What do men want; the facts and fallacies

Man with a dazzling smile

Articles that promise to take on such meaty questions like “what do men want?” often end up into straying into choppy waters. We’ve got no desire to espouse gender stereotypes and misogynistic prejudices here. Rather, we want to get to the bottom of what fellas, of all varieties and preferences, really want in a partner. Is this even something that can be answered? We’ve given it a fair old crack below.

The reality of what men want

Asking what one gender wants in a partner is a topic that’s been done to death. The sheer amount of metaphors batted about, ranging from outdated to absurd (and indeed often both), are clear for all to see. We’re all familiar with the image of a perplexed bloke trying to suss out what it is his woman wants, like some complex puzzle. But how about men? All sex, sex and more sex? Not quite.

Getting to the bottom of what men are after demands critical reflection. This doesn’t mean we’ve got to dig out the sociology textbooks. It does mean we need to take a closer look at one key ingredient; masculinity. You’d hope that to 21st century reader, explaining that the concept of masculinity isn’t as rigid as before shouldn’t be necessary. Unfortunately, plenty of folk aren’t quite up to speed on this topic. That’s right, muscle-bound hunks and chain-smoking Marlboro men no longer represent the calendar of gentry.

On the contrary; the masculine can truly come in all shapes and sizes. Short, tall, chubby, skinny; anything goes. Masculine men love women, and they can also love other men. They can even like both. No longer should we regard masculinity as one exclusive unit. We should instead talk about masculinities, unlimited in number and hybrid in their composition.

What does this mean for big questions like “what do men want?” Well, it makes sense that with multiple men exist multiple desires, especially when it comes to falling in love. One man’s meat is another’s poison, or so they say. But how about finding a few universal qualities all men seek in a partner? We’re convinced that certain things hold true for all…

Big boys do cry

It’s a well-established fact that real men, whatever that may mean, also have fully functioning tear ducts. And they often get put to good use. Crying, or showing emotion for that matter, is one of the bravest things a person can do, and it’s something that should never be castigated. There’s nothing manly about keeping stoically schtum and battling on alone without addressing whatever it is that’s causing pain.

It thus follows that men want a partner who can nurture their emotions when they’re laid out in the cold light of day. Too many men have learnt to be dishonest to themselves and hide their feelings. When they’re able to finally open up it’s a massive step in the right direction, not an admission of weakness. Nobody needs to “man up” here.

It therefore stands that emotional maturity is a vital quality that men seek in a partner. Knowing that any issue can be broached at any time, regardless of its scale, is integral. Being able to discuss relationship problems (or any other concerns for that matter) in a calm and considered manner will win a man’s respect. They’re also characteristics he should return to his partner too!

Let’s get physical

Ten points for guessing what the subheading of this section points towards. That’s right, having a healthy sex life is central to a maintaining a strong relationship. Physical intimacy is also something that’s preached (for better and for worse) as being synonymous with masculinity, so it makes sense that it’s something a man looks for in a relationship too. But hold up just one second here.

Just like the concept of masculinity, a “healthy” sex life is very much open to interpretation, and is often something that’s defined by two people in a loving relationship. The crux here is keeping communication open and establishing what desires need to be met for both parties to feel satisfied. One of the joys of love-making is that it celebrates a deep connection between two people, and like every close-knit tie, it’s unique and special.

It goes without saying that being a man doesn’t have to mean you have to possess a virility that’d put Eros to shame. This is a point that’s especially relevant to men of a more mature vintage. Having a libido that’s not as potent as it once was by no means makes a man less masculine. Working around this, and having a partner who’s attuned this is key here.

Independent wo/men

From a young age the vast majority of men are taught that the most effective way to display masculinity is to dominate all areas of their life. Whether this means exercising control over their emotions or trying to exert power over other people, we’re now waking up to the damage this flawed life-lesson inflicts upon young men. It’s something that’s particularly corrosive for gender relations too.

What men really want in a partner is someone who thrives off of being independent, whilst respecting their need to be autonomous too. It’s a mistake to interpret this as being aloof. Rather, having this equilibrium in a relationship is a workable framework for equality. It also ensures that both people feel that their needs aren’t being neglected or stifled.

A man shouldn’t feel threatened by the fact their partner has a life separate from them. In fact, this is something that should and can have a positive impact on a relationship. Having your own sphere means you better appreciate the time you get to spend together. It also means things are kept fresh as you both have news to bring to the table when you’re in each other’s company.

Having a laugh

Last but not least, having a sense of humour is something every man wants in his partner. There’s no questioning the value of being able to see the funny things in life, especially when facing up to those not so rosy events, or tackling a new challenge. There are even scientific studies that suggest laughter limits the effect of stress-causing hormones such as cortisol and ephedrine. No joke!

It all boils down to not taking things to seriously. One of the most underrated traits of masculinity is acceptance; having the confidence and tenacity to know it will turn out OK in the end. Men who’ve mastered this will appreciate it when their partner also realises that relationships aren’t always plain sailing and often involve work. This makes coming together and laughing about the trivialities even more important, as it only makes you stronger in the long run.

As mentioned earlier, a lot of issues stem from an inability to be open with each other. What’s more, it’s something men are famed for being bad at. Laughter is a great way to break down the bulwarks of yesterday’s masculinity and find a way to his heart. It’ll also make you both a lot happier if you can have the occasional chuckle.

Hopefully we’ve given you a good bit of insight into what men want when it comes to love. If you’re still not sure and want a bit more advice, why not reach drop our editorial team a line via [email protected]? If you’re looking for a stellar fella, why not register with EliteSingles today and meet the man of your dreams? What’s stopping you!

About the author: Alex Rennie

See more articles written by Alex Rennie