How to Attract Women – The Psychologically Researched Guide

By Marcus Neo | Dating Advice for Men

Jul 23
How to Attract Women

I’ve read tons of dating, relationship, pick up artist advice on how to attract women. Some advice said to tease her, some said to ignore her, some said to do it directly, some say to text her only after X number of days, some say you got to be ‘masculine’. When I started out, It was all really confusing to me, I needed a clear model that is replicable across cultures and different demographics of women.

There are school of thoughts from evolutionary to social psychology. However, just like all of the social sciences, there’s no one fit all answer. Fortunately, there are principles that you can adopt to be attractive to women across cultures. These are research collated from different sources and personal experiences of mine from travelling to different cultures in my life. The best thing you can do for yourself is to go out and fail using these principles as a guidelines.

How to Attract Women – The Universality of Status                              

Psychological research shows that there’s one universal denominator that women find desirable across all cultures, ethnicities, age groups and socio-economic standing and even in time periods.

The largest common denominator of what attracts women to men is men who are perceived to be of higher status around women.

Note, I used the word perceived, that’s because status is relative and I’ll get into that later.

Status is commonly known in the pick up artist community as being of higher social status through ‘demonstrations of higher value’. It’s argued that women decides to pursue a relationship by weighing the value they see in a male, including qualities such as physical attractiveness, wit, interests and intelligence against their expectations of success in the relationship.

So, how do you be of ‘high status’ to women? Is it something that’s demonstrated through body language, social skills or good looks, money and social success? Is it JUST accumulating money, looks and success? If material objects or social status aren’t the only measurements of your attractiveness to women. Then how can you truly measure how attractive you are to women?

If you’re brought up like me in a conservative Asian culture, you were probably told a hundred times to think that once you do well in school, get a good job, you’ll automatically be able to crush it when it comes being attractive to women. There’s a huge pressure for us Asian males who grow up in a culture that associates monetary achievement with success.

In modern culture, attractive women are splashed over and associated with the majority of advertising campaigns. The bouncers at the clubs treat her nice, she gets social opportunities shoved in her face, she gets into clubs for free and everyone loves her… for being pretty. These are the cultural narratives influence your confidence with women from day zero.

However, if money, looks and success were all it takes to attract women, then why do women all around the world find themselves flocking to the broke musician or the 6 pac-ed athlete?

If female attraction is determined by purely demonstrations of monetary power, then why do many wealthy males in developed cultures can’t land a date to save their lives and resort to dating sites or prostitution? Why is it that a good portion of the female population in the world make romantic/sexual decisions with pretty average males and are okay with it? That’s because… status is… relative.

The Relativity of Status: Looks, Money and Status

Welcome to the relativity of status.

Yes, looks, money and success are external signals of ‘status’. Wearing a Rolex watch, flaunting material wealth and boasting about it in a developed country will get you eye rolls. You’ll come off as insecure and try hard. However, if you go to less developed cultures, wearing a Rolex watch will be all you need to attract women.

However, assuming you’re an average male are not born into a privileged family, you can’t rely on looks, money and social success off the bat.

Take a male who has a high paying job. He may be able to come up with silly jokes or one-liners may come off as confident. However, he’s in a job he hates. He does it please his parents, impress girls, or is saying those jokes to get validation from her. It’s not a genuine or authentic expression of his identity.

He’s still an unattractive male at the end of the day.

Whereas, a truly attractive man may not have the best lines, however, he doesn’t try to impress anyone and he is more invested in his own opinion than her opinion of him. He lives life based on own values, doesn’t try to over impress her and is capable of standing up for himself.

He may not be as financially well off as the former. However, he is a leader and the former is a follower. From an evolutionary standpoint, which man do you think women are attracted to?

How about the dead broke musician? How is he dead broke and yet able to attract tons of women? Well, fortunately, research shows that YOU too can be attractive to women via behaviour and demonstrating the potential outcome of being: rich and famous.

Status is subjective

The Potential for Status

Interestingly, the potential for status is equally attractive with attained status itself.

This means that if your behaviour shows that you have the potential to be rich, famous, successful, it is equally perceived by women to being rich, famous and success already.

To add on to that, there’s also research pointing that self worth and social desirability are also factors that influence one’s attractiveness. (read: not just your bank account)

Personal experience backs this up. I had one of my best dating life as a broke, underperforming accounting student in University. Even though I was a broke and not really an academically stellar student. I was passionate about personal growth and my hobbies from martial arts, music and travel. This zest for life rippled through all my interactions with women and they took to it.

From personal experience, women in developed societies are educated and are able to finance their lifestyles independently of men. They aren’t exactly looking for wealth or prestige. I’ve dated women who told me that they can provide for themselves and are not looking for a guy to provide financially for them. Of course, minus the gold diggers.

