Are Women More Likely Than Men to Require Chemistry to Go On A Second Date?

men and woman chemistry for a second date

Dear Evan,

Is it my imagination, or are women, generally speaking, much more likely than men to expect some sort of lightning or magic on a first date for them to consider going on a 2nd date? I’m not talking about chemistry, which everyone wants, but some sort of overwhelming emotional response that causes “butterflies,” etc.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women say that they had a nice first date with so and so, but there were no butterflies, no shooting stars, and therefore they have turned down a request for a 2nd date. Yes, there was chemistry, but no visceral reaction.

I find this a bit difficult to comprehend, because I personally never expect to see shooting stars on a first date. And if I do see stars on a first date, I push them aside because experience has taught me that in most cases those stars were just a temporary thing and my first impression of a woman from just one date is always incomplete. I mean, a first date is not the real world, it’s not the way people usually are most of the time. If nothing else, both parties are usually a bit nervous and on their best behavior, so you don’t get to know the real them. (I start feeling butterflies after a few dates, when I get a more complete picture of the woman, and I like the picture that is emerging.)

Anyway, is my take on this whole thing wrong? Are men, generally speaking, also expecting lightning from the first date in order to consider a second date? Or, on the other hand, are women generally more rational about this than the impression of them that I have?


Dear Roger,

First of all, thanks for writing such a thoughtful and articulate question. Your insight about “shooting stars” being temporary is a priceless one, and we’re going to get back to that shortly. But as to whether women are more rational than you’re giving them credit for, the answer is yes.

Despite your very mature view about how one date is only a glimpse of the whole person, what your question misses is a broader perspective on “how women are.” Instead, it’s only reflected through your views, your experiences, and your eyes. You go out with a bunch of women, they tell you that they didn’t feel the “click” or the “chemistry,” and you determine that women are looking for magic on the first date. This is a logical conclusion, except for one thing: you’re not going out with any men. And men, in my experience, do the exact same thing and more.

True, women dissect men on dates like frogs in ninth grade labs. From how he talks to the waiter, to whether he tucks in his shirt, to how quickly he reaches for the check, the details are generally quite important to women. (As always, I’m generalizing here, so cut me some slack). As for men, our needs are a little simpler when we determine if we want a second date. As I see it, there are only two main criteria: 1) Did I have fun with her? And 2) Is she attractive enough to sleep with? As to how she dresses or whether she’s late or talks with her mouth full…yeah, we notice, but we’ll pretty much forgive such things if she’s both cool and sexy. SO……

You’re spot on when you recognize that first-date sparks don’t portend a future relationship. But when you say that women are more likely to cut off someone who doesn’t make them tingle, I have to challenge you. If you’re going to compare and contrast our genders, men are, by far, the more visual and chemistry-driven sex. Which means that they are more likely to conclude within five seconds of meeting a woman that there is not going to be a second date.

In general, women are more forgiving of men, as long as they are kind, respectful, and potentially good providers. In general, men are more likely to be forgiving of women of pretty much anything as long as they are young, thin and pretty. Hey, I don’t write these things, I just report them.

To me, the most interesting aspect of this is not that men, are, in fact, shallower than women. That doesn’t really qualify as news. But your point, Roger, that first date sparks don’t mean anything more than first date sparks? Well, I’m betting that’s a revelation to a number of our readers

I confess candidly that I would probably not have gotten to know my wife if we had gone on a conventional date instead of meeting at a party. Nor would I have gotten to know a previous girlfriend in 2004 if we’d met on JDate. Doesn’t mean they weren’t attractive or interesting. All it means is that we all make snap judgments on dates and inadvertently cut off people who have true potential. As anyone who’s ever met through friends knows, sometimes HOW you meet is as much a determining factor as chemistry in terms of moving forward.

Alison Armstrong does a great piece about the value of chemistry. She says that while we spend our lives looking for that intense one-of-a-kind chemistry with a partner, it’s actually BAD for your relationship. She goes on to explain that we are simply not at our best when we’re crazy about someone. We become insecure and weak and needy and yes, somewhat crazy, in the presence of chemistry. … And the reason that the quiet person at work has a crush on you is specifically because you’re being YOURSELF around him/her. Since you don’t feel that chemistry, you don’t start trying too hard, or attempting to impress, or any of the other things we do under the affects of “chemistry.” This doesn’t mean you should be with someone you’re NOT attracted to, but instead, you might want to dial it back a bit. Especially if your relationship is unbalanced, dramatic or unhealthy.

Better to be with a mate who’s a 7 on the chemistry scale but a 10 on the compatibility scale than to be with someone who’s a 10 on the chemistry scale and a 4 on the compatibility scale.

Should women be less judgmental of men? Sure.

Should men be less judgmental of women? Sure.

