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Study Shows Males Commonly Mistake Sexual Intent 825

Posted by kdawson
from the ask-any-woman-in-a-bar dept.
seattle-pk writes "Males are apparently clueless when it comes to interpreting sexual intent from females, according to a recent study (PDF) from Indiana University's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Men were found commonly to perceive more sexual intent in women's behavior than women were intending to convey. (A campus survey showed that 68% of college females had an experience where a male mistook signs of friendliness for affection.) However, the study also shows that men were quite likely to misperceive sexual interest as friendliness. 'Rather than seeing the world through sex-colored glasses, men seemed just to have blurry vision of sorts, overall,' according to the article. If you're a male who ever mistook the meaning of a barista's smile, looks like you're not alone."
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Study Shows Males Commonly Mistake Sexual Intent

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  • by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:52AM (#22910400) Homepage Journal
    Is this from the same study group that found males like beer?

    "She slapped me, that means she wants my bod!"
       
    • by MrNaz (730548) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:08AM (#22910696) Homepage
      Nothing says "I Love You" like a restraining order.
    • by Hatta (162192) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:57AM (#22911834) Journal
      When did /. turn into Redbook?
    • by foniksonik (573572) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:55AM (#22912310) Homepage Journal
      Actually sometimes it does. In high school there was a girl who ran up to me tried to steal my pepsi and when I wouldn't give it to her she slapped me.

      I found out weeks later that she was actually trying to tell me she liked me???? in high school... I thought that kind of thing was left behind in grade school... who knew?

      So yes, sometimes a girl slapping you really does mean she wants your bod.

      • by racermd (314140) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:27PM (#22915176)
        I have no scientific data to back this up, but things like that are more common than you think.

        In High School, I had a similar incident where a girl in our small group of friends started to hit me at random times. I later found out that she liked me and that was her way of trying to tell me. I've been told that younger girls tend to do this as a way of 'fitting in' with the guys (since their view of guys is that they do this to one another and apparently enjoy it).

        And in response to the article in the OP: In the last couple of decades, guys have had to deal with feminism - some of it pretty extreme. An example from my personal experiences, I tend to hold doors for people - guys AND gals - if they're near enough that I'm not going out of my way (golden rule). I once did this for a young woman once (I don't exactly recall where or when), but she intentionally went through another door (that she opened herself) and scolded me that she doesn't need help. The undertone there was that she wouldn't accept my gesture of courtesy because I was male. Due to that one instance, I've pretty much stopped holding doors for people (unless they're really going to need help with the door, i.e.: arms full of stuff). I will hold the door open a little longer as I go through it if I notice someone following, but that's about it.

        That example was an extreme way of illustrating that men are continually getting mixed messages about what's acceptable and what's not, which may help explain why "men were quite likely to misperceive sexual interest as friendliness." In certain scenarios, a simple misinterpretation can lead to loss of employment or even a lawsuit. For that reason, I suspect, guys will tend to play it safe and interpret everything in purely platonic terms.

        Personally, I'm mildly outraged that (some) women do this - my wife included. If women want men to read the signals properly, we need to know the rules and they need to be consistent. It's manipulative, sneaky, underhanded, and just plain unfair. I feel like I'm playing by a constantly-changing set of rules (Calvinball, anyone?). If that's going to be the case, I refuse the play the game. Because that's all it is - a game. I don't like playing games with people's emotions and I REALLY don't like people playing with mine. /Soapbox
        • by Jane_Dozey (759010) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:50PM (#22915350)
          Personally I appreciate it when men are a little bit chivalrous and do things like holding the door open for me. I don't mean going way out of their way to get to the door and open it but holding it open and giving me a smile always brightens my day.

          I hate when girls take every polite action from men as an oppressive action. They really do spoil it for the rest of us and let's face it, they're being plain rude.

          Please, don't let the actions of a few girls stop you from doing what you think is polite/a nice thing to do. There really are some crazy ones out there who convince themselves they're really that important that every guy wants to take advantage of them, then there are the rest of us who take it as a friendly action and will appreciate it for what it is.

          Ok, on the whole sneaky, manipulative, underhanded thing: we're all (girls) guilty of this. This is how women interact with each other as well. That doesn't make it right but I'm afraid we can't always see that we're doing it so from my whole gender: sorry. Being a CS student and surrounded by men for the majority of my days I've become a little more understanding of the difficulties I can pose when I'm not being clear but it's kinda hard to stop doing it all together.
          • by jonadab (583620) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:36PM (#22917200) Homepage Journal
            > Being a CS student and surrounded by men for the majority of my days I've
            > become a little more understanding of the difficulties I can pose when
            > I'm not being clear but it's kinda hard to stop doing it all together.

            As a man who majored in computer science when I was in school, I think I am on safe ground saying that _on average_ (though there is a lot of variation in individuals), male CS students are going to tend to have an even harder time reading non-verbal cues than the male population in general. It's also true that the male population in at large has a harder time with it, on average, then the female population.

            Many of us are *aware* of the fact that we don't really "get" non-verbal communication. But that doesn't make us any better at it. (Some of us have learned to partially compensate by asking clarifying questions. You may encounter this -- a guy asking questions that _seem_ unnecessary and the answers obvious, basically asking you to confirm aspects of what you just said. Please try not to be too annoyed. When this happens, there's an excellent chance that the guy doing this has had bad experiences in the past with people getting mad at him because he thought he understood what they said but missed some nuance he was supposed to have read between the lines.)

