What Women Want

We asked women across the country: What is it you love most about your man? What turns you on? What can’t you live without?

I started the Good Men Project and Good Men Project Magazine for men. One of the things that has surprised me the most is that it has become a place for everyone to talk about men and goodness.

In the roughly 75 live events I’ve done in the last two years, the most immediately responsive audiences have been inmates (they think about good and evil a lot), boys (they’re assaulted by the media with messages about manhood, but nobody seems to be talking to them about it), and women.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that women are more comfortable talking about manhood than men are, but it did catch me off guard that their passions run so high—women really want to talk about men.

So I asked women across the country about their men: What is it that you adore, you cherish, you can’t live without?

To the women out there who sent in responses and to the women who have been a part of the Project: Thank you.


The quality I most appreciate in my man is honesty. It is the foundation for everything necessary for a good relationship: communication, respect, and trust.

—Jenn Champagne, 34, nutrition expert, Longview, Alberta.


He is the most optimistic person I know and never gets down about anything. He is very funny, which makes a big difference, and doesn’t take anything very seriously. I’ve learned to be more lighthearted about my life because of his attitude.

—Leslie Holland, 49, public relations professional, Louisville, Kentucky


Every now and then in the middle of the night, my guy will reach over, take my face gently between his hands, whisper that he loves me, and give me the most adoring, loving kiss I could ever imagine. In the morning when I ask him if he remembers doing this, he always denies it, and I really can’t tell whether or not he does! He’s not overly romantic to start with, so this is way outside his norm, and possibly the perfect way for him to share something romantic without feeling strange about it. Whenever I find myself in the middle of a high-stress situation, I think about these kisses and immediately feel good.

—Julie, chocolate-shop owner, Denver, Colorado


I adore my husband most when he rubs my feet before bed. Sex is great and all, but a foot rub is heavenly every time!

—Wendy Hudson, 45, public defender, Maui, Hawaii


He gives me his old shirts, and before he puts them into the pile to take to the resale shop, he’ll offer them to me. I love old shirts, even if they’re full of holes.

—S.L. Wisenberg, 55, author of The Adventures of Cancer Bitch, Chicago, Illinois


His ability to make me laugh my ass off. He says things that most people think, but would never say because our culture is overly politically correct and people are too scared to call the kettle black. He’s kind of like Larry David, minus the neurosis. And much better looking.

—Lisa Grimm, 28, digital PR specialist, Minneapolis, Minnesota


He plays with my hair. When we are relaxing at home he runs his hands through my hair and I love it! It feels like the most intimate form of affection.

—Jill Mikols Etesse, 38, creative director at SmartyShortz, Washington, D.C.


My man ambles into my office in a tight black T-shirt, an Italian paper thong and a pair of boots. It has the same aphrodisiac effect for me as fishnets and stiletto heels do for men. If I’m on the phone with a client I tell them I have an urgent matter to attend to and ask if I can call them back in 20 minutes.

—Susan Harrow, 53, media coach, marketing strategist, and CEO of PRsecrets.com


I love my husband’s sense of timing. He’s got a great way of being quiet until he’s commanded so much respect and drawn so much intrigue, that he has the floor for as long as he wants it. He doesn’t act like he wants it and that makes people want him to be the emcee. I love when he’s the emcee. But I love that he doesn’t need to be.

—Laura Munson, blogger and author of This Is Not the Story You Think It Is.


He is confident with me being out front and does not worry about me being in the spotlight. I often run into women who are in the public eye whose husbands or significant others get jealous about the spotlight being on the woman. It feels great to go home and have a supportive spouse who loves that you are shining brightly.

—Genma Holmes, 44, owner of Holmes Pest Control, Nashville, Tennessee


No matter what the situation, I know he’ll always do the right thing, the kind thing, the gentlemanly thing.

—Amy Alkon, nationally syndicated advice columnist


For me, it’s simple: the thing I adore about my man is … he is a total nerd. I’ve always had a soft spot for brainy, brilliant men. Seriously, the nerdier, the better. It doesn’t hurt that he’s an athlete with killer six-pack abs. But it’s his mind that I find so sexy!

—Kirin Christianson, 36, former model, Scottsdale, Arizona


I love my husband’s lovely English accent, which everyone knows. But I also love his little ears. That I don’t tell anyone!

—Lynn Blumenfeld


My boyfriend and I have opposite work schedules and I go to bed a lot earlier than he does. He knows I love cuddling so he’ll come tuck me in at night and cuddle till I fall asleep. It makes me melt every time because he cares enough to stop what he’s doing and make sure I’m happy.

