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Women are complicated creatures. Trying to figure out how to talk to them, impress them, and even get them to go out with you? To many men, it’s even more of a mystery. Fortunately, sex and relationship counselors navigate these waters for a living.
That’s why we touched base with Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman to debunk the biggest mistakes you’re making when it comes to grabbing her attention.
Here, four myths to stop believing—and better behaviors more likely to land you the lady.
1. Myth: She Wants You to Be Macho
“I think sometimes on dates, men feel like they need to take charge—whether it’s picking a place to eat or in the way they talk,” says Kerner. But there’s a big difference between choosing a great spot for your date and being funny—or puffing your chest out in everything you do and say just because.
What she actually wants: For you to be an all-around gentleman. How you interact with others is a key part of attracting a woman, says Kerner. “Treating waiters and Uber drivers well goes a long way toward showing that you’re compassionate and respectful.”
2. Myth: You Always Have to Be Making Her Laugh
There’s no way around it: First dates can be nerve-wracking. But sometimes, Kerner says that anxiety can fuel men to feel like they always have to be talking, making her laugh, and filling the time with their words. And while studies tend to agree that ladies are more attracted to funny guys, a one-on-one comedy show isn’t the way to her heart.
What she actually wants: A dialogue, not a monologue, says Kerner. Take a deep breath, focus on what she’s saying, and ask questions. New research suggests that women are more attracted to mindful men. In the small Australian study, researchers noted that men who ranked high in mindfulness were less angry, listened more carefully, were more empathetic, and also paid more attention to the person across the table in a speed-dating event.
3. Myth: She’s on the Hunt for Love
It’s easy to think that all women are wired for relationships (by nature the fairer sex is more invested in the reproductive process). And if you’ve ever gotten a glimpse of a wedding Pinterest board, you might think every woman you take to dinner has the end goal of an engagement ring in mind.
What she actually wants: Depends. She could want a serious relationship—but she could also very well just be after a fun fling. A recent study published in The Archives of Sexual Behavior found that men and women were equally as likely to be up for casual sex. So drop the assumptions, enjoy yourself, and see where the night goes.
4. Myth: You Have to Be a Sex God
“A lot of men feel that sexually, they have to perform like porn stars—last a really long time, have a super firm erection, and be competent in half a dozen different positions,” says Kerner. And not only does that create a lot of anxiety for you, it makes her anxious, too, he says. The good news is it’s not true.
What she actually wants: Slow, meaningful sex. “Slow and steady wins the race is true sexually as well,” says Kerner. So instead of trying to put on a show, tune into your bodies, the smells, sights, and sounds, and her pleasure, too. Understanding that the clitoris is the powerhouse of the female orgasm will help bring her to orgasm (and show you care)—increasing her attraction to you every time.