Do Men Need To See Other Men Desire Their Partner? Or Is That Just a Woman Thing?

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How important is it for your husband to see you being desired or checked out by other men? Does this influence how attractive HE thinks you are? And if you’re the type who doesn’t attract much male attention (I am fairly attractive, and fit, especially for my age, but I don’t get checked out a lot)…is it OK or advisable to set something up so that you do get the attention? Yes, I’m talking about paying someone to pay you attention. I don’t know that I would actually ever go through with something like this — but I wonder what you think of the idea. Nothing extreme — nothing that would cause an argument or a fight…just enough for my husband to notice someone is paying attention to me.

As I get older — 40s — it seems I get less attractive while he gets MORE attractive and garner more female attention than he ever has. I want him to think/feel that other people may be interested in me too…that he isn’t the only one. Is this a crazy idea?

Gina

This is one of the craziest emails I’ve yet to receive, specifically because the woman writing it doesn’t sound crazy. However, my dear Gina, your remedy for your situation has to be one of the weirdest ideas I’ve ever heard.

“Yes, I’m talking about paying someone to pay you attention…Nothing extreme — nothing that would cause an argument or a fight…just enough for my husband to notice someone is paying attention to me.”

How about you just talk with your husband? I mean, he is the only one you’re sleeping with, ‘til death do you part, you know?

I’m not going to get into whether your assertion is true — that you get less attractive to other men while he gets more attractive to other women. Regardless, if you perceive it to be true, that’s all that matters. You haven’t provided any information about whether your marriage is strong, your sex life is satisfying, or whether your husband still seems to desire you. If the answer to any of the above is no, your marital issues run far deeper and certainly cannot be filled by slipping a twenty to a cute guy a restaurant to flirt with you.

However, presuming you have a decent relationship, the issue here is more about your insecurity, and the extreme lengths you are willing to go to in order to address it. You’re talking about paying someone to desire you because you think it’ll make you more desirable to your husband. How about you just talk with your husband? I mean, he is the only one you’re sleeping with, ‘til death do you part, you know?

If I have a problem with my wife, I don’t talk with my wife’s mother. I talk with her.

All of this begs the question about what kind of relationship you have that you think it would be easier to pay someone to flirt with you instead of talking with your husband about the fact that you don’t feel desired and suggesting how he could make you happy. Remember, if he’s your husband, he WANTS you to be happy and but probably has no idea how insecure you’re feeling at this time.

Finally, I want to address the first part of your question: whether men feel more desire when other men check out their partners. Not so much. But your belief in this stems from the fact that you’re a woman who assumes that men operate in the same fashion. In fact, women are the ones who value men who appear more desirable to others. According to the linked article from Psychology Today:

“Marta Meana, a researcher at the University of Nevada, has argued provocatively that the organizing principle of female sexuality is the desire to be desired. In her view, the delicate, tentative guy who politely thinks about you and asks if this is okay or that is okay is a guy who may meet the expectations of your gender politics (treats me as an equal; is respectful of me; communicates with me) and your parents’ preferences, but he may also put you into a sexual coma–not despite these qualities, but because of them.

Female desire, according to Meana, is activated when a woman feels overwhelmingly desired, not rationally considered. Female erotic literature, including all those shades of gray, is built on this fantasy….Despite what is commonly believed, then, Meana argues that female sexuality is more self-centered than male’s…Male fantasies focus on giving satisfaction, not on receiving it. Men see themselves in their fantasies bringing the woman to orgasm, not themselves. Women see the man, set aflame by uncontrollable lust for them, bringing them to ecstasy. Men want to excite women. Women want men to excite them.”

Anecdotally, this would seem to be true. Which is why I get ridiculous emails like this from women who truly think, in their heart of hearts, that their relationship is crumbling if their boyfriend doesn’t see them as the hottest woman on the planet. While I couldn’t care less how many guys my wife has a crush on, as long as she makes me feel desired in the bedroom.

Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    Gaziza

    Hmm.. That’s interesting, even though I  completely agree about my female desire is activated  when i feel desired, I never felt like I get more interested in a man,  because other women interested in him. Moreover I have the opposite feeling 🙂

    1. 21.1
      Sydney Chick

      Me too (prior to meeting my husband).

      My girlfriends and sisters all agree.

