in: People, Relationships

50 Random Things in Men That Turn Women On

A friend recently sent us a post from Cup of Jo, a women’s lifestyle site that was founded close to the time Art of Manliness was, and like AoM, is one of the few blogs from blogging’s heyday that’s still around and kicking. Cup of Jo is known for its engaged readership (its mantra is “come for the blog, stay for the comments”), and that dynamic was on full display in the post in question. In it, Cup of Jo’s founder, Joanna Goddard, asked readers for their “random turn-ons.” Readers responded with over 400 comments sharing the little things in men that make them swoon. 

I found reading through the comments pretty charming and interesting. I think most guys are fairly clueless about what women find attractive, so this was a fascinating inside view of things. Some of the qualities offered were expected, like kindness, a nice smile, and a pair of broad shoulders. Masculine competence and capability — as one reader put it, “Knowing a little about a lot of things (change a tire, fix a sink, how to cook, etc.)” — were highly rated. Other entries were more surprising, like how sexy women find it for men to back up the car with one arm (mentioned multiple times), and the sheer fact that the thing mentioned the most by far was . . . forearms. The ladies love forearms, guys. (Perhaps the backing-up-the-car thing makes sense, then; as one reader observed, it involves competence and forearms.)

It’s also sort of heartening that a lot of the entries are pretty attainable and don’t require hitting the genetic lottery. Highly-rated things like skills and intelligence can be readily developed, and traits some men might think are drawbacks, like salt-and-pepper hair and a big nose, plenty of women actually find very attractive.

Below you’ll find a selection of the turn-ons that were shared, along with a selection of some of the comments that accompanied them. 

  1. Forearms (“forearms omg swoon!”; “every woman is a goddamn freak for forearms”; “Totally into forearms especially if they are muscled from some kind of physical activity!”)
  2. Rolled-up sleeves (because forearms) 
  3. Salt-and-pepper hair
  4. Intelligence (“I like it when a guy rants about something he is passionate and knowledgeable about!”; “Seeing my boyfriend do math in his head”)
  5. Biceps
  6. Easy confidence
  7. Good with kids (“a man who loves to play with kids and can get them to laugh”)
  8. Cooking skills (“I love when he throws a dish towel over his shoulder and shakes around the cast-iron pan”; “love it when they have their mise en place out!”) 
  9. Flannel shirts
  10. Good dancer
  11. Manual competence/skills (“My husband once picked a lock, and when it clicked open I spontaneously flushed with arousal!”; “building a fire in a wood burning fireplace”; “A man who can fix things and make things happen”)
  12. Parallel parking (“When we were still newly dating my bf pulled off a really impressive parallel parking job – unexpected major turn on!”)
  13. Backing up the car using one hand (“When a guy reverses a car and puts his hand on the passenger seat back and looks over his shoulder…why is it so hot??”; that thing when men back up the car using ONE hand on the steering wheel. It is so hot, I can barely breathe. Something about their casual confidence—’I got this’”)
  14. Crinkles around the eyes when smiling
  15. Natural scent (“the smell of his neck when we hug”; “There’s a scent, like a natural pheromone something, like he’s been working all day and didn’t shower and didn’t plan on seeing anyone today but here we are, and I catch it as he moves and it triggers something instinctual that catches me off guard.”)
  16. Sweaters 
  17. Strong hands
  18. Deep voice
  19. Wearing Old Spice
  20. Good posture
  21. Chivalry/courtesy (“hold the door for you, if it is dark/unfamiliar/possibly unsafe…make sure you see the step, walk you to your car or destination”; “I was recently on a work trip with a lot of people, but I really hit it off (in a friendly way, not a romantic way) with one of my colleagues, so we walked between meetings a lot together talking. In the third or fourth day of this trip, I realized he always walked on the outside of the sidewalk. I thought it was a coincidence but when it occurred to me that it always happened, I realized he was doing it on purpose in a chivalrous way without ever planning to mention it, and I was touched!”; “Unexpectedly jolted by an unassuming man a little my senior. I was standing back to let him ascend the narrow stairs and said ‘after you’ and the tone of his voice as he said ‘Thank you & good morning’ woke me up in a way that coffee never does.”)
  22. Reads books 
  23. Tailored woolen coats
  24. Classy sunglasses (“especially brown ones”)
  25. Ability to speak a foreign language
  26. Quiet dependability
  27. Dimples
  28. Wearing a baseball cap backwards (“I live by this tenet — Backwards baseball hats make babies.”)
  29. A neatly trimmed back of the neck
  30. Skateboarding
  31. Work boots
  32. Defined deltoid muscles
  33. White t-shirts
  34. Good conversationalist (“Being able to go somewhere without knowing anyone but fit right in instantly”)
  35. Chest hair
  36. Chopping wood 
  37. Button-down shirts with the top button undone
  38. Stubble
  39. Wearing a tool belt
  40. Henley shirts (“and henleys WITH forearms, of course”)
  41. Fitted sweatpants or joggers 
  42. Sports jackets and jeans
  43. Broad shoulders
  44. Hoodies
  45. Big nose
  46. Sense of humor
  47. Suits (“Wearing a well cut navy blue suit, white shirt that has been professionally laundered and still has that hot iron smell, a classic silk tie, big feet in cap toes dress shoes. Feeling that warm muscled bod when you go in for a hug putting your arms between the shirt and the jacket!”) 
  48. Glasses
  49. Good in a crisis
  50. Uniforms (“I’m talking firefighters, military, UPS worker…If you’re in a fitted head-to-toe uniform (usually with a well-kempt haircut) sign me up.”)

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