            So yeah, if you want to be really sure we understand what you're getting at, generally the most surefire way to do that is to double-check that every part of what you're saying was actually expressed in the _words_ that you said. Use words. Words, of course, still can be misunderstood. But on the whole your chances of getting your point across successfully are better with words than with any other method, especially if you are talking to men, and extra-especially if they're also computer geeks.

            I suppose it's probably annoying to have to say everything in words all the time. Then again, there's no real need to bother with it except when you actually care about being understood ;-)
          • by SilverJets (131916) on Monday March 31, 2008 @03:23AM (#22918654) Homepage
            Ok, on the whole sneaky, manipulative, underhanded thing: we're all (girls) guilty of this. This is how women interact with each other as well. That doesn't make it right but I'm afraid we can't always see that we're doing it so from my whole gender: sorry.

            A perfect example of this (and I am not being a pig) is women in management. Get two or more women in power positions in the same department or company and watch the fur fly...literally. Everything they do to one another is on a personal level. With men it is different. Sure the guy down the hall just backstabbed you but its business its not personal. Not so with women backstabbing women. My old boss actually moved my entire department to a different building because she couldn't get along with another female department head.
  • wrong (Score:5, Funny)

    by spoop (952477) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:53AM (#22910402)
    women have blurry behavior
    • Re:wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Meekuu (980433) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:24AM (#22910522)
      ... and men are simple beigns. It doesn't matter if the woman sends any signals. If she's pretty and witty he's intersted. If she's ugly and witty he ONLY wants to be her friend. If she's ugly and stupid he doesn't know her.
      • Re:wrong (Score:5, Funny)

        by MisterSchmoo (1262374) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:36AM (#22910564) Journal
        Didn't you watch "When Harry Met Sally" we want to bang the ugly ones too.
      • Re:wrong (Score:5, Funny)

        by rve (4436) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:27AM (#22910772)
        ... whereas women can overlook ugly and stupid, as long as he's rich?

        Ug!
        • Re:wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

          by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:38AM (#22910832) Homepage

          ... whereas women can overlook ugly and stupid, as long as he's rich?

          Your point reminds me of the flap over the book The Game [amazon.com] , where journalist Neil Strauss uncovered a secret world of men who make picking up women a science. Just take a look at the war in the Amazon reviews and in their attached comments. Women attack users of The Game for only going after beautiful (and unthreateningly dumb) women, and men respond that women do the same thing in only going after men with superficial qualities or large checkbooks. But if you actually read The Game as a chronicle of investigation instead of as a manual for picking up women, you realize that both are wrong. Meeting someone you are going to be interested in for the long-term, as opposed to one night of sex, means seeking out those qualities that might initially turn you off.

        • Re:wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Knutsi (959723) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:44AM (#22910866)
          Street wisdom: Ugly girls wants nice boys. Pretty girls want rich boys.

          Those in the middle swing both ways. This is also called "land of possibilities" ;p
        • FORM (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dcrockerjr (1107773) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @08:56AM (#22911122)
          FORM: Family, Occupation, Recreation, Money. When ladies talk to you they are only trying to assess your worth. Wealth of an individual can sometimes change with time and circumstance. So ladies put those they believe might become wealthy in the "friends" category, if they do become wealthy they simply pretend they were interested all along.
          • Re:FORM (Score:5, Insightful)

            by perlchild (582235) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @12:02PM (#22912376)
            Your example might provide a reason for the results of the study... Women might not want their signs of interest understood as much as they say they do.
            • Re:FORM (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Belial6 (794905) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @02:57PM (#22913818)
              Jeez, you think? This study is stupid. It takes a group who get financial gain by pretending to offer sex and then not going through with it and then letting them tell you whether they were screwing over their marks. What next, we are going to ask Comcast if they are offering the best service possible to bittorrent users?

              We had hundreds of thousands of years where offering sex for financial gain was not just possible, but was necessary for survival. Most of human history would have seen women who have sex without financial gain dead very quickly. Pregnancy would have been a forgone conclusion, and trying to chase down a carriboo while 9 months pregnant would not end well. So, the women that survived to pass on their genes and traditions were the ones that found a "good provider". "Good Provider" is by definition someone who is going to keep the money (or stuff that money buys) coming in. I have talked to many women who were given the advice by their grandmothers of "Marry a fireman, because at least you always have the pension."

              Now, times have changed. Women no longer require men just to survive. But, you don't stop a few hundred thousand years worth of human behaviour in 40 or 50 years. Particularly when the behaviour is profitable and fully accepted by the group.

              Very simply, prostitution is profitable, and prostitutes that do not keep up their end of the deal are not punished, so why would anyone expect a prostitute to admit that she is not keeping up her end of the deal.
      • Re:wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @09:15AM (#22911206)
        Nonono. When she's pretty and witty, he wants to fuck her and go steady. When she is ugly and witty, he wants to fuck her and stay her friend. When she is ugly and stupid, he wants to fuck her and then move on. Unless she gives good head.
      • by Bayoudegradeable (1003768) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @09:18AM (#22911228)
        Always marry an ugly girl, that's the only kind. She'll never ever leave you, and if she does you won't mind. Let's not forget, ugly girls need lovin', too! But then again, discussing sex with women on slashdot is like discussing Ubuntu with your grandmother... neither party knows what the hell is going on...
      • Re:wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

        by IdleTime (561841) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @09:29AM (#22911310) Journal
        The problem with the article was at the end of it. It stated something to the effect of "men can learn.." Ok, but what about women? Are men the only ones that needs to learn something here? Wouldn't it be better if both learned?

