Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What Women Think Men Want

Interesting thoughts from these women at Alpha Women.

Seems they may be thinking of the generic "man" and they have pretty low expectations for who men are. Probably with good reason. Immature men - which is many of them - have set up women to have low expectations.

Only by being true to ourselves as mature men can we change their minds. We are so much more than how we are portrayed in the media. There are many good, responsible, loving, mature men out there - let's set a new standard for women (or men, for that matter) to look for in us.

For example, JJ thinks that men want one thing, validation. Sure. Some do. But a mature man is not looking for validation from others, because it comes from within. And Gwen thinks men just want to be challenged. Yeah, probably true for some men. Not me. It's not about challenge, it's about a woman being my equal in some ways, but feminine in others.

One thing feminism has done to both men and women is make us think that we are the same aside form our genitals. True, but partial. We are very different in many ways, and those differences are what create the sexual friction for those who are straight in their orientation. My guess is that there is some of the same polarity between gay men or women, since we all have masculine and feminine energy.

Anyway, back to the post. To their credit, they do talk to some men. And Dawn Allen offers some interesting insights gained from her clients. See here is the beginning of the article.

What do Men Want?

Well, we should have seen this coming. In response to last week’s Straight Talk, Lori asks us “What do men want?” It’s only right that we examine both questions, and to do that we sought out some extra male help: let's see what these newcomers have to say.

Gwen says: Generally, women and men want the same things: to be loved, to be shown love and to be respected. For the specifics of each individual man, you'd have to ask that man.

From what I've gathered through research for my book, men resoundingly stated they wanted “a lady in the streets and a freak in the bed.” This is true, but it runs even deeper than that. Men who want a solid, long-lasting relationship desire a woman who will provide them with a constant challenge. Things can’t be too easy for him or he will become bored and seek another challenge. Basically, a woman can't allow a man to become so comfortable in the relationship that he feels she'll stick around even if he walks all over her. My parents have been married over forty years and my mother constantly challenges my father.

At the same time, men do not want to be emasculated. They want their woman to respect them. Again, much like the answer to last week's question ("What Do Women Want?"), men require balance—I found many women to be a bit too overbearing in their interactions with mates.

Gwen Jimmere is Creative Director of Twisted Pearl Media Group, a self-described "Relationship Advice Giver" and author of the soon-to-be-released If It Walks Like a Duck...and Other Truths My Mother Taught Me. Through her no-nonsense blog,, she provides real answers for real-life relationship questions.

JJ says: This is a tough question for me because I have been spending the last couple of years looking at my life differently. I'd like to say that this answer is too complex to give in a paragraph or two, but the truth is that it comes down to one word--the essence of what men want (or dare I say need) is validation--validation physically, emotionally, intellectually, and (in many cases) spiritually. Depending on their maturity level, men go through different stages of validation at differing rates (and even get stuck in some stages). But one thing is for sure, the way into a man's heart is to validate for him exactly who he wants to be or who he thinks he is.

During childhood, little boys' validation comes from their parents, as both mentors and guides through life. At some times, boys seek out their mother for validation; during others, they need their father. But in all cases, both a mother and a father are needed to give a little boy the validation he needs to grow up healthily.

However, as little boys turn into little men and enter adolescence, they begin to look toward their peers to validate their manliness. This often causes a lot of confusion, as it is usually the blind leading the blind. Yeah, they are beginning to date and learn about women, but more than anything, at this stage, they are seeking the approval of their peers.

Then, as men set off into the professional world, usually in their early to mid-twenties, they pull away from their peers as validating sources and begin to look to their significant others-–their wives and their girlfriends. It is at this stage that men also begin to look beyond what they can do for themselves as validation for who they are. For some, this stage can last a lifetime, but for most the validation from their wife becomes less and less important.

Somewhere around 40, many men go through a mid-life crisis of sorts. They feel that they have a good life, but begin to question what their real purpose is. They ask themselves “Is there more to life than this?” They begin to look for validation well beyond their family and their peers and often begin to seek validation by society as a whole. It is said that most men hit their peak of success in their forties and fifties; I believe it is for two primary reasons. First, they are coming into their own, learning what they are best at; second, they are more driven for gaining validation externally at this stage of life than at any other.

Finally, as men reach the end of their life and begin to face their mortality, they again come back to their roots and their legacy for validation. Somewhere in their late fifties to early sixties, most men begin to turn to their spouse, their parents, their children, and even internally (to themselves) to validate who they are.