      Social proof must be real but it mustn’t apply to all women

  2. 22
    Sarah Lund

    I know that he’s mine, so I can have no need to worry, if he flirts with other women. Though, none of my past boyfriends ever did this, when they were in a relationship with me. And by flirting, I don’t mean he just suddenly starts asking them out, or kissing. It’s more like a “geezer” type of attitude. I think he likes to reassure himself that people in general like him. He kept asking me if I will stick around. My reply was “Of course I will. You took time out to look after me”. Not that I can’t be independent, or rely on him, he was again seeking reassurance. Maybe something happened in his past, like someone abandoned him. And to be fair, being abandoned by someone you thought you could rely on, is the ultimate “fuck you”. It’s saying it, without having the guts to PHYSICALLY say it. However, I don’t know his full history. Flirting can be fun, but if it hurts someone else’s feelings, it’s already over.

  3. 23
    Cortni

    I’m so confused. Evan, you have done many, many posts about how it is in a man’s nature to look at other women and how as women, we should just accept it and not be insecure. However, all of the guys here are stating EXACTLY the way women feel about them looking at, desiring other women but they can’t handle it when the shoe is on the other foot. Soooo…it’s okay for them to stare at, look at, get sexually turned on by another woman in the room, (and make his SO feel like shit in the process because maybe she is prettier, fitter, etc.), BUT men don’t find it okay that other men look at their women because she may find the other man richer, LARGER, more powerful, a better catch. Isn’t that the same thing? Please advise.

    1. 23.1
      Karmic Equation

      “Soooo…it’s okay for them to stare at, look at, get sexually turned on by another woman in the room, (and make his SO feel like shit in the process because maybe she is prettier, fitter, etc.)

      The bold-italicized part is called PROJECTION.

      That is what YOU think your bf is thinking. It may not be what he’s thinking.

      Most likely he’s thinking, “Yeah, I’d hit that.” But that’s a little different than being “turned on”. Think about it. It’s the difference between looking at Joe Manganiello and thinking, “Oh god, he is hot!” to “Oh, man, I’d like to s*ck his …” — Huge difference in thought process. Men look at pretty women and think the former, and only real dogs think the latter. You don’t want to be with a dog. So if you believe your guy thinks like a dog, then dump him whether or not you have proof otherwise. Because as Evan wrote in a recent post “Perception is reality.” If you perceive your bf to be a dog, there’s really very little he can do to change your perception of him unless he changes his behavior–and if you ask him to change his behavior, then you’re not accepting him as he is, so you just may as well dump him, and save both of you future heartache.

      The reality is all men look. The really good ones do it surreptitiously. The ones who openly ogle…hmmm… those guys you have to evaluate on a case by case basis.

      1. 23.1.1
        Cortni

        …and just because the dude is more powerful, wonderful, better-looking, richer, etc., when he hits on me and I am flattered I am just thinking, ” He’s really, really, got it together -I’d get with that.” See, there is no difference so men should be comfortable when a guy with more money, a better car, and a larger (you know what)  is looking at their girlfriend’s butt and she enjoys it – we are women after all. Just like you like to look, we like to be looked at, by very handsome, powerful and rich men. “Oh, but babe, so what I glanced at him a few times tonight – it’s human nature. Of course you could never BE the man he is, BUT I would never leave you for him.” See… same thought process.

        So the men here saying they don’t want to be with a woman whom men give a lot of attention – get over it. Keep looking, keep ogling because when we get up to go to the restroom, there is some dud trying to slip us their number. See, we can’t help it either – especially if he is more successful and powerful. How does that make you feel?  Don’t worry, we don’t tell him that he is better in front of you. You try to sneak a peak, we sneak a compliment – behind your back (surreptitiously).   So just like that woman knows that you think she’s hot when you look, he definitely knows that he could probably take your woman home – IF he really wanted to.

         

        1. Amanda

          Cortni is SO right! Thats the kind of girl I would love to hang out with.   Apparently according to Evan or whomever wrote that response I am married to a dog thats so transparent and shallow and in no way a good provider …   i feel like he is just shy of weird.   I should have known nothing would change almost 30 years after we met .   People rarely change but he has made adjustments as he calls it.   So sad really i just dont have any respect left for him and apparently myself.   We aren’t robots and we have proved we can think outside of the box so why are we so eager to categorize and blame our gender on most everything we do?   Maybe these studies need to be conducted again with different subjects !

        2. Sydney Chick

          You go girl!!!

           

          Loving this blog, particularly your comment

  4. 24
    Ali sheikh

    Women can easily have sex with men above their league . Men have sex below their league easily . All women want above average guy. He’s just not that into you means you are dating above your league. Women are way different cause no matter what happens women will want the best while most men settle with what they get. When he turns 30 tables turn. Now he knows women n how to talk. 80% women sleep with 20% men. After beta males turn 30 they get women from 18 to 40. Now these men get to enjoy sex

    1. 24.1
      Sydney Chick

      If that’s what you need to say to help you, go ahead but you may want to pay attention to this blog and the question asked…..pay some woman to show you’re good with the ladies. You’ll have a better chance with social proof than waiting for that magical number.

      I can imagine your fantasy, when you go to bed at 29 years of age and wake up at aged 30, suddenly there will be a harem of women surrounding your bed aged 18-40. Good luck with that.

  5. 25
    Mark

    My wife is a super person and very hot, I shouldn’t have been so lucky to marry her. She loves sex and I some times have a hard time keeping up with her. One year we were in the Bahamas and she was napping and I was doing some window shopping. I decided to go back to our room early and when I opened the door I saw her and a big black guy making love. To me it was the hottest thing I’ve   ever watched. They were so into it and they didn’t   notice me, I closed the door went back down stairs had a drink and just waited for awhile. I wasn’t   upset I just kept reliving the scene in my head, it was exciting. I told her that I saw them and forgave her, I just didn’t   want her to get pregnant or some diseases. She admitted the guy didn’t   have a condom and we did it skin to skin. The only thing I was upset with is I wasn’t   able to watch them that would have got me excited or I could’ve   joined in.

  6. 26
    AllHeart81

    When I was younger, I certainly played the “other men find me attractive’ game when another man would hit on me, I’d be sure to tell my boyfriend about it. I wanted him to know that there were other men out there that thought me attractive. I especially did it after a situation where he was checking other women out or I knew he had looked at porn. I didn’t really care either way if another woman was looking or flirting with my boyfriend. I cared about his actions in response. It’s ironic though that men don’t like it when other men notice their girlfriend but most men will defend his right to notice other women until he’s blue in the face?

    I did enjoy reading the thoughts and opinions of the men here though. I found them insightful and interesting.

    But I don’t agree with this: ”
    “Male fantasies focus on giving satisfaction, not on receiving it. Men see themselves in their fantasies bringing the woman to orgasm, not themselves. Women see the man, set aflame by uncontrollable lust for them, bringing them ecstasy. Men want to excite women. Women want men to excite them.”
    Male fantasies (and I’m basing this on what we see in porn) appear to focus on women being satisfied based on anything a man wants to do with her body. No matter what it may be. She simply is pleased because she has no other feelings or needs other then the ones he wants her to have. She doesn’t object to whatever weird, painful or yes..pleasurable thing a man wants to do with her body. She’s up for it all because *he* wants it. He’s happy because she is not shown having any real feelings or needs of her own other then her utter and complete happiness in any choice he makes or action he takes. Men very well may want the woman to achieve orgasm. But in male fantasies like porn, it is not because he truly cares about the actual things that turn her on and performing them so much as he just does whatever he wants and his pleasure and happiness in that freedom is her ultimate aphrodisiac. He very well may want to excite the women .But not neccesarily because he cares about what truly would excite her so much as he wants her pleasure to come from her complete and utter acceptance to whatever healthy or unhealthy thing he wants to do to her body.

    Now I totally agree that a woman wants the man to be completely aflame for her. However, I don’t think this stems from a more selfish desire of pleasure, looking for a man to simply satisfy her. She wants to able to set him aflame because she knows how important looks are to men. She knows that being beautiful is something men deeply care about. And if she can not turn a man on in this way, that pretty much is like him saying “you’re less of a woman to me.” Weather that’s women’s true sexual nature or a by-produce of our society, women are taught very early that they are suppose to be the object that ignites lust. It’s are job to look hot, prance around and do the things that turn men on. We are suppose to be sex dolls and porn stars. Not fully actualized human beings with our own set of complex needs and feelings. When I was younger, I mostly cared about pleasing my partner. I did not have the maturity or skills to ask for what really would turn me on. Most young women don’t. So when a man did something to my body, weather I liked it or not, I went with it because it was my role to be the fantasy that was suppose to perform for him.

  7. 27
    AllHeart81

    When I was younger, I certainly played the “other men find me attractive’ game when another man would hit on me, I’d be sure to tell my boyfriend about it. I wanted him to know that there were other men out there that thought me attractive. I especially did it after a situation where he was checking other women out or I knew he had looked at porn. I didn’t really care either way if another woman was looking or flirting with my boyfriend. I cared about his actions in response. It’s ironic though that men don’t like it when other men notice their girlfriend but most men will defend his right to notice other women until he’s blue in the face?

    I did enjoy reading the thoughts and opinions of the men here though. I found them insightful and interesting.

    But I don’t agree with this: ”
    “Male fantasies focus on giving satisfaction, not on receiving it. Men see themselves in their fantasies bringing the woman to orgasm, not themselves. Women see the man, set aflame by uncontrollable lust for them, bringing them ecstasy. Men want to excite women. Women want men to excite them.”

    Male fantasies (and I’m basing this on what we see in porn) appear to focus on women being satisfied based on anything a man wants to do with her body. No matter what it may be. She simply is pleased because she has no other feelings or needs other then the ones he wants her to have. She doesn’t object to whatever weird, painful or yes..pleasurable thing a man wants to do with her body. She’s up for it all because *he* wants it. He’s happy because she is not shown having any real feelings or needs of her own other then her utter and complete happiness in any choice he makes or action he takes. He doesn’t have to meet her needs because her needs are the ones he sets. Men very well may want the woman to achieve orgasm. But in male fantasies like porn, it is not because he truly cares about the actual things that turn her on and performing them so much as he just does whatever he wants and his pleasure and happiness in that freedom is her ultimate aphrodisiac. He very well may want to excite the women .But not neccesarily because he cares about what truly would excite her so much as he wants her pleasure to come from her complete and utter acceptance to whatever healthy or unhealthy thing he wants to do to her body.

    Now I totally agree that a woman wants the man to be completely aflame for her. However, I don’t think this stems from a more selfish desire of pleasure, looking for a man to simply satisfy her. She wants to able to set him aflame because she knows how important looks are to men. She knows that being beautiful is something men deeply care about. And if she can not turn a man on in this way, that pretty much is like him saying “you’re less of a woman to me.” Whether that’s women’s true sexual nature or a by-produce of our society, women are taught very early that they are suppose to be the object that ignites lust. If you can not ignite lust, you are not a real woman. It’s our job to look hot, prance around and do the things that turn men on. We are suppose to be sex dolls and porn stars. Not fully actualized human beings with our own set of complex needs and feelings. When I was younger, I mostly cared about pleasing my partner. I did not have the maturity or skills to ask for what really would turn me on. Most young women don’t. So when a man did something to my body, whether I liked it or not, I went with it because it was my role to be the fantasy that was suppose to perform for him.

  8. 28
    Willowandy

    Does other men liking her make her more sweet, kind, caring, serious about relationships..? No.

    From my  perspective it comes across as odd if you are more interested in what others want than what you yourself want when judging a partner. It is not a man thing.

  9. 29
    kath

    As a woman I am not at all interested in competing with other women for a man . In fact it’s a massive turn off to me if a mans attention is diverted away from me towards other women and I’m likely to leave him to her

  10. 30
    Anna

    It turns both my husband and I. When we go out together I dress revealing. Short Summer dress, thin fabric, no bra, some cleavage.

  11. 31
    Insidious_Sid

    Men want a beautiful woman.

    Women want a man who is finer than the men the other women in the room have.

    If a woman in the room has a finer man, that’s like a personal failing on her part.

    Then jealously rears it’s ugly head.

  12. 32
    sindi

    not sure i agree with evan.      i’ve seen a man on a regular basis at a business that never looked my way, until a coworker started looking at me like a pork chop on a platter .   then he started to show interest in me also.   some times i think   if several guys think a woman is hot, other ones will follow suit.     maybe it’s just to fit in idk

    1. 32.1
      Yet Another Guy

      Men will also dump a woman that too many men desire.   When comes to resources (and a woman can be considered to be a resource), men tend to want to minimize competition. No man wants to have to constantly look over his shoulder while out with his woman in order to keep what I like to refer to as “wolves” at bay.   Wolves are men who do not respect relationship boundaries.     They are the men who will hit on a woman who arrived with a man when the man goes to the restroom.   The more beautiful the woman, the hungrier the wolves.

