Therapy That Works...

Liar, Liar: How People Lie - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Liar, Liar: How People Lie

November 4, 2009

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, TXA 21 News

Unfortunately, the worlds of politics, media celebrities, and big business are rife with multiple instances of lying. But in your own life, a liar can threaten your career, your love life and even your safety.

Why are liars so difficult to detect?

We all want to believe the liar. Good people with integrity want to believe that the other person is motivated by good intentions. We often fill in the “blanks” of information a liar omits in an effort to see him in a positive light. Tragic outcomes occur as a result. There has been a cultural shift legitimizing lying that is increasingly common in a complex world where the truth is often hidden.

Here are some common types of lies:

Lies of Concealment: Lying by omitting facts is a common type of deceit that has a variety of different motivations. Examples include lying to protect someone’s feelings, to avoid an awkward moment, to manipulate someone to get your way and to intentionally deceive someone by omitting key facts. Unfortunately, these types of lies are easier to conceal if you don’t stretch the truth too much.

Lies of Falsification: This lie misrepresents false information as if it were true. These are used especially when emotions must be concealed.

Mis-Identifying the Cause of an Emotion: This lie acknowledges a feeling or gesture, but it lies about what brought it on. It’s a half-truth in that the felt emotion is accurate, but the person lies about the cause.

Admitting the Truth with Misleading Exaggeration or Humor: This lie greatly exaggerates reality to make the other person think that it is obviously a lie. For instance, your child buys something for a few hundred dollars, but when you ask he mockingly replies, “Oh yeah, I spent a million dollars!” This hyperbole leads you to doubt the reality of your initial question.

You may not realize that lying is a two part process: both the words and the body language. You may be wondering what the most common type of facial cues liars use:

Smiling is the most common facial expression used to conceal deceit. It is the easiest of all of the facial expressions to create without effort.

Is the Smile Sincere?:

Study the Timing: If you think a smile is insincere, study the timing of the smile—it may be too sudden or too slow.

Note the Length of the Smile and If It is Appropriate: The smile may also last too long and may not correlate with the content of the conversation.

Note When He Smiles in the Conversation: Make sure that you study the location of the smile in the conversation. If it occurs too soon or too long after the verbiage, it may be contrived to mislead you.

Here’s why lies fail:

Some people lie flawlessly and are difficult to catch due to their skill. They are able to control both their emotions and thoughts simultaneously.

However, there are several reasons why lies fail.

Focus on Words and Face: Liars conceal and falsify what they think others are going to focus upon most closely. Most liars focus on their words first and their facial expressions second. Despite their best efforts, few liars are very good at monitoring their facial expressions effectively. The face is directly connected to the area of the brain involved in emotion. Muscles in the face begin to fire involuntarily.

Ignores His Voice: Pauses that are too long and frequent speech errors are clues to lying. Liars are often unprepared to lie and their hesitation and stuttering attempts to falsify information are clues. Their voice pitch can be higher.

Ignores the Difference Between Verbal and Non-Verbal: You can often catch a liar if you look for discrepancies between what he is saying (his words) and how he is saying the message with his non-verbal behavior, voice and facial expressions.

Here are tips to tell is someone is lying “in the moment” (drawn from the work of Gavin De Becker and Paul Eckman):

Notice Breathing, Sweating and Swallowing: Changes in breathing or sweating (especially on the hands and upper lip), increased swallowing, and a very dry mouth are signs of strong emotions that can indicate lying.

The Leaning Liar: Liars tend to lean to the side while standing or sitting and often have both of their arms or legs crossed.

Shifty Eyes: Eye gaze that shifts rapidly side-to-side and downward.

Too Many or Too Few Details: When someone is lying, they either provide too many details or they provide too few details. Either an excess or a lack of information is intended to deceive the listener and avoid questions.

Technology Fuels Lies: Liars love to use the phone or email to lie. Directly confronting face to face is more complicated since they have to control both their words and actions to successfully deceive. In one study, 72% of lies were delivered electronically while only 27% were delivered in face-to-face encounters.

Too Many Questions and Reassurances: Liars often ask for questions to be repeated to buy more time and they use phrases like, “you can trust me,” or “to be perfectly honest.” Liars intend to lull their targets into believing the illusion by appearing overly honest and transparent.

