What Men Really Want:

By Cucan Pemo
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What Men Really Want: What Is It About Women That Really Turn Them On?

Every time you think you have men figured out, they'll surprise you - breaking up with a gorgeous woman to date someone of average looks, or complimenting you on the one part of your body that you hate the most. So what is it about you that turns a guy on, anyway?

Your smell

No matter how evolved we believe we are, humans are still animals. One of the most powerful sexual attractants is smell, even though we're largely unaware of it. Think about it - haven't you ever been turned off by a man because you didn't like the way he smelled? And haven't there been other men you've known who smelled so good that you just wanted to curl up in their arms and stay there all night? Men are susceptible to the same primal seduction of scent, too, even if they aren't consciously aware of it.

In fact, some of it is completely beyond their control. In a 2006 study done at Prague's Charles University, a group of men were asked to sniff pads that had been worn under the armpits of unidentified women for 24 hours. The women didn't wear perfumes, use deodorants, eat spicy or smelly foods, smoke, drink alcohol or use hormonal contraceptives, and the pads were collected during three phases of their hormonal cycles. The men then rated the pads for their "attractiveness" and "intensity." The result - the men consistently rated the most attractive smells as those from the time between the first day of menstruation and of ovulation.

In other words, you're the most attractive when you smell fertile. But it can go even further than that. Chicago's Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation found that there are certain scents that men find arousing - most notably pumpkin pie and lavender. So next time you want to get a man's interest, ditch the heavily floral perfume and try something with notes of vanilla and cinnamon - he'll spend the whole night nuzzling your neck and not even know why!

Your looks

This seems like a no-brainer - and, literally, it is. The most primitive instinct is the urge to mate, and nature created a few fail-safes to make sure that procreation carries on in an efficient manner. One of these fail-safes is an innate male attraction to women of child-bearing age. But how do men instinctively know a woman is a good risk for making babies? Easy - she looks like she's healthy. Thick shiny hair, clear skin, and bright eyes are all immediate signs that a woman is young, healthy, and eating enough protein to nurture a life inside of her.

You may not want children right now - or ever - and maybe he doesn't, either. But he's still going to be attracted to those signs that you're fertile, no matter what your age or intentions. There's a reason we spend so much time and money on hair color, conditioners and cosmetics - they mimic nature's come-hither signals to the males of the species. The same reasoning applies to why men are drawn to women with shapely hips and breasts, by the way. They're indications that you have all the right equipment needed to do the mommy-daddy dance!

Your smile

Everyone wants to be with somebody who can make them feel good, and when you smile you're telling him that you like being with him. A hot body is a great thing to have, but nothing's sexier than a dazzling smile. Good dental hygiene is another signal that you're healthy, and if you make lots of eye contact when you smile then he can see that you're confident and interested. In independent polls, men consistently rate a great smile and a pretty face over a smoking hot body. So smile!

Your brain

Yes, your brain. That's where your thoughts, your dreams and your personality are kept. The age-old cliche that men adore bimbos simply isn't true - a giggly airhead may be fun in the short run, but no man wants to spend a lot of time with a stupid woman. By "stupid" read, "less intelligent than him." You don't have to be a Nobel laureate for a man to appreciate your brain, just be able to keep up your end of the conversation. So read a book now and then, visit your local museum, pick up a newspaper and learn a little about current events. If all you can talk about is the latest celebrity baby news or who's winning on "American Idol," he's going to lose interest in you very quickly.

Your self-sufficiency

Long gone are the days when a woman lived at home until she was married, spent her adult years as a housewife, and never held down a job of her own. It's a new world, and men like women who can take care of themselves. Your career, like his, is a big part of who you are, and if you're good at what you do then you're an interesting, vital person. Men don't like women who lean on them for every little thing. Sure, it makes them feel needed to fix things around the house for you, but if you know which end of a screwdriver to use and don't mind doing your own car maintenance (even if that only involves taking it to the mechanic yourself) you'll be all the sexier for it. No man wants a woman who's "high maintenance" - it doesn't take long for all that frail neediness to feel like a huge weight around his neck. So stand tall and take care of your own responsibilities, and he'll admire you for it.

It's not a huge mystery what turns men on - a little brains, a little beauty and whole lot of personality usually does the trick. If you present yourself with confidence and offer a friendly smile, you're already way ahead of the pack. Of course, a little perfume and some cleavage, doesn't hurt, either!