—Alyssa Lang, 26, photographer, San Diego, California


My father had been very ill. Instead of putting him in a nursing home, we brought him and my mother to our home to live with us. My father passed away a few days before Christmas. I look at this last year as such a blessing, the best gift my husband could ever have given me. The opportunity to have my parents with me, and to give my father the best quality of life possible in his last year.

—Sandra McKenna, 54, Tampa Bay, Florida


He enjoys my company and would rather spend time hanging out with me than anything else. I find that amazing—not that I’m not good company, but after a year of living together?

—Isadora Alman, MFT, 70, writer and psychotherapist, Alameda, California


It’s the little things that add up to a huge chemistry click that make me go wild about my guy. When he firmly holds my hand while walking down the street, it’s a big turn-on. He also likes to slow dance with me (even when we’re alone at home), and I love looking up into his eyes with our arms around each other. The conversation is also easy, and our relationship feels good all over.

—Liz Kelly, 42, relationship expert and author, GreatLifeGreatLove.com, Santa Monica, California


After 12 years of being together he still holds the door for me and opens my car door. He even orders my food when we go out to eat. It’s a bit old school, but I appreciate his charm and southern hospitality.

—Sojourner Marable Grimmett, 31, Atlanta, Georgia


I love how my Latino husband messes up English words; it’s adorable because he thinks he has it right and has no idea he’s incorrect. Combine that with his accent and it always makes me laugh. I hardly want to correct him it’s so cute.

—Kristina H., Washington, D.C.


One thing I adore about my man is his commitment to giving back and serving the community and people around him. It makes me be a better person.

—Allison White, 24, marketing professional, North Carolina


There are so many things my husband does that I love, but I think the most important one is being honest with me, and being truly involved in our conversations about anything and everything. He’s a grownup, he is responsible and responsive, and he expects the same from me. There is no way to describe how well he loves me. He “gets” me, he accepts me (even what he doesn’t agree with) and he challenges me when he thinks it’s appropriate. He also happens to be my own personal leprechaun, although the curly red/gold hair he had when we met has changed, he still has the blue eyes.

—Tina B. “Dr. Romance” Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex, and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage


There was absolutely no hesitation when I asked him to come with me to the middle of Times Square to participate in a photo shoot. And not only was he game to be photographed, he also didn’t mind dressing up in a gold lamé and leopard pimp outfit with Rollerblades (and the man doesn’t know how to skate). In my opinion, being open to adventure, kind of risking physical injury, a bit of danger, and public humiliation all for your woman … that’s real love!

—Marni Halasa, professional figure skater and performance artist, New York, New York


I love my husband’s piercing turquoise eyes because while I know the rest of his body will change through the years, his eyes will always be my favorite color and will always be able to read me like a book.

—Grace Vinton, publicist, Connecticut


Without fail, my husband gets up first, makes the coffee, and brings me my first cup as soon as he hears me beginning to stir under the covers. It’s a sweet morning ritual that allows me to greet the morning with plenty of “mo’ joe” (my Joe and a cuppa joe, that is)!

—Victoria LeBlanc Bors


My husband of 10 years tickles my feet, which in itself does not seem such an amazing thing to do. But when you learn that my feet are quite honestly disgusting as I trained as an ice skater and even when I look at them I could cry, then you understand how intimate and special this is to me.

—Rochelle Peachey, 45, ILoveYourAccent.com, Florida


As a mother of two boys, running my own busy company, my husband will come from work (after he’s worked 12 hours) and see I haven’t had a chance to clean up the kitchen and will take care of all the dirty dishes, so in the morning, I come down to a clean kitchen. I greatly appreciate it. I think other busy moms would agree.

—Sandra Kircher, 43, owner of Li’l Inspirations, Hillsborough, New Jersey


While everyone has jumped on the Botox bandwagon, I’m one of the few people in the western world that actually likes wrinkles. After all, they add character and show a person’s personality. That’s why the secret little thing I adore about my husband is the way his wrinkles around his eyes light up his face when he smiles.

—Bobbi Leder, freelance writer, Houston, Texas


—Photo by corypina/Flickr

♦ ♦ ♦

Tom Matlack, together with James Houghton and Larry Bean, published an anthology of stories about defining moments in men’s lives — The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood. It was how the The Good Men Project first began. Want to buy the book? Click here. Want to learn more? Here you go.

About Tom Matlack

Thomas Matlack is a venture capitalist.


  1. Of the 27 responses cataloged in this article, I identified 9 general traits. The breakdown is as follows:

    emotional exclusivity 7
    idiosyncratic cuteness 5
    gentlemanliness 4
    domestic servitude 3
    confidence 2
    sense of humor/good attitude 2
    sacrifice 2
    intellectualism 1
    physical attractiveness 1

    The take-away: guys, if you want to make your ladies adore you, 1) experiment with ways to make her feel special, 2) always act courteously while maintaining a positive attitude, and 3) do the GD dishes!