The bottom line is that you have to approach other people with an appropriate level of critical thinking. Lying is all too common. Taking someone else’s word without studying their behavior critically and without gaining more information about their history of honesty can be detrimental in the long run.

For information on this and Dr. Sylvia Gearing, please visit www.gearingup.com!

Sources:

“Telling Lies” by Paul Ekman

“The Gift of Fear” by Gavin De Becker

“How To Sniff Out A Liar” by Melanie Lindner, on Forbes.com

What's Love Got To Do With It? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

October 28, 2009 

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, TXA 21 News

With a fifty percent divorce rate, millions of Americans experience the agony of divorce each year. Dr. Sylvia Gearing discusses the top risk factors of breaking up, the secrets to staying together and what you can do tonight to make your relationship better.

Here are the latest findings on factors that lead to divorce:

A new study reveals the following risk factors:

Difference in Age: Age differences between the partners are linked to marital instability. Couples in which the husband is two or more years younger than the wife are 53% more likely to break up. Husbands nine or more years older are twice as likely to separate.

Disagreement About Having Children: When the wife has a much stronger preference for having a child than the husband, there is twice the risk of separation.

Women Tolerate Misery: There are distinct gender differences in tolerating misery. Women who are in difficult marriages tend to adapt to their husband’s negativity. In happy marriages, women initiate conversation to solve the problem. In contrast, men compartmentalize their angst until they are overwhelmed with it. Once they are aware of their unhappiness, they often leave the relationship.

Here’s how this new research compares to findings you already know about:

These findings are purely correlations and don’t explain the basic relationship patterns of breaking up. There are two major keys to staying together happily in a relationship.

Repairing the Argument: If you cannot make up, agree to disagree, or change direction in real time, your relationship will eventually fold. If you get overwhelmed and fall into the Distance Isolation Cascade, your marriage is seriously threatened and your affection, no matter how great, will begin to erode.

Avoiding Distance- Isolation Cascade: Pulling out of a fight through repairing the conflict and avoiding the Distance-Isolation Cascade are pivotal skills.

Here are the progressive steps partners experience as the conflict progresses:

Flooding: When an emotion becomes so overwhelming it takes over the emotional world of the person and the individual floods with anxiety and anger. If you cannot calm and soothe yourself and your partner, you cannot solve the problem at hand.

Viewing Problems as Severe and Permanent: Viewing the problems in the marriage as unsolvable and never ending is a hallmark of impending breaking up.

Decision to Work Problems Out Alone: Detachment is the final step in leaving a relationship. Eighty percent of divorced partners attribute the divorce to growing apart.

Parallel Lives: Building a social infrastructure outside the marriage gives the person a place to land after breaking up.

Loneliness: There is nothing lonelier in the world than remaining in a relationship when it is over. This outcome is especially difficult for women who are more willing to tolerate misery for a longer period of time.

Everybody wants to know the secrets of staying happily married. Although there’s no magic wand, here are my best tips for keeping your marriage magical:

Accepting Influence: Although this marital skill is difficult to master, it is a key to making love last and building confidence in the relationship. Allowing your spouse to influence your opinion by finding the common ground, the common strategy and the compromise that always exists are important in de-escalating conflict.

Gridlock: Sixty nine percent of issues are perpetual and are never solved. Masterful couples pull together to converse capably and respectfully around issues they disagree upon. Common ground and a shared solution are then possible.

Overlooking the Negative: When marriages are new, we are all accepting and reinforcing of our partners. After 15 years, rates of satisfaction, adoration, shared activities decline precipitously in couples that divorce. In happy marriages that last, the couples show the reverse patterns. Increasing companionship, higher rates of satisfaction and adoration are all typical.

But if you want immediate results, try these strategies tonight:

There are two powerful antidotes to negativity that work every time:

The Magic of Positive Emotions: Use positive emotions, words and behaviors to love your partner through conflict. Great couples use positive emotion judiciously in de-escalating disagreements. Kind words, a smile and humor all soothe the accelerating heart and calm the angry and resentful mind.

Thirty Seconds a Day: According to marital research, just thirty seconds of positive emotion a day can change the direction of a love affair. “Thirty seconds of positivity a day amounts to 100 positive words a day: multiplied by 365 days a year, this comes to 36, 500 words –enough to fill a book of poetry.” John Gottman, Ph.D.