In modern culture, there’s a there’s a huge value placed on external success such as prestige, jobs and wealth. It’s misconstrued that by racking up job security, cars, wealth, and prestige, it’ll automatically make you attractive to women.

Let’s just say women don’t spend their nights fantasising of your bank account. They fantasise about far stranger things such as rape fantasies. Yes, it’s documented. You ever wondered why Fifty Shades of Grey was so popular?

Note, I’m NOT saying that you should not thrive to make money, get good grades or look good. They all help, just like academic success don’t translate directly to career success. However, the discipline to perform in school can be applied to other skillsets required to attract women. Realistically, you do need some money to go to social events, use public transport, put yourself in demographics, go out on dates, buy nicer clothes and have your own place etc. All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t be reliant on your monetary success to attract women.

Stop flashing that Rolex watch, my friends.

On Dark Triads and Pick Up Artist Strategies

There’s research suggesting that dark triad traits can be helpful in short term mating strategies. These traits are namely narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.

Yes, unfortunately, it works. I’m not going to be idealistic and discount them.

However, just because something works doesn’t mean you need to adopt it. I don’t recommend such a philosophy. You are who you date. Research shows that people self selects similar values in relationships. People with similar values and self-esteem often end up together. If you’re attempting to adopt dark triad ways of behaviour, don’t be surprised if you end up dating psychopathic women.

Secondly, if you’re only relying on tricks, lies and or emotional blackmail to get laid, I’ll argue it’s a tiring game. You’re spending so much time on manipulation that you fail to build up any true value in other areas of your life. If you are attracting women if you are narcissistic (read: unable to have empathy for others), then don’t be surprised if you’re dating a narcissist and or codependent yourself. They don’t make healthy long term relationships.

Our Behaviour as a Determinant of Being Attractive

Good looks, houses and cars are all displays of external wealth, prestige and social status. These external displays of status can lead to attraction. However, assuming you’re not born rich, famous or you aren’t there yet, these variables are not directly in your control.

If external variables such as looks, money and social status can’t be controlled, at least immediately, what CAN be controlled then? That’s our behaviour. 

How does this play out? This can play out in obvious ways and subtle ways.

If you’re going to go to University and doing a degree because your parents, society or your friends think it’s a good idea too and you secretly hate it, it’s going to rub off in your lifestyle. If you’re getting that job just because ‘that’s what everybody does’, what does this say about you?

You’re a follower and not a leader. You’re not living a life based on your values and not being assertive in your life. You’re more concerned about what others think about you than what you think of yourself.

Secondly, if you’re basing your self esteem on external metrics such as making a million dollars, popularity: factors that are out of your control, then you’re not going to be really attractive that’s because your self esteem is going to fluctuate based on these external variables.

For example, a rich banking executive may display external signs of prestige such as monetary success, cars and more. However, he may secretly resent his work and isn’t truly happy or satisfied with his lifestyle. Compare this to an entrepreneur running a small scale business. He may not be extremely rich, however, he’s passionate, engaged and satisfied about his projects.

The first is a follower and the later is a leader.

From an evolutionary standpoint, which one will women be attracted to? The follower or the leader?

When you assert yourself and lead a life based on your values, you dress a certain way because it’s a genuine expression of yourself, you pursue a lifestyle that you enjoy and pursue projects that you feel passionate about. You’re a leader. From an evolutionary standpoint, you’ll be a reliant and dependable father can take care of her offspring. Hence, you’ll be attractive to her.

Note, there’s a difference between being assertive and being over domineering. If you go around not caring about social norms and completely not giving a fuck: feeling like you need to dominate yourself in every social situations, then you’re not really a ‘true alpha’. Someone who is truly confident doesn’t need to be right all the time. Being truly confident means you respect the boundaries and ideas of others, but at the same time, you’re not fazed if someone else disagrees with you or rubs you off negatively.

Ultimately, there are many men who are rich and good looking that can’t dates with women from their own social circles. Rich, famous, or not, you’re still required to adopt attractive behaviours to be successful with women. There’s no way around this.

Now, let’s take at the second universal determinant on what attracts women.

Physical Arousal: The Desire to Be Desired

The one other universal determinant of female attraction is the desire to be desired. There is data and new conclusion suggesting that women are turned on by being wanted, by being desired. Personal experience backs this up, your single ability to be sexually assertive with women will determine 80% of your success with women.

If the perception of status leads her to be psychologically aroused, then the desire to be pursued leads her to be sexually aroused.

In laymen terms, the perception of status, psychological arousal, makes her want to be your girlfriend. However, sexual arousal, makes her want to have sex with you right there and then.

