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

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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. 121
    Nath

    Same thing here! In my mid 40’s and find rarely men attractive.
    And yes those who are, know it most of the time and know they can pick a lot of women…
    The guys that are physically attracted to me are absolutely not handsome to me.
    I tried lowering my “physical” standards and dating guys I am not attracted too at 1st sight. In some rare cases attraction grew cause they’d give me loads off attention and affection. I was not attracted to them as a guy, I was attracted to what they were giving me… Once they started to take me for granted and gave me less affection the magic was over again… They were back to not handsome.

    I see a lot of women dating and marrying guys “below” their standards… Cause they have the feeling they cannot get better.
    I don’t want to settle for a guy I am not physically attractive to me. The last guy I was dating wasn’t my type but very kind… And I fell in love with his affection, but when we had sex, I looked at him and focused on his not attractive physic…
    I want to be able to look at my man and have the feeling I want to jump him…

    1. 121.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @Nath

      If you are not attracted to the men who are attracted to you, then you are attempting to date up SMV-wise (i.e., the guys who are attracted to you are your league). The reason why men who women tend to find physically attractive (the top 20%) know it is because they get so much more attention than the other 80% of men. Trust me, it takes a lot of self-control for a man to not take advantage of how narrowly-focused women are when it comes to physical attraction. I did not have that level of self-control when I was younger.

    2. 121.2
      Aurora Michelina

      You sound like a very aware and normal functioning woman like myself. We shouldn’t have to lower our standards and then wind up unhappy. Women are visual. Period.

      1. 121.2.1
        Buck25

        “We shouldn’t have to lower our standards and the wind up unhappy. Women are visual. Period.”

        That’s perfectly ok. Men are also visual. Period. So why is it, that when men don’t “lower their standards”, so many women attack them as “shallow” and “superficial”, yet when a woman acts precisely the same, those same women simply call her “an aware and normal functioning woman”. Double standard much?

        Here’s an idea; why don’t we just declare a moratorium on calling any man or woman “shallow” or “superficial” because we find their individual physical attraction preferences inconvenient to us, or we simply don’t agree with them? It’s not like they’re hurting anyone (except possibly themselves). Besides, it’s not as if trying to shame either men or women into trying to be attracted to what they simply aren’t attracted to, is really going to change anyone’s preferences. You and Nath both clearly illustrate just how futile that is. Human beings, male or female, are attracted to what we are individually attracted to. Period. We all want what we want (getting it may be another matter).

        1. Aurora

          “So why is it, that when men don’t “lower their standards”, so many women attack them as “shallow” and “superficial”, yet when a woman acts precisely the same, those same women simply call her “an aware and normal functioning woman”. Double standard much?”

          You should ask those women why they do that.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Buck25

          I was always curious as to how women viewed men from a physical attraction point of view when I was younger. I believe that clueless may be a better description. I truly believed that men were the shallow gender because I was the target of a lot of shaming, especially in my twenties and early thirties (I was raised in a Catholic home, so guilt works). I was truly shocked to discover the truth as an older guy. When you are a guy who never experienced difficulty when it comes to physically attracting women, you write the struggles that other men experience in the dating market off. Your answer is to stop attempting to date out of you league or “man up” and try harder.

          With that said, I have never told a man that he settled looks-wise, even when I did not find his woman to be all that attractive. Male physical attraction is more nuanced, more of a tiered spectrum from the least attractive to the most attractive whereas female physical attraction appears to be truly a land of haves and have nots. Luckily for the male gender, most women are attracted to the total package (something that Nath and Aurora consider settling); otherwise, the guys who live in the land of have nots would never pair with a woman.

          With that said, I am curious as to what the lives of outlier women like Nath and Aurora are like. It has to suck going through life only wanting men who are not interested. It has to be a blow to their self-esteem; however, I am absolutely certain that a sizeable percentage of these women project their shallowness onto the men to whom they are attracted. If these women are only attracted to men who are not attracted to them, then they have no clue as to where they land in the female social hierarchy.

          In the end, we all attempt to maximize our outcomes in the dating market. However, as has been mentioned many times on this blog, dating is an assortative process, that is, like seeks like.

  2. 122
    TimeSquare

    She might be lesbian but didn’t realize it as most of the girls/women here, I guess. She can just go bisexual or asexual and stop bothering herself with the opposite sex to put it simple.

    1. 122.1
      Aurora the Great has Spoken

      No such thing as a bisexual woman. She’s either lesbian or straight. Period. However, there are many bisexual men.

      1. 122.1.1
        Buck25

        “No such thing as a bisexual woman. She’s either lesbian or straight. Period. However, there are many bisexual men.”

        Really??? I’m sure there would be a lot of psychologists and psychiatrists, not to mention women who actually identify as “bisexual”, who would be very surprised to learn that. Would you please tell all of us which research source wherein you found this amazing gem of psycho-sexual knowledge, previously unknown to peer-reviewed science? Or perchance, did you come up with this all by yourself?

        1. Marika

          Buck

          Aurora is speaking for herself and some other women like her. Please don’t think her views are shared by women generally. Certainly not me. If someone identifies as bisexual, male or female, I believe them. Some women are very focused on looks and can’t get past that, some aren’t, or can certainly get past just focusing on looks.

        2. Aurora

          I’m just applying the same offensive rhetoric that some men here are applying toward women. I can’t stand when men say that women are naturally bisexual. Such nonsense. That is such an offense to femininity and the female nature. This whole female sexuality fluidity crap has got to go. If some women are that way, fine. But there are men who commented here that seem to believe this bs about women and it’s got to stop.