For more information about Dr. Sylvia, please visit www.gearingup.com!

Sources:

The Marriage Clinic, John Gottman, Ph.D.

What’s Love Got to Do With It? Dr. Rebecca Kippen, Professor Bruce Chapman, Dr. Peng Yu

How Women Should Talk So Men Will Listen - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How Women Should Talk So Men Will Listen

October 21, 2009 

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, TXA 21 News 

How can a woman talk so a man will listen? With unprecedented numbers of women now working, our communication skills with men have never been more important. Let me shed some light on how to crack the communication code with men.

My female clients ask me all the time, “Why is it so hard to communicate effectively with the men at work?”

Men and Women Use Language Differently: Men seem to be as confused as we are about how to communicate with us. There are fundamental gender differences in how men and women use language. Men use it to impart information (report talking) and we use it to establish and maintain relationships (rapport). Both language styles are effective but inevitably conflict in a high stakes workplace.

Gender Context, Impact and Intention: The bottom line is that both genders use their own gender specific rules to interpret verbal interactions. We disregard the fact that the verbiage of the opposite sex has it’s own gender specific context, impact and intention. Men understand other men very well but become frustrated with the unwritten rules of female conversation. Women think they say one thing and men hear something entirely different. As a result, both genders lose the opportunity to influence a business outcome optimally.

Disciplined Communication: According to Catalyst, women hold only 3% of the CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies so women have a long way to go in sharing equal power. As a result, it has never been more important for us to position our language correctly. Female empowerment in the workplace requires disciplined communication that can be easily understood by men.

Really, the disconnect stems from the fact that both genders have primary language characteristics (i.e., they each have their own way of communication).

Here are just a few of the hundreds that exist:

Blunt Speak: Men are more direct, bottom line and less emotional than women in language usage. They listen intently until they think they get the facts. Then they make a decision to fix the problem and then they move on. They don’t talk things to death!

Women’s Intuitive Strategy: Women are brilliant in discerning social nuances. For example, men notice subtle signs of emotion (like sadness) in a face only 40% of the time. Women will pick up the signs 90% of the time even in the faces of complete strangers. So as the female leader heads into the business meeting, she is taking a depth reading of the every player in the room to optimize a business outcome. She is not being nice. She is being strategic.

Men Will Take Charge: Men tend to speak with authority and conviction even if they are unsure of the facts. They take the floor more often and hold the floor longer than women in a business setting. In fact, they interrupt more than women and control the business conversation, much to the frustration of many women.

Women Use More Disclaimers: Women often sabotage their message before they begin. They disclaim what they are saying before they say it. Comments such as “this may not make sense” are confusing to men. They are thinking that if it doesn’t make sense, why would you say it in the first place? Many men believe that women have to say something before they say it.

Ladies, here’s how to improve your verbal communication with the opposite gender at work:

Think Before You Speak: Develop a self-awareness of how you phrase your requests. Use direct, action-oriented verbs. Choose when you tilt your head according to the situation and message you want to portray. Keep your head on straight. Make eye contact with the group and always finish your statements or thoughts.

Silence is Golden: Stay quiet for a brief period before responding to a question. Sit quietly for a few seconds before you respond to a question. You may be viewed as more intelligent and thoughtful as you deliberate calmly before replying.

Stay Consistent: Make sure your nonverbal actions match your verbal messages. Watch what you wear, how you walk and what you say to everyone. Don’t be the driven employee one day and then make a scene at the Christmas party after a few too many eggnogs.

And since 70% of communication is non-verbal, here are the strategies and tips for when you aren’t speaking.

Take Dominion: Please do not take it personally when he interrupts. It’s part of the way he talks with other men. Be ready to direct the discussion back to your topic. Establish control by making brief eye contact with the interrupter. Don’t look too long, because it seems like you’re asking permission. Use the interrupter’s name, and say directly, “Steve, I wasn’t quite finished.”

Take Up Space! Make a play for more power by taking up extra physical space at the meeting table. Sit regally without crossing your arms and legs. Do not curl up in a ball but stretch out! Use gestures such as pointing (not at people) to emphasize a few key issues.

