We are going to look at what men and women want in a relationship, what matters most and where there are gaps.
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What do women want in a relationship? What matters most to men in a relationship? Where do men and women vary on what they desire? We have surveyed listeners, researched what men and women are saying online and even looked at a few studies to bring you all the tea on what women and men want the most when it comes to relationships. We discuss what men and women desire most in a partner, what men and women want most in the bedroom and where the gaps are on both sides.
What do men want most in a relationship?
I weeded through lots of articles and comments threads where men were talking about what they want most in a relationship. We also surveyed our listeners a while back and their answers aligned with what men were saying online. We are going to highlight some of the most common answers I saw from men regarding what they want in a relationship.
- Praise – Almost every article I saw on this lead with or at least included lots of praise and statements such as “make him feel like a hero” which popped up quite a bit. (As women we had some mixed feelings on some of the comments that surrounded this one. Like are we making him feel like a hero for doing his own laundry or…? We were just a little confused here lol.)
- Compliments – Several things I found noted that men would like to receive compliments and appreciation. (While the wording on the previous one caused some question, we think it totally makes sense to compliment and offer words of affirmation to someone you care about.)
- Sex – Many articles also listed sexual connection, positive sexual feedback or initiating sex to show sexual desire for him as a top thing that men value in relationships.
- Physical touch – We came across several comments from men saying that they would love a massage here and there (especially if they are giving them regularly), having their hair played with, cuddling, hugs and other comforting and loving types of physical touch.
- Emotional safety – Someone they can feel vulnerable with was another really common desire we saw from men. In our culture men may not always feel comfortable to be open and vulnerable with friends or in other spaces the way women are. Some comments and articles called this out noting that a romantic relationship may be one of very few spaces where a man feels comfortable opening up more and being vulnerable.
- Decisions – Another common one that popped up was men saying that they would love for their partner to make decisions sometimes. Like if they ask where you want to go to eat – actually pick a place from time to time.
- Clear communication and assertiveness – Men consistently said they want a woman to be more assertive and clear in communication, but what’s interesting on this one is that when it comes to assertiveness in general there were a lot of mixed messages. Men seem to want a woman to be assertive about food choices when asked and even sexual things, letting them know what you like. They want a woman to be assertive in communication so they are clear and not hinting at things in hopes the man will figure it out; however there were also a lot of comments along the lines of respecting men as the authority and not talking too much. These things are not consistent. The woman who will only speak when spoken to and look to her man as the authority is absolutely not the woman who will let you know what their wants and needs are and not be faking every single orgasm. (Sorry not sorry.)
What matters to women most in a relationship?
The first article I found here on Psychology Today put this kind of perfectly saying “Women don’t need partners who invest all their energy in trying to prove how strong, manly, masculine, macho, or heroic they are. They just want men who are willing to meet them where they are and treat them fairly and equitably — and are able to make sure that the romantic spark keeps burning.”
- Moral integrity – This includes honestly, the ability to take responsibility for one’s actions and generally just being someone who cares about others.
- Emotional intelligence and emotional maturity – This was another common answer from women both online and of our listeners. Women are looking for a man who is able to communicate their feelings in a healthy way, support their partner emotionally and be able to connect with someone on a deeper emotional level.
- Physical intimacy and sex – It was specifically noted over and over again that women really desire for sex to be something that is pleasurable for both parties, and not something that is held over them. Many stories of women feeling like men believe they are owed sex if they do something nice, which makes sex start to feel transactional and also centered around the man as something done for him and not something you both want. Women will desire men who please them sexually. I’m sure this goes both ways but seeing that a lot of men really want to feel more sexual desire for them from their partner… learning a little about things like, let’s say… where the clit is could be a great starting point.
- Listening and understanding – Women want someone they can talk to and share with. A lot of times we also want to figure things out for ourselves. Talking things through can help this process. We aren’t always looking for solutions.
- Freedom – The freedom to have relationships and connections with others does not mean women are looking to cheat. Women voiced feeling confined or controlled by partners which is very toxic. Healthy relationships and connections outside of the couple are a good thing. Both men and women should have friends and connections and people they spend time with outside of the relationship. Having your partner be your only friend is never a good thing.
- Safety and security – Women want someone they can feel comfortable to be themselves around and fully trust emotionally and physically
Do men and women want different things in a relationship?
After reading through articles, surveys, studies and our listener feedback what I found really interesting is that for both the lists from men, and the lists from women, the things that made that list as most important also seem to align with where men and women see gaps. It seemed to me like men and women actually both want the same things. The lists were just trying to fill in where each feels needs are not generally met.
What I also think is interesting is that for women – a lot of the needs listed, such as emotional intelligence and integrity and feeling loved and desired, are essential for a lot of women to want to be physically intimate. Many men seemed to prioritize physical intimacy and being more desired by their partners. Just a thought, but if men were viewing their partners as a true equal in and out of the bedroom… would this actually make things better for both parties??? (I vote yes. Smash the patriarchy.)
What do men when in bed?
Men seem to have a desire for women to initiate more. A lot of men did note wanting an emotional connection during sex and they want to know their partner climaxed. They want tenderness and to feel desired and confident about their body. They want enthusiasm – things like dirty talk or a little excited guidance were noted. They want to know what you’re into and you probably will have to verbalize this.
What do women want most sexually?
Women mostly just want to orgasm. There are some things that need to align to give women a fair shot here and these are the things that women want in bed. So what are they? Well first of all, women want foreplay. This one was pretty huge across the board. A lot of guys think they have to last a really like time during penetration, but it is the build up that is actually more important. Being in the right headspace and able to feel safe, sexy and desired is necessary for a woman to enjoy sex. Also women want you to know where the clit is. It’s 2022 guys, and we have Google now. Many articles and some studies noted that the majority of women are not able to climax through penetration alone, which apparently a lot of men still aren’t aware of. Also it seemed the majority of women desire a little dominance in the bedroom.
What are the signs that someone is ready to settle down or get married?
OK side note, but why do we refer to committed relationships and marriage as “settling down”? Like can we leave her wild?
Men often start to feel ready for marriage around the time that they start to feel out of place in single spaces, like clubs. Feeling out of place here can lead to a desire to settle down more and start thinking about marriage. And there is some truth to the idea that men find the woman they are going to marry when they are marriage and relational ready.
Signs that women are ready for marriage typically include starting to drop hints or spark conversations around things wedding related. If a woman has already pointed our what ring or type of ring she likes, what her ring size is… there’s a really good chance she’s ready for you to pop the question.
Several things are going to be true in both men and women with it comes to gauging someone’s readiness for marriage and those things will include voicing a desire for marriage and talking about the future with someone. That may seem obvious, but what isn’t always as obvious is that someone who is not doing any of these probably isn’t ready. If there are not some more obvious signs – It’s likely the person is not very marriage focused or ready.
If someone says they aren’t sure if they want to get married or don’t want to get married… believe them! Don’t try to convince them otherwise.
If someone refers to couples or people who are married as lame or boring or mocks it in general, this is probably not someone who is currently desiring marriage for themselves.