Wonder what's really going on in his head? Christopher Brya and Miguel Almaraz, professional market researchers and authors of the new book 'WTF Are Men Thinking?,' didn't set out to coax 250,000 men into spilling their guts about hooking up, in-laws, dating turn-offs, and other hot-button topics, they were just helping a friend.
"We were with an old friend and colleague," Brya tells Shine, "and she revealed to us that she was going through a divorce." The woman told them what she could really use was hard data on what men are thinking. She had been married for years, and she complained that she, "didn't know what the rules were any more." Brya and Almaraz quizzed some of their research panels and the project snowballed. "Miguel had the idea of asking a range of women if they had specific questions for men and wanted totally unvarnished feedback," says Brya. "Within 48 hours, we had 1,000 responses."
"Women get mixed messages from their girlfriends, or best guy friends," says Almaraz. "They are trying to make sense of that information." Despite the lightning speed connectivity of the digital age, communicating by text and email often leads to more questions, not fewer. "People are dating by text," says Brya. "You handle the logistics through technology, but have less real interaction."
The authors distilled the women's feedback into 170 questions that they posed to 250,000 men. Byra pointed out that boyfriends and husbands will give women "the loving truth—like, the answer to 'Do I look fat in these jeans?' is always 'No,'"—but the anonymous answers they received back are the real story. Although not every man feels the same way, the authors think it's empowering for relationships to hear what many guys are thinking.
Byra and Almaraz discussed some their most surprising findings with Shine:
Would he cheat and get away with it?
Eighty percent of men said they wouldn't cheat on their wives or girlfriends even if they could get away with it. "Guys value their relationships and cheating occurs mainly when relationships are breaking down." While the number seems reassuringly high, Byra also points out that it means one in five men admit they would start something on the side if they thought they couldn't get caught.
What does he think about office hookups?
The authors say they were generally surprised by how comfortable men are with having woman colleagues and bosses as well has with having a romantic partner who out-earned them. Three-quarters of men reported that office hookups are a no-no, and the researchers surmise it's because men don't want to complicate or compromise their work lives.
Would he rather hang with the guys than me?
"There is an ease with guy friends," says Byra, "but across the board, men say that 'If I'm in this relationship, I want to be there.'" Ninety-one percent of guys say that as long as they are having fun, they would prefer to be with their mate. From the feedback they received, Almaraz points out that guys are happiest hanging out "if they don't feel they are having to work to make her happy."
How many dates will he wait to have sex?
"We took bets on this one," says Byra. "I thought it was going to be longer, but more than two-thirds of men said that four dates is the cut off. That's when they make the decision: 'Am I going to fish or cut bait?'"
Can she earn more money?
The authors say that the idea that a having a higher earning wife feels emasculating to men is outdated. About 88 percent of men felt comfortable with their partners earning a better salary.
Does he like to cuddle?
Byra says he was "blown away" by the answer that 93% of guys love cuddling—without any guarantee of more intimacy. Almaraz suggests that the answer might have been different if the guys weren't anonymous and had to answer in front of male friends.
What will cost me a second date?
The number one reason men stated was arrogance. "It's the biggest turn off," says Byra. "Men find arrogant behavior embarrassing and think, 'If you are treating other people badly, can I expect the same treatment eventually?" The authors say that men are more observant than women give them credit for, and are looking at details like how much their date is texting.
How often do men want to have sex per week?
While this may not seem so surprising to some readers, the authors didn't anticipate that 25% of guys wanted to have sex six to nine times per week. "We would have thought that three to five times would have been the vast majority."
Is it OK to talk about my ex?
"A lot of men told us they just don't want to know," says Byra. Over 25 percent of men said they never wanted to hear about past relationships. "You don't need to dive in and tell them everything, let them ask for details," says Almaraz. "Especially on early dates, they are there to learn about you." The exception is information about exes if there are children involved.
To learn more about the project and read more questions and answers, visit the author's website, wtfarementhinking.com.
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