Smile Selectively: You don’t have to be smiling all the time – you’ll only diminish the meaning of your smile. Never smile when you are delivering a serious message. People will read your expression as insincere.

Mirror, Mirror: When you’re talking to your boss, particularly if you have a disagreement, do not sit with your arms and legs crossed. Instead, mirror their movements slowly. If he touches his chin, you touch your chin. When he changes position in his chair, slowly change your position to match his. Mimicking can move you closer to a sense of agreement without his ever realizing it.

Dream Big and Aim High: Always ask for what you want. When you do ask, aim high. It is much easier to come down from a position than to go up.

Poker Face: Don’t leave your poker face at home. In business dealings, use less emotion and direct your female brain to discerning the mood of everyone in the room. View every business situation as a negotiation that requires a steady hand and a clear, unemotional mind.

For More Information about Dr. Gearing, please go to www.gearingup.com

Source: “Code Switching: How to Talk So Men Will Listen,” Claire Damken Brown, Ph.D. and Audrey Nelson, Ph.D.

The New Sexual Harassment - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The New Sexual Harassment

October 14, 2009

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, TXA 21 News

Sexual harassment has been a longstanding issue in a workplace that is now comprised of fifty percent women. However, there appears to be a new, much more subtle form of sexual harassment.

So you may be wondering, how real is this new form of sexual harassment?

It is quite real and it is proliferating due to our electronic networks and conversations. There is just so much room for misinterpreting a simple comment as sinister. On the other hand, there is also a lot of misbehavior and sexual harassment that can be hidden in such conversations.

According to research, we still view men and women differently in the workplace, especially in male dominated professions. Women must over-perform and female managers and supervisors are still expected to be more nurturing and supportive than their male counterparts (Rudman & Glick, 2008). Such expectations can be very awkward when your colleague or boss invites you to a private dinner or sends an inappropriate text.

Here’s how this new form of harassment is different from the old forms:

Not So Direct, Coarse or Directly Threatening: The new sexual harassment is not so direct, not so coarse and certainly not so directly threatening. The millions of dollars spent on educating corporate America has helped. However, subtle forms can be just as insidious.

Inappropriateness and Imbalance of Power: This new form of harassment emphasizes the imbalance of power by the inappropriateness of the request or comment. For example, your boss repeatedly comments on how fantastic you look while his eyes linger much too long or he may suggest you catch drinks alone late at night.

Setting a Boundary is Hard: Different from a direct threat, there is social capital lost if you retort with a boundary, however justified you may feel. Such pressure is often systematic and undermining and contributes to a hostile work environment.

Here are my tips and suggestions for avoiding these kinds of misunderstandings:

Watch Your Timing - Please do not email late at night from your personal email if you are saying anything about the other person, professional or not. Emailing at 4 A.M. might look a little weird if you are working that late. However, the email or text becomes a potential problem if it is too flattering, too personal or too self-disclosing. If this is a problem, invest in applications such as Gmail’s “Mail Goggles.” After a certain time of night, you have to solve three simple math problems within a time limit to send your e-mail. It’ll keep you safe and make you think twice.

Watch Your Facebook Posts - Social networking sites are great but do not post anything (pictures or text) that you don’t want an employer, your entire family, your first grade teacher and the local news to see. If you want a promotion, don’t put your latest bikini pictures online! Even if you dismantle a Facebook or other profile, don’t forget that images and information are still retrievable.

Find Romance Elsewhere - Please find your soul mate in the next building. When there is an imbalance in status and authority, there are unnecessary complications. Even when such relationships exist between colleagues, the legal challenges can be daunting for a company if someone is terminated. Such romances are great when you are dating and everything is rosy. However, such alliances can become a nightmare when you break up. Be smart.

Compliment in Person - It is much better to give a complement in person when the other person can read the non-verbal cues, tone and inflection and when there are witnesses. Compliments can be badly misinterpreted, especially when they are personal and about appearance or appeal. There is much less chance for miscommunications when accolades are given in person. However, the safest strategy is to restrict your praise to their work, their initiative and team contribution. If you must comment on their appearance, keep it simple and don’t stare.

