By the Numbers: What Men Really Think When It Comes to Dating

Pin it

What do men really think when it comes to dating? Rather than speculating, why not just ask them?

We collected hundreds of women’s questions about dating, and then asked over 250,000 men to weigh in. Their answers, collected in WTF Are Men Thinking, show that men know exactly what works for them on the dating front – and it’s powerful information for women to learn how and why men think the way they do.

Here’s some insight into what men want when it comes to dating.

Plus: 10 Universal Truths That Will Help You Bond With Anyone On A Date


Be bold.

It’s the 21st century, but still the myth persists that a woman shouldn’t make the first move. Well, the guys told us once and for all: They like it when she takes charge. 82% of the guys said that they like it when women ask them out, and over 60% said they want the woman to be the aggressor in the bedroom. We heard this sort of thing a lot: “To be honest, I don’t always pick up on a woman’s hints about asking her out.” Now you know, so go forth and ask away!


Be courteous.

Guys are definitely checking out how you look, but even more important is how you behave.  84% of men said that what costs women the next date is being rude or arrogant.  This applies to how women act with the men, but how they interact with the waiter, waitress, valet, etc.  Men felt that, “If she acts like that with others, eventually, that’s the treatment I’m going to get.”  This applies to technology as well.  As one man told us, “What’s with women using a phone or texting on a date?  Forget about being rude.  Tells me she’s not interested.  If she’s not, what am I doing here?”


Know what is off-limits.

All men fell that in order for relationship to work, complete honesty is a must.  But there’s one topic for which it’s better to skip the details, at least initially: past relationships. It’s tempting to start getting the dirt on the exes right away – if only to find any warning signs – but men just aren’t comfortable discussing the details of those encounters. Many of them said they prefer to broach the subject after one or two months … and over 25% of the guys said they didn’t want to discuss it at all. Let the relationship develop and you’ll find that he will be more willing to open up to you.


Remember the four-date threshold.

Another theme that came through our research was that men feel that if sex is going to come into play when dating, it will or should occur around the fourth date.  Yes, four dates.  At that point, more than two-thirds of the men say they are going to move on.  That might seem aggressive, but many guys say they take it as a signal. “If we haven’t had sex by then, she’s obviously not interested,” one guy told us. If you like the guy but want to wait, let him know how you feel before he writes you off.


Dress to impress.

Guys may be dunces when it comes to dressing themselves, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they like. Men form an opinion about how you’re dressed almost instantly:  95% of men said they decide within five minutes how they are going to perceive you based on your clothing choices alone.  But that doesn’t mean you need to pull out your skimpiest outfit: The men we interviewed made a clear distinction between sexy and sophisticated. In the words of one guy: “There are clothes that women wear and they scream ‘sexy.’  There are clothes that scream slutty.  And there are clothes that scream, ‘help me, I need diet and exercise.’” [Ed. note: Ouch.]


Be ready for anything.

When we asked the guys what personality trait they look for in a significant other, almost 60% said they wanted someone easygoing and spontaneous. “Hey, if she is fun and can go with the flow, it’s a guaranteed second date!” one guy told us. Men want to have fun with you, especially on a first date, so if you’re into him, suggest a surprising activity after your dinner and a movie – maybe an impromptu karaoke stop or a midnight snack at your favorite diner.


Christopher Brya is the co-author of WTF Are Men Thinking and is one of those guys who buy wine based solely on the design of the label. The founder of Solavista Research, he has worked for 20 years in marketing research and user experience research for brands like Revlon and Motorola. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and two toddlers.