Women don’t light candles and lay in bathtubs fantasize about condominiums and cars. They fantasize about far stranger things. This goes against the conventional idea that female attraction is solely tied to ideas and displays of security, investment, and commitment.

This is why Fifty Shades of Grey sold millions of copy all around the world. It’s literally porn for women. Why does a woman get turned off by the man who asks for permission when taking off her clothes, but get turned on by the male who doesn’t hesitate in the bedroom. Why are women reported to have rape fantasies?

So what does all of this mean for you and me?

If you’re afraid to ask her out, afraid to kiss her or afraid to touch her, it’s going to be a turn off for her. It means that your inability to assert yourself socially and sexually is going to turn her off. I can’t tell you the number of times I screwed this aspect up, in tons of micro ways possible.

In many cultures around the world such as the Asian culture, there are cultural narratives to reserve your advances when pursuing a girl. This is a narrative that I told myself for YEARS, SEVERELY deliberating my success with women. It was only when I started behaving in a more dominant manner, that I started getting more results.

Your Intentions: The Why Behind Your Behaviour

So Marcus, what you’re saying is that all I got to do is to show that I’m of ‘higher status’ and tell that I want to have sex with her right there and then? NO. Intentions aren’t covered by the majority of dating and relationship community. That’s because partly intentions are hard to describe and put a finger down to.

It’s NOT about ‘not giving a fuck’ and not caring about social norms and going up to grope her in broad daylight. It’s about pushing the interaction forward in an assertive but respectful manner.

Intentions are the ‘WHY’ behind your behaviour. In life, what motivates your behaviour is equally as important as the behaviour itself. It is also a determinant if your behaviour is truly confident or you’re trying to be confident.

Think about it, you ever hung out with someone who was trying way too hard to be cool? You probably felt turned off and slightly disgusted right? If you’re complimenting a girl just because you think she wants to hear it, it’ll probably turn her off. This is why men in bars who trade alcohol for attention fail miserably night after night. His behaviour or the surface may come off as high status but his intentions are way off.

When in doubt, always check your intentions.

It’s always good to ask yourself:

Is what you say to her authentic, a genuine expression of your desire for her? Or are you saying it because you read it a book somewhere that it is a good idea to?

This is why lines and a lot of the pick up artist literature can be limiting in the long run.

This is why memorizing lines and then mouthing it off like a robot ultimately going to come off as un-confident behaviour. You’re using these lines, routines and strategies because you’re inherently unconfident as a person.

In my experience, some times intentions can be misunderstood. Your sarcastic joke meant as means of teasing her may come off as offensive. I personally like dark humour a lot and in Asian cultures, it IS offensive to the majority of the population. However, I’ll take my chances and still make the joke. Your willingness to take social risks and assert yourself in it is an attractive behaviour.

Secondly, if good intentions got the job done. Then there’s no need for behaviour itself. You still need to be able to demonstrate attractive behaviour at the appropriate moment. This is why mouthing out: ‘I want to kiss you’ as opposed to just pulling her and kissing her are two different behaviours. The majority verbalize their intentions because they are not confident of acting it out. They are still waiting and looking for permission.

The Primer on Sexual Shame

Having social skills and being extraverted also doesn’t mean that you’re automatically great with women. I was an extravert during my late teens, I still got nowhere with women. In fact, I was really inhibited when moving my interactions to anything sexual with women. You can be social with everyone, however, if you freak out when it comes to talking to a girl you’re into, then being Mr Popular still isn’t going to get you anywhere. This is why I’ll like to talk a little more about sexual confidence, in particular: sexual shame.

80% of your success is going to be determined by your ability to assert yourself physically and socially with women.  The majority of this attracting women thing is actually about unlearning behaviours, being more in touch with your psychological side than actually adding on more ‘attraction’ behaviours.

In most of the dating advice, there is an over emphasis on how to get a woman attracted. Being attractive to women is barely enough. She can be attracted to you, yet her life circumstances (she has a boyfriend) makes it difficult for anything between you and her to happen. The majority of people get together due to other reasons such as proximity (and other social reasons). other than being sexually attracted to each other.

Now, back to sexual shame. Sexual shame is rooted in one’s inability to be sexually assertive. Sexual shame is feeling guilty, bad or worthless when expression or asserting your sexual/ emotional desires/ needs.  This can be rooted in many factors such as cultural influences, past traumas such as overly strict upbringing or poor relationship with your parents.

This is also something the majority of pick up artist/dating advice community do not talk about. This is why you don’t go up to talk to her. This is you’re afraid to touch her after she has given you a thousand green lights on a date.