Watch What You Write Down - Be very self protective about what you text or email in a business setting. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to anticipate who might misinterpret your words and bring an action. Don’t write anything down that you cannot defend easily.

Diffusing the Bomb - Every woman in the workplace has experienced unwanted attention from co-workers or superiors. Women must be adept at diffusing the political bomb that comes when a flirty comment is made in a business setting, especially when there is an imbalance of power. If someone crosses the line with a statement like “you looked hot today” you can reply with a cordial but clear message that you are remaining professional. Acknowledge the text or email but step past the comment and focus on the business issue. The absence of an inviting verbal volley will be noticed. Reply, but do not get entangled in the harassment.

Sources Include:

Newsweek.com

Forbes, com

The Social Psychology of Gender by Laurie A. Rudman and Peter Glick, The Guildford Press, 2008

CBS/TXA Scripts Up To Date! - By Chris Gearing

Monday, October 12, 2009

After weeks of posting, we've finally brought Dr. Sylvia Gearing's CBS 11 and TXA 21 scripts up to date!

Click over to "CBS/TXA" under "Media" at the top right of this page, and read Dr. Sylvia's latest work!

Highlights include:

  • How to survive the Great Recession of 2009
  • Tips to make your marriage last a lifetime
  • Dr. Sylvia's take on the celebrity news of the year - from Michael Jackson's tragic death to David Letterman's recent affair disclosure

Remember to check in every week for Dr. Sylvia's latest news stories and scientific discoveries!

As always, make sure to watch Dr. Sylvia every Thursday night at 7 PM on TXA 21!

Letterman's Infidelity - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Letterman’s Infidelity

October 7, 2009 

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, TXA 21 News 

David Letterman’s startling admission of infidelity with co-workers once again raises the difficult question of why so many powerful men cheat. Former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, former presidential candidate John Edwards and South Carolina governor Mark Sanford are just a few public figures who have been in the news for marital infidelity.

Why do so many powerful men have affairs?

Huge Egos: Unfortunately, huge power is often accompanied by a huge ego. Powerful men are often experts at manipulating others into admiring and catering to them. Female subordinates find power intoxicating in men and are often willing participants. They disregard the fact that this is an affair and they are being used.

Thrill of the Forbidden Enticing: Affairs are a grand source of narcissism and flattery for both parties. Many powerful men become addicted to the thrill of the forbidden and become serial cheaters. They enjoy exercising their ability to acquire the sexual favors of others “just because they can.” They consider themselves entitled to extramarital activities.

Collateral Damage: They often fail to think of the emotional consequences to their own partner or to the affair partner since the affair is “all about them.” Anyone else’s feelings are simply collateral damage. Impulsivity, self indulgence, egotism mixed with a penchant for rationalizing can push many men into crossing the line.

Most of the marital couples in my office want to understand how these kinds of affairs begin and under what circumstances:

“I Met Her at Work:” Today's workplace is the most fertile breeding ground for affairs. Forty six percent of unfaithful wives and sixty two percent of unfaithful husbands have an affair with someone they met through their work.

Men Like to Look: Men are more turned on than women by visual stimuli. Affairs begin in the mind and the office setting now offers an abundance of beautiful, young, and attentive people with whom we spend the bulk of our waking hours.

Attraction Versus Adrenaline: Very few activities are more captivating than working hard together to achieve common goals. The pressures of teamwork and shared deadlines lead to that adrenaline rush. Sexual chemistry flourishes in high-pressure situations. Many of us misinterpret that sexual “rush” as attraction.

Most couples don’t understand how affairs can happen if they are “happily married.”

You can regard yourself as “happily married” but you may be misleading yourself. A lot of men and women who stray consider themselves victims of their insensitive spouse or imprisoned in a marriage that has grown more companionable than romantic. Such excuses are rationalizations for cheating. Remember that having an affair means that you are choosing to lie deliberately and systematically. No amount of marital neglect or incompatibility is a sufficient justification for this kind of betrayal. Leave your marriage before you cheat.

You may be wondering how affairs have changed over the years:

Infidelity has changed over the last ten years with more good people in marriages straying. They unwittingly form deep, passionate connections with people at work or in the neighborhood before realizing that they've crossed the line from platonic friendship into romantic love. In one study, 82% of 200 unfaithful partners were described as "just a friend” in the beginning. But let’s be honest, at some point you said “yes” when you should have said “no.”

