I Find Most Men Unattractive. What’s Wrong With Me?

I Find Most Men Unattractive. What’s Wrong With Me

I find the vast, vast, vast majority of men unattractive. Mostly it’s that I don’t have any physical attraction to them, but once in a while (about twice a year if I’m on a lot of dating sites, or once every few years if I’m not), I’ll meet someone I actually think is good looking (a hint here is that I find most celebrities physically unattractive, apparently my sex drive is picky but I couldn’t tell you why – although I DO have a high sex drive…).

However, I’m also aware having been through a lot of therapy after numerous and significant mental health difficulties (eating disorders etc.) that I tend to date cold or unavailable men and then not ask for more and maintain that emotional distance – essentially, I seem to have been in a habit of avoiding intimacy by going out with people I don’t find attractive, or more often than I’d like to admit, men who I know are gay before I even ask them out…otherwise they’re narcissistic or give mixed messages, or aren’t close in some way etc.

Knowing that I have that pattern, I made a promise to myself to pick up on coldness whenever I find someone attractive and to walk away. And that is something I do – I look specifically for empathy. And guess what…on those very rare occasions when the idea of kissing/sleeping with someone is not downright unappealing, they’re cold and narcissistic, and so I walk away.

Now to be honest, I’m not too bothered about finding someone in the next couple of years, I’m still young at 28 and my career is my priority right now, so I’m not in too much of a hurry, but the reason why it’s been bothering me is that I’m actually starting to worry that my family messed me up so much I’ll never be able to love anyone. I’m therapied out and no longer diagnosable – I’ve made a massive recovery and feel extremely healthy – so I don’t think more therapy is going to suddenly make me find more men attractive.

I have tried being with people I don’t find attractive – and I usually remain friends with very nice men I have tried to date but didn’t find attractive, and I’m afraid they don’t start growing on me. They just become my friend.

Have you come across this and do you think the reason I find so many men physically unappealing is because of something psychological? Some of my friends think it’s do with the bar being raised…I’m quite attractive myself and I’ve had a lot of attention from the opposite of sex since I was about 13, including the “very good looking”, so perhaps it’s just knowing what I could have and that that’s influencing me?

SG

I feel for you, SG. I do. After all of your therapy, you are as self-aware as you can be, and yet it still seems to me that you have some significant blind spots about your problem.

Now, first of all, I want to make it crystal clear: you are not alone. Women, on the whole, are far more discerning than men when it comes to physical attraction. In the linked OkCupid study, women think that 80% of men are BELOW average in attractiveness, when, in a normal distribution, that number should be 50%. I’m not going to say whether these women are right, although THEY certainly feel they are. I will say that men, for all their flaws, are equal opportunity daters in a way that women are not. While they will still lust for the hottest woman around, they’ll ultimately marry someone in their league, which, empirically, is not always that attractive.

Men, for all their flaws, are equal opportunity daters in a way that women are not.

Your issue, however, is a little more extreme, and reminds me of a client I had a few years back. Very attractive woman – a 43-year-old personal trainer who hated online dating for the very reason you mentioned. No one was attractive enough for her. When we went through the website to take inventory, I asked her to put 40 guys on her favorites list. She couldn’t even do so. The only 6 guys she found attractive looked like 32-year-old GQ models whose preferred age range was 22-29. My client was pretty much out of luck because she found less than 1% of men attractive, including NO men her own age who wanted her in return.

Let’s just say that this wasn’t one of my success stories.

And this is where we bump up against one of my limitations of a coach. I’m not a psychologist who has been trained to delve into your past; my specialty is helping women in the present model confident behavior to elicit better results in the future. Your issue, in this instance, isn’t lack of confidence; it’s something that runs much deeper, something you only hinted at when you say that your family “messed you up.” Without knowing you, I have to concur.

Just read what you wrote to me:

“(I) avoid intimacy by going out with people I don’t find attractive.”

Sorry, but I want to challenge that assertion. You avoid intimacy by going out with people you DO find attractive – because the only people you find attractive are, in your words, “cold and narcissistic.”

That begins in your childhood, SG, usually with an absent, distant, or abusive father.

And so it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The only men you’re drawn to are the worst ones; the other 99%, you eliminate because you’re not attracted to them.

There’s being discerning, and there’s being impossible, and you’ve unfortunately raised the bar so high that no man can jump it.

You seem to be somewhat aware of this when you state that you walk away from emotionally distant men – and yet you claim they’re the only people you sleep with, since the “vast, vast, vast” majority of men are unattractive to you.

And here you are, writing to me, wondering if you will ever be able to love anyone.

You have every right to worry.