There’s no easy way to overcome your shame. You only get better through connecting to the self and being somewhat unapologetic about your desires. I’ll let you in on an interesting story. I was coaching one time and demonstrated a live interaction for a client. The interaction went well. He then went to mouthed off to one of the girls:

‘I’m here with Marcus, he’s teaching me how to talk to girls’.

It was a huge facepalm moment. Needless to say, the girls wanted to chase me away.

‘Why are you still talking to us? Why don’t you follow your friend and teach him how to talk to more girls?’

At this point, the pick up artists may see this as a ‘shit test’. To be honest. Screw shit tests. What’s the difference between a shit test and a girl genuinely doubting you? In this case, these women were GENUINELY doubting me. What could I have said at that moment?

I simply said: ‘Well, he’s my client and I’m teaching him. Don’t you think some guys need help in this area of your life? Would you want a cool, socially intelligent guy talking to you when you’re in the club? I happen to once suck in this area of my life as well, that’s why I had to learn it, just like he did.”

The fact that I was unapologetically about my interaction, we continued talking and we exchanged contacts.

It’s one thing to learn techniques and lines on seducing and attracting women. It’s another to do the work of getting over your shame. This means confronting a lot of issues that may be unpleasant: traumas, childhood and/ or religious upbringing. It something that’s always a work in progress, and it requires a certain amount of vulnerability. In the long run, it’s not only ‘status’ that’s going help you keep a relationship, it’s intimacy and vulnerability.

How to Go Forward from Here: Something You’re Proud Of

Is learning how to attract women an endeavour you should be proud of and something you should invest in it?

Is it something you should tell your parents, sibling, friends and colleague about? I was hanging out with a couple of friends who are into ‘pick up’ and they asked me: what do your friends and parents think about this? I simply say I’m honest about it. I tell them that I used to suck at this, I started reading a couple of books and that’s how I got the ball rolling.

Unfortunately, a lot of people getting into this dating advice thing (especially in Singapore) don’t see it this way. I boil it down to a couple of reasons:

  • Certain conservative cultures, especially Asian cultures
  • They think it’s a game: they are TAKING something from the girl

Through the years I came across clients that were somewhat ashamed of getting their dating life sorted. I guess this is the Asian culture. However, fundamentally, all of dating advice is self improvement. This includes getting other areas of your life down. It’s all about value and being able to convey it remember? This means your job, maximising your income, surrounding yourself with successful friends and building self awareness.

You’re also going to have a far better batting average by taking care of 1) how you present yourself 2) what you talk about and your ability to communicate interest in a socially savvy way. This way, you are optimized for success.

This way, you are attracting women from a position of self investment. This means coming from a place of boldness and empathy. This means being proud of the fact that you’re walking up to her and creating an opportunity for something to happen. That’s what you want to be gunning for in the long run: long term true confidence.

There is no way about this. You’ll need to understand how to convey social and sexual value to women. Intentions are not enough. You’ll also need to build up true social value for yourself. Trying to hack your way through is not enough. Yes, it’s a thorough process. You’ll get rejected. You’ll get rejected a lot. However, if you’re seeking independence and choice in your dating life, then this you got to get this skill down.

In my opinion, boldness balanced out with empathy is an effective way to pursue women. Firstly, you’re not afraid to take risks and assert yourself, secondly, you’re also high empathetic and willing to back off. I found this the most effective manner for me. It’s only when you pursue women in an open and authentic manner, it’ll force you to overcome your shame, shape you to become more comfortable with your sexuality. It’ll shape you to become truly confident. Then being attractive to women isn’t only about something that you do, it’s something that you are.

Works Cited

Manson, M. (2017). Models. Sydney, N.S.W.: Macmillan.

Buss, D. M. (n.d.). The Evolution of Desire. Retrieved September 01, 2017, from Academia.Edu:

Jonason, P. K., LI, N. P., & Buss, D. M. (2010). The Costs and Benefits of the Dark Triad: Implications for Mate Poaching and Mate Retention Tactics. Personality and Individual Differences, 4, 373-378.

Locke, D, K., Horowitz, & M, L. (1990). Satisfaction in interpersonal interactions as a function of similarity in level of dysphoria. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(5), 823-831.

Ph.D., N. S. (2013, August 22). What Do Women Really Want? Retrieved August 29, 2017, from PsychologyToday.Com:

Yang, W. (2011, July 29). Sex, Lies and Data Mining. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from New York Times:

Ineichen, B. (1979). The social geography of marriage. In M. Cook & G. Wilson (Eds.), Love and attraction. New York: Pergamon Press.

About the Author

Marcus Neo is an entrepreneur and coach. Enjoys writing about dating, relationship, business, and psychology. Introvert yet extrovert. Likes martial arts and music, but never got around to the latter.

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