        And how do one find this out? Now, I've had my fair share of women and more than so over the years but hearing the results from the study lead me to think about how do people learn how to interpret the other sex intentions? The answer is: we don't! Why? Because anything that tastes or smells like it is sexually related, is absent from any form of education. Until we can talk about sexuality and attraction in a decent form in schools and in media and educate young people, this will continue to be a problem. Cue the religious nutcases who get their pants in a bunch just over the thought of sex and education.
      • by Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @09:37AM (#22911340)
        But consider this:

        Women will often flirt with a man just for attention. I've met women who simply didn't even know what they were doing was interpreted as flirting. And when I confronted them with this observation, they gave this crazymaking attitude like "I don't even know what you're talking about. I was just being friendly." Yeah, right.

        Philipino women are a great example of behavior that can easily be mistaken for flirting. I've never been more confounded by any other culture. The world "no" just isn't in their immediate vocabulary.

        Women from American culture can flirt just out of anger. Anyone remember that song, "I know What Boys Like" [youtube.com] by the Waitresses? That song spelled it out loud and clear.Women were tired of feeling as if they were being oppressed by men. So they used their power against the men.

        Those are just two of the reasons that I've found for the confusion on the part of the women. I know why I've been confused before: I was single. Now that I'm married, that confusion is pretty much gone. I know where I stand with my wife.

        It takes two to tango. It's not just that men have blurry vision. Women have fuzzy behavior, too.
        • Concious lying. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @12:52PM (#22912866) Homepage Journal

          Women will often flirt with a man just for attention.
          Very, very true. There's a girl I know, very pretty, very flirty. If you give her enough attention, she'll eventually start mentioning her boyfriend. I asked her about it, she says if people know she has a boyfriend right away they don't come over and talk as much. She does it on purpose, and takes offense at the suggestion that this isn't right.

          I've met women who simply didn't even know what they were doing was interpreted as flirting.
          Afraid not. You've actually met women who were really good actresses.

          And when I confronted them with this observation, they gave this crazymaking attitude like "I don't even know what you're talking about. I was just being friendly." Yeah, right.
          Yeah right indeed. I've had "that wasn't flirting!" applied to telling me to come closer, feeding me something with her hand and softly brushing my lip with her finger... the denial came AFTER that led to some good, sweaty fun. Apparently, she never made any signals (yeah right), it was all me (sure), and the soft caress on my lip was nothing but innocent accidental contact (do I look that gullible?).
    • Re:wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

      Wait . . .

      Are you saying that the cute bartender, the one who laughs at all my horrible jokes and cleans up after me after I get really drunk and spill my beer everywhere, the one that I constantly tip very well . . . are you trying to tell me that she might not actually be into me?
    • I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:51AM (#22911780)
      In almost ANY communications scenario in which a message is being received but misinterpreted, it must be the job of the sender to clarify the message. The receiver does not know what is wrong, and therefore has no way to force it make sense. The sender, on the other hand, can often perceive what is wrong, and correct the sending.

      It doesn't matter who you blame, the fact is that as a practical matter, nobody can clear this up but the sender of the signals. So before women go complaining that their signals are misunderstood, they should make some effort to make sure their signals are unmistakable!
  • by ghostdoc (1235612) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:53AM (#22910404)
    The study actually just found that women are unclear about communicating their intentions to men.
    • by Knutsi (959723) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:05AM (#22910456)

      An interesting follow up would be to look at men and womens abilities to communicate their emotional states to others of the same sex, and also broaden the range of "intents" studied towards the opposite sex. It's that men from Mars, women from Venus thingy.

      Also, how about looking into this across cultures? Maybe the portrait of women as sexual predators that tend to flourish in the media conditions falsely and desensitizes to the subtelties in non-verbal communication on this, and other, subjects. Anyone remember the episode of Friends where they got free porn? ;)

      • by mcvos (645701) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:53AM (#22910626)

        An interesting follow up would be to look at men and womens abilities to communicate their emotional states to others of the same sex, and also broaden the range of "intents" studied towards the opposite sex.

        That's exactly what I was thinking. If men understand the sexual intentions of other men, and women don't understand the sexual intentions of other women, then it's clearly the women who don't communicate clearly. If women understand each other but men don't, then it's men who are obvlivious. If men understand each other and women understand each other, but men don't understand women and vice versa, then it's the "women from Venus, men from Mars" thing". And if everybody has trouble understanding other people's sexual intentions, then people in general are unclear or oblivious about sexual intentions.

        It's that men from Mars, women from Venus thingy.

        That depends on the findings of the follow-up study.

        • by VoidCrow (836595) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @08:39AM (#22911060)
          Speaking entirely subjectively, my own sexual intent, as a woman, is like a ratchet with a very large reset button, with a mischievous monkey in attendance. The monkey keeps on pressing the reset button at random intervals. A man can interest me, and things can go very well right up until he says or does entirely the wrong thing (and don't ask me to define 'the wrong thing'). At this point, I completely lose interest and go back to being a nun. This is essentially why the man needs to spank the monkey.
      • by mpe (36238) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:15AM (#22910722)
        An interesting follow up would be to look at men and womens abilities to communicate their emotional states to others of the same sex, and also broaden the range of "intents" studied towards the opposite sex.

