Male Attractiveness: The Female Perspective

I am known as a health fitness guy.  It is where I have published most of my work.  What many don’t know is that I have been working in the field of self-help and self-development for just as long.  It is equally a passion and an expertise of mine.
One of my main areas of interest is relationships and attraction. I took extra shifts in couples counseling in med school, and have taken countless life coaching certifications.  I am known to read research papers on attraction and male and female sexual function. I eat, live and breathe relationship stuff in the same way I do workouts and metabolism.
About three years ago, I decided I would begin the research phase for a book on the subject. So I set out to infiltrate the modern day hotbeds of sex and dating, the internet dating sites. I created accounts at Plenty Of Fish,, Tinder, Bumble and a ton more.  I even had an account on the infamous
I interviewed over a hundred women over email, Skype calls or in person and I created a survey that has captured over a thousand more responses.  Ladies if you are interested in helping me out with this project, you can go to the link below to fill out the survey.  I give you a free internet dating guide for your troubles. It would mean a lot.
What I learned has been invaluable to me as a man.  I understand women so much better than I ever did before. I also understand men better as a result too.  I want to share with you men (and women too) some of what I learned.
An experiment.
As I prepared to write this blog I decided to do a little experiment to test it out.  Before I tell you about the experiment, let me share something I know about women. I post a lot of hardcore fitness images on my @jadeteta Facebook page.
One of my girl friends asked me once, “Jade what’s with all the shirtless photos?  You know you are going to turn off a lot of your female client base at Metabolic Effect right (Metabolic Effect is my fitness company and it is 70% female clientele)?  I told her I did know that, and that the strategy behind the hardcore fitness photos was to attract men.
My personal brand is one I gear more towards male issues.  Men are typically not big into self-help.  But, put the self help messages in the context of hardcore fitness, and you attract a unique brand of men, similar to yourself. Fitness junkies who are also psychologically deep, educated, good communicators and emotionally mature. That is who my shirtless pics are really going after, men.
Interestingly, the strategy has worked very well and I have equal male and female followers here at So Now, you understand a little more why I chose the pictures below to send.
I sent the text below to over twenty of my close friends, who are girls.  Some of them were exes. Some of them were friends who knew me well. A couple of them were women I had only recently met. One of them was my sister, and another was my niece. All but a few, I consider close friends. The age ranged from 55 to 24.
Here was the text:
“So honest question from the female perspective which of these two pics do you think I am leaner in? Which do you prefer? Is there a strong difference to you? All else being equal, do you prefer a muscular look, a softer look or a skinnier look? I am interested in any thoughts you have good or bad. I am sending this to at least 10 of my close girlfriends all of different ages and relationship status. Can you help?”
Well, I ended up sending it to way more than 10 of my friends, as the girls were all too eager to chime in.  I have great friends.  Almost everyone I sent it to responded.  Here was the pic I attached.
Although it may not seem like it, there was a method to this game.  I purposely structured my question the way I did.  I had a hunch that I wanted to prove or disprove. I also chose these two pictures carefully. They were taken almost exactly one year apart (pic on the right was from two days ago, and the one on the left was from last year).  I also had a hunch on these pics. I thought there would be a clear winner.
Although I was surprised by several things I had never even thought about that came up, my hunches were largely correct.
Most of the girls chose the pic on the left as their preferred. Interestingly, most of the comments good and bad came from the picture on the right, it was more polarizing.
What are women attracted to in men?
Now please don’t feel bad for me when I tell you some of these responses. I cultivate honesty in my relationships so some of these women are being 100% true to that. They know I would not have it any other way and they are just joking with me, not being rude.
The first response was, “Jade, you look like a complete dick in the picture on the right. If I didn’t know you, I would definitely think you were a dick.”  hahaha.  She did go on to say, “but that V thing in your lower abs is nice.”  She preferred the one on the left.  After this text back I knew this was going to be interesting.
Here is a smattering of some of the other responses so you can see:
“Love the smile on the left.  But what is up with that shaved body? Definitely keep the hair. Can I put hair on the left one? LOL?
