't.

Passion also makes you hard to get, but hard to get because you're focused on awesome. Not because you're playing games, or you're chasing someone prettier. Hard to get for the best reasons - because you're a catch.

I may be blowing their finding out of proportion, but one of my take-home messages from the okcupid studies of what women find attractive, is that context generally overpowers other things. What you look like physically has less to do with how sexy you are than what you're doing and who's around you and who wants you, and stuff like that. If you're looking for a kind of sex-objectification to aim for, that's probably it.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:43 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I vote for you becoming a firefighter, pediatrician, kindergarten teacher, or kung-fu using kitten saver.

Like you say, women's reactions vary by the woman, big time. I don't think there's a single thing that all or even most women all find sexy.

But I think a lot of women find the combination of strength + competence + gentleness + kindness --- or just asskicking ability plus kindness, to be very sexy.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:44 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


"riding a motorcycle, building things out of wood, and having been in more than a few fistfights growing up."

ugh; okay, carpentry is cool but doesn't rock my world more than, say, welding; and superugh. I don't mind a responsible motorcyclist, but around here it's all compensation with crotchrockets and revving the engine in the middle of the night in residential neighborhoods. Rudeness is not sexy. And guys who brag about their ability to punch people are just ... well ... unless they're boxers, it's like frat boys bragging about how much they can drink. Why am I supposed to find antisocial behavior attractive again?

Which is to say, I don't think there is such a thing as universally sexy, since two of these "universally sexy" things are basically active turnoffs to me, and the third isn't all that exciting.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:48 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, and this:

yagottawntit@gmail.com


Noooo. Wanting to be sexy, trying to be sexy, being very conscious of his own sexiness level, is really unappealing in a man, even one who naturally is very attractive anyway.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:48 AM on July 16, 2010


Sexy is an "it" factor that you either have or don't have. There's nothing you can do about it.

And nothing trumps appearance. Nothing. Appearance is the only constant. An attractive woman who is "attracted" to short, pudgy, bald hedge fund manager or toady "confident guy" will still always have an eye out for the good-lookng, tall, fit guy.
posted by L'OM at 9:49 AM on July 16, 2010


Moody-seeming "still waters run deep" type guys who don't smile or talk excessively and have a certain darkness about them are the sexiest in my book. But my book might be weird, because I don't find motorcycles or woodworking sexy.

The LEAST sexy thing is annoying. Sexy and annoying are mutually exclusive.
posted by millipede at 9:49 AM on July 16, 2010


OK, yeah you're over-thinking this, but that's not your question.

For some, it's physique, for others it's bank account, for others it's the brain, etc.

This is why you need all three.

You don't need to be a body builder or an elite athlete, but for all kinds of reasons (confidence, the indication that you care about yourself, general physical health and capability) you need to be in shape. If you've got a particular asset that can be enhanced, then do it. There was a thread at some point about whether women really cared about a man's ass. The consensus was "not all of them." This is probably true, but if you've got a great one, then a very large number of them will notice and act on it in various ways. This is true to a lesser degree for pectorals and shoulders. This is probably because things like abs and iliac crest area aren't normally visible and these other things are. Learn to wear clothes that highlight these things. I'd also like to share my anecdotal observation that a broader spectrum of women respond better to functional fitness rather than body-builder type muscles, which do not necessarily equate to actual fitness.

You don't need to be rich, either, but know how to spend your money. Dress well, mainly. Don't be afraid to buy drinks or pick up the bill. You know, when you can. If you are well off, then don't flaunt it. The only thing worse than a gold digger is a conspicuous consumer. Not only that but flaunting it is the best way to lose it.

The most important is the brain, of course. If you can't hold a conversation, you're sunk. If you're not passionate or serious about anything (but not everything) you're also sunk. If you can't hold a conversation about whatever she's interested in, you're probably sunk. I mean, you can't have at least a cursory knowledge of everything, but you should be smart enough to ask real questions about both her Caravaggio prints and her Ubuntu box (not that one. don't be a pervert either.).