Should we all act normal when we’re infatuated with someone? Sure.

But as long as we’re human, we’re going to be judgmental, and lusty, and myopic.

The first step is in admitting it.

It’s one thing to understand the role of chemistry in dating. It’s quite another to learn to make different decisions than you’ve made in the past.

After years of being a dating coach, I’ve realized that effective advice always sounds so simple when you read it. You find yourself nodding your head and saying “yes, that makes complete sense…” And then you go about your business and don’t change a thing. As a result, you consistently find yourself stuck in the same place, not really moving forward. This is why I created my Inner Circle – as a means to provide life-changing information, in a small-group setting, surrounded by other like-minded women.

So, if you want the support, guidance, and insight that can turn your love life around, click here to learn more about my coaching programs.

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  1. 1

    Some thoughts-

    1) men are more visual and are therefore more likely to rule women out BEFORE the first date.

    2) Men are expected to pursue women. Consequently there’s not much time to analyse the first few dates. If we’re having a good time, we start planning the next call and plans for the second date.

    3) If a man likes a woman and finds her attractive, he’s probably going to hang about till he gets to have sex. After that, he might start to ask himself if the relationship has long term potential.

    4) Women have more options in the early stages of dating, and are therefore more likely to exercise them.

    5) ‘No Sparks’ is often a euphemism for more concrete factors which people are too polite to admit to (even to themselves)

  2. 2

    You have some wacky comments but I like it!

  3. 3

    I think that Jimmy nails it.

    “No chemistry” is a way of saying “lack of physical attraction”. People seem to take offense to the latter because they hear “not attracted to you” as “you’re not attractive”.

    Attraction is a funny thing. It’s there or it’s not. One person can feel it while the other doesn’t. It’s hard to control.
    Many of us have been physically attracted to people we didn’t like and wished we were attracted to people we did.

    I’ve learned that if I’m not attracted to a guy I can’t date him even if compatibility is strong. It’s not right nor fair to either one of us, and attraction is necessary for sex. If I’m dating a guy that I have fun with, and get along well with and find compatible but I don’t want to be physical with him, I tend to date him until I convince myself to let this one go. I often hope that the attraction will suddenly appear or reappear but it rarely works that way and even then it’s not really “sudden”, but the sudden revelation of something gradual.

    I’m friends with some guys that I’ve dated. If the chemistry’s not there and it feels platonic, there’s little difference between “dating” and “hanging out”.

    I’ve decided that sometimes “sparks” (“stars”?) are the reaction to something new, masquerading as feelings of attraction, and then in time the feeling peels away.

    And yes, how you meet is an important part of the formula.

    I hope I’m making sense in my sleepy state. Forgive the rambling.

    1. 3.1

      @redhead . . . @3 –
      There was a time when I thought I could “learn” to be attracted to someone if I just gave him a chance, but I know better now. It’s either there or it’s not.   It’s not entirely looks based, although that’s a big part of it.   And now,   despite what many men believe about women, I get NO pleasure disappointing a man, so if I am not attracted to a man’s picture, or his picture is dark, fuzzy, far away, or non-existant, I don’t respond to him.   If after we have moved to phone, if there’s some conversational turn off, we don’t move to face to face.   If at the face to face, it turns out his picture was very old, or his body language, mannerism, facial expressions, or behavior,   kill any attraction I had for him, there is no second date.   No more second chances, because I can only recall ONE time where I became attracted to someone, that I was initially not attracted to.   (and he lived in the apartment next to me, and continued to pursue me after I told him we could be friendly neighbors, but nothing more, so I didn’t actually give him a second chance, he just kept coming around)  
      So, once initial mutual attraction is established, the next hurdle is to evaluate shared values and compatibility.    
      The most difficult thing at my age is, fewer men express an interest, and I am attracted to a much smaller percentage of those who do.   Of that tiny fraction that I am attracted to, most of them seem to be ONLY physically attracted, but have no interest in anything beyond sex.  
      In my younger days, I had way more choices, (which is probably true for everyone) I was attracted to about 50% of the guys who expressed initial interest, now that percentage is more like 1%.  
      The problem in my younger days was, I only went by chemistry.     Didn’t give much thought to compatibility, so I just went along, flying high on chemistry, until it all crashed and burned.
      Now I know better, and would look for comfort, companionship, compatibility, & shared relationship goals, but, there are so few men that I am attracted to in the first place, that even getting past that hurdle has become all but impossible.
      I really WISH, I could will myself to be attracted to the good guys, who I feel would make good partners.   If I could, I would.       I don’t have much of a problem staying away from the guys who I am attracted to, but come across as bad relationship material, sure there’s some initial disappointment, but it doesn’t slay me.

      1. 3.1.1

        Me, too…to pretty much all of that.