“I just showed this to a bunch of girls over here at work? They don’t know you, but they want to have sex with the guy on the right and relationship with the guy on the left. haha.  Is that what you wanted?  You asked?”
“Jade, are you serious?  This is completely gay. I am not answering this. You look fit in both. At least you are smiling on the left.”
“Wow. You look great Jade. I think you are leaner on the right.  More muscular too. Maybe it is just the tan?  I like the beard and the body hair. The smile on the right though. Its adorable.”
“That no hair thing makes me think of my little brother.  I am pro chest hair. Skinny no.  But I can’t be with a super fit guy, he will make me feel like I have to sport a six pack just to kick it. And I hate guys with scrawny legs.  Full fitness top to bottom please.”
“You are darling in both of them.  The jean look is the shot.”
“Are you fishing for compliments?  You are hot as hell ok!  The smile on the left, with the body on the right.”
“I cant even play this game.  I don’t want to see dude’s with their shirts off until after I have been with them.”
“Well, you look like a desperate cheeseball in the picture on the right.  A hot one, but still a cheeseball. Honestly, put a shirt on! hahaha  You know I love you ;-)”
“The pic on the right looks like a romance novel cover photo, but I like the more natural pose on the left.  It is a more realistic man.”
“I prefer the pic on the right with a tan and adonis belt, and hair on chest AND looks leaner…. don’t love the selfie pose though.”   Hmm… Adonis Belt?  I did not realize women had a name for this?  Apparently it is the V taper of the lower abdomen?
Integrating it with what I knew already
First off, I already knew that women, at least the online dating ones I spoke with, and that filled out my interview, hate the bathroom selfie shot.  They don’t like shirtless photos in general.
Also, unlike men, women go to the face, eyes and smile first.  Whereas, oftentimes, men look at the body first. Men are looking at the woman in the photo, women are taking in the entire context of the picture. It is like they are deciphering the story it tells.
Also striking, and predicted, almost no one answered the question about which was most lean? Many of the answers were completely emotional. Visceral reactions to what they though the pictures represented.  I was right on in my guess that this would be the case.
The picture on the left I am out and about.  I did not take the picture someone else did.  The smile is genuine and looks more candid. Most preferred this.
The picture on the right is posed. It is a selfie in a bathroom mirror. The smile on my face could be mistaken as a smirk. It says something very different in the story line. Most did not prefer although, this one did get more virtual cat calls.
My hunch was that the girls would prefer the picture on the left. I thought so for many of the reason’s they cited. The smile was the biggest one.  I was correct.
But I did notice way more comments about the right photo. It definitely had more comments and reactions overall. The body hair. The facial hair. More head hair. The “adonis belt.” Is there a hidden thing going on here the women are not telling me?
There did seem to be a hint of something that comes up in the research for women, and one comment just blatently said it.  There are men women want to have sex with and different men they want to date and have a relationship with.  This changes based on their menstrual cycle too according to research.
What I learned?
This experiment reinforced exactly what I would have suspected. Women look at men differently.  They can smell neediness a mile away.  They don’t like attention seeking men. The selfie I think signaled that. They like authentic smiles and real situations. The selfie was more of a turn-off.
Ironically, they don’t mind shirtless guys when those men are in action doing something. Shirtless riding a tractor? Fine. Shirtless rock climbing? Good? Shirtless in the gym?  Still acceptable, but not as much. Shirtless selfies?  No. Not unless they are dating you.
What is on the inside
Women are trying to assess what is inside.  What type of partner would you be?  They want to see you have a life. Pictures with friends. Pictures doing what you like (playing the guitar, or at a softball game). Pictures having fun. Pictures with kids and dogs.  All of those things tell a story that you are a fun, normal, non-needy guy.
Bragging pics have the reverse effect.  Pics with an expensive car. Pics with a bunch of hot women. Pics showing off money.  Pics showing off, period. And yes, pics showing off your body.