This all depends on who you want to meet, of course. If you want a gaggle of hangers-on that could assemble a silicon humanoid between them, then, hey - break out the metallic shirt, get a spray tan and buy the bar a few rounds in your indoor sunglasses. Just don't expect the triathlete physicist who can beat you at all of your xbox games to be all that interested, typically.

I cringe to acknowledge this, but The Most Interesting Man in the World (the beer advertisement) is not far off. Velvet smoking jacket optional, but recommended.

tl;dr - Be well rounded.
posted by cmoj at 9:50 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


This sort of talk is called flirtation.

This I agree with.

It was an invitation for you to be assertive.

This, not so much. So we agree that she was flirting but disagree on what you were expected to do. To me she wants you to continue to pursue her but she wants you to know that she's in charge - in a playful, fun way not in a all men are rapists and I'm going to put you in your place way.

Even in these modern times, a lot of women expect to be the pursued and feel it is unladylike to appear overtly interested in sex. Your female friends might talk about how much they want some guy to fuck them to each other and to you but I bet they don't say that to his face.
posted by missmagenta at 9:50 AM on July 16, 2010


Unselfconsciousness is sexy. Not worrying about whether you look silly. Being passionate about things you care about. Focusing on other people, most especially your partner. Laughing it off when you trip in public or someone spills a beer on you.

This. 1000X this.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:54 AM on July 16, 2010


i'm a gay lady, but seriously, the character Brian Kinney from the show Queer as Folk is so sexy that i think it translates well across sexualities.

watch a few episodes, you'll see what i mean. the "i'm hot, i know what i like, i like other people who know what they like, i like to flirt with other confident people, i like to make others feel good, let's do this thing" vibe. it can come in all forms, but Brian's form is pretty pronounced and fun to watch.
posted by crawfo at 9:54 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


And nothing trumps appearance. Nothing. Appearance is the only constant. An attractive woman who is "attracted" to short, pudgy, bald hedge fund manager or toady "confident guy" will still always have an eye out for the good-lookng, tall, fit guy.

I know you won't believe me, but I have a longtime friend whose is very picky, and her type specifically is husky bald dudes. It's not because she couldn't get tall fit guys. They are not her type.

But I do think it's true that if you're not someone's physical type, if they are actively repelled by your appearance, there's not much that can overcome that.

However -- I can't speak for anyone else, but -- I think most women are a lot more particular about faces than bodies. I don't know many women who care all that much what a guy's body looks like (except for the height thing, which I do sometimes hear).
posted by Ashley801 at 9:54 AM on July 16, 2010


Hey, look: I'm an ectomorphic guy, not particularly muscular or good looking, and there are scores of women who want nothing to do with me. Yet, somehow, my entire adult life, there are always women who do want something to do with me. Over the years, I've made a lot more money, and gotten in better shape, and improved my social status and social graces, and none of those things have had nearly as much impact as the one thing I figured out in high school: live your life for yourself, on your own terms, be confident and have a good time. It's not just "women wanna be around men" like that, it's "people wanna be around people" like that.

of course, I build things out of wood, and have been in more than a few fistfights growing up, so perhaps I had two out of three things going for me as per desjardins. I also ride a scooter, but I'm fairly certain that is not catnip. heh.
posted by davejay at 9:55 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


missmagenta: "Even in these modern times, a lot of women expect to be the pursued and feel it is unladylike to appear overtly interested in sex. Your female friends might talk about how much they want some guy to fuck them to each other and to you but I bet they don't say that to his face."

Jaltcoh: "But guess what? Feminist memes aren't always the most useful prisms through which to view the world of dating. Women often like being the object of male desire more than they like the idea of a man trying to beautify or sexify himself."

This is pretty much the crux of the problem. If your sexuality depends on other people, you're gonna be disappointed. The game is stacked against men who want to be sexy and be pursued and women who want to be aggressive and pursue. But it's still more socially acceptable for women to be aggressive than for men to be shy (e.g. tomboys are more accepted than femmy men.) So the game is more stacked against men in this regard.