        Also look at if the sexual orientation of the "recipient" has any effect.
        There is a known condition, Asberger's syndrome, which identifies people who are bad at understanding non verbal communication. (Which is also more commonly identified in men than women). Might there also be a condition of people being poor at expressing themselves non verbally. Effective communication does require mutual understanding. Of course there will always be people who deliberatly lie and mislead (who most likely have to be amongst the best communications in the human race to do this sucessfully).

        Also, how about looking into this across cultures?

        When people from different cultures are communicating they may be extra careful to avoid ambiguity. Even if they were to share the same verbal language they may well assume that they have a different non-verbal language and compensate accordingly. Of course you can't test this using just photographs or videos since there is no mutual dialogue involved.
      • by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:24AM (#22910764) Journal
        "It's that men from Mars, women from Venus thingy."

        Actually they are both from Earth, but that bit of trivia is best kept to oneself if you want to gey laid.
      • by Epistax (544591) <epistax&gmail,com> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @08:21AM (#22910980) Journal
        Okay let me try. Situation, and how the communication works.

        Situation 1: There's a real interest in a friendship, although there is no kind of physical attraction. The other person seems genuinely fun to be around

        Female: Smiles at him, looks straight into his eyes so that he knows that she is not at all afraid of scaring him off and is therefore NOT looking for a serious relationship. However, she picks up conversation to learn about his interests to be able to propose things they can do together for fun.
        Male: Asks "Wanna get drunk and play Smash Bros?"

        Situation 2: There's a strong physical attraction and interest in pursuing a serious relationship.

        Female: Gazes deeply into his eyes to give the impression that she is lost in him. This will provide an excellent "how-we-met" story for their kids. She tries to act interested in his interests because she wants to also be interesting to him.
        Male: Asks "Wanna get drunk and play Smash Bros?" with an ulterior motive.

        In conclusion, we're all idiots.
      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @09:12AM (#22911194) Homepage
        No. The message should definitely be to women, "Be more clear about your intentions." Because even if men are naturally oblivious, we're not going to become any more insightful, but women can change their behavior. So women, if you don't want to send a message that your interested, quit flirting. If you are interested, go ahead and be forward.
    • by mikael_j (106439) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:59AM (#22910650)

      Exactly, and what's even more interesting is that if a man decides to be slightly more subtle than "UGH! ME MAN! YOU WOMAN!" but still way more obvious than women generally are then most women seem to completely miss that the man was hitting on them and I've heard women complain about how a guy should've been "more clear about it" yet they themselves think a smile and twirling their hair between their fingers while looking at a guy for two seconds from across the room somehow is enough effort to be considered "taking the first step".

      And then they can't understand why the guys they like never understand that they're attracted to them...

      /Mikael

    • by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles@ d a n t i a n . org> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @08:10AM (#22910946)
      The study actually just found that women are unclear about communicating their intentions to men.

      Or that still images are poor communicators of intentions. From the study pdf:

      Identification Task
      Seated in a private computer room, participants categorized each of a series of photo images of women into one of four categories: friendly, sexually interested, sad, or rejecting. Each participant was randomly assigned to view the images for 500 ms or 3,000 ms. The 500-ms presentation time was sufficiently short to make it challenging to decode all relevant information thoroughly; the 3,000-ms presentation time provided ample opportunity for thorough processing.
      Participants viewed the images in four blocks of 70 randomly ordered images, with a 30-s pause separating successive blocks.

      This seems to have very little to tell us about actual real-life interaction between women and men, which tend to have much more going on than a frozen look. What's with smells, mimic, body language or, you know, the actual content of the conversation? Maybe the study authors have more experience with online sex, or they want to sell their method to webcam pr0n providers.

    • by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:39AM (#22911708) Homepage
      A women, who was a colleague, once sat on my lap and fed me my dinner... at a company function. Yet she had absolutely no sexual intention of any kind. Seven years after that event I finally got a date, and we're now married, so I was able to ask about the incident. She told me she didn't really know what she was thinking about, that she didn't find me particularly interesting at the time, and she didn't understand why her behavior was "taken out of context".

      Huh???
    • by jimicus (737525) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:45AM (#22911742)
      The study actually just found that women are unclear about communicating their intentions to men.

      For the world's women to accept such a conclusion, it would require admitting responsibility rather than just blaming men. Not gonna happen.

      (Yes, I have karma to burn.)
  • thanks (Score:4, Funny)

    by ionix5891 (1228718) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:54AM (#22910410)
    thanks for posting this info on /. we need all the education about the opposite sex that we need (never mind the mothers whose basements we hermits live in)
  • Oh right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:58AM (#22910420)
    Nothing to do with deliberate ambiguity fostered by females then.

     
  • Evolution (Score:5, Funny)

    by Detritus (11846) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:59AM (#22910426) Homepage
    Things sure were simpler when we were monkeys.
  • Humor? (Score:5, Funny)

    by carpe_noctem (457178) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:03AM (#22910452) Homepage Journal
    Why's this story in the "Humor" section? What's so funny about a 30-year old virgin?

    Oh, wait..... HAW, HAW!
  • Hogwash... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KGIII (973947) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:04AM (#22910454) Journal
    While the results are likely true the reality is, in my opinion, that women don't make any sense. *nods* "Guys are clueless." The author, of the article at least, is female and many of today's men are so effeminate that we can't tell the difference. It is not that men haven't a clue, it is that women aren't willing (read able but I'm trying to be PC) to send clear signals.

