9 Proven Female Dating Strategies (Science-Based)

scientist teaching women how to date

There are countless dating books and courses for women, not to even mention the newly minted “female dating strategies” on Reddit.

They all teach women how to date, how to find a boyfriend, and how to drive make men crazy.

But few are truly scientific.
This article combines science with what works in the real world, as personally experienced by the author.

woman leads a man

1. Enhance Your Appearances

Obviously.

All women instinctively know that men place a premium on appearance.

And as a natural consequence, one of the most ubiquitous female dating strategies revolve around enhancing physical appearance.

Effectiveveness

It’s the foundation of any good dating strategy.

And please note, it’s not just about “looking better”, but also an indicator of taking care of oneself.

Every time I see a woman I like who does not take care of herself, I lose some interest in her.

To make a comparison:

A woman who doesn’t care at all about her appearance is like a man who is happy to remain at his entry-level job.

How to Effectively Use This Strategy:

You probably know the basics already.

It starts with personal hygiene and basics such as shaving legs and upper lip.

Science supports all following items as important dating assets:

  • White teeth
  • Facial skin contrast (yes to makeup)
  • Cheek redness
  • Smooth and clear skin
  • Lustrous hair
  • Red lips (lipstick works)
  • Firm breasts (push-up bra works)
  • Hourglass figure
  • Leg length (high heels work)

You don’t have to be great at all or at any of those.
Just taking care of them –especially in the phase when you’re looking for a partner-.

2. Display Youthfulness

Men are attracted to younger women.

How young depends on a number of factors, including how old he is, what he can realistically get, and whether or not he wants children and a serious relationship.

It’s not true that “younger is always better”, but on average younger women do command more negotiating power in the sexual marketplace.

Effectiveness

Being strategic as to when to best settle down is very effective.

As a matter of fact, in the West where everyone largely leaves this important part of their lives to chance, it might be the best-kept open secret in the world.

How to Effectively Use This Strategy:

Youthful behavior is wholly up to you.

“Acting” young is an effective technique to be more attractive.

Evolutionary psychologist researcher David Buss lists the following traits for “youthful behavior”:

  • Bouncy youthful gait
  • High energy levels
  • Animated facial expressions

I’d personally also add a “sense of wonder” and “excitement” to be used whenever you’re doing something you like.
I’ll never forget the woman who jumped and shrieked full of excitement when our “romantic boat ride” was ready.

If you want an example of “animated facial expression”, look at this clip:

Highly feminine, attractive flirtation, BTW

And for a grander dating strategy:

  • Settle down earlier rather than later

It’s a question of negotiating power.

Sure, you can do well in negotiations no matter what, but if you want to put the odds on your side, you’re better off playing when you got a strong hand.

And for women, that’s in the 20s.
If you’re past it, it’s all good.
In many countries, including in the West, marrying after her 20’s is not a huge drawback because many women do it.

But still remember the mantra: earlier is better than later.

  • Be strategic about settling down

Being strategic means that you know what you want and plan how to get it.

By when would you like to have a serious relationship?
Always start preparing two years before your “deadline date”.

What type of man, where are you going to meet him, how and when are you going to ask for commitment… ?

For more on age and exceptions see:

3. Signal Your Faithfulness

Men tend to divide women into Madonna and whores.

And they don’t want to invest in the whores.

So… Give him that “Madonna”.
And don’t worry, it’s not about being religious or SUPER restricted. It’s about making him feel you’re not going to sleep around and he won’t have to guard you like a prison guard.

Fidelity cues in the scientific literature include:

  • Virginity
  • Low number of former partners
  • Faithfulness

And from personal experience living I add:

  • Little partying
  • Little “secretive meeting with the girlfriends only”
  • No frat-type stories to share of drunken hookups

And:

  • Delaying sex (reasonably, see lesson)
  • “Playing hard to get” (reasonably, see later)

Effectiveness

For long-term dating, yes, absolutely.

In David Buss’ research men seeking a long-term partner rank faithfulness as their #1 priority.

For obvious reasons, faithfulness is not as important in short-term dating.

How to Effectively Use This Strategy:

Well, if you want to be honest… Then you’d start by keeping your sexual partners’ count low.

But that’s up to you.