I like the suggestions to find a passion. Don't worry about your appearance. As long as you're neat and not filthy and feel good about your own appearance, you should be fine. If that catnip reveals anything, it's that women can be just as superficial as guys (which is totally fine... everybody has their own turn-ons) so don't bother learning to work with wood or some nonsense unless you honest-to-god want to be a woodworker.
posted by anonymuk at 10:11 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


#1 way to boost your sexiness: never ever ever let on that you care whether people would fuck you.

I once attended a meeting of my local linux user group. The people there didn't seem to care whether people would fuck them, but I wouldn't say they were especially sexy because of it.
posted by Mike1024 at 10:12 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Trying to be sexy is like trying to be cool — in other words, it's a surefire way to not be.
posted by orange swan at 10:17 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


I once attended a meeting of my local linux user group. The people there didn't seem to care whether people would fuck them, but I wouldn't say they were especially sexy because of it.

Necessary but not sufficient condition.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:20 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


My $.02, from a woman of a certain age who has, ahem, been around the block a few times:

1) A friend of mine once remarked, "Everyone is for someone, but someone isn't for everyone." In other words, you are not going to be sexy to every single woman you meet no matter what. I mean, George Clooney might be the "sexiest man alive" to many, but to me he's a giant smarm-ball. So accept that you can be sexy to, at most, 80 to 90% of the (straight and bi) female population.

2) Passion, as many here have mentioned. Be enthusiastic about SOMETHING. It doesn't have to be mainstream or conventionally exciting. Passion about accounting, passion about true-crime murder cases, passion about Bengal cats, passion about the White Sox - just be fired up and enthused and forthcoming on SOMETHING other than what's on TV and that jerk in the next cubicle. "Meh" isn't sexy. "YAY!" is.

3) Don't be stingy with your money, your time, your emotions, yourself. I don't mean be a martyr or always pick up the check, but, to me at least, penny-pinching isn't very sexy, nor is being emotionally withholding, nor is never having time for your SO or dates if you don't have a busy demanding job. Give of yourself!

4) As far as physical attributes - women, by and large, tend to be not as hung up on conventional good looks. There's plenty of love for fat and/or bald guys out there. But if you're so overweight you can't get around easily, you might want to work on that. If you're bald, OWN IT. Absolutely no comb-overs ever under any circumstances. And whatever you look like, personal hygiene is vital. No body odor, no skid-marks, etc. (I wish I didn't have to say this, but some people do appear to be raised by wolves IME...)

5) Basic manners. Please, thank you, excuse me, don't pick your nose in public, don't chew with your mouth open, all that stuff your mother drummed into your head when you were a kid. You don't have to be Mr. Manners - I really don't care which fork you use - but boorishness isn't sexy.

The above stuff, I believe, is something all men, no matter what physical attributes they are born with, can achieve.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:28 AM on July 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


It was an invitation for you to be assertive.

This, not so much. So we agree that she was flirting but disagree on what you were expected to do. To me she wants you to continue to pursue her but she wants you to know that she's in charge - in a playful, fun way not in a all men are rapists and I'm going to put you in your place way.


I have no idea why you think we disagree. How would "continuing to pursue her" differ from "assertive?"
posted by desuetude at 10:29 AM on July 16, 2010


new brand day's suggestion to know your target demographic can't be emphasized enough. There is no "one size fits all" for male sexual attractiveness, any more than there is for women. Assuming you've taken care of the basics (don't be creepy, dress to flatter your shape and age, have good social graces, be confident, etc), you need to think carefully about who it is you are trying to be attractive to. What you should be doing is going to vary greatly depending on those demographics.

But having just said that, I think that there are some, if not universal truths, at least general rules. Good hygiene and appropriate self-confidence are good. Being in shape is good (but what that means varies depending if you are on the Jersey Shore or at the afore-mentioned comic book convention). Losing the weird vibe in your question (that whole rapey digression) would be really, really good -- and like self-confidence, is all in your head, and isn't found in the gym or the clothes store.
posted by Forktine at 10:31 AM on July 16, 2010


Trying to be sexy is like trying to be cool — in other words, it's a surefire way to not be.

