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Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.


Men and Women - Turnons and Turnoffs

Quick Access:
Different Turnons and Turnoffs Between Men and Women


Do men and women have different turnons and turnoffs?

 

 

The public likes to think that men and women are vastly different creatures. After all, news reports are constantly sensationalizing “sex differences” or “gender differences” (the difference being one is supposedly rooted in biology and the other in learned, socially-sanctioned norms). And our own experience often tempts us in believing that men and women think and therefore act differently. Well, research has identified some differences between the sexes in both in terms of biology and socially-learned behaviors, but more often than not men and women are more alike than different.

The same is often, but not always, true for issues of sexuality. The Plenty of Fish Sexual Seduction Survey found that men and women actually share the same basic turnons and turnoffs. They may not weigh them all the same, but the sexes clearly agree on the basic ingredients in the recipes for what makes for romantic “bliss” and what makes for a romantic “miss.” The major turnoff for both sexes was bad hygiene. The take-a-way is clear:

» In online photos always look your best, and update your photo regularly so you appear fresh and hip.

» Offline, always double-check your appearance before leaving for a date.

» Always keep breath mints, travel-size deodorant, a comb or brush and some cologne in the car—because you definitely will need them at some point.

» After being seated at a restaurant, make a point to excuse yourself and tell your date, “Excuse while I wash my hands for dinner.” Let the person hear you say this, so s/he will appreciate the attention to hygiene.

» Dates, especially first dates, can be stressful. But, be cognizant of how you cope with the stress. Many people fidget by touching their faces constantly. Don’t do this! Besides being unhygienic, it simply looks unattractive.

» Consider using whitening strips for your teeth if you’re a smoker or have strong tea or coffee stains. But, don’t bleach your teeth so white that they look unnatural.

» Wash your clothes well, and if need be, only use a professional launderer for the clothes you prefer to wear on dates so you’ll be confident it was done right and that you will look attractive.

» I’m told that “cleanliness is next to godliness,” but taking cleanliness too far will also damage your dating chances. Don’t come across overly preoccupied with constantly washing your hands or avoiding touching things else people could perceive you as neurotic.

The major turnon for both sexes was a passionate and romantic demeanor. The take-a-way is clear:

» Don’t overdo the coy, shy and playing hard to get routine. Show interest!

» Mind your manners and show class.

» Be in the moment when you’re with a partner… leave work and personal issues at home as opposed to bringing them with you mentally on a date. People can tell when someone is preoccupied, and preoccupied people are dating “buzz kills.”

» Show good eye contact, smile, act comfortable and be a good listener.

» Exude confidence – and one way is to dress in what makes you feel attractive and confident. Also, choose date locations or activities that are familiar. It’ll reduce anxiety, since you’ll more at ease in familiar surroundings.

» Only give sincere compliments.

» Talk about topics that feed – not diminish – romance. Good subjects are: hopes and aspirations, personal interests, music, dreams and travel. Poor subjects are: politics, other dates, past relationships, science fiction, religion and celebrities.


 


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