    We're MEN... We need CLEAR signals. We've only got enough blood to fill any one of the two organs at a time and most of the time it isn't the brain. Give us a CLEAR yes. You want us to fully comprehend then wear a damned sign - until then? Well... *shrugs*

    Bah... Screw it... Until then remember that we've got too many people on the planet already.

    • by donscarletti (569232) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:54AM (#22910632)

      We're MEN... We need CLEAR signals.
      If you're trying to address the world's female population right now then I am afraid that you have your soapbox parked in the wrong forum.
      • by bounty_hunter.poland (1261366) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:11AM (#22910708)

        If you're trying to address the world's female population right now then I am afraid that you have your soapbox parked in the wrong forum.
        The are women on the internet! There are women on Slashdot! They just use manly nicknames, so we won't try to flirt with them all the time.

        ~amanda99: I'm really pissed with Microsoft pushing OOXML standarization!
        ~The-Man: Oh, you're so pretty when you're angry.
    • Re:Hogwash... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcvos (645701) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:59AM (#22910648)

      We're MEN... We need CLEAR signals.

      We don't just need clear signals, be need explicitly stated intentions. Say "I want sex". Then we understand you.

      Fortunately my wife is aware of this and doesn't expect me to pick up on subtle clues. When she wants something from me, she tells me so. I love her very much.

    • Re:Hogwash... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by norton_I (64015) <hobbes@utrek.dhs.org> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:12AM (#22910712)
      I don't know. Are you better at telling when some girl is coming on to your friend? That would indicate that men can damn well read the signs fine, they just corrupt the reading with their own emotions when it is directed at themselves.
    • Re:Hogwash... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Miseph (979059) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:36AM (#22910816) Journal
      On the contrary, many men have plenty of blood to run both, and are nice enough to think with the superior one even when the inferior one is standing up to make its own announcements. These men are also, however, not generally willing to just hit on anything with boobs, and have learned the hard way that sometimes when girls are nice to them that it means they just want to be friends.

      Apparently, 60% of women need to realize that, frustrating as men's behavior might be, they solve plenty of problems by just thinking. If you really like your friend Todd because he's such a sweet guy and he never lechs out or anything, but he constantly seems to ignore your attempts to sleep with him, then you can safely assume that Todd is either totally gay or is simply being nice and not pervy to the point that he may well be dismissing the hints rather than risk creeping you out. I suggest talking to him about it, and not being so damned obtuse.
      • Re:Hogwash... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by psychodelicacy (1170611) <psychodelicacy@gmail.com> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @09:05AM (#22911158) Homepage

        You missed an option - He's just not that into you!

        Trust me, I tried the direct approach with one of my friends once, on the basis of the reasoning you just gave. Poor guy never quite got over it. Back to discreet hints for me.

      • Re:Hogwash... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jollyreaper (513215) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:17AM (#22911594)

        Apparently, 60% of women need to realize that, frustrating as men's behavior might be, they solve plenty of problems by just thinking. If you really like your friend Todd because he's such a sweet guy and he never lechs out or anything, but he constantly seems to ignore your attempts to sleep with him, then you can safely assume that Todd is either totally gay or is simply being nice and not pervy to the point that he may well be dismissing the hints rather than risk creeping you out. I suggest talking to him about it, and not being so damned obtuse.
        True. Some guys are like Quagmire, they don't care how they come across and figure if they hit on every woman they meet, the law of averages will eventually give them success. Sometimes they will repeatedly hit on a woman who shows no sign of interest, becoming stalkerish.

        Talking to women who have been on the receiving end of this sort of thing can be an eye-opener. Now of course there are also psycho-stalker women but that doesn't seem to happen quite as frequently as the other way around. My sister always seemed to attract the weirdos, they were drawn to long, blonde hair like barracudas to flashing metal. The skeevy behavior is enough to make your skin crawl. I would be mortified to have any woman I was interested in interpret my behavior that way. But how do you read the cues properly? Is this friendly interest or something more than friendly interest? And if she's only interested in being a friend and you show amorous interest, she may get weirded out by that completely.

        Less assertive guys end up defaulting into inaction because they are unsure how to behave. Overly confident guys will continue to behave as they have before and there's quite a lot of empirical evidence out there supporting the theory that chicks dig alpha males (jerks).

        Courtesy of Bill Hicks...

        Aw, man Oh, Hitler had Ava Braun,
        Manson had Squeaky Frawn,
        Ted Bundy got lots of dates,
        I wonder what I'm doing wrong.
        I don't pretend to understand women's little quirks
        Just one thing I know for sure - chicks dig jerks, yeah.
        Well, if I meet one more single mom
        Whose true love is up and gone
        Tells me on her trailer porch
        'Bout that man
        Still carries a torch,
        Sure, he came home drunk each night
        Beat the kids and her in a fight,
        But, man, she loves him so,
        It's so hard to let him go, aw.
        Well, I don't pretend to understand women's little quirks,
        Just one thing I know for sure - chicks dig jerks.
        Well, I'm sure there's some out there who can relate,
        Particularly young men without a date
        See some jerk, some fine, fine babe,
        Go driving away, aw.
        Well, is that a new bruise you got on you?
        What does it say, that he loves you?
        Sure he beats you, but afterwards he cries, "Oh, baby, I could die."
        Honey, I don't think that's nothing to be proud of,
        I think it's called alcoholism
        I don't think you should move away,
        Stay with him till you're in your grave, yeah.
        "You're so sweet."
        "Can't we just be friends?"
        "I think of you as a brother."
        Aw, man. You're hurting me.
        What do I have to offer you, baby?
        Poetry and true love.
        That's not enough, I know for sure,
        You need someone to throw you through the door.
        Well, I don't pretend to understand women's little quirks.
        Just one thing I know for sure-chicks dig jerks!
        Chicks dig jerks, it's so true.
        Tell you, man, be mean to 'em man, they'll never leave you, then,
        'Cause chicks dig jerks.
        Just ignore 'em.
        Act like they're not there.
        Man, you're gonna be pulling chicks out of your hair.
        They love that.
        Act like you don't care,
        Aw, look at them everywhere, they come running.
        Tired of being a good guy Such a lonely life.
        I'm gonna be a jerk Yeah, that's right, I'm gonna step on lots of toes.
        Whoo, girls gonna go crazy for that kind of guy.
        Baby, I'm gonna act like I don't know you.
        Not gonna return one of your calls.
        Yeah, I'm a jerk And it's working out.
           
