PsychologyDating

Guys, Here’s What It’s Actually Like To Be A Woman

Written with Geoffrey Miller. This story is an exclusive chapter excerpt from MATE: Become the Man Women Want.

She’s Probably Just Not That Into You, and You Need to Be O.K. With That

Daniella Urdinlaiz
Daniella Urdinlaiz

The average guy finds the average woman at least somewhat sexually attractive. Think about it. The next time you’re walking down the street or hanging out in a mall or student union, ask yourself seriously, What percent of these women would I be willing to have sex with right now, if it was safe, easy, consensual, and no strings attached?

If you’re like most young guys, the answer would be well over 70 percent—even including the moms and older women. For some of you freaks, especially including them.

By contrast, the average woman finds the average man sexually invisible, neutral, disgusting, or repulsive. Only a tiny percentage of guys inspire immediate lust in women. And most of those guys have already moved to New York or LA to become actors or models. If you are over eighteen and haven’t done that, you’re not one of those guys.

This is a huge sex difference in initial choosiness, documented in both scientific research and online dating data, that plays out in every domain of sex and dating. (Of course, if a relationship develops between a man and woman, he gets a lot choosier about whether to date her exclusively, move in with her, or marry her—but that’s a discussion for another time. All you need to know at this point is that women are choosier about who they have sex with; men are choosier about who they commit to.) Guys have sexual fantasies about almost all the women they know, whereas women have fantasies about virtually no men. She doesn’t have as many sexual fantasies per month as you do, she doesn’t masturbate nearly as much, and sex is usually more in the background of her consciousness than the foreground.

“Women are trying to do the best they can to reject you without humiliating you.”

Another reason she’s not attracted to most men is that she thinks their outfits are stupid and their clothes don’t fit. Because they are and they don’t. She’s right. She also knows what your body would look like naked, and she probably thinks you’re either a lazy loser (out of shape) or a narcissistic gym rat (in too-good shape). None of this should be particularly surprising or contentious. She likes what she likes, and, statistically, the chances are you’re not it.

Where it gets problematic is when you don’t get the picture and she has to tell you, because women don’t like having to reject men explicitly. There is a deep evolutionary logic to this preference, and it has a lot to do with minimizing the very real risks they face from publicly humiliating their suitors. It was almost always better for an ancestral woman to keep a guy within her social orbit as a possible nonsexual friend rather than alienate or upset him. Women aren’t being ambiguous and mysterious and elusive because they’re “playing games” or “fucking with your head.” They’re just instinctively trying to reduce the risk of provoking harassment or stalking or violent retaliation.

Here’s how women tell you they aren’t into you: their first line of defense is simply to play it cool, professional, and neutral. They keep their physical and emotional distance, minimize contact and chatter, and eliminate any signs of affection or interest that could be misconstrued as sexual.

If that doesn’t work, they might escalate the subtle rejection vibes by acting in a way that naive young men interpret as “cold” or “stuck up” or “bitchy.” This vibe is not cruel—it signals that you failed to appreciate their earlier cues of disinterest, and they’ve reluctantly had to make their disinterest even more obvious to get it through your thick head that they do not wish to fuck you. If women wanted to be cruel when they rejected you, they would ask their brothers to cut your belly open with sharp flints and pull your guts out for the wild hyenas to eat—or whatever the equally painful equivalent on Facebook would be.

Women are trying to do the best they can to reject you without humiliating you. The more experienced and confident they are, the better they are at rejecting you obviously enough that you go away but not so obviously that you’re ashamed in front of your friends and other women. But it’s not their responsibility to reject you in the way that would be least costly to you; it’s your responsibility to take the hint as best you can and go away.

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