16 Things All Women Look For In A Man

When it comes to finding the one, women don’t want to waste their time and they especially don’t want to settle. In fact, it’d be unusual for a woman not to have a list of necessary criteria a man should have if he wants a relationship with her long-term. While a list of must-have qualities will vary depending on the person, here are some things all women look for in a man.

  1. Financial independence While it might seem fun to run off to Paris for a weekend on his daddy’s money, at some point it gets old. A woman wants a man who can financially take care of himself, pay his bills on time, and doesn’t need to be bailed out by his parents every time he screws up and maxes out a credit card. Of all the things women look for in a man, this is truly paramount. We’re looking for a partner, not a dependent.
  2. Intelligence Well, obviously, women want someone who has some brains. Sure, maybe not every woman is looking for a rocket scientist, but an IQ above 100 is at least the bare minimum. It’d be great if he showed some kind of intellectual curiosity and aptitude so that it’s clear he can hold his own in a conversation.
  3. Street smarts Street smarts don’t necessarily mean someone wielding a knife, but rather someone who can talk their way out of sticky situations. You want someone with whom you know you can feel safe if you find yourself in the sketchy part of the city on Saturday at 4 a.m.
  4. A social life As much as any woman loves to be with the man she’s dating, she also wants to be away from him sometimes too. Getting into a relationship with someone who doesn’t have a social life is literally a death sentence for the relationship. People, women especially, need space.
  5. Honesty This is certainly at the top of things women look for in a man because you can’t hold anything together if the person you’re supposed to trust most in the world is lying to you. Besides, lying is just a downward spiral once someone tells one, they have to tell another, then your whole life with them is just a damn lie. Every woman wants a man who will tell her the truth straight-up, even (and especially) if he knows it will hurt.
  6. A shared sense of humor Everyone has their own sense of humor. What one person might think is vulgar and toilet humor, another might find genius. Because this is the case, a woman wants a man who shares her equally wonky, screwed-up sense of humor. “When two people are laughing at the same thing, they are basically saying, ‘I share your perspective, your values, and I certainly share what you think is amusing,'” says Jeffrey Hall, Ph.D., associate professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas. Makes sense to me!
  7. Moral integrity It seems odd that this is a specific requirement rather than a basic default, but here we are. No woman wants to date a man whose moral compass is so screwed up (or non-existent) that he thinks any and every bad behavior is not only excusable but “no big deal” in his eyes. Cheating, flirting with other women, being condescending, talking down about her to his friends… this is just a short list of behaviors that are completely unacceptable. He should know this and act accordingly.
  8. Good sex While sex isn’t the central focus of a relationship, pretty much every woman wants a man who wants to please her in the bedroom (or will at least make the effort to try). He doesn’t need to be some Lothario who gives her the most mind-bending orgasms she’s ever had (though that would certainly be welcome), but he should be engaged and eager to please.
  9. Sex appeal What women find sexy runs the gamut. I look at some of my friends’ boyfriends and wonder “WTF?” and I’m sure some of my friends do the same thing when they look at my partner. What people find sexy is different, but no matter how different, a woman wants to be sexually attracted to the man in her life. If she’s not, then what’s the point?
  10. Respect Although respect in general is something every woman wants from a man, she also wants that respect to extend beyond her. She wants him to respect her friends and family, her occasional need for privacy, her space, and whatever boundaries she has set. Yes, healthy relationships have boundaries and they should be respected. This is one of the most important things women look for in a man — it’s not a “nice to have,” it’s a requirement.
  11. A healthy mind In a world where more than a quarter of the population suffers from a mental health disorder, taking care of your mental and emotional well-being is paramount. No matter his demons, a woman wants to be with someone she knows is taking care of them either with therapy, meds, or both. No one with mental illness should be judged, but it is their responsibility to keep themselves in check for not just their own sanity but for those around them whom they love too.
  12. Affection This comes in different shapes in sizes depending on the person. Some people enjoy being smothered while others do not. But affection, in all its forms, is essential, and something every woman wants. A woman wants a man who makes her feel adored and appreciated. What’s wrong with that?
  13. A good relationship with his family This isn’t to say that he needs to call his mom every day, but what it does mean is that a woman wants a man who’s at least on good terms with his family. No one wants to be in a relationship with someone who is constantly at war with the people who raised them. That’s just a drama no one wants.
  14. Curiosity Every woman wants a man who shows an interest in who she is and what makes her tick. She doesn’t want to feel like she’s talking to a brick wall every time she opens up about herself or her life, and she doesn’t want to feel like he couldn’t care less about anything besides getting her into bed. If there’s going to be a long-term relationship, the desire to truly know her and to continue peeling back her layers is so important.
  15. Maturity When it comes to qualities women look for in a man, this is right up there. Who on earth would want to be in a relationship with a grown man who acts like a pre-teen? No one. This isn’t high school, so he can leave the mind games, the silent treatment, and the unwillingness to compromise at the door when he approaches a woman he’s interested in. Otherwise, he might as well not bother. No woman wants a man who doesn’t act his age.
  16. Sensitivity Just because a woman might be more sensitive than a man doesn’t mean she doesn’t want him to try and understand where she’s coming from emotionally. He should understand that she feels things deeply and that certain things he’s super blase about might be a big deal to her. More than that, he shouldn’t invalidate her feelings just because he doesn’t share them.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.