A common belief is that infidelity automatically leads to divorce.

However, cheating is not an automatic death knell for your marriage. However, according to this latest poll, cheating is responsible for around 54% of divorces. In the end, most unfaithful people want to stay in their marriages and work hard to revive them. Almost seventy percent of Americans don’t want to lose their partner with men being a little more worried than women.

If you or your partner have strayed, here are some of the steps you should take:

Stop All Contact with the Affair Partner: Remember, history creates interest which creates opportunity. Stop all contact with the affair partner. Avoid at all costs any risky situations that could compromise your judgment. Remind yourself that just because there has been an attraction to this person, it does not mean that you are married to the wrong person.

Emotional Accountability: The number one predictor of marital survival following infidelity is the ability of the betrayer to be emotionally accountable.

Here are the steps of Emotional Accountability:

Remorse, Reparations and Restitution: He must be able to take responsibility for what he did and how he hurt his partner and his commitment to the marriage. Remorse now becomes a verb.

Acknowledging the Affair: They must be willing to repeatedly acknowledge their actions and to provide all details to help their partner’s healing.

Pledging to a New Transparent Marriage: He must pledge unyielding commitment to a new, transparent marriage. Reinvented marriages are often among the most successful since each partner has worked hard to rebuild the alliance.

For more information on Dr. Gearing, please go to www.gearingup.com.

Sources:

The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell

Ellis, B.J. and D. Symons. 1990. “Sex differences in sexual fantasy: An evolutionary psychological approach.” The Journal of Sex Research 27: 527-555.

2008 TXA 21 Stories - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Looking for the latest stories by Dr. Sylvia Gearing? All of her stories from 2008 are now posted!

Click on "CBS/TXA" under "Media" (at the top of the page) to read Dr. Sylvia's latest work!

Make sure to tune in to TXA 21 every Wednesday or Thursday night to watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss the latest issues and news!

2007 TXA 21 Stories - By Chris Gearing

Monday, October 05, 2009

Dr. Sylvia Gearing's TXA 21 and CBS 11 stories from 2007 are posted under the "Media" section at the top. Scroll over "Media" and click "CBS/TXA" and read the stories today!

Make sure to tune in to TXA 21 every Wednesday (or Thursday) to watch Dr. Sylvia give her take on today's biggest stories live!

2006 CBS Stories - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Dr. Sylvia Gearing's CBS 11 and TXA 21 stories from 2006 have been posted under "CBS/TXA" link under "Media" at the top! Make sure to click over and read them today!

Tune in to TXA 21 every Wednesday (or Thursday) to watch Dr. Sylvia discuss the latest issues!

What Turns Her On - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What Turns Her On: Women and Sexual Attraction

September 30, 2009

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, TXA 21 News

What attracts a woman to a man has been an elusive question for millions of men trying to “get it right.” Now a just released study from the University of Texas provides some surprising new information that may help struggling couples improve their love lives.

So, what’s so new about these findings?

First of all, it is wonderful that female sexual attraction is even being talked about. Most of the research money historically has focused on male sexuality and we have been all but ignored. Here are a few highlights of Drs. Meston and Buss’ new findings:

Complex Attraction: A woman’s attraction to a man is much more complex than we ever thought possible. Universally, the number one reason men are attracted to women is beauty. In contrast, women seem to consider many more factors in whether they like a guy. Such complex factors explain why there are some couples that, on the surface, seem highly dissimilar.

It is All In Her Head: Since the brain is the primary generator of female sexual attraction, psychological factors in female attraction are the “ballgame.” A woman not only has to be in the “mood” physically she must also “think” herself into the “mood.”

Body Image: The more a woman judges herself to be attractive, the more likely she is to report an increase in sexual responsiveness and activity over the past ten years. Again, such self-appraisal does not have to be objective—she just has to like how she looks. Unfortunately, 55% of American women express dissatisfaction with their bodies. This dissatisfaction is worse in media saturated America accounting for the $50 billion we spend on the diet industry.

A Good Man is Hard to Find: According to the study, men differ dramatically from each other in their desirability to women. Ten different women will have ten different opinions about a man’s attractiveness. This phenomenon explains why a beautiful woman is often attracted to the less attractive, but charismatic man.