  • Evolution? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:06AM (#22910460) Homepage Journal
    There may be some evolutionary advantage in over-interpreting signals. Even though you may be wrong most of the time, the few times you are right still gets you some bootie. (Although it barely offsets the broken leg from one of the error's boyfriends.)
       
    • Re:Evolution? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Knutsi (959723) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:12AM (#22910488)
      Or, if you are a true alpha male, the error's boyfriend would be the one left behind in the dust. Now that's natural selection for you. Sad principle upon to build a stable, peaceful society thought, so let's raise above that ;) Me being a spindly nerd has nothing to do with this view of course.
    • Re:Evolution? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:21AM (#22910512)
      Don't forget the evolutionary advantage in "mis-communicating" by the females. More or less, guys who like you do stuff for you. You can sleep with whoever you want (eg, the alpha male) and the other guys (beta males) will still bust a nut trying to score by being nice / doing your bidding. Sending misleading signals is absolutely full of win for the girls (until you meet a psycho).
  • Genetic link? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lobiusmoop (305328) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:09AM (#22910470) Homepage
    Since humans are one of the few species that conceal ovulation [findarticles.com] I am wondering if this has a more genetic basis.
  • Evolutionarily... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Neon Aardvark (967388) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:15AM (#22910494) Homepage

    Ambiguity is probably in women's interest. Just like ovulation being hidden from men, unusually in the animal world (which makes men compete sexually for women constantly, and not just at particular times).

    Probably gives women greater power (or rather, it increases the statistical chance of the genes of a particular woman being successfully passed on, which is all natural cares about).

  • Research on Campus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Marcion (876801) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:22AM (#22910516) Homepage Journal
    Researchers are so lazy, interviewing people on campus, just because they are there next to you, does not seem to be a very credible methodology. Students are probably not a representative sample of anything.
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:26AM (#22910536)
    Anyone who's dated or flirted has dealt with women (I'm sure it works both ways) who feign sexual interest to achieve another outcome, or feigned disinterested friendliness when the opposite is true. I consider myself an expert as I've misread women in just about any way possible.
  • by Torodung (31985) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:30AM (#22910544) Journal
    Wow. Talk about interpreting the data to fit ones prejudices, instead of exploring all possibilities.

    How about this take?: Women can't effectively communicate sexual intent (or lack) to men.

    Or maybe we'll decide not to bow to such specious sexist chauvinism?: Study shows people are confused about sexuality. Women don't know how to ask for it, and the men don't know when they're asking. NAAAH!

    It may seem trite, but communication is a two way street. Both the speaker and the listener are equally to blame for a failed communication, usually for not setting a clear set of assumptions upon which to base it. You know, language.

    I would say that what this shows is that the language of sexual intent, especially primary (non-verbal) language, is sorely lacking. Have you seen the current youth "sexy dance?" They are seriously just out there having fun. Not a thing wrong with it. But if I did that with my wife, she'd know I want to "get down" later.

    Don't get me wrong, they're hooking up too, but they're out there grinding like a bunch of feckless bunnies, and it doesn't necessarily mean anyone wants to have sex.

    How could anyone not be confused? The only societal basis in the sexual dialogue we have any more is that misinterpretation is the only crime, and that only men misinterpret, because they're so bad at communication.

    That's not a basis for relations between the sexes, that's absurd chauvinistic prejudice that makes your right hand seem considerably less risky.

    So, in the age of sexy dancing, well past overtly sexualized clothing, trivialized sexual language, and a general dissolving of the entire courting process, how does one communicate, "Hey sailor, wanna fuck?" in a subtle and socially acceptable fashion?

    That's not a question worth answering when you can just blame the man for being clueless.

    Retitle: Study shows common prejudice that communications problems are always the man's fault. New study sets out to prove that the trivialization of sexual content in American society has left all parties thoroughly rudderless.

    --
    Toro
  • I work in a bar (Score:5, Interesting)

    by t0qer (230538) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:01AM (#22910658) Homepage Journal
    I've worked for a karaoke bar called the 7 Bamboo since 2001. Here's some video clips of the mayhem.

    http://uncutvideo.aol.com/users/sevenbamboovideo [aol.com]

    Here's a statement from a guy that deals with both sexes at the core of thier honest drunkness when it comes to getting what they want. In this case, it mostly happens when our playlist is so full we cannot take anymore requests.

    Guys will typically flash cash, or they'll do a intimidation display (beating thier chest) to get what they want. Girls on the other hand will flirt, pout, or use some other form of sexual display.