I can’t “fix” you from here, but I can tell you that something is very wrong if you only find 2 people attractive “every few years.” There’s being discerning, and there’s being impossible, and you’ve unfortunately raised the bar so high that no man can jump it.

You are attracted to the wrong men for reasons beyond your control. You need to rewire yourself on what it means to be in a healthy relationship. And if it means you have to dial down your attraction from a 10 to a 7, in order to find an emotionally healthy guy, that’s a price well worth paying.

That may sound awful to you on two counts: 1) you refuse to compromise on chemistry, and 2) you don’t think that a 7 chemistry actually exists. For you, it’s all or nothing. I believe you.

But that’s not normal, it’s not healthy, and it will leave you no dating options whenever you do decide to take your love life seriously again.

Get thee to a really good therapist. You’re worth the investment.

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Comments:

  1. 91
    Alison james

    Read the title.  It’s not that men are unattractive, it’s that she is concerned that there is something wrong with HER.   I have the same problem.  I’m heterosexual but find even the most attractive men undesirable.  Could be because of my past history with men, but my subconsious won’t allow me to have any desire.  It’s too risky from a health point of view.  I want a long happy life, I don’t want to die from the stress, like other women I’ve seen.

  2. 92
    Shell

    There always have to be the smart ass twits Who suggest She’s lesbian. Really? How narrow minded can You be? Like the author, I too am finding that I have not had a sexual spark with a man in a long time and like Her, I have a high sex drive. It’s a frustrating situation to be in. I’m not attracted to women and never will be. Does it worry Me? Clearly enough to Google My way to this page.

    Accepting that instant chemistry is rare, that maybe I’m picky, and that sometimes love and attraction can grow from friendship, I have gone out with Men Who are good, decent, attractive…etc etc. I enjoy being with them, and I find Myself hoping that I’ll develop an attraction to them, but it’s just not there! I wish with all My heart it was! If I follow much of the advise of online therapy, I should just sleep with them anyway. WTF?  How can You have sex with someone Who doesn’t inspire any sexual desire in You at all…..that is wrong!

    Have I had bad relationships in the past that burnt Me? Sure, but so have most people at some stage.

    I am finding all the online advise, contrite and straight out of the psychological textbooks.

    You can’t find love or attraction because You’re too closed off, You’re the reason……blah blah blah BULLSHIT!

    In saying that, all the articles and posts I have read have helped. It’s made Me realise how many people are finding themselves in this same place. Do Some of them have deep seated problems and need help? sure. However,  from what I can see, most of Us are just in a phase that will ultimately pass…a dry spell that will end sooner or later. At some point We will be in the right place, at the right time, with the right person.

    Bottom line We are all wired differently. Some people find that magical combination of great sex and a fantastic partner. Others are happy for mediocre sex and great partner or vice versa. Some people are settlers and will take anyone rather than be alone. Others live by the mantra ‘fussy doesn’t fuck’ while on the opposite scale there are those of Us Who need to feel connected either emotionally or sexually before We are intimate. We’d rather be alone than be with someone that isn’t the right fit.

    I don’t think I’m fussy. I don’t think I’m blocking My own path to happiness. Some things just can’t be forced. Sexual attraction is one of them.

    I’d love to feel that spark with someone again.  One day I hope I will. Until then, I’ll value My friendships and family  and get a good vibrator.

     

     

  3. 93
    Jean

    I am so glad someone post this because I was beginning to think I wasn’t human. I find almost every man unattractive.

  4. 94
    Crys

    Aside from my not wanting to be in a committed relationship and before I had my now poor perspective of men and relationships, I am one of those women who are rarely, if ever, physically attracted to most men out there.  I am almost 42. I have not dated since my now ex husband left me in April 2011. I was heart broken and repairing myself inside and out for years. I have struggled with societal influence and pressure to mate/be married/in a relationship.  Mostly I have wondered why I am not attracted to men – there has been one that I have been attracted to in over 4 years and that one, he was 11 years younger than me (gross, no way, I don’t do that Cougar thing, hate being a cliche) and I knew that it would go no where, end badly and be another horrible experience and that my priorities are wrapped up in myself and career advancement – accomplishment of long held goals and dreams – a relationship takes far too much time, effort and emotion – none of which I am willing to expend. So I never acted on anything and we are great friends now.

