Tantalizing texts and revealing outfits may drive guys wild in movies and books, but in real life? “Men are never satisfied by women who try to keep their attention by wearing sexy clothes and spending a lot of time in the mirror,” for instance, says Cammi Balleck, PhD, author of Happy, the New Sexy. Even subtle signals you’d expect him to find sexy can lower his libido. Click to discover 10 gimmicks that just don’t get him going, and how to transform them into effective turn-ons.
1. Wearing a Lot of Makeup
Men like women who look polished and presentable. It’s the Marilyn Monroe lips paired with smoky eyes and layers of foundation that may have your guy asking, “Where are you under there?” Simply put, “men like natural,” says Dr. Balleck. “Good taste will attract men, and exaggeration will turn them away.” Less is more here, so try enhancing your look with these makeup-free ideas.
2. Scheduling Sex
Suggestive texts can get your partner’s heart pumping, but including a time to get busy pressures him to perform. Messages like, “Waiting for you to come home, big shot,” or “I’m yours after yoga tonight” make sex predictable, which can floor a man’s excitement, says Jane Greer, PhD, a relationship expert, radio host and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. While making time for sex ups the chances you’ll have it, set the appointment in your mind only. And keep your texts less specific, like “Looking forward to spending time with you soon,” or “Let’s get a babysitter sometime.”
3. Turning Off the Lights
There’s a reason guys love watching football games in high definition: Men are highly visual beings, says Dr. Greer. So they’d love to see as much as possible during sex too. Insisting on doing the deed in the dark makes him think you’re more interested in how you look than how he makes you feel. And your insecurity can rain on his parade. If you’re not comfortable in the spotlight, head to a room with a dimmer switch, or light a few candles.
4. Raking His Back with Your Nails
What looks passionate in movies can be a true pain in the back this side of the screen, says Pepper Schwartz, PhD, professor of sociology at the University of Washington and author of The Normal Bar: Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples. The heat of the moment may prompt you to grab him and dig in; just be careful not to tear his skin. Instead of clawing, press your fingertips and hands all over his body. Grasp tighter when he’s getting it right to encourage him to keep up the good work.
5. Faking It
It’s true. Reaching orgasm isn’t easy for women. In fact, the average gal takes about 20 minutes to climax. And who has that much time? Many women think they have to get there for their mates to believe they’ve done a good job, but “men take it as you not being real,” says Dr. Greer. If a guy feels you’re lying to him during an intimate moment, he may doubt he means much to you. So let him know when he turns you on, but don’t fake a grand finale if it doesn’t happen.
6. Going Commando
No panties on an occasional date? Sexy! No underwear at work, the gym and the doctor’s office? Not so much. Most husbands don’t feel comfortable with their wives pulling this scandalous move around others. Dr. Greer says it makes you seem “too loose and available.” Use this trick sparsely on dates to get your intended target in the mood, but go about your daily life in undergarments, please.
7. Getting Drunk
Advertisers often pair images of alcohol with good-looking women, which sends the message that drinking is sexy, says Dr. Balleck. While liquor can loosen you up, beware of abusing its power. “When a woman gets out of control, it becomes unattractive and embarrassing.” There’s nothing sexy about your man scraping you off the floor or begging you not to leave your boss an expletive-laced voicemail at 2 A.M. Keep your limit in mind if you go out for drinks, and stop a few sips short to play it safe.
8. Playing the Damsel in Distress
Some women think acting clueless makes men feel needed, but your love may view you as dependent or unintelligent. That can drive him away because no guy wants to feel like he’s babysitting his partner. “Men find a smart woman much sexier,” says Dr. Balleck. Allow him to help when you need him, be it for diffusing a tricky work situation or fixing the sink, because men like solving problems, says Dr. Balleck. If you can fix something yourself, though, you should, she says.
9. Directing the Scene
There’s a difference between being assertive and taking over the production in the bedroom. “Give hints about where you find pleasure,” says Dr. Schwartz, “but you don’t want him to feel inept or controlled by nonstop directions.” Bossiness doesn’t rank high on the sexy scale. Instead of mandating your man’s moves, speak up when he hits the perfect spot or remind him how good it felt when he explored a certain part of your body before. He’d rather discover he’s pushed the right buttons than be told exactly where to find them.
10. Having Sex on the First Date
Nothing screams promiscuous like being too quick to rip off your clothes. Getting intimate on day one may make a guy think you’re a one night stand and nothing more, says Dr. Greer. Consider leaving him with a passionate goodnight kiss if you’re feeling the connection. Not only will you get your perfect parting but you’ll also leave him wanting more.