    Oh, and 6-pack abs don’t hurt your chances either…

  2. You have to look,see and get tempted……..this is not the right place to look for a wife, we speak-out how our relationships are going…..

  3. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time
    to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more things about it!

  4. norcalsearcher says:

    Would love to have a woman in my life who adores the aforementioned reasons. I must be looking in the wrong places!

  5. Remember the quickest way to lose a woman is to lie to her; so be honest.

  6. goooddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd
    What Women Want
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  7. I believe that although both men and women can show affection affection, I still that men are better at it than women. Part of the reason is that women are mostly temperamental while men are more balanced emotionally. Men are able to maintain emotional control even when they are upset by other things outside the relationship. Many women are not so good with this.
    The reason many relationships survive is because of this one quality that men possess, the love, patience, and the respect they have for their partners.
    Men can easily restrain themselves, but for many women this is a big challenge.

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  8. As a man, I do not know what to do. I am in love with this woman that has been my friend for 4 plus years. She knows pretty much everything and anything about me, as I do know her well too. Her past hurts and relationships as well as mine. However, she lives in NY and I live in LA.- after coming over this summer to visit me, an amazing thing happen between the two of us. I knew I had feelings for her, but after spending five amazing days together things happen between the two of us. I told her that I love her in the last day she was with me. We decided to pursue something and promise not to change our ways. However, I remind the same guy but she has changed on me. She feels that she is now vulnerable to be hurt, eventhough I will never do anything to hurt her knowing her past and her knowing mine. I feel though as she has changed on me. I know she is coming back to visit in Labor day weekend, and I truly miss her but I am having mix feelings now, since i have tried everything possible to show her my genuine love for her but at this moment I dont know where I stand. Please help and advice. Thanks.

  9. Learn the secrets of how to pleasure a woman

  10. As a man, it warms my heart to read these comments. It feels as if there so much anti man-woman energy in the culture to read about how women honor their men brings tears to my eyes. These simple words empower us men to be the men we want to be. We so much want to serve and protect the women in our lives. We might not always express our love, rest assure it is always there.

    Thank you for seeing us.

    • “We so much want to serve and protect the women in our lives” = SLAVE?

    • Romantic love and romantic expression is male. Women don’t express their love of men. Men love and women want to be loved. You will see this played out time and time again. I’m sure it does bring tears to your eyes because women are critical of men, not loving. Don’t search for it in the arts or culture as you won’t find it. Women don’t actually love, they love the love men have. Love is male.

      • Siddharth says:

        touche, ryan! Would this be the same reason why men are more creative?

      • Bunny Hankers says:

        Totally disagree – I express my love for the men in my life every minute of every day and I am never ‘critical of men’ – I’m actually never critical of anyone, but if I were it would be as an individual, not because of their gender. I think you’ll find everyone wants to be loved, that doesn’t mean we don’t also want to love.

  11. I was really surprised at the responses. My sense of humour is such that at times, I don’t recognize when I’m telling a joke. When I meet some one who catches it, and then is able to respond without trying to steal it, I consider them a good friend. Maybe one day, one of those friends will become a spouse. But if I remained single for the rest of my life, that would be okay, too, as long as I can continue to hear about the joys of others.

  12. Bill Kaufmann says:

    Having been married for over 40 years and with five kids, I have no clue how my wife would respond to this question…but, based on the loving input provided, I plan to step up my game just in case someone asks her !

  13. The thing I love most about my man is how completely ridiculous he is. He is so silly, and so funny. From the moment I met him, he had me laughing, and I knew that he was The One. I’ve never been happier, and I know he feels the same. He’s my dream man.

  14. What women really want


    Asked whether, if money were not a worry, they would prefer to stay at home with their children, 55 per cent said yes. And 53 per cent agreed that society puts pressure on women with children to go to work

  15. Michele M. says:

    What I love most about my guy is that he is a loving and attentive father. Also that he has the unique ability to forgive those who have wronged him.

  16. What women really want: to marry a rich man

    Women still want to marry men who are better educated and earn more money than them, a report finds today.


  17. What also real turns me on about my man is that he is an excellent father. If my husband wasn’t so introverted, I’d cast him in a reality show on public access television and call it “Super Dad.” He’s the modern day Cliff Huxtable, but with a little more swagger.

  18. chardonnaymom says:

    fabulous read- made my week!


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  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sandi McKenna, The Good Men Project. The Good Men Project said: Latest story: What Women Want http://goodmenproject.com/2011/01/10/what-women-want/ […]

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