“Sexy,” of course, lies the brain of the beholder. What jazzes one person might repulse another. And as we all know, “sexy” exists in context of a person’s total package—who you are, how you act, what you think. That’s the foundation for some of the wow-at-first-sight things you also feel when you interact with a potential dance partner, such as the way you look, the way you dress, and if you have an Aussie accent. So yeah, everyone’s sexy list may look a little different, but these are a few of the heart-quickeners that most men are almost guaranteed to adore. So read on, and take note! And for the other side of the equation, don’t miss the 30 Things Men Do That Women Always Find Sexy.
Wearing a man’s dress shirt.
Especially when it’s worn the way men should never wear it—oversized, hovering over bare legs, with three buttons unbuttoned. And for fashion secrets that you can use, see the 30 Best Tips for Dressing Well in Your 30s.
Goofing off every now and then.
Men love it when women goof off: think and act in an out-of-the-box manner. It speaks of individuality and confidence. A recent Australian study found non-conformists are more attractive than conformists. Maybe it’s the risk-taking or maybe because it’s fun-loving or maybe because it communicates that a person doesn’t waste time giving a hoot about what other people think.
Laughing even when a guy isn’t funny.
A Canadian and American study confirmed what insecure men everywhere know: Laughing at a man’s humor—no matter how stupid it is—is very attractive. (Yes, guys will willfully ignore the patronizing.) So, without further ado, a penguin, monk, and synchronized swimmer walk into a bar… And fellas, if you need some corny material, start with the 50 Puns So Bad They’re Actually Funny.
Being sweet to a random toddler you see in a store, restaurant, or park.
Whether it’s in a store, a restaurant, or a park, there’s something inherently attractive about a woman treating a young kid cutely (so long as it’s okay with the parents and not creepy, of course). Even if a guy’s nowhere near ready for parenthood, there’s something special about seeing a woman’s maternal instincts in action.
There are key aspects of the kettlebell swing—the intensity, the power of the movement, the whole body exuding strength from every tendon—that put the move a cut above everything else, as far as sex appeal is concerned. It’s to men what a guy doing a lot of pull-ups (flaunting rippling back muscles) is to women.
Giving credit where it’s due.
Research from Thailand shows that modesty ranks high in traits we seek in others. And that goes doubly so in these “influencer” days of ours, where everything is derivative and nothing is genuine. The ability to say, “Oh, that’s not my idea. I got it from…” is an exceedingly rare treasure.
A tilt and a gaze.
In an Australian study that’s perhaps as perplexing as it is specific, one of the most attractive positions for a woman’s head (according to those rating head positions, apparently) is this: A slight tilt with eyes looking up.
“Alexa, turn up the volume.”
Music, according to a lot of research, is one of humanity’s great aphrodisiacs. In other words, piping in a sensual, soulful, or sultry soundtrack at great decibel levels to the room raises our decibel level.
Coffee, tea, wine, bourbon on the rocks. Lingering is lovely.
A jeer during the middle of a game.
There’s nothing quite like a well-timed barb hurled at a player from an opposing team—especially when they make a play that deserves such ridicule. It shows that a woman is heading to game not because she’s being nice and going along for the ride, but because she’s actually into the sport.
Agreeing to golf dates.
An online survey found that 70 percent of men get jazzed about a woman who plays golf, whether it’s a trip to the driving range or an entire day spent on the green. And fellas, if you’re looking to learn some tricks of the trade, steal some tips about the game from golf course extraordinaire Mike Meldman.
Telling the story behind a first tattoo.
It’s not just that a survey found that nearly three-quarters of men like tattoos on their partners; it’s the fact that there’s something in so important that it moved a woman to turn her skin into a canvas. And if you’re thinking about getting inked up, yourself, check out these 100 Best Tattoos for First Timers.
Drying your hair with a towel.
A hair dryer leaves a lingering burnt scent, like a fragrance gone wrong, that doesn’t really scream “sexy.” Towel-drying circumvents the issue.
A scooch of sarcasm.
Followed with a wink emoji, of course. Men like to play. Men love when women do.
Making the first move.
One study that looked at behaviors in speed dating found that interest can be built through simple behaviors that indicate a woman is showing initial interest. This applies not only to first dates or early dates, but also to other arenas of potentially budding romance—you know: the meet-cute at the coffee shop, the run-in at the folk concert, the drink order sent (bourbon, neat) from the other side of the bar. A woman making the first move is irresistible.
Leading the hike up the trail.
One thing’s for certain: men will follow.
A window into one’s personal life? Well, social media was invented as a tool to stay connected to family, friends, and the world at large. It’s rare—and, as such, a huge attractor—to see someone use it that way.
Not texting back right away.
Keeping some individual space is sexy. (Unless your messenger really, really, really, really needs you to reply with the Netflix password.)
Helping out the neighbor, even if it’s inconvenient.
A Penn State study showed that kindness tops the list of what men find most appealing about women. An easy way to show kindness: Helping an elderly neighbor with their groceries.
Reading in bed.
With a candle on the night stand, and eyes that look happy, curious, and content in a search. And for amazing books to read, see the 40 Best Books about Getting Older.
Dinner-table talk beats pillow talk. Current events beat vapid ones. Intellect is the mic-drop of all things sexy. In fact, a Northwestern University study found that cultural changes—in terms of increased gender-role equality—can override long-standing evolutionary thought that physical traits are the most dominant thing that men are attracted to.
Offering to shave his face.
To quote a line from the TV show Community, after he receives his first straight-razor shave: “Why have I been shaving my own face this whole time?” Receiving a shave from a significant other is akin to that, except it comes with more intimacy than a guy can get from a barber who may or may not have opened his shop before the New Deal was minted.
Taking the high road with customer service.
Yes, customer service reps screw up royally, and often. But few men can resist when a woman says, hey, it’s okay, really, we’ll figure it out. There’s enough of the vitriolic opposite in the world. (Again, refer to that University of Pennsylvania study that affirms the benefits of kindness.)
A University of Rochester study found that red is the most amorous color, possibly because of the evolutionary roots in which some animals redden before ovulation as an attraction mechanism. So whether it’s a dress or a blouse, wearing red amps is an instant trick for amping up the sex appeal.
Maybe it’s not so much about the whole “looking smart” thing, but more so that men admire a woman’s supreme ability to not to look one way all the time—and that she can look so good in so many ways. Weaving in and out between hair styles, apparel styles, and facial adornments taps into a man’s desire for novelty.
A bite of the lip.
Whether it’s hers or his, men swoon for this move.
Wearing a baseball cap at Sunday brunch.
The universal signal that men can talk about what happened last night—and their dreams for tomorrow.
In a man’s life, it’s a never-ending game of tug-or-war: between his friends and his partner(s). If the two halves can make a seamless whole, though, nothing is better.
Winks and whispers.
Quiet, subtle displays of affection win over grand gestures of PDA all day, every day.
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