And so, to answer the initial question of what men want: they simply want to be validated for the men they think they are.

JJ Reich is the founder and president of Impossible Futures, LLC, personalized coaching for small to medium businesses.

Dawn says: I have asked a lot of my male clients this question, and I’ve gotten some great answers, which truthfully surprised me at times. From what I’ve learned listening to men, one of the things men want most is a woman who is confident and comfortable with herself. When a woman is confident and comfortable in her own skin, she is able to give her attention to the man she is with, rather than worrying about herself.

Men love to be with a woman who knows how to listen and be present with them, and isn’t silently comparing them to an internal agenda she might have. If a woman knows how to relax, be herself, and have a good time with a man, he will adore her for it.

Men love women who are interested in them and their lives. If a woman talks incessantly about how miserable her ex was or about all the things that are going wrong in her life, a man is going to feel like no matter what he does, he’s going to have a difficult time making this woman happy—and most men really do want to make women happy. If they think they’re succeeding in that endeavor and being appreciated for their efforts, they’ll just try that much harder to make the woman happy and feel drawn to be around her all the more.

In today’s world, we have so few chances to actually make real connections with people, that when we do, it can be very powerful. All it takes to make a real connection is for a woman to be able to listen, pay attention to the man she’s with, and be interested. If she can also enjoy herself in the process, be lighthearted and have a good time, most men will think she’s fabulous.

Of course, men like women who look nice because men are very visual creatures, but it’s more about a woman looking like she’s put a little bit of effort into looking nice for the man she’s with rather than any huge gestures. Most men don’t particularly need or want an extremely glamorous woman. They just want someone who’s attractive and knows how to take care of herself.

Men don’t require a lot from women in order for them to be happy, because much of their masculine happiness comes from making the woman in their life happy. If a man knows he’s doing that, and that the woman appreciates it, that’s really about all any man wants.

Dawn Allen, CDC, CPTF, is a Love, Attraction and Relationship Coach. She specializes in helping single, savvy, smart women who are having trouble finding and keeping a great man to learn how to be open to love and easily attract the man of their dreams. Her website is

Go read more at Alpha Women.


Unknown said...

This is an interesting article, thanks. But there seems to be an assumption here that we live in a POST-feminist society. We certainly do not. True, we've come a long way (Baby), but there is still so much work to do.

william harryman said...

I agree Alex - what I want is a post-gender society, where the sex organs have no impact on the opportunities a person has in life.

But I also want to honor the inherent differences in men and women, NOT as a reason to discriminate but as a reason to celebrate.

We are a long way from women even being equal in many realms, so yes, there is much to do still, sadly.


Jane Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JJ Reich said...

You obviously missed the second to last line - "Somewhere in their late fifties to early sixties, most men begin to turn to their spouse, their parents, their children, and even internally (to themselves) to validate who they are."

Yes, a mature man does gain his validation from himself. And that maturity occurs at differing times in a man's life.

But accounts for very few men, and for some, never at all.

Stop looking at only your own perspective and look at it from a perspective of all men.


Anonymous said...

What I'm missing in this article is what you want in a woman - that would give us an idea what men want - at least tell us what you want ;)

Anonymous said...

I really don't want to beat a dead horse, but I am appalled that you chose only to present the first part of the article--which I know was long, longer than any we've had so far!--which you believed to be written only by women. I am glad that you linked to, but truly that's less honesty than it is "good journalism."

In the interest of honesty, I encourage all of your readers to visit the site and read what all the men had to say (there were some real doozies) and what the rest of the women actually think. This sample is not actually indicative of what women believe men want.

Not that any of us know what we want, either (

Thanks for the mention, though. As you can imagine, we don't get to hear as many male reactions as we would like. I'm truly glad to have read yours!

Meghanne Phillips

william harryman said...

Thanks to everyone for their comments. I didn't think this would get so much attention.

Meghanne, I did encourage my readers to go read the whole article - I did not want to present this as all there was.

Freda, Sorry to have missed that JJ was Jimmy, my mistake.

And Jimmy, sorry you were so offended by my perspective. I don't pretend to speak for all men any more than you should. BUT I do speak for those men who do not want to wait until they are in their 60s to find validation from within - many of us can and do find that in our 20s, 30s or 40s. That is the audience this blog speaks to - if that's not you, no worries - you don't have to read it.

Claudia - that's a topic for a whole other post, one that I am sure I will get to eventually. :)