What I can tell you from an amoral and Machiavellian perspective of what works best:

  • If you have been with more than 10 men, don’t say it
  • If you have been with more men than he has, don’t share it
  • If you have crazy sex stories and he hasn’t, don’t share them (but don’t share even if he has. Men love being more sexually experienced and loath being less sexually experienced)

If you’re in a libertine culture, he asks how many men you’ve been with, and you fear your number is too high, say:

You: I have gotten close with a few I felt good about. The way you act, I think less than you. How about you, by the way?

Then, confirm it was less.
It pains me that this advice might put someone in the position to lie. But if I have to tell you what works, then this is what works best.
You can still be honest and only end up with men who accept you for who you are -ideal-.

You can also modify that line if things are getting serious:

See “Seduction University”.

4. Time Sex to Your Target

Women delay sex for two reasons:

  1. To make him invest more while she retains the biggest bargaining chip
  2. To avoid looking easy

In the Madonna-whore dichotomy, delaying sex helps women to position themselves as Madonnas.

Effectiveness

Most often, yes.

Men cannot know her previous history, so they rely on how she behaves with them.

If she is hard to get for him, then many men generalize that she must be hard to get for most men, and thus she’s a woman worth investing in.

However, when it’s a lie, it does not work so well for men who “know the game”.
Also, many women play this game very badly, making it obvious they want to withhold as a negotiation chip, or that they’re withholding it with him only (and nobody wants to be the sucker who’s waited when others didn’t).

By the way, here are the types of games you want to avoid:

How to Effectively Use This Strategy:

Here are six rules of thumb to help you strategize:

  1. Wait if he’s conservative
  2. Wait if you’re in a conservative culture
  3. Wait if you have some deeply ingrained beliefs on waiting
  4. Go for it if you’re in a whirlwind romance
  5. Go for it if you have great chemistry and passion is running high
  6. Go for it if you have been on a long nice date and it just feels like the “icing on the cake”
  7. Open-minded men who have been around: go with the flow of how you feel

Finally, if there is a strong chemistry, don’t douse the flames as that will scream of “game-playing” and “frigid”, and it might derail an otherwise wonderful romance.

If you go for it quick, ideally you want to make him feel special and that you did it “just with him”.

If you must delay sex, many men have a fragile ego and they take a sexual rejection personally.
The key is to “delay without hurting his ego”.

Read:

5. Play Selective Hard to Get

Women play hard to get for two reasons:

  1. To signal desirability (“she must have lots of options to choose from”)
  2. To look more faithful (“Madonna”)

We go back to the Madonna-whore yet again.
It’s not that we are repeating ourselves, it’s because the Madonna-whore is deeply ingrained into men’s brains and it is central to his levels of commitment and investment to a woman.

Effectiveness

The selective strategy, on paper, makes sense.

And in some circumstances, it can work great.

But there are a few issues when it’s badly done, or done with the wrong type of guy.
Including:

  • Some men will interpret her behavior as disinterest and move on (see “top dating mistakes“)
  • Some men will see the game and refuse to play (see the “make him chase danger“)
  • Men with options might end up with easier women (or more astute women playing the “bait and switch” game)
  • People like people who like them, and stand-offishness communicates “I don’t like you” (Viren Swami, 2016)
  • Some driven men might want her more, but end up liking her less

However, there is a way to make it work.

How to Effectively Use This Strategy:

The idea is simple:

Women should be hard to get for everyone but welcoming of the man she chose.
This is what I call “selectively hard to get strategy“.

With this strategy, she retains all the positive aspects of the general “hard to get” strategy, such as desirability and loyalty, but without the drawbacks.
As a matter of fact, this “selective hard to get strategy” has a strong advantage: it makes him feel great.

Research supports the efficacy of this strategy (Walster et. al., 1973), and so does my personal experience.
I can tell you that the women who had few sexual partners but had sex with me quickly and pleasurably were my real favorites -and the ones I think of most fondly-.

This is truly powerful.

5.2. Selectively Smitten: Encourage His Pursuit

This is the “enhanced version” of “selectively hard to get”.

Part of the selectively smitten dating strategy is that, while you are generally selective, you are so glad to have found him, that you are not afraid to show it -a display of confident vulnerability as well-.

I have used many examples across this website, this is just one of many:

men don't enjoy the chase text example

The moment she said “I look forward to meeting you”, I perked up.

And suddenly was looking forward to meeting her much more than I was just moments before getting her text. And I also liked her more.

And here is one more example where I was playing guys’ games. But her honesty made me like her far more, and drew us closer together:

See “Seduction University”.

When to communicate your liking and appreciation?

Before most women do (in the West).

