What turns her on? It's not always foreplay

Thanks to sociologists, we now know that husbands who clean or do the laundry are more attractive to their wives

what turns her on

A man who cooks is attractive

A man who does the dishes is irresistible!”

This quote appears on many social media profiles. But, before you dismiss it as a flight of fancy, know that it is backed by science. Yes, you read that right! It really captures what scientific research also shows — men who perform household chores are highly desirable to women.

Also read: Getting real about polyamory: The why, the who, the how and the what

Thanks to sociologists Scott Coltrane and Michele Adams from the University of California and Riverside who analysed some family survey data, we now know that husbands who clean or do the laundry are more attractive to their wives.

It really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise though when you really think about what it implies. In most households (across the globe), domestic labour is usually a woman’s domain. Even when they are not physically involved with the chores, they are the ones who have to expend the mental energy to plan and organise every last chore in detail.

There is a famous story where Indira Nooyi was told by her mother to get milk after coming home from work at night. Nooyi, the newly appointed President of PepsiCo had to go and do it herself, despite the fact that her husband was home earlier than her.

Closer home we have all seen the famous detergent ad campaign with #sharetheload to talk about equality. Hopefully, in the years to come, things will change and we will not find it remarkable to see men participate more in running a household.

Another research conducted in the love labs of psychologist Dr John Gottman indicates the more men contributed to housework, the more likely women were to “get in the mood”.  This may be, partially, because the woman can finally relax as she does not have too much on her plate and mostly because she feels that her partner loves her enough to care about taking over.

So THE MAN asked some women not what they do for their partners but what their partners do for them. And they shared their biggest turn ons in not just current partners but also exes who hold a soft spot! If you have ever wondered what women find attractive in a man, you are in for a treat.

Also read: Monogamy or consensual non-monogamy or polyamory: It’s all about relationships

Yours Unconditionally

The very reason terms like “sharing” the load and “partner not helper”, exist is because they aren’t the norm yet. And most women are aware of what to expect when you are seeking a long term relationship.

Nazneen, 35, a writer from Mumbai, was smitten by her husband because was willing to let go of his conditioning from the moment they met. “I know that he has been told that men are superior or that they are supposed to behave in a certain way or not do certain things. But, when I say that if we are equal, he needs to do those things too, he is willing to unlearn those behaviours.”

His willingness to truly be an equal in the relationship by learning to give up any toxic notion of masculinity is winning him major brownie points with his wife! “The best thing is he understands what it is like to be a part of something that is good for us as a couple and not just for him,” gushes Nazneen.

Yours Vulnerably

Every relationship can benefit from open conversation, especially a romantic one. Beside discussing desires and feelings, openness comes from revealing everyday aspects of your life that make you more relatable. It’s like the movie Hitch when the women tell Will Smith how they didn’t fall for the men during their carefully scripted interactions but during the goofy and not so poised moments.

Natasha, 46, a doctor from Hyderabad, is a sucker for such tender moments.  “A guy who is comfortable enough with me to reveal his real self melts my heart,” she explains while talking about her ex-boyfriend who unintentionally let the mask slip during their dates.

“He often spoke about mundane things which he never usually never shared with anybody and it was those moments that drew me to him more than the times he was charming. Or say when he shared his love for audio books by playing a favourite for me and talking me through the story because he knew I was not able to follow. Even though I am not a fan of audio books, the fact that he wanted me to be a part of that experience made me feel closer to him.”

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We all have aspects of our personality and traits that we often suppress, especially when we are dating someone because we want them to see a version of ourselves we believe they will find more interesting. Over time, it may be a good idea to let your partner in and see your mundane or quirky side.

While Natasha had her reasons for breaking up with the guy, she harbours no ill will and only remembers what is like when someone is truly vulnerable and open about different facets of their life.

Yours Consistently

Women value partners who are mindful about how they convey their opinions and accept the opinions of others. Divisha, 39, a digital marketing manager from Bangalore, was charmed by her partner, when they had a discussion over political issues. “Even though he was very knowledgeable and I not so much, he was open to my views and did not try to dominate the conversation.”

Another way to show a romantic partner that you care is to be consistent in your attentions towards your partner. Many rom coms tend to show a very rosy “before” and a very sorry “after” picture about wooing and settling into a romantic relationship. And sadly real life often mimics this situation. Many women complain that their partners rarely, if ever, make the effort they did in the past.

Divisha instinctively knew that her date was special from the way he went the extra mile to spend time with her. “There was a time when I only had an hour to spare during the day, which was also my lunch break. So he always picked me up and dropped me back every day, so we could be together,” she recollects fondly.

“It’s not that he did it to get into my pants,” she clarifies. “Once, after we started dating, he drove 250 km to a different city to spend an evening with me.” Divisha has the hots for the way he values their time together and his consistent approach.

After all, nothing is sexier than a partner who continues to treat a woman the way he did when he was trying to date her!

Also read: The first romantic getaway: Relationship maker or breaker?

Yours Respectfully

No article ever written about love and intimacy can be complete without talking about respect. While words and tone are used to convey respect, true respect is a mark of one’s character and is an intrinsic part of how we treat others. FWB or friends with benefits relationship gets a bad rap because it is perceived as a hook up without any underlying feeling let alone a friendship. And women usually steer clear, often rightly so, of men seeking FWBs.

Anupama, 44, a consultant from Mumbai, was just as sceptical before she met her friend. “The bar is set too high for any guy now. Even though we have not labelled our relationship, it is what you would call an FWB. But, it is unlike a typical FWB where people are using each other as sex dolls. I could trust him from the get go because he was considerate and mindful of my boundaries,” she states emphatically.

“We are able to converse about books and listen to music and watch movies and hang out without any agenda. Whenever I met any guy on a dating app, most had only sex on their mind. It is refreshing to meet someone who enjoys your company and does not take you for granted ever!”

According to Anupama, it has all the perks of being in a romantic relationship without the pain! It is clear that putting in the time and effort to be an equal partner and a caring one can go a long way towards winning a woman’s heart! 

You will find many tips and tricks for what men and women can do in bed to deepen intimacy and boost your sex life, but not much is spoken about what partners can actually do for each other outside the bedroom.

Green flags women look for

* Equal participation at home

* Openness and vulnerability

* Consistent attention

* Respect for boundaries

Bottomline: If your love language, or the way you express and experience love, has been a bit lacklustre or you are looking to make her heart grow fonder, maybe you can take a note or two from these men.

Also read: Tick all the right boxes: Before, during and after hooking up

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