    2. 3.2

      ” I’ve decided that sometimes “sparks” (“stars”?) are the reaction to something new, masquerading as feelings of attraction, and then in time the feeling peels away. “

      Yes! I’ve been struggling with this. Went on a first date in a very (very, very, very) long time and felt “chemistry” on that first date.   We had traded messages for about 2 weeks before and I’d consider us high on the  compatibility  scale, but felt no “chemistry” on the second date.   We also haven’t physically touched – no handshake, hug or anything more.   Really  struggling, and thinking a third date is in order, but it may be decision time then.

    3. 3.3
      Yet Another Guy


      It’s not right nor fair to either one of us, and attraction is necessary for sex.

      I can assure you that physical attraction is not necessary for sex for men; otherwise, there were not be male sayings like “go ugly early.”   Physical attraction is necessary for a man to pursue woman for more than a one-night stand.   I have had sex with several women to whom I was not attracted, and I know a lot of guys who have also had sex with women to whom they were not attracted.   For a man, sex is just sex.

      1. 3.3.1

        Thanks again YAG.

        In another thread, a male commenter said women KNOW a man likes them if he asks her out, and when I pointed out that a woman has no such assurance, because the man could just be looking for sex, the men all debated me on that topic.   I even referred them to comments you made backing up my position.

        It is good to see this out in the open.   Too many women think if a man asks her out he must like her.   They also think if a man has sex with her he likes her.   Not always true.

        Post like this are good for relationship/marriage minded women to know.   A man’s sexual interest in you is absolutely NO indication that he considers you girlfriend or wife material.

        Thanks for the PSA.

        1. Emily, the original

          Sparkling Emerald,

          In another thread, a male commenter said women KNOW a man likes them if he asks her out, and when I pointed out that a woman has no such assurance, because the man could just be looking for sex, the men all debated me on that topic.  

          And I commented that a woman knows a man has at least a modicum of interest in her if he asks her out but not he depth or the extent of the interest, but was told I didn’t understand the guts it takes to ask a woman out and how it puts a man at a disadvantage because the woman knows he likes her (and thus he has revealed himself to her). However, as I suspected, men ask woman out for a lot of different reasons.   DeeGee on the “What’s the Best Way to Express My Needs to My Boyfriend?” thread wrote: I will agree that I have asked out women that I have had an attraction level of maybe a 3 or 4 to.   … Most of the woman that I have a higher attraction level to won’t even look at me

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Emily, the original

          What drives a man to ask a woman out is complicated.   For example, if a man is looking to get back into the saddle after being out of the market for while, he will absolutely date down in order to minimize the chance of rejection.   The last thing that a man wants hear out of the gate is “no.”   These women are kind of like training wheels that a man uses while regaining his bearings in the dating marketplace so to say.   There is no comparison between the women I ask out now and the first handful or so of women I asked out when I re-entered the dating pool.

          A guy does have to face the reality that he will get rejected; however, the reality is that all men except for the truly gifted in the looks department have to deal with rejection.   It is part of life for a man.   I used to take it personally when I was younger.   Now, it does not faze me because I know that the numbers are on my side.   There are more women seeking a relationship than men at my age, and I apparently must be in the top 20% that guys whine about because I have absolutely no problem obtaining dates on online dating sites.

        3. Yet Another Guy


          I am curious about the mind-blowing sex that women talk about when they have chemistry with a man.   I have never experienced it, and I do not know a single man who has experienced it.   I have experienced great sex, but it had little to do with chemistry.   It had to do with the fact that some women are outliers in bed.   All of the women with whom I have had sex that were exceptional lovers have been women who were overweight.   There is a truism in the saying that fat women f*** a man like he is the last man on Earth.

        4. SparklingEmerald

          YAG asked me specifically   “I am curious about the mind-blowing sex that women talk about when they have chemistry with a man.

          Hi YAG – I hesitate to answer such an intimate question, but you provide such good PSA’s, and you even though you seem basically MGTOW, I do not find that you are nasty to women on this blog, your contributions are quite matter-of-fact, respectful and educational so here goes . . .

          Warning – Most men are not going to like my answer. And this post will be TMI for others.

          I am well past the “mind blowing sex” phase in my life, and intimacy is now a matter of affection, comfort and companionship,   as opposed to passion and acrobatics.

          But in my youth, “mind blowing sex” as you call it, was rooted in my emotional attachment to the male and my perception that he was emotionally attached to me, and not especially superior “technique” on the part of the male.

          My first husband was quite the experienced lover, so he had the superior technique and enjoyed novelty, so of course much of the “mind blowing” part of our sex did come down to superior skills and novelty, but I was also off the charts in the chemistry I felt for him, and he did claim me as his, very early on, so the combination of his exceptional skills in the bedroom, and my delight that a guy who I initially considered “out of my league”, who gave me “tingles” when I first met him, was SO into me, and SO wanted me to be his girlfriend.