Guys, here are some specific characteristics and tips to turn your woman on:

Smell of Attraction: The smell of a man is vitally important to women when it comes to basic sexual attraction. A woman’s olfactory acuity reaches its peak during ovulation.

It’s All in the Kiss: Men who are good kissers have a distinct advantage with women. Good kissing awakens a woman’s erotic interest and many women think great kissing is a clue to sexual compatibility.

Proximity: Repeated contact with someone can increase the odds of attraction exponentially. We like people as we get to know them over time.

Eye Gazing: Mutual and intense eye gazing is key for women in becoming attracted to a man. Men who sweep their eyes (respectfully) over women can be arousing. Studies have found that even with total strangers continuous “eye lock” can lead to attraction.

The Exotic Becomes Erotic: Although we like the guy next door who is available as a potential long-term choice, our pulses are “revved up” when we encounter the mysterious, unavailable and handsome guy. That guy who swaggers, has little to say and is unavailable will catch our attention. Many women love the anticipation of unpredictable contact.

Height: Many women love tall men and studies reveal that women consider tall men to be more attractive, more masculine and commanding.

V-Shaped Torso: Women are drawn to a specific male body type. They love broad shoulders, slender hips and well-developed, toned muscles. Men with a high shoulder to hip ratio are especially valued since they are regarded as more athletic.

Resonant Male Voice: A resonant male voice with a deeper tone and pitch is incredibly attractive to women. High levels of testosterone predict deeper voices among adult men. At some level, according to the researchers, women associate a deep baritone with good health, good genes, the capacity to protect and social influence. Think “Luciano Pavarotti versus Truman Capote.”

Something in the Way He Moves: How he moves indicates age, health, energy levels and biomechanical efficiency. To improve their attractiveness, men need to watch those dance moves (larger, more sweeping movements are preferred), how they walk (guy’s upper body sways laterally) and his gestures (space maximizing movements such as arm and leg stretching to dominate space).

You may be wondering where personality fits in here:

Personality is the essential spark for female attraction and it boils down to several essential characteristics.

Good Sense of Humor: Women who describe their husbands as more witty report higher rates of marital satisfaction. A sense of humor indicates empathy and understanding. David Buss, the study’s co-author, argues that displaying a good sense of humor is the most effective tactic for attracting women. Positive feelings, laughter and good cheer all make women like you. On an interesting note, men and women have huge gender differences on humor. Men like women who laugh at their jokes while women prefer that men make them laugh.

Self Confidence Versus Cockiness: A guy who knows what he is doing, is commanding with others, is poised and decisive are incredible attributes for attraction. Self-confidence is different from cockiness, which indicates false pride. Self-confidence is also a sign that he can protect and provide which are characteristics that are attractive to many women.

Character and Emotional Intelligence: The presence of integrity and honesty are unbeatable combinations for men who are interested in attracting a long-term mate. While they may not help a man in the initial attraction dance, these characteristics are essential for the long-term health of the marriage. Women love to be understood and having an emotionally self-aware guy is a huge allure.

Ladies, if you meet a nice guy that you are not attracted to or if you want to inject some passion into a current relationship – here’s what to do:

While you can never create that sexual chemistry on your own, you need to reconsider how you are thinking about this guy. Remember that for women, attraction is highly psychological. Research shows that a lot of women are attracted to the “bad boys” who are dashing, handsome and potentially unfaithful but that they outgrow such relationships over time.

Historical Foundations of Attraction: For the selection of a long-term relationship, pay attention to your history. Sexologist, John Money, says that we all have a unique template of what we find attractive. This “love map” accounts for some of the choices we make that may seem illogical such as why we like guys with brown hair versus blonde. We may choose against “type” when we meet someone whom we enjoy and with whom we build a lifetime bond. He may have our “love map” characteristics.

Weighted Values: Write a list of attributes that this man has and assign them values (one to ten etc.). Rate what is most important to least important. Think long and hard about what you want in a partner long term. For example, while he may not have the self-confidence and swagger of some more dashing men, he may have a great sense of humor that will keep you laughing through the night for the next fifty years.

Source: “Why Women Have Sex,” Carol Meson and David Buss


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