Oh, bullshit. This is the sort of stuff you hear out of people who have either a) have been lifelong naturals with either, b) have never been either or c) someone's mom trying to make them feel better about going to the prom alone.

Of course you have to try. You're not just going to watch twelve hours of [insert cool, sexy male actor] films and absorb it via osmosis. Learn to attune your reactions to what you want to be. You want to be sexy? Develop a clear conception of it, starting by evaluating the responses in this thread and seeing if they match up with the sort of women you want to meet. You can't be sexy to everyone. For every diesel, Armani-rockin' stud out there, there's a chick who wouldn't touch him with a ten-foot pole because her conception of "sexy" is Neil Gaiman.

Find out who you want, tailor yourself to that. I'm not saying be someone else's conception of sexy; that's a surefire way to make sure you come off as a guy with no identity at all. And make sure what you're aiming for is something you can achieve. Don't get all built if you're 5 foot nothing; it looks like you enjoy going to the gym a little too much. Don't try to be all brooding if you look like Howdy Doody. Don't try to dress too slick if you don't know how to match. Well. Play to your strengths and tastes and refine them.
posted by griphus at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


We basically had this exact same question yesterday from the hetero female's perspective: http://ask.metafilter.com/159585/Did-Madeline-Albright-and-Elena-Kagan-waste-brain-energy-this-way

The answer is basically the same: be yourself and be real. Amtho says it best in this thread. Know who you are, and go on with your bad self. When you are clear on who you are, that means you're making it clear to the women that want to be with a guy like you that YOU ARE, IN FACT, THAT GUY.

Now, you might need to modify your branding, or modify your target audience to better your odds. Get the right message to the right (and sufficiently large) market segment. After that (or even independent of that)? Make it abundantly clear that while the odds are good that they'll find what they're looking for in the interaction between you two, leave enough uncertainty such that they simply must go to the trouble to find out more.

tl;dr: know what you're bringing to the party, such that others have a decent idea what they're in for. Then, if there's some chemistry, exceed the expectation, provoke and surprise a bit, but in a good way. Most importantly: the sexual energy shouldn't be ignored, but it shouldn't be the only reason you're bothering, either.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wanting to fuck a dude is about a few things*:

1. Noticing that other women want to fuck him, especially women who already have fucked him and know what it's like. This makes them think "hey, there are no bad surprises here, and possibly some good ones"

2. He is physically attractive. Not necessarily super hot but be in her range, which means about as attractive as she is.

3. He smells good

4. He is likely to be into the sex, he generally likes sex and is sex-positive

5. He is empathetic and, while not necessarily the world's biggest teddy bear, he never veers into cruelty or misogyny

6. He might have sex with her, but it's not a completely done deal because he has other women to choose from (see 1.) and is not hurting for female attention (see 1, 2, 3)

7. He is confident

8. You wouldn't be ashamed or weirded out to say "yeah, I totally fucked that dude"


*These are generalizations but I am a woman magnet so work with me a little bit, ok?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:03 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't fidget. There is nothing sexy about fidgeting. No one wants to f*ck someone who fidgets.
posted by jasondigitized at 11:19 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


This comment, while it doesn't "fit" your question exactly, illustrates my point - you can be big, loud and smelly, but if you can ooze confidence, you can be attractive and, therefore, sexy. (Though maybe this commenter isn't as smelly as his comment may imply?)

What are you doing wrong? Well, you sound kind of pretentious (and I speak only for myself -- as you said, different people are attracted to different things), so maybe that's what you're doing wrong. e.g. the wording in this paragraph: "Answers that say "just be a good guy" or equivalent are nonresponsive unless they clearly and explicitly articulate how "just being a good guy" has brought the man in question the success in this field for which I'm looking, and exactly what I can do to give that impression and get the reaction for which I'm looking. This is a difficult--impossible, I'd say--set of criteria, because advice that hasn't worked for me for well over a decade is not going to do the job without a clear, explicit, and foolproof level of exposition behind it."