Jokes aside, you want to avoid doing it before he has done anything to show his interest.

But once he is showing interest, which includes texting, asking you out, complimenting you, or anything which moves the interaction towards romance, then showing liking and appreciation will only help.

6. Signal Exploitability (& Flip The Scripts Later)

Sounds strange?

Well, beyond the veil of political correctness, that’s how people -in this case, men- really are.
Men are attracted to signs which communicate “I am easy to exploit”.

Exploit for what?
Sex, of course.

Signals of exploitability, on top of the ones in the figure below, include:

  • Silliness
  • Giggling
  • Cluelessness
  • Scatterbrained conversation
  • Irrational beliefs (very religious or superstitious)
  • Child-like behavior (we saw a few examples)

As Mae West once said:

Brains are an asset, if you hide them.

Effectiveness

Absolutely.

This is one of the main ingredients in the secret sauces of the best world seductresses.
Marylin Monroe looked exploitable, and the coquette style also leverages “child-like playfulness” (see: “how to seduce a man” for case studies).

And this is why “lollipop girls” are sexy to many men. Some of the men who find it attractive have pedophile tendencies of course, but many non-pedophiles find it attractive because it sends signals of exploitability (exploitable like naive children are).

Risks of This Dating Strategy

To begin with, it works best with men pursuing a short-term strategy (Lewis et. al., 2012).

And while men like silly and exploitable girls for the short term, they don’t usually like them as long-term partners.

See the research ranking “exploitability signals” on both short and long-term dating:

chart of exploitability as a dating strategy for women
Source: Goetz et. al, 2011 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2011.12.004

Short-term and long-term are almost specular: as good as they are to get attention for casual sex, they make men run for the hills after sex.

How to Effectively Use This Strategy:

It’s possible though to get the uplifts, without the drawbacks.

Let’s see a few ways of doing that:

1. Add the “protect me” layer

You can add “in need of protection” signals to the “exploitable” ones.

The “protect me” side is what makes men want to guard and defend, and it’s very effective for the long-term as well.

This scene is an exaggerated example, of course, but just to give you an idea:

This strategy frames him as the father-figure of the relationship. Just don’t stay stuck in it 24/7: men also like a grown-up sometimes

And this is a real-life texting example leveraging the same principle:

Vulnerability is also the secret sauce of Marylin Monroe: sky-high signals of exploitability/submissiveness, mixed with an air of woman in need of “protection” (plus a sprinkling of orgasmic facial expressions).

Asking men for help is also a time-tested strategy that works to initially position her as “exploitable” while also awaking his protective instincts.

2. Ask him if he’s a good man

If you’re a socially intelligent woman, this may sound ridiculous.

Ridiculous in a naive way.

But it’s exactly because it’s ridiculous in a naive way that it works great.

Asking men if they are “good”, or if they have “good intention” signals exploitability in two ways:

  1. The fear of “non-good men”
  2. The misplaced trust that you can recognize good men based on their own answer

Of course, most male game players will answer “yes”.
But all good men will also like you more just because you ask.
It signals that you want long-term relationships and, indirectly, it’s also an indicator of faithfulness, since women who are interested in flings and short-term sex wouldn’t care nearly as much about who is “good” and who is not.

It’s also a positive way of making him prove to you and frame the relationship as “a relationship with a good man”, which might help bring the best out of him.

See an example here:

Her saying “I want to believe you are a good person” is a genius move.
Since I didn’t exactly jump through her hoops, she helps me pass her screen, which she needed to do if she wanted to maintain both interest and power -keeping interest without me passing her screen would devalue of her own standards-.
And it also indirectly says “I just screened you in, be glad, and be on your best behavior”.

Bait (with exploitability signals) and switch to long-term

Another technique is to bait men with exploitative cues and then seek to switch to a longer-term strategy.

For example, you seem all exploitable and silly at first, like you wouldn’t even put up much resistance to sex.
But then… Then you use the technique in “how to make him wait for sex” to increase the odds of long-term relationship.

Most baited men would be OK to wait for sex when they know she likes him and it will eventually get there.

Signal submissiveness to the right man

Once you meet a man you truly like, small displays of submissiveness will go a long way.

Here is one example:

See Seduction University.

Can’t Women Just Be Smart?

Men say they like intelligent women.

And they do… Up to a certain point.

They even say they like women who are smarter than they really are but, when it comes to real-life interaction, they don’t (Park et. al., 2015).