    So when a slobbering drunk girl is pouting at me, bent over the booth, cleavage showing, saying "PLEASE MR KARAOKE MAN! LET ME HAVE ONE MORE SONG!" You mean to tell me as a male i'm misreading what she's trying to communicate?

    She's trying to tell me "I'll fuck your brains out of this world if you let me sing." 99% of the women will pretend this is thier offer, but never deliver. (Yes, there's a small maybe even less than 1% that would deliver. (Cue up the "TOQER PLZ INTRO ME jokes now)

    Just because a woman has no intent on fullfilling the message she's projecting, it doesn't diminish the fact that she *IS* trying to get that message across. It could be cleavage, it could me smiling and acting all cute, it could be putting thier arm around you, women have a lot of body language things they can do to convey it.

    Not all men can tell the difference either. In fact, I'd say the majority can't. It's not fair to lump all us men together as one chauvenist mass though because women are trying to decieve us. Who's worse? The dumb man that can't tell the difference, or the salacious seductructress using her false (read lying) sexual messages?

    And maybe I just don't know WTF i'm talking about because I have a skewed view of the world based on where I work, but I did work in desktop support in corporate enviroments for many years prior (think netware, early .com, NT3.51 days) I used to see women use the very same techniques at work to size new hires up, or get guys to help them on projects, or whatever. I think this is pre-programmed into us from our primate ancestors (ever see female chimps in heat with the swollen red asses? How about the bonobo chimps trading sex for food, etc.)

    My wife is a very paranoid lady when it comes to other women. I think deep down inside all women know that all other women use sexual body cues in the same way. I used to think my wife was nuts when she would be all jealous of other girls standing around me, but after 14 years of her giving me cues I can sort of spot what's going on now too.

    I believe a lot of this behavior is going to end at my generation. We didn't have this tharn intarnet in the 70's when I was born. I believe that the net, womens sufferage, and globalization has lead to a balancing out of the genders (at least here in the US) We are really on the verge of having a woman president, and that says a lot for how much gender roles have changed in this country. A lot of men (like me) had to take what jobs they could in 2001 between the layoffs and 9/11. I'm not the breadwinner in my household anymore, and i'm OK with that.

    I look forward to it. It's got to be better than the message tradition beliefs and pop culture has tried to teach us. Western Christianity has typically conveyed that the man is in a dominant role, and the woman is a sexual toy/servant/baby launcher. I think the best balance is a true partnership, but so many women, men are running around ignorantly trying to assert thier gender role that they don't learn that till many years down the road.

    There's also another side to this and that's the pop culture aspect. How many of you have watch Margeret Cho and Andrew Dice Clay?

    I've known girls that follow Cho like she's Jesus, and guys follow ADC like he's uhh I dunno, Jesus? I'm sure other folks have seen the same. People a
    • Re:I work in a bar (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2008 @08:17AM (#22910970)

      She's trying to tell me "I'll fuck your brains out of this world if you let me sing." 99% of the women will pretend this is thier offer, but never deliver. {...} I think this is pre-programmed into us from our primate ancestors (ever see female chimps in heat with the swollen red asses? How about the bonobo chimps trading sex for food, etc.)

      Posting AC for obvious reasons, I'd just like to say that you're more right than you may even know here. The only correction I might make is in your phrasing when you say that a woman is "trying" to convey something, since, in my experience, it's frequently quite involuntary. It's also not necessarily a direct proferring of sex, but a way of fitting into a role that looks vulnerable and inspires a hopefully sympathetic reaction. I had a jarring experience with my own evolutionary throwback a year or two ago in Japan. I was alone in Japan for a little over a week, not knowing much Japanese, but trying to be independent as possible anyway. Each time I had to communicate with people (hostel clerks, train station receptionists, etc.), male or female, I could feel my eyes involuntarily became wider, my lower lip protrude, my brow knit in an innocently perplexed manner. It went entirely against my usual modus operandi of being strong and solitary, but as soon as I needed someone's help, really needed it just to get by, here was this automatic mechanism to make me look younger and more harmless and, frankly, dumber and in greater need than I may really have been. And it worked. Damn near every time I asked for help in an uncertain, wavery manner, people treated me more kindly and patiently than they usually do ever. I suppose I could have felt empowered by this, but I was mostly balking at my sudden inability to control what the hell my face did, and feeling guilty for manipulating people, even if it was harmless and I didn't mean to.

      I don't doubt that there are women who know exactly what they're doing when they pout at you, but you might be surprised by how many more don't

  • by ElGanzoLoco (642888) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:33AM (#22910802) Homepage
    I quote the Live Science article: "More often than not, guys interpret even friendly cues, such as a subtle smile from a gal, as a sexual come-on" .
    Well, actually the study (see findings table, last page of the PDF) shows that 79.9 percent of guys correctly identified friendliness and only 12.1pct mistook it for sexual interest. Sadness and rejection were also correctly interpreted most of the times (and almost never mistaken for sexual interest).

    And now I quote the /. summary: Men were found commonly to perceive more sexual intent in women's behavior than women were intending to convey.
    Wrong again: sexual interest is the only intent that just less than half of the male sample correctly interpreted, with almost 40% of them mistaking it for friendliness.

    So it seems that we don't do too bad after all. Of course, this doesn't fly too well with the typical "horny males think all girls 'want some' " stereotypes.

