Your Secret Sex Appeal
Figuring out what guys think is sexy must feel like counting grains of sand on a beach — an endless pursuit that leaves you wondering why you bothered trying in the first place. Blondes? We love them. Brunettes, redheads, and anything in between are pretty hot, too. Statuesque women are irresistible, but let's not put down those petite cuties, either. And for every alluring model-thin babe, there's a voluptuous vixen waiting to kick her butt and capture our lusty hearts. You see where this is going.
Wading into the murky waters of the male libido is no simple feat (and not recommended within an hour of eating). When it comes to sexual attraction does it help to have a sculpted bod and a face that makes Helen of Troy look like Whoopi Goldberg? Sure. But there are a few less mythological traits that can turn a guy on and stop him cold. You probably have some of them in your arsenal, and chances are you don't even realize it — though you can bet your husband, boyfriend, or even that cute guy at the gym who's always in line for the water fountain with you has noticed. So keep these in mind, use them to your best advantage, and remember: Sometimes, the only tricky thing about turning us on is deciding how you want to do it.
Every woman says one of the biggest turn-ons is a great sense of humor. We've heard you. That's why we quote your favorite Seinfeld episodes, commit elaborate jokes to memory, and even humiliate ourselves in public to make you laugh. It's not just because we get drunk on the attention you pay us when you crack up at our gags (and believe me, we do). But just as there's something irresistible about a funny guy, there's something about a woman who knows how to laugh and loves to belt one out. Simply put, when we make you happy in the form of full-body, breathless hysterics, you make us happy. "People find laughs very contagious," says Elaine Hatfield, Ph.D., a psychology professor and sex researcher at the University of Hawaii, who points to a study on the contagious, euphoric nature of laughter. "The thesis is that if you 'catch' a laugh, you feel happier." A woman who's not afraid to let herself go and rip off a loud, infectious guffaw also implies that when we're alone, she'll be similarly uninhibited, and won't be afraid if she, or we, bring a little humor into the bedroom. (Please note that hearing your addictive laugh when we get naked is not a turn-on.)
Wear Your Glasses
Putting on your old frames might evoke memories of eighth-grade acne and baby fat in your mind, but for him, your specs have the opposite effect. Slip on a pair of hipster horn-rims and you've not only accentuated your wit, but you've tapped into the essential element of our "naughty librarian" fantasy. "These days everyone's wearing contacts or getting LASIK," says Ian Kerner, author of She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman. "Sometimes guys are attracted to intellectual types. The librarian seems to be a smart, contained woman, yet beneath it, there's a smoldering sexuality." As fewer women need glasses for everyday use, bespectacled babes have become a rare breed, and thus even more of a turn-on. Jason, 30, found himself oddly depressed when his wife, a medical student, signed up for laser surgery. "I was disappointed because I really liked when she wore her glasses," he says. "It was sexy. Plus, it was always a bonus to take one more thing off."
If he's fixated on the teardrop tattoo you got in prison or he's double-checking your neck for signs of an Adam's apple, chances are you're a little too tough. Otherwise, men like a woman who probably comforts sick puppies and bakes pies for her 4-H Club, but who has a mean streak when she needs it. Bill, 30, a financial consultant from Philadelphia, married his high school sweetheart and has seen her sweet exterior give way to her inner action hero. "Once at a bar, she basically re-enacted the Three's Company episode where Jack was going to get beat up and Chrissy, fresh from her self-defense class, stepped in and took this guy down," he says. "Some guy was in my face, and my wife grabbed the dude by the hair and just yanked his head back. He was so stunned he didn't know what to do." There's also something comforting in knowing that we can occasionally take a break from playing the role of alpha male and let you take over — especially behind closed doors, when you make the first move and then keep calling the shots as the situation heats up. "Men go through life having to be the dominators, so it's appealing to be able to relinquish that role," Kerner says. He adds that strength often translates to fitness. "Ultimately, we're attracted to health on a Darwinian level. We're attracted to health and vitality."
Unleash Your Inner Rock Star
We'll call this the Mick Jagger Rule of Relativity. In the real world, a guy who looks like Mick wouldn't be courting supermodels or even JCPenney catalog models. And let's face it, his voice wouldn't get him through an American Idol audition. But it's his charisma onstage that makes ol' Mick and his microphone a sex appeal cocktail. The same logic applies to you. Watching a woman do something she loves to do, and does well, is the sexual equivalent of front-row seats at a rock concert. "It's her intensity and passion, which one hopes translates into an intensity and passion for a mate," says Jay, 34, who has seen women skyrocket in hotness when they strap on a snowboard or dominate an ultimate Frisbee match. "When she lays out for a catch or a defensive block, it says that she's aggressive and goes for what she wants — whether it's a Frisbee or a man." If he doesn't know about your killer moves on the dance floor, lure him to a club and show them off. If you're a ski bunny, make a date on the slopes and dazzle him with your X Games style. And if you really can sing, give a private show — up close in one ear. He'll probably skip the encore and head straight to the afterparty.
"Guys like the crazy woman," says Ron Louis, coauthor of How to Succeed With Women. "Nobody wants to be with someone who's boring." But there is a fine line between "hot crazy" and "scary crazy," á la Courtney Love — a heroin habit and frequent public flashing is not good. So think less about lunacy and more about maintaining your mystique, which is the key to keeping us hooked. "Relationships often center around sexual attraction," Kerner says. "You're getting to know each other, and there's less sexual mystery." In other words, when you've moved all your feminine hygiene products into his bathroom and retired your thong underwear in favor of the white cotton variety endorsed by your grandmother, his lust for you is taking a backseat to your comfort with him. Don't be afraid to be unpredictable and keep us guessing. One 30-year-old bachelor describes a date with a woman he thought was the quiet, wholesome type, until she came back from the bathroom during a movie and casually tucked something into his shirt pocket — her underwear.
Men will always be reduced to Pavlovian drooling at the sight of a woman with pillowy lips, a buoyant chest, and a stomach so flat she probably irons on it. But as tabloids and talk shows bring us voyeuristically closer to the inhumanly gorgeous celebrities we see on TV and the big screen, the appeal of the girl next door is even greater. We know that you don't have Playboy proportions — all we want is a woman who's confident and comfortable enough with herself that she's ready for her close-up. "There's nothing worse than a woman who won't get naked unless the lights are out or covers up the moment she gets out of bed," says Victor, 30, a bachelor from Delray Beach, Florida. "A woman being attracted to herself, in a sense, makes her hotter." Obsessing over your imperfections will only interfere with our enjoyment of everything else about you, physically and otherwise. What's truly sexy is a woman whose self-esteem and comfort with her own body make her feel and act as though she's flawless, and in turn make us feel as though our girl next door is secretly a sexual supernova when she's with us.