7 Dating Strategies for Men (Research-Based)

woman introducing effective dating strategies for men

There are countless books and courses, not to count articles all over the net, teaching men how to get women.

Few of those articles and products are based on solid science though, which can create some confusion.

This article is based on proven male dating strategies that have been studied and measured.

We divide each strategy into 4 components:

  • Overview
  • Mating manipulation: how men use the strategy to manipulate women
  • Mating competition: how men use the strategy to interfere with other men’s strategies
  • Mating effectiveness: how effective the mating strategy actually is

So let’s start:

#1. Acquire & Display Resources

David Buss says that men offer a vast array of resources -or resources potential- as one of the primary tools of attraction.

Driving expensive cars, buying overpriced watches, and wearing a suit are only some of the countless ways men seek to communicate their status and access to resources.

Mating Manipulation

Since resources are so important, one of the most common games men play is trying to appear wealthier than they are.

See more on manipulation:

Manipulation: Techniques, Strategies, & Ethics

Mating Competition

Business is built around competition for resources.

Every time you go to work, you go to acquire resources.
And every time you seek to make more money, you are competing for resources.

Men also try to derogate other men’s resources by implying they “got lucky” or “they cheated”.
When men say other men cheated or got lucky they try to undermine the link between their results (the resources they acquired) and their genes.

If they cheated or got lucky, it means they couldn’t replicate the results, don’t have the traits necessary to acquire resources, and thus are not going to make good children.

Derogating other men for their availability of resources can be effective in long-term dating, but it’s relatively ineffective in short-term dating.

Is This Dating Strategy Effective?

Yes, resources afford lots of dating power to men.

Steven Pinker says that of the best predictors of a man’s wife attractiveness is his income.

Countless studies now show the importance of resources for mating.
Resources are more effective for long term mating, but they can also help for short-term mating.

Townsend and Levy for example found out that women preferred entering into both short-term and long-term relationships with men who were wearing expensive clothes.

And you can also see it in Buss’ research.
Women do value resources more for the long term, but also show a strong appreciation for resources in short-term mating:

the importance of resources for male mating strategies chart
Source: Sexual Strategies Theory, Buss & Schmitt, https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.100.2.204

How men wield resources can also influence dating, both in the long and short-term.
You can see from Buss & Schmitt research, “stingy” is a bigger turnoff for women in short term dating than longer term dating:

resource display and mating strategy chart
Source: Sexual Strategies Theory, Buss & Schmitt, https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.100.2.204

Why would even care about resources for short-term mating?

Well, think about how a taste for resources could have evolved for short-term dating only: even if only a few women managed to “lock down” a man with lots of resources, it could have made sense for women to develop a preference for casual sex with wealthy men instead of poor ones.

Conspicuous Consumption

We mentioned resources can help in short-term mating as well.

Resources are particularly effective in short term mating when they are so abundant that the man throws them around carelessly.
That’s called “conspicuous consumption” (Thosten Veblen, 1899), and refers to the flashy display of vast amount of resources.

Research shows that conspicuous consumption works for short-term, but not long term, signaling that also women know that conspicuous consumers are mostly interested in casual sex.

What About Most Non-Rich Men?

Most men though don’t have vast amount of resources.

And that’s why most men use resources for long term mating, promising to make those resources available to a single woman, together with their devotion and support.
Enter, commitment (third item on this list).

#2. Acquire & Display Status & Power

Power and status overlap with resources, but are not exactly the same.

Robert Wright suggests that since our ancestors could not hoard resources, women might be more viscerally attracted to power than to resources.
Buss suggests the opposite, with power being an indicator of resources.

But for our purposes, it doesn’t matter which came first: power outside of dating does confer power within dating as well.
And plenty of research shows that women prefer high status men, both in questionnaire research (and in real world experiments (Gueguen, 2012).

Is This Dating Strategy Effective?

Yes, it is.

It can be effective in darker ways, too.
Ask Weinstein:

weinstein example of low quality man

Weinstein is an example of using power as an exchange of “opportunities for sex”.

However, the exchange doesn’t have to be “pay (with sex) to play (with an opportunity).
We hear about the cases of “abuses of power”, but we don’t hear about the countless of cases where women are more than happy to sleep with a powerful man. And I suspect the latter cases, the willing ones, are far more numerous.