That means smarter women need to play the game a bit… Or look harder for a smarter man (or an open-minded one, at least).
Plenty of those exist, so don’t stress too much about it.

Also read:

7. Signal Your Approachability 

For women to date at all, they need to attract suitors first.

Some men will make the move anyway, but those are often either players or men who can’t even read social signals.

Women who want more control over their dating lives -and you should be one of them- take it upon themselves to signal that they want to be approached.

Effectiveness

For the short term, absolutely.

In the literature, it’s called “sexual signaling”, and the more forward she is, the more effective men rate her strategy to “get” casual sex:

female strategies to promote sexual encounters chart (from david buss)
Source: Greer & Buss, https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499409551752

Of course, this research states the obvious to the point that it’s almost comical.

I suppose women won’t be surprised to know that “guiding his hand to her genital area” could promote a sexual encounter :).

Problem is, research also confirms what both men and women instinctively knew: that a sexually forward woman is extremely effective at getting casual sex, but not so good at getting a long-term partner.
Cari Goetz (Goetz et. al., 2011) for example measured how attractive “easy” women are to men. Turns out, men love easy women for short-term sex (+0.65) but actively dislike them as long-term partners (-0.60).

Again, we see the inherent sexual conflict of male strategies here: what they seek in a short-term partner is the opposite of what they want for a long-term partner.

How to Effectively Use This Strategy:

Still, there are ways of using this strategy to get also long-term relationships.

Here’s how:

Signal more often, and more obviously

Most women are too coy and signal too little.

Or not at all.

Or they think they signaled their interest, while men have no idea.
Men miss the signs all the time, including when most women think they were “clear enough”. So better to err on the side of over-signaling than under-signaling.

If it’s a mixer event, just start talking to him.
Plenty of women did that to me and I always appreciated it. Some women even asked me during our conversation “so do you have Instagram”. That’s a great way to prod him to exchange contact and ask you out.

Stick to the basics: men are simple-minded

Most men miss out on basic women’s signals.

For that reason, avoid anything too fancy and stick to the good old “hold eye contact with him” and potentially add a smile, both of them backed by research (Abbey, 1982).

Meet more men, give more men a chance

A huge mistake women commit is to relinquish control of their dating lives.

They go out and think “if it happens, it happens”.
Much better is to put the odds in your favor. Make it easy for chance to happen.

  • Go out by yourself sometimes (but say your friend stood you up)
  • Go to the bathroom by yourself
  • Send those attraction signals
  • Give some boring men the chance for a date

8. Show Kindness / Caring

People want to partner up with good people.

And men also gain if the mother of their children has good character, so it only makes sense if men also developed to appreciate cues of good character.

And indeed, it’s been now shown by several studies that personality traits can enhance a woman’s attractiveness (Albada et al., 2002).

The field of research even has its own name, and it is the “interaction appearance theory”.
Swami’s research, for example, found that providing positive personality information leads men to consider a wider array of body types as more attractive.

The character’s traits men appreciate are:

How to Effectively Use This Strategy:

Provide a good time, and people will want to spend more time with you.
Both romantically, and not.

Here are a few crucial bits:

  • Ditch feminism -especially the extremist one- (has an anti-male side to it and men are getting tired)
  • Swap the “resting bitch face” for a welcoming one
  • Curl your lips up, not down
  • Make it less about me, more about you
  • Listening more than talking often pays off
  • Do a favor to him / preening

This one is particularly interesting.
A woman once reached out to my jacket and as I wondered “what the hell is she doing”, she picked something and said “there was a hair”.
That was such a great move.
At the same time that she signaled interest, she also signaled caring and kindness. And my attraction skyrocketed: I so wanted her.

I can highly recommend you do something similar if you want to signal your interest in a man. It’s as effective to signal interest as any other move you can do, but it makes you look less sexually thirsty, less desperate, and much more long-term quality woman.

9. Derogate Your Competitors (Without Sounding Jealous)

Women, just like men and probably more than men, derogate their competitors.

Effectiveness

David Buss says that effective competitor derogations works.

And that it should affect a woman’s sexual market value both for the short and long term.

However, it’s risky because it’s very easy to come off as jealous or bitter.

Take the good old “she’s such a slut”.
I still remember the woman who used that tactic against the girl I liked and who later started dating. I took a huge dislike on her that will probably last a lifetime.

How to Effectively Use This Strategy:

See “Seduction University”.


Seduction University excerpt.
This article is an excerpt from Seduction University.

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