Ladies, you already know how it goes. Throughout the ages, women have been given a bad rap when it comes to relationships. All our complexities and individuality are boiled down into oversimplified generalizations like: “women are needy, women just want a man’s money, women play games, and women just want to capture a husband to make babies.”
It’s miserable and insulting.
But let’s be fair, men have been oversimplified too. When we think about men and relationships what often comes to mind? Sex. All we hear is that men only want sex. Sex, sex, and more sex.
Sure, sex is absolutely wonderful. But isn’t there more to a relationship than just sex? After all, if what men want is just to get it on, wouldn’t all men only hire out the sex acts and leave all other interactions with women behind? Men get a bad rap too.
It’s 2016 and society still doesn’t want men to show emotions (just like society still doesn’t want us, women, to admit we love sex).
Honestly, we are still denying that men feel anything at all. Other than horny, of course. But I’m not buying it. Men are humans. Women are humans. Humans have emotions beyond the sudden urge to mate.
If I hate being unfairly categorized and shamed, I’m assuming men do too. So I’m out to crush negative stereotypes – not only for women, but also for men. This left me with the questions:
If it’s not all about sex, what do men want from women? Why are they in relationships at all?
I wanted to give men an outlet to be entirely honest and vulnerable, so I created an anonymous online survey and let a handful of men of different ages and relationship statuses talk to me about what men want from women and relationships without fear of “getting found out.”
No shame, no guarded words. Just total honesty.
And I was shocked, ladies. I’ll even let you in on the secret before you read their answers:
Men want the exact same things out of a relationship that women want.
I’m not joking. Partnership and belonging are two of the most common themes in what men want.
Read on to see their vulnerable answers and my initial reactions to each:
Age 22. Status: Dating.
It would make me happy and feel appreciated if she would understand that I do that stuff to show her how much I care for her. As a man, appreciation is very important to me. And I don’t want to be appreciated for no reason. But I do want what I do for her to be appreciated.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a woman say she wanted to feel appreciated, I’d be doing plenty of appreciating on my very own private yacht. This is a human need tied in with belonging. If we have good men, we should regularly remind them that we notice their goodness.
Age 24. Status: In a Relationship.
All I want is someone that allows me to open and honestly share my life with them. The good, the bad, the big moments and the small.
I think sometimes that women have heard the narrative that men don’t care about emotions, they forget to pay attention when their guy really wants to be open, honest, and real. Maybe the lesson here for us is to leave judgement-free space for when our guys really want to be open and honest with us. Not to pick at them to open up, but just allow room for them share when they want to.
Age 27. Status: In A Relationship.
Easy going, not high maintenance. Honest and not totally obsessed with money or having material items. Open to adventure at the drop of a dime and willing to grow outside of their comfort zone.
One symptom of the “men are obsessed with sex” stereotype suggests that they want all their women to look like Victoria Secret models (sure, even I find them hot!). But most men are looking for real women who aren’t afraid to mess up their hair in order to go experience something great. Sometimes I wonder if all the primping is more to show off for other women than to show off for our men.
Age 29. Status: In A Relationship.
I want the sense of security that comes when you get to really know someone and can let your guard down and be who you are. You can actually be yourself.
This is the jackpot answer. What human doesn’t want to feel like they can belong? How many woman want to take off the literal and figurative makeup with their men and be accepted and enjoyed for the real them? Men want the same thing.
Age 34. Status: Single.
I am looking for a strong woman who wants a partner to journey with. I don’t want a woman who needs me I want a woman who WANTS to partner with me on the life journey. I don’t want someone who wants to rely on me but one who wants to partner with me. I want a woman I can listen to but also someone who can sit still and then listen to me, allow me to open up and pour all my junk out and be there as a support for me just as I can listen and support her.
If the old idea that a woman needs a man is on one side of a coin, the the idea that men need to be everything for a woman is on the other side. Sure, we are expected to live up to Barbie expectations, but they are expected to live up to Superman expectations. When we are strong women standing on our own, we are letting our men know they don’t need to be everything all the time. We both win.
Age 39. Status: Married.
I look for my partner to complement me, that is, to be good at the stuff I’m not good at. I don’t like to be embarrassed publicly; so don’t put me down in front of me and our friends. I look for my partner to listen first, not assume she already knows what I’m about to say. I look for my partner to be up for whatever (within reason 😉 ) and able to try to find the good in a situation.
These ideas in a nutshell: show him respect, listen attentively, and enjoy life and each other. Sounds like what I want too.
Age 47. Status: Married.
Sex is a big part, of course. But, having someone who gets you is big, as well. It’s nice to share a deeper connection than just physical intimacy.
Are you seeing a theme yet? You should be. “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.” – Brené Brown
Age 53. Status: Married.
I like the idea of a person to grow older with. As we progress through life, we develop similar interests based on our close age and common life experiences, such as theater, traveling, hobbies, etc. … To me, that’s where so many older men who leave their wife/families for a younger woman truly go wrong, the physical stimulation does not compare to the intellectual stimulation they have lost.
Most guys just want somebody to go through life with. To have experiences with. To do things. Most men are not brutes. They have interests and ideas that go beyond the bedroom.
Age 57. Status: Married.
Just to be told I am loved.
Sometimes, it really is that simple.
The Bottom Line- What Men Want
1. Not all men are sex obsessed.
The unfortunate group of chauvinistic and hateful men have tarnished the reputation of the whole bunch. Let this small survey of men remind you, however, that good men are looking for so much more than sex. They want a partner.
2. Men and women are not all that different.
We have similar needs and desires, particularly love and belonging. If we focused on the similarities and refused to be defined by society’s standards, it’s safe to say our relationships would greatly improve.
I know many women may feel frustrated thinking, “But my man doesn’t seem to want to show any vulnerability like this at all. He doesn’t share his emotions or express these things.” Let me remind you, I gave men an entire anonymous opportunity to express themselves freely. My guess is many (if not most) men want these same things, but feel pressured to keep up their tough guy persona. It’s socially acceptable for men to want nonstop sex, but still taboo for them to want real vulnerability and emotional partnership.
If, you’re reading this and thinking, “But my man is a totally sex-obsessed brute.” Then it’s time to decide if that’s the type of man you want in your life. There are other types of men. But, I challenge you to look a little deeper. Is sex the only way he feels comfortable to connect with you?
Look, ladies. I’m a proud feminist. I think injustice is real. I think women are still not equal. I think there is still a fight in front of us. But in the process of fighting for justice, let’s not forget that gender stereotyping is wrong and harmful on both sides of the spectrum.
We can still learn from these honest comments about what men want, try to be the best partners we can be, and give the good guys a little extra credit.
If you’re like most women, you’re frustrated with men, dating, and relationships… and for good reason.
You might be wondering things like:
Why is he so hard to talk to?
What is he thinking about? (And does he really love me?)
Why did he just leave, and suddenly lose interest in me?
Why can’t a man just love me and be faithful?
Well, the answer might surprise you. It was definitely a HUGE revelation to me.
Recently, a respected relationship consultant released an insightful video presentation about a huge lightbulb moment he had during an ordinary lunch.
What started out as a lunch with a friend turned into the accidental discovery of a hidden “gap” in the mind of every man… a gap that explains more about what men want from women, and why men get cold feet and let seemingly promising relationships fall apart.
If you find yourself constantly frustrated with guys, and just want a real connection with a man that loves you for you, you NEED to watch this video.
You’ll discover how to close “the gap” and start to enjoy the love and connection you’ve always wanted.