If someone said something like that to me in person, I would not want to continue talking to them. I would rephrase it as:

"I've gotten advice like "be a good guy" in the past, but it hasn't helped, because I'm not clear on what that means - detail would be a lot more helpful. If you've gotten this advice and have used it successfully, how have you done it?"

See the difference? Your version is unecessarily wordy and long and feels very closed off - you're basically saying, "If you even think of saying "be a good guy", don't bother, unless you can SPECIFICALLY tell me how it's worked. Furthermore, I know I have impossible demands for advice, but give them to me anyway, because that's the only thing that will be good enough for me."

Your wording is pretty demanding, and does not value what the other person may be able to contribute, unless it meets your needs exactly. The revised version highlights awareness about the past ("I've gotten this advice, hasn't helped") and opens up possibilities for the other person to engage, and states your needs ("I'm not clear, need more detail") and invites people to relate their experiences ("what's worked for you?").

Being sexy is not about looking a certain way, doing certain things (e.g. carpentry), having certain moves (although that helps) it's really about loving and valuing yourself. You need that first before all the little tricks and tips will really work - because it's not the tips and tricks that are doing the work for you, it's YOU working the tips and tricks - you've gotta make it your own. So yeah - here's my vague advice - genuinely value and love who you are (not in a false, egotistical way), develop self-awareness, develop your passions, enjoy life - that's what's really sexy.
posted by foxjacket at 11:28 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


know I have impossible demands for advice, but give them to me anyway
give it to me anyway...
posted by foxjacket at 11:33 AM on July 16, 2010


Fix your posture. Check your body language isn't undermining you. Move gracefully, powerfully.

You can't do these things consciously, but they are habits that can form over time, especially with training in sports that focus on these things.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:35 AM on July 16, 2010


It was an invitation for you to be assertive.

This, not so much. So we agree that she was flirting but disagree on what you were expected to do. To me she wants you to continue to pursue her but she wants you to know that she's in charge - in a playful, fun way not in a all men are rapists and I'm going to put you in your place way.


Whoa, I don't know how "invitation to be assertive" (assertive! that's a good thing, or at least an OK thing, right?) turned into "all men are rapists and I'm going to put you in your place" (!). In fact, it's comments like these that foster the excessive anxiety people like the OP have about how men-can't-be-sexy-or-else-they'll-seem-like-rapists.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:59 AM on July 16, 2010


Even in these modern times, a lot of women expect to be the pursued and feel it is unladylike to appear overtly interested in sex. Your female friends might talk about how much they want some guy to fuck them to each other and to you but I bet they don't say that to his face.
posted by missmagenta at 12:50 PM on July 16 [+] [!]

Quoted for Truth.

I do not ask men on dates. I just, I guess I'm allergic to it.

I make eye contact, I make mention of things I like to do, I make it clear when I will be in the next Big Group Hangout.

What is sexy to me is when a guy picks up on my signs of interest (general and specific) and acknowledges them with a specific invitation.

Invite me to go moonlight kayaking with the local meetup group after I mention my recent canoe expedition? Why yes, I will be swooning.

Order me a surprise context relevant BLT? I may not drop my pants right this second, but you could probably take me to a movie.

Invite me to Dave and Busters for a beer soaked video game night? I'm gonna pass on that, or else I'll be inviting my girl griends to come along with us. Which reminds me, if a guy claims he doesn't have any friends, I'm annoyed. If I discover that a guy has made up friends, I'm instantly suspicious.

So for me. Sexy is first and foremost about paying attention. Yes, when you walk in the room I will judge from the first moment whether you're someone I would consider in a naked time end of days scenario. While it's not terribly easy to hook me if I'm not at least moderately physically attracted, it's unbelievably easy to blow all your social capital with a poorly timed joke (racism, sexism, domestic violence? Not ever funny. Sorry, end of game.), I'm surprised how often a nice mix of extracurricular activities and confidence make a guy more appealing than he already was.

TL;DR: physically unsexy can be transformed by confidence, a full schedule, and an eye for detail.

Physically sexy can be demolished by asshattery, lame do-nothingism, and a lack of attention to me as a person beyond a sex object.