          My 2nd husband on the other hand was quite shy, and inexperienced with women.   But again, I was off the charts attracted to him, despite his shyness, in fact, that was part of his charm, as I soon found out, that he had a crush on me for about a year before finally asking me out.   ( I really hadn’t noticed him, because he was hiding from me).   When I found out that he had been working up the nerve for almost a year, that endeared me to him even more, as I knew it took a lot of courage to get past his fear of rejection to ask me out.   He thought I was out of his league, but I think looks-wise we were well matched.   I never considered him beneath me, or myself above him, but I did find it flattering that he thought he had nabbed a girl “out of his league”.

          Needless to say, when we consummated our relationship, he had no idea what to do with a female body.   But we were both so over joyed to be with each other, and were in that initial infatuation phase of love, that my body pretty much orgasmed on it’s own, and there was much laughing, snuggling, cuddling, and looking gooey-eyed at each other afterwards, so his lack of experience was not the least bit off putting to me.   Waking up next to him the day after, I felt higher than a kite.

          He was a very “quick study” and it wasn’t long before we were regularly having hot-steamy, novel, mind blowing sex every chance we got, and NOW it was a combination of us knowing our way around each other’s youthful bodies and our combined “skill” or whatever you want to call it.   He was very athletic and had a dynamite build, and was very physically strong.   The first time we made out on our first date, when he took off his denim jacket to reveal a t-shirt with the sleeves torn off and his spectacular arms, I almost orgasmed at the sight of those arms and all we were doing was kissing.   (Kind hard to do much else in a truck with a standard transmission).   He was actually quite a good kisser though.

          The most mind blowing we ever had was a few days before our wedding.   At this point, it was a combination of skill and the emotional high of being days away from becoming husband and wife.   It was literally a SCREAMING big O on both our parts, and it was the only time I had an out of body experience.   I have heard about those, but this was the only time I had ever experienced it.   I think the combination of us being so finely tuned to each other, so young and hot (we both had GREAT bodies at the time) and so head over heels in love, and so excited to be getting married, just combined to give me a once in a lifetime “mind blowing” experience in bed. I am surprised the neighbors didn’t complain, because we were in my condo, and we were THAT LOUD !

          As we we lay, naked and exhausted in bed, basking in the after-glow, we heard a tap-tap on the door.   My brother was in town staying with my parents, and decided to drop by for a surprise visit.   At first I wasn’t going to answer the door as I had no idea who it was, but I peeked through the blinds of the bedroom to see who it was, and there was my brother standing awkwardly there.

          Needless to say, his surprise visit, was kind of awkward, as there is NO WAY he didn’t hear some of that, and we chatted and made small talk, and tried to pretend that it didn’t happen.

          So there you have it, for me,   “mind blowing” sex is a by product of mostly how connected I feel we are as a couple, and only partly due to “technique”.     That could explain why most women find ONS to be highly unsatisfactory.   (yes, there have been studies and you can easily google it).

          As always, I can’t claim to speak for all women, this is just based on my experience.   Ladies, YMMV.




        5. Yet Another Guy


          I can assure you that I am not part of MGTOW.   I did not even know about the MGTOW movement or the Red Pillers until I started to read this blog.   I have just reached the point where I have seriously started to question what is to be gained from being in a relationship.   I believe that I allowed my libido to control my actions when I was younger, which led to being in relationships in order to have steady access to sex.   My problem is that I liked novelty, so most of my relationships were short lived.   Things are a lot different now that I have reached an age where I can live without sex.   I thought that this shift in mindset was a side effect of being in an intimacy-free marriage for a long time.   However, I knew something had changed when I found myself telling women, “I am flattered, but no.”   It came as quite a shock to them and me. 🙂   I never said “no” before I married.   That word did not exist in my vocabulary in that context.

        6. SparklingEmerald

          YAG said ”
          I can assure you that I am not part of MGTOW.   I did not even know about the MGTOW movement or the Red Pillers until I started to read this blog


          Hi YAG – Perhaps you aren’t officially part of MGTOW, and instead are just naturally not suited to/interested in relationships at this point in your life, and there just happens to be an official organization for that.

          In any case, I can’t believe that being in a sexless/loveless relationship isn’t at least part of the reason you don’t want a relationship.

          You admit that you weren’t that attracted to your wife, but you married her for compatibility.   We are all too often cautioned against priortizing sexual attraction over compatibility, because that is a MUCH MORE COMMON mistake, than marrying someone who is “good on paper”, IOW, compatible but not so attracted.   AKA “settling” but for some reason, when women use that term on this board, it upsets some of the male commenters.

          Your situation is pretty unique.   In my years of reading this blog, I don’t recall hearing from a man that he married a woman he wasn’t too attracted to (IOW “settled”), getting in to LTRs or Marriage is something that has been reported by female letter writers and commenters.