The Authentic Male
In the end it is about authenticity and approachability when it comes to women and their attraction to men.  Can he make me laugh?  Am I comfortable in conversation with him? Does he pay me enough attention without smothering me?  How is he with other people socially?  Is he kind and generous?
The major factor that women seek is authenticity. They don’t always use that word, but what they say boils down to that.  Their number one turn off?  It is neediness.  Again, they don’t always use that word, but that is what it comes down to.
A tip for men and women 
Here is one thing both men and women should know.  It is not 100% true of all men and women, but it is a generalization I think holds most of the time.  It also explains a lot of confusion for men and women in dating.
Women evaluate men on the emotional level first.  They want to know if you are a good guy.  They need to know, like and trust you first.  When they do, then they contemplate sleeping with you.  By the time most women sleep with a man, they already know they like him. So women evaluate emotionally first, and then they go physical.
Most men are the exact opposite.  They evaluate physically first, and then after sex they are evaluating emotionally. If you are a women and ever had a man turn into a completely different guy after sex, you now understand why.  You may have thought you knew him, but you did not.  He does not even start really deciding whether he is going to connect emotional or not until you have been sexual.
He will play a great game of course. He may even convince himself, but after sex is when you will really know who he is.
This is an uncomfortable realization for many men and women, but it is absolutely true, most of the time, and explains a lot of the frustration with dating.
A final tip for men
I wanted to write this blog, because so many men I talk to do not understand how most women, not all, are evaluating them.  They are NOT evaluating you physically in the way you are with them. Women give men far more latitude in terms of physical appearance. You are not disqualified if you have a little bit of a belly.
Funny enough, you could be disqualified if you are too fit. It is like the Amy Shumer joke, “Having sex with him was like fucking an ice sculpture.”  Women do not want to feel like they have to be physically perfect and a physically perfect guy often can make them feel this way.
And here are a few really good tidbits I have picked up from my girl friends.  You ready?
Most women do indeed prefer men who are taller.  At least taller than them.  But there are a few who could care less, and one of my friends, who is 5’9, actually prefers short men. Go figure?
Women, us men prefer you shorter than us as well.  There are of course men who like tall women, but most prefer to be taller.  So those heels you wear? Yeah, they might be a hidden issue if you are taller than all your men.
Penis size? It matters to very few women. They just want it to work. There is a bell-shaped curve for women’s preferences in penis size.  Too small is not good, but neither is too big.  If you are in the average, you are perfect. More on erections and penis size in a future blog.
Women, guys are not as concerned with your labia as you think. Just thought I would let you know.
For men and women, smell trumps all.  I guess the science of pheromones still needs to be unlocked?
Hope this was helpful and fun.
This article originally appeared on Jade’s Blog.
mastermindDr. Jade Teta is an integrative physician specializing in natural health, fitness and body transformation. He completed his undergraduate training at North Carolina State University, earning a bachelors of science in biochemistry. He then went on to study at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington completing his doctorate in naturopathic medicine.
Dr. Teta has worked in the fitness and weight loss fields for over 25 years, and is the developer of the rest-based training system for personal training and group exercise. He is also the co-founder of the international health, fitness and weight loss company, Metabolic Effect. His background in natural medicine, along with his fitness and life coaching expertise, has defined his healthcare specialties of hormonal weight loss, functional medicine approaches to chronic disease and psychology and self-development.
Dr. Teta is also a contributing author to The Textbook of Natural Medicine, the leading natural medicine textbook. He writes and lectures extensively on the subjects of lifestyle medicine, natural health, fitness and weight loss to both health care professionals and the public. He also
His work has been featured on Huffington Post, T-Nation, Lifetime TV, Fox News, Onfitness Magazine, Prevention, Townsend Letter, National Public Radio, Women’s Health, Oxygen, First For Women, Delicious and many more.
He blogs extensively on the topics of hormonal approaches to body change, the science of exercise and supplementation, sleep and stress management, and the psychology of change and happiness.

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