    As far as physical attraction goes, it’s chemistry plain and simple and I don’t think there is anything wrong with not being physically attracted to most of the planet – I think more people should be less attracted to others and be more selective.  I do not understand how the “experts” say that chemistry and physical attraction grows. That has never once happened for me, ever.  I mean, how long are you supposed to wait for that spark to ignite, 2 dates, 5 dates, 6 months? I feel that if it isn’t there at first it never will be.  Isn’t physical attraction – that chemistry – a chemical reaction of pharamones (spelling?) which are indicators of successful mating for offspring…  Also, when you bring spirituality into the equation, I believe that those who “feel” in their soul/heart a need or burning to find a mate, that those people actually have one or two or three or more out there and that when they meet the spark ignites and chemistry is present.  Since love is supposed to evoke and teach lessons, what if you have no more lessons to learn in that arena and hence, with no more lessons to be learned, no more pain and heartbreak to transform and grow from, with no longing for another, to be mated with another, what about that? does that fit into a potential reason a person isn’t physically attracted to men (in this instance).  Why does it have to be that there is some damage to the psyche or whatever or that there is something wrong with a woman because she isn’t feeling chemistry?

    I much prefer me single. I don’t want to share my bed, my space or my life with another man… at this point, I don’t even think I am capable even if I wanted to and there isn’t much out there to chose from, not unless I want a typical dude who drinks, has poor eating habits, is fat/overweight, lazy and is just a cliche and is probably an a$$hole anyway.  Most relationships fail, they are kind of pointless.

     

  5. 95
    Anonymous

    Apparently I’ve read and commented on this before, but I’m going to again. I’m so with the women on this one. Evan himself said it in another post: men who are “5s” want women who are 10s. I’m a healthy weight (have NEVER been fat), medium height, long, thick hair, and curvy (my last ex wouldn’t shut up about my “assets”). But, I have a plain face. I wouldn’t say I’m a butterface, but there’s nothing particularly striking about my features. I wear glasses and dress conservatively. So, what do I attract? Short, fat, balding, older men, foreign men looking to secure their Citizenship, or younger men who lack basic social skills and play video games all day. This has been happening since my early 20s, with little change over the years (and I’m 35 now). I’m not a “gold digger.” I’ve dated guys who were broke (one of them didn’t own a car). I don’t go after “hot” guys. In fact, I’ve dated some men my girlfriends considered downright ugly, and I still found them attractive. Online, I have trouble attracting even very “average” looking men. Men who I can honestly say are IN my league! Why? Because these men want women hotter than themselves, and can probably get them due to the unequal ratio of attractive women vs. men (many more women, as several others have commented). To ensure that this really WAS about my looks, I tried putting up a picture of a model on my dating profile (just her face) and within hours I was completely flooded with messages from both ugly AND attractive men, including one of the same men who rejected me before! It’s true, women can get sex whenever we want, but when it comes to relationship standards, many men are completely delusional! The ones who aren’t have mostly settled down and are happily married by this age.

  6. 96
    Anonymous

    Oh, and to keep with the topic of this post, I agree with the OP as well. I’m very rarely attracted to any men, and I’m definitely not gay. I can look at a man and think he’s handsome or whatever, but to actually FEEL attraction for someone I need to have a connection with their personality. This doesn’t usually happen for me instantly upon meeting someone. And, since most men size me up in a glance and decide I’m not hot enough for them, I rarely have enough time to develop that attraction. I actually HAVE had some unattractive men “grow on me,” simply because they didn’t give up on getting to know me. Like some have already stated, though, this is the exception, not the rule. I am not wanting to encourage men to keep chasing women who are very CLEARLY not interested (this has happened to me as well), but, if a woman is neutral toward you, and perhaps shy, I would suggest getting to know her as a FRIEND first and sometimes that attraction can develop. I wish more men would do this rather than being pushy/stalker-ish, or making snap judgments.

    1. 96.1
      Emily, the original

      Anonymous,

      I’m very rarely attracted to any men, 

      I have this issue, too. There are men I like, men I enjoy talking to, maybe even flirting with, and I don’t find them unattractive–some I’ve even grown to really like– I just don’t feel any attraction for them. There’s nothing compelling me to want to get physical.

      There are men I do feel attracted to; it just happens very, very rarely. Or I don’t feel enough attraction. I think they’re kind of cute, but then I ask myself, “Do I want to be alone in a room with this guy? Am I going to have to fake my way through really wanting to be there?” No and yes.

    2. 96.2
      Selena

      Anonymous:

       I am not wanting to encourage men to keep chasing women who are very CLEARLY not interested (this has happened to me as well), but, if a woman is neutral toward you, and perhaps shy, I would suggest getting to know her as a FRIEND first and sometimes that attraction can develop. I wish more men would do this rather than being pushy/stalker-ish, or making snap judgments.”

       

      I rather agree with you here, but I can also understand why many men feel that once “friend -zoned” there is no hope getting out of it. And if a woman doesn’t find them attractive, she never will. If that has always been someone’s experience…why would they continue to do it?