          Any way, not everyone is suited to or desires LTRs or marriage, so no judgement on that.   (I was uninterested in marriage/family/motherhood for most of my young adulthood for very sad reasons, so I can somewhat relate to the feeling.

          Do you mind me asking, since you aren’t suited to relationships, why are you on this blog ?   Forgive me if you have already been asked and answered this question, but I don’t recall if that is the case.


        7. Yet Another Guy


          Do you mind me asking, since you aren’t suited to relationships, why are you on this blog ?   Forgive me if you have already been asked and answered this question, but I don’t recall if that is the case.

          That is a really good question for which I do not have a really good answer.   I have been on quest to better understand social dynamics with respect to relationships.   That is how I found this blog.   It is kind of a marriage post-mortem, so to speak.   I am getting to be too old to repeat the same mistakes.   Believe it or not, I actually read what women write on this blog.   Some of the information has been enlightening.   Some of it just makes me shake my head.

          To answer your question as to why I settled for a relationship that had very little chemistry, well, I did not marry until I was 37 years old.   To say that I was the male version of a slut before marriage is an understatement. I was incorrigible when it came to telling women what they wanted to hear in order to get them into bed, and I was very good at it. Every relationship that I had before my wife was a chemical romance that burned white hot, was highly sexual in nature, and extinguished almost as rapidly as it burst into flames.   While I may have been clueless when it came to relationships, I knew that a chemical romance was not one of the paths to that objective. My parents and my siblings were also losing faith in me.

          My ex and I both grew up in families with Italian-American traditions.   If you are not of Italian-American extraction, that is a huge thing.   My bisnonni (great-grandparents) and her bisnonni emigrated from the same region in Italy; therefore, we just clicked.   For once, I could just be me with no translation, and that was very comforting.   My family loved her because she fit in so well.   They all told me that the she was not my type (I dated only high-maintenance Barbie types), but they liked her more than any of the other women to whom they were introduced.   Everything else was right, so the chemistry had to follow.   I learned the hard way that chemistry does not grow for a man.   It is either there from the start, or it will never exist.   She felt chemistry for me, which was sad because it caused her to become bitter over time.

          In the end,   I have not always been the most forthright guy, but I believe that everything happens for a reason.   I was most definitely given daughters for a reason.     A man views women through a completely different lense when he has daughters.   It is difficult to look at a woman and not think that she is another man’s daughter.   I guess that is the main reason why I no longer desire casual sex even though it is offered.   It just feels so pathetic because I know many women are doing it because they believe that that is what it takes to hold a man’s interest, and the idea of my daughters ever believing that they have to do it makes me sick to my stomach.


      2. 3.3.2
        Yet Another Guy

        *would not be male sayings

        1. Marika

          Just wanted to say how much I respect your honesty in your response to Sparkling Emerald, YAG. No doubt your daughters would be really proud to know they are the motivation for this way of thinking.

        2. SparklingEmerald

          HI YAG – Thank you for your honest response.

    4. 3.4

      I completely agree

  4. 4

    Thank you Evan and everyone else for your insights. I continue to learn new things every day!

  5. 5

    I think redhead hit the nail on the head – There is a decided difference between good looking and attractive. There are extremely in shape men that have great bodies, but we don’t find them attractive. In contrast, there are men that not models by any means that women flock around. Women pay attention to the details – very true. And when we have a gut feeling,its usually on point. So if she doent want to meet up, call it a good thing – if it was going to happen, it would have. This is time you saved, and now you can be meeting someone else – that you can connect with.

    1. 5.1

      [email protected] – Exactly !   There have been good looking men I have not been attracted, and the last guy I was attracted to and was disappointed that he didn’t want anything more than a booty call with me, was short, bald, pasty faced and had tiny little eyes.   But I guess he had good game (and delicious velvety soft lips), because I was so hot for him !   Doesn’t happen much for   me.   My attraction to me, if it happens at all (which is rare) usually starts off warm, but not super hot.  
      I think there are just so many factors that make me attracted to one and not another:   looks, body language, facial expression, voice tone, phereomones, etc. that I could not really tell you what my “type” is, all I know, is that I know “my type” when I meet him.   And then I’m usually not his “type”.  

  6. 6

    well, i had a guy who wanted to marry me since the last 5 years, n to be honest i only kept him as an option for so long coz our compatibility was great, almost 9 out of 10. i kept in touch with him simply bcoz i thot maybe one day i mite fall in love with him and i can marry him…but till today i just cant seem to do it…coz the only thing that has stopped me so far is lack of chemistry…i just find him much more unattractive now than it was 5 yrs the point that now i have begun to hate him…but still i know if i marry him our marriage cud turn out to be long lasting in every way…but heck i just don want to…dats the last thing i wud do on earth…i wud rather go for a guy with chemistry 5 out of 10 and compatibility 5 out of 10, as they see in vedic astrology, the overall compatibility includes chemistry as well..chemistry is just one of the many ingredients of compatibility….