(For bonus points, be in good physical shape, dress neatly and in clean clothing, know something (anything!) about food)

cigarette smoking is a deal breaker though. it's bad for your skin, for your breath, for your overall health, the smell makes me gag, and that shit is expensive. I'm not sorry.

And on Preview, Internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 nails it for me with points 1-8, though I like a little bit of polite fiction with my "has fucked other people." But don't let that polite fiction turn into an outright lie. If we're lucky, we will be talking about STDs and sexual preferences. Just, don't keep talking about the hot chick you banged last night/weekend/year, ok?
posted by bilabial at 12:05 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Get strong. Strength is sexy. Women don't necessarily flock to the dude with the biggest squat, but a weak man will always be sexier when he becomes stronger. The acquisition of strength builds confidence and assertiveness. Getting stronger will improve your appearance, posture, and general attitude.

Note: don't confuse being strong with "having big biceps" or "having a six pack" or something dumb like that. Strength is being able to use your body to do what needs to be done.
posted by useyourmachinegunarm at 12:40 PM on July 16, 2010


Jaltcoh - I think you're misreading:

..So we agree that she was flirting but disagree on what you were expected to do. To me she wants you to continue to pursue her but she wants you to know that she's in charge - in a playful, fun way not in a "all men are rapists and I'm going to put you in your place" way.

Emphasis mine - I also added quotation marks if that helps.
posted by muddgirl at 12:52 PM on July 16, 2010


In other words, the commenter was responding to the OP's interpretation - not to your specific interpretation.
posted by muddgirl at 12:52 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I see your point, muddgirl, but it was prefaced with "this, not so much," meaning "don't be assertive, and here's why..." Now that you mention it, I'm sure it was just ambiguous wording.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:59 PM on July 16, 2010


Muddgirl has it - I was referring to his interpretation comment not yours. As to the disagreement, I guess it depends how you define 'assertive'. IMO its possible to show interest and continue pursuing a girl without being particularly assertive about it
posted by missmagenta at 1:19 PM on July 16, 2010


interpretation
posted by missmagenta at 1:19 PM on July 16, 2010


I'm not a huge fan of the pick-up community...there's a lot of bs there and they charge way too much for the little info they provide. It's hard for people who don't know any better to sort it out.

A few concepts from that community that might help you:

1) DHV

Display high value. Do things that are cool, that you find interesting and amazing, and find ways (not stupid, arrogant ways, but subtle ways) to tell people about them. It's about being incredibly rich, but living an interesting life that others want to be a part of.

2) Approach anxiety

Get over it. Just approach women, lots of them. Get to know them. Women are people. Get extremely comfortable with women -- talking to them, touching them, ignoring them, hanging out with them. Demystify women.

3) Peacocking

The pick-up version of this is really silly, but there is some truth to it. Wear nice clothes, smell nice, carry something interesting with you (could be a book). Let your looks stand out in some good way.

4) Inner game

Work out physically. Work towards a career you like. Make the most of each day. This is a fancy way of saying "bring something to the table".

Ignore the rest of it. It's bs.
posted by metametababe at 1:23 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


People are putting a whole bunch of weight into their own interpretations of "I might let you fuck me." when IMHO you could interpret that in a few ways depending on the context and inflection - which we have no information about.
posted by Mike1024 at 3:02 PM on July 16, 2010


I thought we were just pointing out that his interpretation could, you know, be a reason why women don't find him to be sexy.
posted by muddgirl at 3:12 PM on July 16, 2010


Eliminate approval seeking behavior.
Set standard for who you want to share your life with.
Look people in the eye.
Tell the truth.
Don't shy away from confrontation or difficulty (emotional or physical).
Get exercise and take care of yourself.
Don't worry about the outcome enjoy the process.
Take up space in the world.
Don't look to women to give you your Masculinity.

Make her laugh.
posted by jade east at 3:29 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you know what the rejection rate for good looking guys are? 6 out of 7.

Do you know what the rejection rate for boring average looking guys are? 6 out of 7.