#3. Display (or Feign) Commitment

Men demonstrate their willigness to commit in a litany of ways:

  • Displaying empathy and understanding (ranked #1 for long-term dating)
  • Displaying fidelity (ranked #2 for long-term dating)
  • Honest & openness
    • Acting truthful
    • Communicating feelings to her directly and openly
    • “Being oneself”
  • Displays of kindness
  • Displays of love towards children (La Cerra, 1995) or pets (Tiefferet et. al., 2013)
  • Signals that he’s willing to help around the house (Bleske-Rechek, 2006)
  • Professing love
  • Discussing future plans
  • Showing concern for her problems
  • Helping her out
  • Spending lots of time with her
  • Persistence in courtship
  • Any signal that says “I am willing to channel resources, time, and effort over the long run”

Men offer commitment in exchange for exclusive sexual access to her reproductive system.
The unwritten exchange is: “I will provide for you and the children, and you only sleep with me”.

Mating Manipulation

Commitment is difficult to fake because it’s shown over a period of time.

However, that doesn’t mean that some men aren’t willing to fake over a long period of time.
And indeed, many men do fake commitment to gain sexual access to a woman, only to “ghost” her after sex.
Or, even worse for her, after she has given birth.

Feigning commitment for sexual access is most widespread in cultures where casual sex is rarer and long-term dating is the norm.

Why so?

Because in cultures and environments women deny casual sex to most men, so men are “forced” into either committing… Or faking commitment.
That’s why you see the “feign commitment” more often from Asian men than European men: European women are more open to casual sex (statistics here), and men have less of a need to feign commitment.

Fake Honesty & Vulnerability

Some of the most advanced players can use “fake vulnerability and honesty” strategically.

For example, he can talk about a past of gallivanting and womanizing.
That sounds like honest disclosure and “coming clean” while it actually positions him as a high sexual market value player (low SMV guys don’t get lots of sex).
As they share the story, they leave the door open to the possibility of commitment now that they’re finally maturing.

And that’s the woman’s dream: a high SMV man, a bit of a rascal, who now might stop just for her.

If they do it well, the woman will want to rush towards that possibility.

Sexual Competition

Denigrating a man’s willingness to invest over the long-term is effective to attack a rival for long-term dating (Buss & Schmitt, 1996).

In Buss’ research, disclosing that a man has a serious girlfriend was ranked as the most effective tactic to make a rival less attractive to women (Buss, 2016).

I doubt it’s very effective to denigrate men pursuing casual sex, though.
In my experience, the allure of the “player” can be very attractive for short-term sex.

Is This Dating Strategy Effective?

Yes, for long term mating.

As a matter of fact, for most men, commitment is a basic requirement that women demand to enter a relationship.
Few men, either very attractive (high in fitness) or very wealthy (high in resources) can do without commitment and still get sex.

However, as for most things in dating, there is also an overlap between what’s attractive for casual sex and what works for long-term mating.
And some forms of effective long-term dating, such as showing high interest in a woman, are also crucial aspects of some short-term strategies.

Also honest communication and displays of vulnerability can be attractive to women as they suggest the man is “being himself” and “honestly opening up” to her.
That’s why I recommend men to listen more than they talk, but also to open up (strategically) during conversations. Mutual “opening up” contributes to whirlwind romance that truly sweeps her off her feet (and that leads to physical “opening up” later).

Finally, professing love and devotion can also be used by more unscrupulous men to overcome last minute resistances to sex when she’s still on the fence.

“Conspicuous” Commitment Displays

There is no “conspicuous commitment” in the research literature, so this is my own theory.

Exaggerated display of courtship can work similarly to how exaggerated displays of resources can work.
They accelerate the courtship process. But, since they are mostly personality-based, it’s part of the type of romance that can make women swoon.

See the “perfect lover” Rudolph Valentino, as described by Robert Greene in “The Art of Seduction“.
And that’s why high-effort displays of love can also work on first approaches, see for example “The Notebook”:

Note: high in romance conspicuous commitment strategies works better in cultures with a long-term bias and with romantic women. It fares more poorly in cultures with a strong short-term bias (also see “SMV variables“).

#4. Display Physical Prowess Through Sport Success

Women want healthy and physically strong men -or, at least, stronger than they are-.