      I read another dating forum where the commenters (both genders) are very negative toward anyone who puts “friends first” in a dating profile. They won’t bother contacting such a person because they believe anyone looking for friends on a dating site isn’t really interested in dating, a relationship, and is just a time waster looking for online attention.

      As someone who has had relationships come from being friends first, I wonder if success in this has to do with not having an attachment to outcome.  As a woman, when a particular man wasn’t pushing me to date him, I could relax and be myself; enjoy his company without feeling I had to be “on guard” about everything I said or did, lest I give him the wrong impression. What I found in these situations is that the more time I spent just hanging out and talking to the  guy, the more I liked him.  And the more I liked him, the more attractive he became to me.

      The men didn’t have an attachment to outcome either. They could enjoy hanging out with me when they felt like it, but were completely available to meet and date other women. When we started dating each other, there was a  comfort level because we already knew and liked each other.

      It is not uncommon for people who met offline and started dating to have gotten to know each other first through friends, work, neighborhood, mutual interests. Happens all the time.  Perhaps even to some who initially made snap judgments. 🙂

       

  7. 97
    Anonymous

    Still reading these comments and finding them interesting, lol. I need to add another and say #77 – could not agree more. The “unattractive” men who grew on me I ended up losing attraction to and breaking up with because of something in their character, or being just plain boring to hang out with! No, I don’t want to talk about action movies and video games all day!

    And, I also have to chime in and reiterate that men do not “age better” than women! Older dudes really need to stop trying to perpetuate this myth – we’re not buying it! If I take my high school class, for example, most of the women (almost 20 years later) still take good care of themselves and look similar to how they did in high school. Many of the men do as well, but just as many are bald, pot-bellied, and look older than their mid-30s. (For the record, I have nothing against baldness; I find bald men attractive, but it does tend to age them). The only reason men believe they age better than us is because men are CONDITIONED by the media (don’t pull that biology BS, it’s more than that) to only find young women attractive, and the reverse is just not true for women! We are comfortable seeing an old man seducing a younger woman in a movie, but cringe at the reverse – why? Because the woman has aged more poorly? No. Because we are conditioned (dare I say brainwashed) to not find older women as attractive. And most Hollywood stars have botoxed and lifted the heck out of their faces, so they are bad examples anyway.

    1. 97.1
      Theodora

      No, men are not culturally conditioned to find young women attractive. If anything, the media and the movie industry nowadays go out of their way to present older women as equally or more desirable than young women, it’s just that men don’t buy it, as demonstrated by the free market in sex industries like stripping, porn and prostitution, where men spend most of their time and money on 17-29 yo women.

      The reasons young women are more attractive are 100% biological – a firm body and youthful, soft skin are markers of fertility and men of all ages are attracted to them since the beginning of humanity, in all cultures across the planet.

      Also, nobody said that men age better than women. It’s just that men can compensate ageing with other qualities that many women find attractive – charisma, sense of humor, power, wealth, succes, knowledge – while the same qualities are not attraction triggers in themselves for men when women possess them. To make matters worse, men are attracted to femininity – a sweet personality and disposition, idealism, radiance, optimism, capacity for admiration and love – and oftentimes younger women posses these qualities more than their older peers, besides their youthful glow which signals fertility.

      I am a woman myself but I prefer the truth, however painful, to delusional inanities such as “men are culturally conditioned to find young women more attractive”.

      1. 97.1.1
        Anonymous

        I didn’t say that. You are completely mis-quoting me. I said “men are conditioned to ONLY find young women attractive.” I think we can all agree that as a general rule, people look their most attractive at a younger age (say, in their 20s). This applies to both men AND women. My point was that men do not “age better” than women, as some in this thread (and elsewhere) have suggested. Those factors you mentioned (wealth, status etc.) do come into play and make older men desirable to some women. However, based on looks alone, men do not age better. That’s a myth. Furthermore, if men’s biology only allowed them to be attracted to young women, that would mean that every married man would cease to be attracted to his wife once she reached a certain age. And, that’s simply not the case. We all have seen older couples who are still very much in love and attracted to eachother. Of course men are going to find younger women attractive, that goes without saying. However, some men have been conditioned to only find a small percentage (a certain age and type) of women physically attractive, and it is just not reasonable for them to expect to have the same appeal to these women well into middle age, under the delusion that “men age better.”

        1. Anonymous

          And what I meant was that in the media we are conditioned to not find older women as attractive as older men. We are comfortable seeing a middle aged man play the lead “heartthrob” role in a movie, but his female counterparts are almost always younger.

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