What you haven't learned is how to handle rejection. Not every girl you approach will go out with you. You will not bed every gal you run into. Instead, learn how to handle rejection, accept it, not take it personal, and move on. It's the same basic advice to give anyone who is trying to become an actor.
posted by Stynxno at 3:34 PM on July 16, 2010


Most of the time I don't really waste my time checking out dating advice AskMes because there's usually about a 101 different responses and half of them are old standbys that don't have any basis in reality.

"Just be yourself" and "be confident" are the worst clichés for dating advice
"'Be confident. Woman like confidence'. That's all you have to be is 'be confident', right? But how do you just be confident? It's the worst advice. Like I'm going to go out and be confident? Here's how you get confidence. You get confidence through success. Success breeds confidence.... Just like the advice 'women like guys with a sense off humor', I've seen more humorless rockstars get laid more than very funny comics.
As much as it chagrins people, there is a lot of insights in what the "pick up" guys have to say. If you can wade through the misogyny and sexism you'll find that most of it is just codified social interactions that tend to happen naturally anyway . It might be useful for you to look through some of it, but just don't get sucked up into it.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:07 PM on July 16, 2010


The sexiest guy I know is sexy cos he comes across as totally confident, not needy, is generous and kind but doesn't take any shit, and when he gets me alone he can't keep his hands off me and makes it clear how turned on he is. Feeling like he just HAS to fuck me makes me want him every time. Assertiveness is hot, not being apologetic about being sexual is hot, and sex with him always feels like something fun we can do together, rather than omg sex guilt.

Another guy I dated was AMAZING in bed but he would kind of just be unsexual until the lights were off and that wasn't sexy. This guy is great cos he just wants to fuck me as soon as he sees me but he lets it build up.
posted by Chrysalis at 6:26 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


What I mean to say is... if you can make HER feel sexy, she will think you are sexy. Shoot for that.
posted by Chrysalis at 6:29 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


How much do you listen? I mean actually, truly listening to what the speaker is saying without racing ahead in your mind to compose a response to what you think she said (e.g., your immediate "you want me to RAPE you? No fucking way!" response described in the question).

For many women, sexual intimacy is only one kind of intimacy, and if it looks/sounds/feels like you are disinterested in her whole self (even if it's just a hookup), you're not going to get anywhere. You don't have to get all schmoopy or esoteric about cosmic bonding, but showing the awareness that the woman you're pursuing is a multifaceted individual can take you a long way.*

* For some value of "the set of women for whom that is important" which is fairly large but certainly does not include all women. People-reading skills might be part of the issue here as well.
posted by catlet at 8:13 PM on July 16, 2010


Even in these modern times, a lot of women expect to be the pursued and feel it is unladylike to appear overtly interested in sex.

And then there are those of us who don't give a rat's ass about being seen as "ladylike" and are working toward a world where we can be not only overt about our interest in sex with men, but downright lascivious and enthusiastic about it - without losing the respect of men, while retaining our right to say no, and while also respecting their right to say no.

I don't want to be "pursued." I want to be wanted. I want to be actively desired. If I'm going to fuck someone, I want to know that they think I'm irresistibly sexy - and I want to make sure they know I think the same about them. It sounds like that's what the OP wants, too - to want and be wanted. Which, if you ask me, is completely understandable, healthy, and human - and also challenging, especially in a world where we are forced to navigate in the midst of conflicting messages about men's and women's sexuality.

I agree with anonymuk:

I see what the OP is saying. If a woman says "I might let you fuck me" it sounds as though she's doing me a favor and she's not really enjoying it. This also boils down to how it was said.

That's how I read the original post, too, though I also agree that contextual factors like tone of voice and other social cues could alter the intended meaning of a phrase like this drastically. He doesn't just want to be allowed to fuck a woman. He wants her to be irresistibly, undeniably sexually attracted to him. He wants her to think he's the hottest thing ever. He wants to be the object of robust female desire.