Men show their physical strength with:

  • Playing competitive sports
  • Seeking rewards and victories in their sports
  • Seeking prestige roles in team sports (ie.: quarterback or team captain)
  • Lifting weights

Physical prowess in almost any physical endeavor is an indicator of both health and higher than average fitness.

Sexual Competition

There are many layers of competition when it comes to physical prowess.

Winning at sports is one way of showing physical superiority in a controlled and safe environment.
Men also see to derogate other men’s success related to sports, for example insinuating they are “all brawn and no brain”, or that they are using drugs (see an example here).

Physical prowess also feeds into social dominance, with men trying to use size and physical threats to assert dominance over others.
In early pick-up artist parlance, the domination techniques were referred to as “AMOG-ing” (ie.: “alpha male of the group”).

Also see:

Is This Dating Strategy Effective?

Yes.
Athletic men, especially the successful ones, have more sexual partners than the average.

When it comes to muscle, there is much variability on women’s preferences, so it’s not a straight relation where “more is always better”.
Very thin body types are usually a turn off and, some studies show, moderate amount of muscle mass is preferred (Frederick, 2007).

#4.2. Display Sexual Prowess

An overlapping but independent indicator of physical prowess are displays of sexual prowess.

Every man good on the dance floor is also alluding to sex, while good music coordination suggests good rhythmicity, which is important to help women achieve orgasms.

Sexual prowess signals don’t actually require masculinity.
As a matter of fact, it requires a level of comfort with one’s body and a “free-flowing” of movement that is rarely found in the most masculine men.

Enter the elegant tango dancers, or the slightly feminized glam rock stars (see more pictures of young Axl Rose).
Look at how Russel Brand, a successful seducer, moves:

Some modern urban seducers also seek access to women’s bodies by promising how good they will make her feel in exchange for it.
They can do it with direct sexual communications, hints to sex or, even better, indirectly with body language.

Look at this guy for example, dripping sexuality with his moves and attitude.

Is This Dating Strategy Effective?

This one requires skills.

It can backfire badly and make him look like a pervert if done wrong -like most men do-.

But it’s effective if done well.
More effective for short-term mating than for long-term mating, albeit as we’ve seen there is often an overlap between the two.
And it’s always easy for high-value men to switch from casual sex to long term dating, if they so wish.

#5. Display Self-Confidence & Bravado

Self-confidence is an indicator of status (Barkow, 1989) and past successes.

David Buss says that high confidence men earn more money and more easily find sex partners, and many men try to appear more assertive and dominant when they are around women they like.

Assertiveness is crucial, so also see:

Sexual Competition

Men often engage in social competition for social status.
They exaggerate their sexual exploits, brag, seek to act “masculine” and denigrate each other in an effort to gain status (social climbing).

Is This Dating Strategy Effective?

Confidence is effective at all times.

Bravado, as in risk-taking, can also be effective for short term, with research showing that women prefer men who engage in risky behavior (Petraitis, 2014) and even men who had head scars (Burris, 2009).

male risk taking behavior and attraction chart
Source: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jasp.12237

Men must be careful not to overdo the bravado thing though or it looks like he is strutting around for her, and that gives her all the power.
Furthermore, in my opinion, bravado is not very effective because it aims more at impressing other men rather than actually advancing a romance from first approach to sex, which is what works most effectively.

#5.2. The Asshole Dating Strategy

You know the “asshole game”.

Some men are naturally assholes, while some others purposefully seek to be more antisocial and unpleasant in the belief that it will get them more women.

But is it true?

Is This Dating Strategy Effective?

Well, under certain, limited conditions, it works.

So we need to dig a bit deeper here.

Urbaniak and Killman’s study shows that women would pick “nice guys” both for other women and for themselves, albeit a few women did pick a nice guy for other women and a bad boy for themselves -but still a minority of women-.

In a similar study with dating ads, thus mimicking a more realistic long-term dating scenario, it was still kind men who were picked the most.
Or, more precisely, men who exhibited altruism as a courtship display, using keywords such as “I volunteer at a food bank” or “I enjoy helping people”.

Age is another factor that comes into play.
Younger women tend to be more infatuated with the image of the rascal bad boy, while older women tend to go more for the stable and mature type.

Viren Swami, in his science-based “Attraction Explained” book, reaches the conclusion that if the “kind guy” is unconfident and looks like he lets everyone trample him, then the bad boy might be the preferred option.