    Now, I'd be willing to see the results of the same research, applied to girls. My anecdotal evidence indicates that girls fare even worse than guys at interpreting "sexual interest" signals. My "sexual interest" signals consistently get ignored (maybe I'm just too shy) or, even worse, mistaken for an invitation to be friends and tell me their ex-boyfriend stories (when this happens: run!). I also find that a non-trivial number of girls mistakes friendliness for sexual interest (usually the same ones who think of themselves as hot and intersting).

  • by master_p (608214) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:41AM (#22910850)
    Not the programming language, of course! Smalltalk with a girl you like, and if she really likes you, the conversation will go on without any embarrassing pauses. Smalltalk allows us to relax and let ourselves be, and any underlying feelings usually surface.

    There are some subtle clues to as if a girl likes you; for example, if, after a long conversation, she starts to touch you. Or if she turns her body towards you while she speaks.

    Of course none of the above guarantee 100% that a girl likes you. But it's a good start.

    Remember some general principles: be clean, be gentle and polite, show interest in your partner, be sincere.

    Also remember that one of the most important feelings for women is the feeling of security: try to make them feel relatively secure; women have a wide spectrum of feelings but they are usually reluctant to show them until they feel nice and welcomed to the person they speak to.

    Finally, also remember that for women, sex is more a psychological operation than a physical one. Sex is not the same for the two sexes. Women are mentally and emotionally aroused before physically aroused, so try to care for them!!!

  • by assertation (1255714) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @08:35AM (#22911030)
    There are a lot of books out there on how to improve your dating life. A lot of those books are even written with geeks in mind, not that description ever fit me or anyone who reads slashdot......*cough* *cough* :).

    Be warned, most of these books are poorly written and the web sites where even the good books are sold are styled in a way where it looks like snake oil is being sold.

    However, there is a lot of good stuff out there that actually works.

    I highly recommend:

    1. Renting a copy of the movie "The Tao Of Steve". It is based on the true story of an obese underachiever who develops a method to get all of the dates he wants despite his disadvantages.

    2. Read "Without Embarrassment" by Mike Pilinski. Don't buy it from Amazon, it is overpriced by $30 there. Go to the author's web site. The web site is done poorly and looks like snake oil. Don't let that fool you. Pilinski was one of us, and his book is one of the good ones. You can get the book as an ebook or printed on demand. You have to look around on the site a bit to find the later option.

    If you want to read more after this I would start with the "The Game" by Neil Strauss. The author is a professional writer and it shows. Despite the size the book will read like it is only 100 pages. It is very captivating and the book is an excellent overview of the "PUA Community" ( Pickup Artist Community ). This is very valuable, because even the good authors have bogus looking web sites that make it hard to get a good idea of what their products are like.

    This wikipedia page also serves as a good overview. Most of the "literature" on this subject falls into about 4 sets of approaches with many, MANY copycats. This page will give you the bottom line -- without having to read a lot of marketing crap -- on each prominent system. I recommend watching the movie and reading "Without Embarrassment" first though:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seduction_Community [wikipedia.org]

  • That's because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @08:38AM (#22911052)
    It pays biologically for men to err on the side of trying to get laid, for women it's better to err on the side of caution.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @09:41AM (#22911362)
    I remember that one show from Home Improvement when Tim held up the stop sign, saying "STOP". With the other side having the female way of saying it, reading "If you really cared for me, you'd know what to do now". I found it funny because it's just plain true.

    We are men. We enjoy a direct, blunt and honest way of talking. Wanna have sex? Then say so. Don't? Works for me either. But don't be surprised that we act it! What this study shows is that we can't "read" women. Ok, we can't. Big news. We're used to saying what we want, and also to being told what is expected from us. The best joke is always a woman complaining that in her relationship, they always do what he wants, be it sexually or otherwise. Guess what: He said what he wants! She was sitting there, waiting for him to guess her interests and desires.

    Dear women (in case there are any on /., my hopes are still there): TELL US, in no uncertain terms, what you want. We're notoriously bad at guessing. We do care for your feelings and needs, but we don't guess them. A man is not constantly trying to find out what's wrong, the way a man works, for him everything is running fine as long as there's nobody complaining. No complaint, no change. We do subscribe to the "never change a running system" theory of thinking. Don't try to poke into a system (or relationship for that matter) without good reason. And some ambigious sigh is no good reason.

    Grab your man and tell him what you want, dammit! Be blunt. We need that.
  • skewed results... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by steveaustin1971 (1094329) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:14AM (#22911584)
    In the time it would take to do the study, the women would change their minds 4 times making the results invalid...
  • by srobert (4099) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:18AM (#22911986)
    A typical conversation with my wife goes something like this:
      Her: "That girl was flirting with you."
      Me: "What girl?"
      "The waitress, (receptionist, librarian, whatever). She was openly blatantly flirting."
      "I think she was just being polite."
      "No, She wasn't. She was openly blatantly flirting with you and you're too stupid to see it."

      Ok, now let me recount the conversation with the waitress that led my wife to this conclusion.
      Me: "Miss, could I please have some more coffee?"
      Waitress: "Sure, I'm making a fresh pot. It'll be ready in just a minute."
      Me: "Thank You."

      Now maybe my wife is seeing something I'm not. But I think when she said she was making a fresh pot of coffee, that what she really meant was ... that she was making a fresh pot of coffee.
  • by snsh (968808) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:25AM (#22912046)
    This is another case of blaming the user for confusing interfaces,
    and another case of blaming hardware for a software problem.

Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle. -- Steinbach

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