        3. Buck25

          Marika,

          Based on prior experience with her posts, I totally agree with your observation. Aurora is…well, Aurora. Many of her remarks here display an attitude not typical of most women I have known, here or elsewhere. That last one seemed especially over the top, but as with many of her “pronouncements”, I’m not quite sure what the point was.

      2. 122.1.2
        TimeSquare

        “No such thing as a bisexual woman.”

        Huh? No such thing??? Are you really sure on that? I gotta tell you they are the majority at least in America!

    2. 122.2
      Aurora

      @TimeSquare, any man that believes that may women are bisexual knows didly squat about women and probably watches too much porn.

  3. 123
    Caz

    I found this post searching for the same thing. I don’t find many men attractive and i am the same as the lady asking the question. i will find someone attractive about 3 times out of a years worth of online dating and it doesnt work out. Im a very sexual person but i dont want to have sex with the majority of men. I have no abusive farther my dad did his best for me but my mother was. Im not a lesbian either. Iv had the same problem with porn. To stimulate my g spot i need to be aroused for 30 mins yet i cant find any men on there i find sexualy attractive. I ended up watching lesbian porn and i thought to myself, am i gay? Im being genuinely serious that going down on a women is not something id wana do and if you arnt prepared to lick it you’re not a lesbian. After a Google search i found that apparently a lot of straight women choose to watch lesbian porn. Probably because these men arnt that attractive. Women are made to look attractive abd sexy where as thw men jerk over a computer acreen for 20 seconds lol! I think theres obviously more good looking women than men. Im left feeling really upset by it. Not sure what to do. I cant force myself to like someone i dont.

    1. 123.1
      Emily, to

      Caz,
      “Women are made to look attractive abd sexy where as thw men jerk over a computer acreen for 20 seconds lol! I think theres obviously more good looking women than men. Im left feeling really upset by it. Not sure what to do. I cant force myself to like someone i dont.”
      A lot of straight porn has the male gaze. The average straight guy is watching it. He’s imagining he’s doing all that stuff to the female porn actor. Sometimes you can barely even see the male porn actor in the frame. If the male porn actor is too good-looking, it takes the male viewer out of the fantasy.

    2. 123.2
      Cloud

      Caz,

      2 hypotheses:
      1. You said that women overall are more attractive than men. Most female porn actresses put the makeups and face whitening or whatever on their face (most of them do) => this implies that you are drawn to a more conventional attractiveness. Or, you’re more attracted to femininity, softness, delicacy, etc. So in my opinion, instead of asking yourself why is that you’re straight but see the same sex more attractive than the opposite sex, you may ask: Why is that the femininity, softness, delicacy always are the factors that make someone attractive?

      2. You might declare that you’re straight, but more on a gay spectrum? Since I’m not a therapist, I may safely say that you’re sexually confused.

  4. 124
    InsertNameHere

    Are overall the women of this comment section sexually confused or what? Is it perhaps women over Europe and North America gone gay but (dubiously?) still claim heterosexual? What’s the point of claiming oneself heterosexual when he/she is not attracted to the opposite? I find it odd…

  5. 125
    no

    Honestly this isn’t just an issue for women as an 18 year old I find it ridiculous that suddenly having biceps and almost having a 6 pack suddenly makes you stand out more, most men are pathetic. When i’m fully developed I should be around 8 pack level and have bigger arms. I dont see myself as very physically attractive, but compared to almost every man it degrading. I’m not sure why in today’s society its hard to find a person who is physically developed and has a good personality. Its extremely insulting because I know my standards are not too high. If I met women who were in the same shape as me that would be a first. But anytime that happens those are people on social media that you never meet ever in real life and even then there usually isn’t a personality. It goes both ways for men and women. I feel bad for many women and what they have to deal with as well, since almost no men are in shape either let alone have a personality.

  6. 126
    James

    Shit. These comments have made me realise that my ugliness is the reason why I have always been single. I’m 30 and have never had a girlfriend. I’m still a virgin, too. If all women want good-looking men, then I’m screwed. I guess I’m undateable.

  7. 127
    Buck25

    “I guess I’m undateable”

    James,
    Not necessarily; “undateable” is often a relative term. Women all want men they perceive as attractive to them; fortunately for most of us, that perception can vary widely. That is, what’s attractive to one woman may be completely unattractive to another, or the other way round. So even if you didn’t win the genetic lottery with regard to looks, all is not lost, although dating may not be so easy for you as it is for the “handsome hunk”, (especially in your age group), it’s not impossible. You’re less likely to get the most attractive women, of course, but remember there are many average-looking women, and they tend to be about as invisible to men as you are to many women.

    With that in mind, try to develop a charming personality; be funny, be witty, and above all, carry yourself with confidence and a bit of swagger. If you aren’t in good physical shape, get in shape; that will tend to help your confidence. Don’t be intimidated by women; remember they are human beings just like you. Learn how to approach them confidently; they don’t bite, and usually don’t slap you if you’re reasonably polite about it. Learn to carry on a conversation with them. Would you be surprised if I told you there are many average, or slightly below average looking women in your age group who have never had a boyfriend, or even a real date, who are as frustrated, lonely, and socially awkward as you seem to be? Would you be surprised if they feel they are “undateable” too? Well James, all that is true, those women really are out there, and you just might find one you like, who actually likes you too.

    1. 127.1
      SparklingEmerald

      I wish there was a “like button in this blog, because I would definitely give this post a thumbs up !

  8. 128
    C

    Oh no. I’m the same way! And I guess I’ll be alone forever because I will not compromise my standards.

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