He comes across as someone with a healthy respect for women. I don't think he'd want to fuck someone if the dynamic between he and his date suggested that she believed she was doing him a favor or just going along with things. I think he'd much rather hear something like "You're smokin' hot. I want to fuck you." (Or, "I want you to fuck me.") There is active, take-charge sexual desire in a statement like that, and it can be exhilarating to be the object of such desire.

OP, if it's any consolation, I think a lot of straight men are struggling in the ways you describe. Julia Serano wrote a fascinating essay in the book Yes Means Yes that I think you might find useful - it's called "Why Nice Guys Finish Last." She talks about how framing sexuality in terms of sexual predator/prey stereotypes complicates the lives of men, and creates something she calls the "assholes/nice guys" double bind (the flip side of the "virgin/whore" double bind that women deal with). Here's a quote:
"Lots of women I know want to create a world in which women are allowed and encouraged to be sexual without having to be non-consensually sexualized. This is a laudable goal...I would argue that for this to happen, we will also have to work to simultaneously ensure that men can be respectful of women without being desexualized. One cannot happen without the other. I think that a lot of men would be eager to work with women to create such a world."
In other words, you might want to consider that part of the problem you're facing may be systemic and cultural rather than personal.

Of course, none of this necessarily helps you to be sexier. (I'll say this much, though: if it were me you were trying to attract, I would find your interest in reading about and discussing ideas like this to be a major turn-on. Seriously. That's how I happen to be wired: feminist geek talk feeds my sexual attraction immensely, assuming a certain basic level of interpersonal and sexual chemistry. But perhaps this is not the norm, except maybe on MetaFilter.)

Assuming you've got the basics down - things like good grooming and personal hygiene, good manners, interests and hobbies that fascinate you - then I recommend that you focus less on self-improvement and trying to be sexy, and more on getting to know a specific woman you would like to attract.

Follow catlet's excellent advice: listen to her and take an interest in her as a multifaceted individual, without doting on her or being overbearing. Learn how to read her cues. Do this without any particular agenda; just enjoy her company. If you can make her feel sexy and fascinating - if you can draw her out and give her ample room to relax and be herself - she'll be much more likely to find you sexy. There are no guarantees, of course - if she's not attracted, she's not - but don't overlook the value of being an attentive listener in sparking a woman's interest. I've been on a few dates in which it quickly became obvious that the man was much more interested in hearing himself talk or shoring up his ego than he was in getting to know me. BIG turn-off).

I wish I had better advice for you, but truth be told, I struggle with this myself. I was able to feel sexy and attractive when I was younger for quite awhile, but I feel like I've lost my mojo somehow, and don't know how to get it back. In any case, I don't think there is any such thing as a "clear, explicit, and foolproof" way to be sexy. There are some qualities that stand out in sexy people - confidence being one of the most obvious - but I think in the end it mostly comes down to being comfortable in your own skin and reveling in your own life and sexuality, whether or not you have a partner.

Good luck! And for what it's worth, you sound pretty hot to me. :)
posted by velvet winter at 9:50 PM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


I agree with the first few comments--first off, a persona isn't going to be some magical casting net because this isn't a one size fits all sort of thing; different people find vastly different things alluring. Second...maybe I'm not like your social circle, but in my experience guys tends to get that "oooh please do me" vibe from women they've known a good long while. Yeah there are Brad Pitt-ish exceptions I suppose, but so much of that is weird otherworldly one of a kind demeanor things about 1% of people just naturally seem to have. Other than those freak cases, I can say for myself anyway I always got hot and bothered once I'd already started dating a guy and got to know him better and better. The best sex comes with a certain level of trust and intimacy that goes as far as marriage at times to me--I always liked my husband but things got insanely crazy once we'd reached a level of trust that had me thinking I knew all about him and vice versa. That's a secret, private sort of thrill that only comes with time and a depth of understanding. Now I want him more than anyone I ever sort of crushed on, for sure. I'd gotten to know him inside-out in nonsexual realms too, which helped open the doors with the other stuff because I was comfortable with him period. But again, I realize not everyone is this way; ymmv.
posted by ifjuly at 12:12 PM on July 17, 2010


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