  13. 33
    Yet Another Guy

    @Evan

    the delicate, tentative guy who politely thinks about you and asks if this is okay or that is okay is a guy who may meet the expectations of your gender politics (treats me as an equal; is respectful of me; communicates with me) and your parents’ preferences, but he may also put you into a sexual coma–not despite these qualities, but because of them.

    Bingo!   I routinely tell guys that they should never ask a woman’s permission to kiss her or escalate touch because it comes across as being non-masculine.   Women want alpha males when it comes to romance and sex, and an alpha male takes what he wants.   Granted, a man should respect a woman’s wishes if she pulls away when he attempts to kiss her, but asking permission is a major dating faux pas that screams, “I am a beta male.”    While I am definitely going to receive push back for mentioning it, experience has taught me that women want to be taken by men that they desire.

    1. 33.1
      Emily, the original

      YAG,

      I actually posted that comment. It was from an article on Psychology Today’s website.

      While I am definitely going to receive push back for mentioning it, experience has taught me that women want to be taken by men that they desire.

      In a word: Yes. Just come at me. It is a complete turn off when a man asks for permission. I had a sex buddy a few years ago who would ask via text what I wanted before our meetups. It came off as wussyesque.

    2. 33.2
      Clare

      YAG,

      This is absolutely true. I am quite convinced that two totally different parts of the brain are engaged when answering questions and when working up physical desire. Having to wrench your whole brain and body out of “turned on” mode to answer the question “can I kiss you?”   is enough to derail any promising sexual encounter.

      I know Emily has mentioned this before and it is definitely how I feel: the less talking during sex and the lead up to it, the better. Keep requests and instructions to a minimum and just focus on being in the moment.

      Part of what turns most ordinary women on is the fantasy of a man taking them… not in an aggressive way, but in a confident way. A man who can think and act for himself in the bedroom. Even if he doesn’t get it 100% right, the confidence is sexy.

      1. 33.2.1
        Emily, the original

        Clare,

        A man who can think and act for himself in the bedroom. Even if he doesn’t get it 100% right, the confidence is sexy.

        One of the hottest moments of my 20s was when I went to the apartment of a guy who I had met through friends. It was obviously going to be a hook up, and as I stepped through the front door and started to walk towards the living room, he stopped me and said,”Why don’t you come in here?” He was referring to his bedroom. Thank goodness, I thought! We aren’t going to sit and make bullshit conversation with each other for the next two hours before something happens. This guy knows what he wants and it doesn’t make him nervous.

        1. Clare

          Emily,

          You crack me up!

          Yeah, I had a few moments like that myself in my 20s. Something I would never do now, but back then, nothing seemed very serious.

          I must say though, I have come to value the man who may not be as confident, but is very attentive and sensitive to my desires. As long as he doesn’t talk too much, such a man can be wonderful in the bedroom, even if he is not as exciting.

          If I am absolutely honest though, I think it is the man who falls more on the confident side whom I will end up going for in the long run. I’m a strong woman, and I need to feel that a man is at least my equal in strength.

        2. Emily, the original

          Clare,

          I think it is the man who falls more on the confident side whom I will end up going for in the long run. I’m a strong woman, and I need to feel that a man is at least my equal in strength.

          If the man isn’t confident, I feel like I have to be the man and take charge, which I can do but I don’t want to all of the time. If he’s too sensitive, then he may need a lot of reassurance, which can be draining.

           

  14. 34
    Amy

    I get so annoyed when I see all the comments about how women are more attracted to married men just because they are married and even more annoyed when I hear the women hit on the married men! Someone needs to hear from a single woman’s side. I am a single women who will be fifty soon. I have had three married men not only flirt with me but pursue me! I have never once flirted with them first or any man for that matter. I always wait for the guy to approach me. Many single woman are vulnerable to any man’s attention and get really hurt when married men flirt knowing it won’t go anywhere but need the who boost from a single women. It’s the married men who start it ladies. Your husband’s not the women. I have had to turn down three me!!!

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