  7. 7

    Evan, I usually like your blog. But I was disappointed with a big part of your response. You made an observation that doesn’t jibe with my experiences.

    It is definitely not my observation that women are more forgiving–as in likely to go on a second date with a guy, as long as he is “kind and a good provider”. I can’t tell you how many “good” dates I’ve gone on, and my friends have gone on too, that have not led to second dates–due to the woman’s choice. My experience is actually that *men* have the more realistic expectations of a first date–we get that first dates are awkward situations, and so we’re usually willing to see her again as long as she is reasonably attractive and we had a good time with her. It actually seems that many women have the bar set much higher–some sort of magic has to happen on the first or a second date is a no go. This chemistry for women does have only little to do with looks, but it is just as shallow in that it doesn’t really have anything more to do with how happy the woman would be with the guy in the long term–past the first few dates.
    And that’s too bad for both parties. There probably are a lot of single women who would have been in a happy relationship with a great guy if they had only said yes to a second date. (And in all fairness, you point this out in your blog, and I agree with you there.) I’m definitely not advocating “settling”, but there is a big difference between settling and giving something a chance.

  8. 8

    So I agree with “Roger”, the person who wrote the question, at least when it comes to online dating, and I don’t think that your challenge of him was valid. Yes, men are likely to decide withing a minute from seeing her pictures whether they could be into her. But women are likely to disqualify a guy as quickly, from reading his email.   Or even from her first 30 seconds in his presence.
    Either way, it’s just as shallow. More “looks” for men, more “energy” for women. It happens on the reptilian level for both genders.

    I would say though, that we as men are better at getting past it. As visual as we are, most of us are mature enough to know that we really don’t need to be with a supermodel, and if you’re in front of us on a date, then that means that you are at least “pretty enough” for us to be with. A lot of women do seem to have expectations of “magic” happening between two strangers, and (we seem to agree on this) I’m not sure how well that serves anyone. Again, there is a huge difference between settling, and giving things a chance to happen.

  9. 9

    Sounds like there’s some frustration in regard to dating, par for the course.

    I’m thinking too this is primarily based on on-line dating, which is fraught with a lot of no-go first dates.   Given the opportunities to date are higher on line, then wouldn’t the instances of rejection be higher too?

    So I can be totally frustrated and irritated with the fact that men look at my well-written profile with all kinds of what I think are good pictures, and don’t write me.   I assume they are dismissing me based on my pictures–they never gave me a chance.   How is that any better than a woman who actually takes the time to go out with someone to see if there’s a connection?

    It’s the nature of the beast with on line dating.

    Now, as Evan points out, meeting people in real life is a much different process.   It could be through friends, in a relaxed situation, over a period of time like at work, etc.     When I meet a man in person for the first time when I’m out and about, and he shows he’s interested in me without being overbearing, that’s what amps up the attraction for me and make me much more likely to want to see him again.   That is a HUGE difference from on line dating where none of that physical interaction is happening–we’re both just supposed to sit down and have attraction?

    #3 Redhead

    LOVE your third paragraph and I have done the same thing multiple times in on line dating, and my first intuition has won out each and every time.  

    1. 9.1

      This is my experience with on line dating, too.   I am not a fan.   It’s just not the same as meeting someone who shows interest in you and wants to take you out.   But does that happen any more?

  10. 10

    Good Response, Denise #9. The truth is that anyone has the right to decide whether or not to get involved with someone for whatever reason.
    Dating definitely exposes what some might call “boundary holes”:
    “But I’m a Nice Guy who has all these things going for me! She should be going for me instead of that unemployed loser who still lives with his parents.”
    “She said she was going to call me back! She should be taking my phone calls and texts instead of just disappearing.”
    “He shouldn’t not call me back after I slept with him. After all, he was the one pushing for it!”
    If we have any luck, some of those boundary holes will get “patched up” with time. I have dated a lot this year (over 30 dates, not to mention that I made contact with many more women). I definitely learned and grew a lot from the experience, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t “suffer over the uncontrollable” anymore. I’m much better but I am by no means perfect.