But if we are talking about a confident man, then the bad boy appeals to a smaller fraction of the population while being unappealing to a much larger one.

The Kind Asshole Strategy

Please note that kindness and “asshole” are not necessarily opposite.

As a matter of fact, I like the mixed “kind asshole” style (example in Dating Power Dynamics or Social Power course).

Women love it when an otherwise kind and refined guy shows an edge of aggression and anti-sociality directed towards the “real” antisocial (in a way, that’s exactly what ThePowerMoves is all about).

#6. Display Indicators of Intelligence (Game)

Among the numerous possible displays of intelligence:

  • Humor
  • Poetry
  • Arts
  • Good conversations
  • Any verbal aspect of “game”

Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller (Miller, 2000) says that many of the “higher” forms of human intelligence are nothing but indicators of fitness.
Since there is much overlap between success at arts and status, and between seduction and good conversations, I think that Miller is right.

Is This Dating Strategy Effective?

Yes, with some caveats.

You might have read on Tinder sometimes of women self-defining themselves as “sapiosexuals”.

Well, it turns out, it could be true.
Albeit only a minority of people are sexually attracted to intelligence (1% to 8%), sapiosexuality exists (Gignac et. al., 2017).
It’s not a linear correlation, though, and there is a ceiling: when someone is too smart, like genius level, then attraction decreases.

In my opinion, this is due to the fact that women are generally attracted to men they feel are better than they are.
But when the difference is too big, then the disconnect is also too big.
It’s the same for masculine traits: studies show that a masculine voice is attractive, but below a certain threshold, it’s not attractive anymore.

What works best with intelligence are the expressions of intelligence.
IQ by itself does nothing to attraction, it’s all about how you convey it that works (ie.: sounding intelligent, and smart, and refined).

Take the old cliche’ of women liking men who make them laugh, for example. Well, it’s true, women like men who make them laugh (Bressler, 2005).
And that’s because humor is an easily recognizable expression of intelligence, together with good quips and comebacks, or good conversation and making her feel good.
“Game”, in many ways, is also an expression of intelligence.

Also read:

Mating Intelligence: Effective Dating for Smart People

#7. Become Famous (Social Proof)

Social proof, includes:

  • Having a group of cool friends
  • Showing good status in that group
  • Having women warm and friendly towards you (mate-copying)

All of the above work effectively.

All of the above work effectively.
And they will provide outsized mating success when they are amplified by fame.

Fame is the new mating superpower.

The power of fame was limited during much of our evolution.
After all, everyone was “well-known” in small tribes and being “famous” had some benefits, but it was capped by the tribe’s size.

Today, technology has changed the game.
Access to millions of potential mates who self-select to follow you because they like you is a true game-changer.

It started with mass media, and reached new heights with social media.

Is This Dating Strategy Effective?

Depends on how you look at it.

Not in the sense that you should seek to become famous, because that’s like seeking to get rich by winning the lottery.

For most people: focus on having a good social circle of friends, including female friends.

However, if you got a shot at fame, this is as close as it gets to a silver bullet.

Fame provides men with power and resources all at once, plus a mass market to advertise them.
Followers also self-select, meaning that many of those who choose to follow you already like you.

Fame can also help transcend looks.
Studies show that average-looking famous people have a bigger emotional impact than non-famous but attractive ones (Gakhal, 2008).
We also grow familiar to famous people, and there are plenty of studies now showing that familiarity breeds liking and attraction (Peskin, 2004).

Plus, there is the law of the large numbers.
Put yourself in front of enough people, and you’re bound to find someone who likes you.

In sum: become famous enough, and even an otherwise unattractive man still could rake in in large numbers of willing female sexual partners.

Maximizing Your Dating Success

As you can see, men have many different tools at their disposal.

In our current society, there are enough paths to success that men can “specialize” in one or a few of them depending on their taste or propensity.

See here how different types of men can all be attractive and successful at dating, albeit they all have different personalities and styles:

10 Types of Male Seducers: Pick Your Niche!

Men can also make up for what they’re lacking in one area by exceeding in another.

With these many options, all that’s required is to get off one’s ass and work :).


Power University excerpt.
This article is an excerpt from Power University.
The lesson in the course has more examples and more practical strategies you can apply to your life.

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