24th of April 2014

Where To Start If You’re Lost With Women, Part 4: The “Why” Of Female Attraction

We’re three pieces in. At this point, you should get these ideas:

1. The right mindset at the beginning is key (willing to try, ok with temporary failures, and cautiously optimistic in long run success). Part 1 is here.

2. Female choice is the foundational principle of mating: (women choose, men pursue.) Part 2 is here.

3. Women are attracted to many different traits in men, and men can cultivate those traits in themselves to become more attractive (effectiveness is the key principle underlying all these traits). Part 3 is here.

For many of you, the next step is learning exactly how to make changes to improve those traits that women care about. That post is not this one (it’s next week).

Before we tell you that, there’s another thing you can learn that is sort of optional, depending on what you care about: the question of why. This post is about answering this question: Why do women find these traits attractive, as opposed to any others?


Attraction Is Not A Choice

You may not have ever stopped and thought about why women prefer the traits they prefer. Like we said in the last piece, it can seem random. It’s not. Like we said in the last piece, female choice is predictable (in general).

Why is it like this?

Well, quite frankly, what women find attractive is consistent across women and cultures mostly because it is not under their conscious control. It is an unconscious emotional decision that is a reaction to what you present them; it’s biologically programmed into them.

Notice I said “what women find attractive in a man” and not “what women want in a man.” The difference between “want” and “find” is the key to understanding why females choose what they do.

To want something is a conscious choice, a deliberation and a choosing of a specific thing for reasons you understand. For example, I have decided to eat steak and not bread, because I’ve made the choice to not eat grains. That is a conscious, deliberate choice, based on rational reasons (meat is good for humans, grain is poison to humans). Women can and do make conscious choices about men all the time, of course.

That’s not how attraction works. Attraction is not a rational, conscious decision; it’s mostly unconscious. This is why women can see a man, talk to him for a very short amount of time (less than 2 minutes), and already be deeply attracted to him. And why guys who are are doing tons of things wrong can feel invisible to women; women are immediately repelled by certain traits, and won’t even engage those guys at all.

Here’s some easy proof of this: Have you ever asked a girl why she’s attracted to some guy, and she can’t really explain it, and it frustrates you? That used to happen to me all the time before I understood how attraction worked. I’d see some guy I thought was a loser, but had girls all over him…yet no woman could tell me why she was really attracted to him. The reasons they gave made no sense, or contradicted, or were nonsensical (actually, lots of guys have said that about me as well).

Or worse, have you ever tried to convince–or god forbid, beg–a woman to move you from the friend zone to the boyfriend zone? Didn’t work, did it?

You can’t reason a woman into attraction. Women are either instinctively attracted to you, or they are not. Women didn’t sit around and all decide that they’re going to be attracted to tall men, or powerful men, or men who are famous. That’s an unconscious part of their biology. Women like what they like, and that’s it. It is SUPREMELY important for you to understand this point, so I’m going to repeat it:

Female attraction is an emotional, unconscious reaction to the suite of traits you present to her, it is NOT a conscious decision that the woman deliberates about.

Two important things here:

1. Please don’t think I’m saying women are only creatures of instinct, while men are completely rational. Men are the same way. We have different things we are attracted to in different ways, but we are creatures of instinct as well. Very little about attraction (and love) is a conscious decision for either sex.

2. Attraction is not a choice, but action is ALWAYS a choice. Women can always choose to engage in a relationship independent of their attraction to the man (as can men). But for women that is very rare and occurs in specific situations which are outside the bounds of this piece (e.g. prostitution, arranged marriage, etc), which we’ll cover eventually.]


Why Is Attraction Unconscious?

This begs the question–why is attraction in women (and men) much more of an unconscious choice than a conscious deliberation? Why is it programmed into our biology?

Because humans evolved this way. This is a long, complicated explanation, but I’ll try to make it as simple as possible in this piece:

Women are unconsciously attracted to the traits we listed in the last piece because those traits tend to show that a man is reliable, powerful, effective, and caring–which is good for the woman and their offspring. Specifically, they confer a survival or reproductive advantage to their offspring.

These preferences, especially the deepest ones, have been strongly programmed into us by our genes over thousands of generations of sexual (and natural) selection. Because we evolved from our ancestors, much of what we “choose” is still strongly influenced by what choices they made (especially by the choices that worked, obviously).

So how exactly did the specific female preferences evolve?

The answer to that question could be it’s own book. In fact, there are many books about what the human mating preferences are, and how they evolved (our own Geoffrey Miller wrote one of the foundational texts in this field, The Mating Mind). We will go deep into this complex subject–the evolutionary history of sexual attraction–in our book, because understanding this subject is absolutely key to understand women, but it crudely breaks down like this:

Over the course of human evolutionary history, women have picked some men to mate with, over other men. This is called sexual selection (as opposed to the other force of evolution, natural selection). The women who picked men to mate with that had traits that benefitted their children, passed their genes on. The ones that picked men to mate with who had genes that did NOT enhance the survival or the mating success of their children, did NOT pass their genes on. So over thousands of generations, the women who were “naturally” attracted to adaptive traits in men are the ones whose genes are now in all our DNA, and still influence all of our decisions.