  11. 11

    I don’t think that Evan’s response should be interpreted so much as an indictment of men.   His advice here is pretty consistent with his other advice.   When women write in with questions, he’s good about showing you how you are thinking about the situation only from your perspective, and you’re assuming that because you did A it must have caused or be the reason for B.   Or they are assuming that their female point of view applies to the men in question.   Only it doesn’t.   And for Roger, he’s assuming that he knows the reason why he’s not getting date #2 but he’s applying his own assumptions about how things work, which isn’t going to work because he’s not a women.
    I don’t necessarily think it’s helpful to try to argue who is more shallow, re men vs. women .   We are all shallow about the things that we consider to be essential to us, but we visit this blog and others to figure out why some of those aren’t so important, why some of them will result in you failing in your search to find the one, and why you might want to relax some of those requirements because they don’t necessarily add up to a good, long-term relationship.   Many people here have written about the things that they just won’t accept in terms of looks, background, education, etc., and it’s always interesting to see how someone has an argument for how their own prejudices and preferences are acceptable but another person’s are wrong (namely if you fall into the category that someone has completely rejected).
    I think that the point though is that while men are screening out women based on visual attributes (so they are satisfied with that as long as they feel that the pictures that they see are current and represent the person that they meet), women will go on the first date with some men that might not fit their physical(or other) criteria completely to see if more can develop.   And of course, Evan has said repeatedly that most of the people asking questions are women, so even without stats you could safely assume that more women are employing these strategies if they are getting coached or reading up on these subjects.
    So the difference is that maybe you and Roger are assuming that you are an ideal for women physically (and in other ways related to background) because they’ve gone out with you, and that they are rejecting you because they didn’t feel a spark and fall in love with you on the first date.   Correlation isn’t causation, and you need to consider how accepting a first date means something different for you than it may mean for the woman in question.
    On a side note it’s not helpful for you to start assuming women are rejecting you for hot but unemployed losers, b/c the anger and resentment might start building and showing up in your profile or during your dates (some people will ramble on online and in person about how women are shallow gold-diggers and I’m not sure why they think that not only turns the gold-diggers away, but pretty much all women).
    I think I’ve read in other articles here that a man will pretty much decide within a few minutes of meeting a date if he’d like to sleep with her.   If he doesn’t, then he’ll finish the date(or maybe cut and run), and no matter how interesting and engaging she is, she’ll never hear from that man again.   If he does find her hot enough, the rest of the date might make him dislike her as a person and not want to see her again, but the physical attraction is there or it isn’t. (And if she’s hot enough, he might still try for the sex).
    I think that as many women learn to compromise, they learn (or have experienced in other ways) that they could in fact come to be attracted to a man that might not have struck their fancy on first meeting.   I think many women have fallen in love with a man whose looks would not have appealed to her at all had she not gotten to know him.   So you might be a bit shorter, balder, heavier, and less-educated than the women sitting across from you would like.   However, she’s more likely to meet you anyway if something else about you seems interesting, because meeting you in person might win her over.
    In my opinion, the easiest women to win over in this manner are women that you have regular access to-your co-workers, people who are in the same clubs and groups that you belong to, etc.   I think many women are won over by men that they didn’t originally consider b/c they got to know him completely.
    However, I do think that in the world of online dating, you aren’t going to get a lot of time to win over a women who don’t find you much more appealing in person…some people will give you one date, and others might give you 2 or 3.   But do realize that you do at least have this chance, even if you think that you aren’t George Clooney, and people not following-up with you cut you early probably to work the numbers more and because they might have decided that they don’t have the time to invest in seeing if something else is there.   Everyone’s timeline for this is different, and I guess that you are encountering women who think it’s better not to take a second date, but some do take several. I think YMMV as to whether or not you’d rather be cut loose after one date or several, because I think that if you are already attracted, that will only grow, and it will feel even worse to be cut after say 4-5 days as opposed to just 1, because if you’d taken her out multiple times, you are clearly very interested.
    A man might not be expecting you to look like model, but if he doesn’t think you are good-looking he just won’t contact you in the first place, and if you aren’t good-looking enough in person, you won’t see him again. It can make it easier because a woman isn’t getting a first date if she isn’t deemed attractive enough, but you do, and this is the cost of that difference. I think that men and women just have different points at which we are cut, and different ways in which we can blow it, and then there is just the part that neither of us control and we have to accept that too.

  12. 12

    There’s a biological fact here that has been missed…in general, men can enjoy sex with any partner. For most women, if there’s no attraction, the experience is at the best boring, and at the worst miserable. Whereas sex with someone a woman has chemistry with is mind-blowing. Do you really want to have sex with a woman for a night or a lifetime who isn’t enjoying you?  

    Don’t be so quick to indite women for saying no to someone they don’t feel a spark with on the first date. She did right by the man giving him a chance to see if an attraction developed by getting to know his personality, his mission, his values, and how he treats her when they’re out in the world. And she did right by him again by immediately excusing herself from dating someone she’s not going to develop an attraction to. I think it’s the sign of a mature dater and a woman who has self-esteem and values the man’s time, money, and feelings. It is equivalent to a man saying no to a first date with someone he is not visually attracted to. And it is the sign of a mature male dater to understand women’s dating process and value that she gave him a chance to know him as a man.

    1. 12.1

      Partially true. Its not just attraction on my part because I find my self attracted to the man inside , not necessarily looks. There has to be an emotional connection for sex to be enjoyable though or its just a waste of time.   I have to get to know someone before I can find out if there is chemistry or not so one date is never enough unless they are a total loser/creap that I would never want around my family.   Yep thats does happen. lol

  13. 13
    Karl R

    Lis said: (#12)
    “There’s a biological fact here that has been missed…in general, men can enjoy sex with any partner.”

    If that was a “biological fact” then we wouldn’t have overlooked it. As a man, I don’t enjoy sex with just any partner. Based on comments from other men, I would say the ones who enjoy sex with every partner are the rare exceptions to the rule.

    But since this is supposed to be  a “biological fact”, perhaps you could provide a link to some scientific data to support your claim.

  14. 14

    I second what Karl R said.   If it were in fact true that men can enjoy sex with any partner, then you would not have as many frustrated male online daters since there is an abundance of women to choose.

    In fact, being a man and being visual (guilty as charged), when I come across a woman that I find physically attractive and she does not feel the same, I feel an intense form of rejection.   Maybe I’m generalizing but I would say that most people put their best foot forward on the first date and appear nice enough to date a second time.   Therefore, what do we really have to go on but looks/chemistry at the end of a first date.   If men decide to go on first dates based primarlily on physcial attraction and women decide to give a guy a chance based on the totality of the circumstances then as long as a woman is close enough to her online pics, all she has to do is stay cool for an hour or two to get a second date.  

    I’m not trying to make this a man vs. woman thing because I actually believe that giving a guy a shot when the woman may not be sold on his pictures is very mature and open.   However at the same time it also makes a guy feel like the rug has been pulled out from under him.

    Giving him a chance to know him as a man sounds good and honorable on an esoteric level but on an emotional level, it feels more like a tease than anything else (to me at least so I admit that I may not be speaking for all men).   I rather not know what I can’t have…

    1. 14.1

      “Then you would not have as many frustrated male online daters since there is an abundance of women to choose.”


      There are an abundance of women for the small fraction of the men who are good-looking to choose from. For everyone else, the number of choices is zero, because that is how many of the women will agree to a date with you. And that is frustrating.

    2. 14.2

      I admit I have sensed that reaction from a man after a date or two and deciding it just wasn’t right for me.

  15. 15

    Ok, now let me ask you. Who would you rather go for 10 chemistry and 7 compability or 7 chemistry and 10 compability? State if you female or male,  please. Jenny

  16. 16

    @Lis # 12:   Agree totally.
    Also, to go a step further, I wish I had a dime for every guy who sent me a nastygram online when I politely rejected him.  It boggles my mind.   I would never do the same if the roles were reversed.   This is a huge reason why I have abandoned online dating for the present.

  17. 17

    @queenofheart: 7 chemistry+ 10 compatibility always Because chemistry though fun to have is always fleeting However having more compatibility means a higher chance of having a long lasting relationship which I want. (Female)

  18. 18

    i’m female and I would choose 7 chemistry and 10 compatibility. I have allowed chemistry to over rule me and it has messed me up a bit. I was previously  seeing a 10 chemistry and about a 6 compatibility male  but I spent most of the time on edge. The sex was amazing and I don’t think  I will find this connection again.  I miss that aspect but ultimately I was easily  replaceable and we broke up numerous times. Also while we were supposedly seeing each other, he was contacting other women and then he disappeared for a bit and found someone else within a less than 2 month period. It’s been a year and bit since I last had sex with him. I did see him on various occasions but decided that I wouldn’t sleep with him if he wasn’t giving me commitment, and he left.   But otherwise, I am trying online dating. I’m after someone who is decent, respectable, stable and who I may have less chemistry than I did the previous guy. I feel that knowing the 10 chemistry guy has messed me up in a way that after I was all about finding a guy who I could have that 10 chemistry with…I think chemistry is important and I could spend everyday having sex with 10 chemistry man. But because it has bought me years of trouble I have decided to give men a go that initially I don’t have a spark with. So currently I’m interested in this one guy who seems ok and hopefully we can have a friendship that would maybe grow into something. I think eventually women get tired of all these games and drama’s these 10 chemistry men give.

  19. 19

    I think if people had 10 on compatibility they would get bored with each other quickly.  

  20. 20

    i think that the definition of ‘sparks’ differs (well from person to person) but also from woman to man. also i think ‘sparks’ are definitely more important for women. yes like others have said her, women generally are in the drivers seat about choosing the man, so there has to be much more than ‘cool’ and good looks. as a woman who eventually found the ‘magic’ – i know now that it is real. and when it’s real, the man feels it too.

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