For example, take a hunter/gatherer female who was “instinctually” attracted the most intelligent man in her tribe, and because of this attraction, mated with him. How does she know he’s the most intelligent? Because he’s the best hunter, which leads to him killing the most game, and so he has more meat for her and their children. This repeated success at hunting is what’s called an “honest signal” of his intelligence.

By mating with him, her and her children get meat in the short term, and get his intelligence genes, and they also get her “instinctual” attraction to men who display signs of intelligence.

Those females–the ones mating with guys who show their high intelligence–over time produce smarter children and children who want to mate with smart people, so they out-compete the females mating with stupid guys (because of the advantage it confers to their children), and thus over many generations, females in that tribe become genetically ingrained to prefer intelligence in men, because it helped their genes spread.

For a more modern example, this is why humor is such a great way to attract a woman. It’s also an “honest signal.” Anyone can pretend to have money (for awhile) or lie about their accomplishments (for awhile). But you can’t tell fake jokes. It’s an honest signal about your intelligence, social ability, and empathy (we’ll cover the very important concept of “honest signals” in depth, on the blog and in the book as well). Keeping with that example, a preference for funny guys served their female ancestors very, very well for thousands of generations, so as a result many modern females prefer guys with a sense of humor.

Starting to get it?

[NOTE: this explanation of the evolution of female sexual preferences is laughably simple, and ridiculously incomplete. That section of our book alone will be ~20k+ words, and there are literally libraries filled with research and books about this subject. The point here is NOT to prove anything completely, but to give you the most basic outline of how and why female preferences evolved, so you can start to make sense of the mating world.]


Why Does This Matter To You?

You may be confused why this matters, or may totally get this, but not care. Why does any of this matter to you today? I’ll tell you why exactly:

If you understand that attraction is an emotional, unconscious decision on the part of the woman, then you can put all your frustration and bitterness to the side; they aren’t judging you, and their rejection isn’t about you. They are just trying to do the right thing for them (in both an unconscious, biological sense, and a direct, rational sense). You’re no different–you try to pick the right women for you–and you’d do the same thing in their spot.

Remember, these choices they make are not better or worse in any moral sense. They are just about conferring some sort of survival or sexual advantages to their offspring. If you understand that female attraction preferences evolved to serve their biological interests, then you should not resent or argue with them. You should respect them. Not just because it makes sense to respect the choices of other people in general, but because their preferences made sense for their ancestors, and for the most part, still make sense for them now (just like yours do, by the way).

To be even more harsh and stark about it: Female mating preferences are designed to help them select for guys who are good for them.

It’s not their fault if they aren’t attracted to you. It’s your fault for not measuring up to their very rational preferences (and of course, societies fault for not teaching you what to do so women will actually want from you, which we are trying to fix here).

This is especially great news for you if you’ve been bad with women your whole life. It means that women haven’t been rejecting YOU, they’ve been rejecting how you are presenting yourself. And the reasons they’ve been rejecting you are rational, knowable, and changeable. There is a clear path forward to success for you, and it’s one that almost ANY guy can walk.

Plainly put: You can understand what traits and behaviors women prefer, and why they prefer them (and know they are rational). Once you understand them, you can adapt to become much more attractive to women. If you do that, you are virtually guaranteed to have some level of success.



1. Female attraction is an emotional, unconscious reaction to the suite of traits you present to her, it is NOT a conscious decision that the woman deliberates about.

2. There is a deep evolutionary logic to female attraction preferences. They are not random or arbitrary.

3. These choices tend to benefit the woman (and her potential offspring), both in the short and long term.

4. Female preferences are optimized to focus on your deep, stable, biological traits that are hard to fake, because these “honest signals” are the most reliable signs that you could make a good mating partner for her (and her potential children).

5. Because they are rational (on a biological level, at least) you should understand and respect these preferences, not argue with or lament them.



This is an ongoing, developing series, and we are testing how the presentation of this information is resonating with our readers (you). Our goal is to help guys get the relationships they want with women, so please feel free to give us feedback:

Does it make sense? Are you learning from it? What did you not understand? What do you want to know more about? Does this explain mating in way you can relate to?

Any feedback you have, either good or bad, I’d love to hear. Email me here: [email protected]


Where To Start If You’re Lost With Women:

Part 1: Developing The Right Mindset

Part 2: How Mating Works

Part 3: What Women Are Attracted To

Part 4: The “Why” Of Female Attraction

Part 5: How To Be More Attractive To Women 

Part 6: Figuring Out What You Want

Part 7: Where To Find Women 

Part 8: The Road Forward


Join the Mating Grounds Mailing List

Get the latest Mating Grounds content delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for free email updates: