Sure, you want adoration, respect, and the occasional sparkly treat from your man, but more than anything, you want to feel like he’s still got the hots for you. Well, here’s good news: Contrary to the widely held belief that men lose interest over time, experts now know that guys are actually hardwired for long-term lusting.
“It’s absolutely true, but it’s not without conditions,” says Jeffrey Bernstein, PhD, author of Why Can’t You Read My Mind? “You have to make a strategic effort to trigger that craving in him once you’re in a relationship because the spark in your bond won’t last if you neglect it.” For that reason, Cosmo has discovered the seven key make-him-ache-for-you strategies that specifically jump-start your guy’s desire. Be warned: Once you use them, he’ll be sticking to you like white on rice.
1. UTTER THE ONE WORD THAT DRIVES HIM NUTS
As lovey-dovey as pet names make him feel, they still don’t compare to the electrifying rush your man gets when his name crosses your lips. “Just hearing it is an aphrodisiac,” says body-language expert Eve Marx, author of Read My Hips. “It ratchets up his desire because the message you send is ‘It’s you I’m thinking about and no one else.’ And men need to hear that — it’s tied to their primal urge to beat out all the competition.”
However, just blurting out his moniker as often as possible isn’t going to do it for him. You need to make it count. For instance, when you’re feeling sexy in a public setting, like in a dark bar, drop it into conversation in surprising spots and pause for a beat or two: “And then…Jeremy…I slammed the door behind me.”
Or try another trick when he’s putting the moves on you: Just kind of coo his name to draw his focus entirely on to you. “When Jake and I are getting it on, sometimes it feels like he’s lost in his own head,” says Sandrine, 26.* “But when I moan his name, everything feels like it gets more intense between us, like it brings him into the moment.”
*Names have been changed.
2. REACH INTO HIS POCKET FOR THE KEYS
Well, more than just the keys. The lesson is this: “Never underestimate the power of an unexpected touch,” says David Niven, PhD, author of The 100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships. “Just by stimulating his nerve endings when he’s not prepared for it, you create a positive physical connection that leaves your man wanting more.” Even better, your guy subconsciously gets hooked on those mini-moments of excitement and craves them when you’re not around.
From now on, be on the lookout for opportune moments to touch him “accidentally.” For example, don’t ask him for his keys…glide your hand into his pocket and slowly take them out. Don’t ask him to pass the salt…reach across him, letting your breasts rub against his arm. Don’t walk past him in a crowded bar…press your rear into his gear. According to Tricia, 25, these sneak attacks work like a charm. “If I’ve been really touchy-feely with Rob, the next morning, he’ll be really snuggly,” she says. “It’s like he wants to be closer to me.”
3. KEEP HIM OUT OF THE LOOP
The funny thing about men is that telling them less about your life makes them long for you more. So as much as you might want to share the minutiae of your bitchy workplace or your take on the latest Grey’s Anatomy plot twist, hold back. “The hard truth is that from his end, that information is overwhelming and boring,” explains Douglas Weiss, PhD, author of The 7 Love Agreements. “Men don’t have the capacity to endure great amounts of detail. That’s one reason why they don’t give you the play-by-play of their lives.”
Edit your small talk and you’ll make a discovery: The less you tell him, the more interested he’ll become in your day-to-day, as Susan, 27, can attest. “If I’m vague or dismissive about what I’ve been up to — like ‘Oh, nothing. The usual. Work. Out with the girls’ — Dave becomes eager to hear the story,” she says. “And when he’s the instigator, he listens more closely.”
So to hook him in, when you’re chatting, give him the conclusion of the conversation first. For instance, “I got the job” or “I saw your buddy Mark,” and then stop and wait. You’ve gotten his attention, now let him draw out the details he’s dying to know from you.
4. MAKE SMALL CHANGES FOR BIG RESULTS
Caroline, 26, had gotten haircuts in the past that her guy hadn’t noticed at all, but when she had her brunette crown streaked red, he was all over her. “Jake couldn’t stop touching me — he couldn’t believe he was fooling around with a redhead,” she says. The reason her new do drove him nuts: “Men register eye-catching changes to your appearance, and it draws them to you,” says Lori Buckley, PsyD. “Adding novelty will keep his desire for you strong.”
There’s a catch though: If you want to snag his immediate interest, the change has to be guy-visible. “To activate his desire, it has to be a departure from your everyday look,” says David Buss, PhD, author of The Evolution of Desire. Maybe take a break from your jeans routine and strut around in a miniskirt. Wear a noticeably higher heel. Or ditch your bra for a day and put a little extra bounce in your step.
5. COMPLIMENT HIM THE RIGHT WAY
Just because men don’t fish for flattery (when was the last time you heard a guy ask, “Honey, do my pecs look small in this shirt?”) doesn’t mean they don’t love ego stroking. “More than anything, men desire the feeling of being desired,” says Bernstein. “When a man hears praise from his partner, it reinforces that she’s attracted to him, which further intensifies his feelings for her.”
But there’s a trick to buttering up your guy right. You see, men are supersensitive to gushing. It makes them want to gag and run far away. So when you give him props, stick to this tip: The more obscure and exclusive the praise to him, the more genuine it feels. That’s why Molly, 31, casually praises her guy’s kitchen-cleaning prowess. “Tom is anal about wiping down the counters, so whenever I go to cook and they’re clean, I say how much I love it.” He may dismiss your flattery with a grunt, but deep down, he’s loving every second of it.
6. GIVE HIM A SENSORY FLASHBACK
Think about when you first fell for your guy. What reminds you both of that time (aside from the conniption fit you had every time the phone rang)? Figure it out and you’ve found the secret to conjuring up that new-love rush. “When he experiences something that he associates with falling in love with you, those intense, sensual memories trigger a positive physical reaction and generate instant longing,” says Bernstein.
Case in point: “The smell of sunscreen and chlorine makes me crave my wife,” says Peter, 28. “It takes me back to when we were in high school and she worked summers as a lifeguard at a pool. Smelling that scent gives me the jolt all over again.” To get your guy in the moment, revive an old brand of perfume, visit a favorite place from your shared past, or reinstate an early dating ritual. Oftentimes, you won’t even need to say anything, according to Bernstein. These sensory connections are so strong that he’ll be transported back instantly.
7. CHECK OUT HIS COMPETITION
Lust works in bizarre ways. Get this: If you want to renew your man’s passion for you, slyly capture the eye of another guy. “Men do become more attentive and turned on by their partners when they see them being desired by other men,” says Buss. Aimee, 27, knows all about this surprising strategy: “When I get dressed up and guys at the bar check me out, I know Will’s thinking, Yeah, that’s right. She’s with me, suckers,” she says. “And he’s definitely clingier when he can smell the competition.”
To stoke your guy’s interest, trail a yummy waiter with your gaze or flash a flirty smile at one of his friends when you know he’s watching you. And it never hurts to make an extra bit of effort with your appearance when you know you’ll be in a situation where other men will admire you. Just the possibility of other guys eyeing you all night will definitely make him appreciate that he’s the lucky dog who gets to take you home.
Your man is an explorer by nature. The less he knows, the more he wants to know. That’s why you pique his curiosity when you don’t initially reveal your innermost thoughts.
Delaying gratification makes your man fantasize about you more. When you tease him with sexy text messages or the promise of sex, his imagination runs wild.
Men want what’s out of their reach. If you’re not available to him 24/7 and you have an active life outside the relationship, he has time to miss you.
Men flatline from the familiar. Variety is key. So throwing a new move into your game doesn’t just turn him on. It maintains his ability to be attracted to you.
Biologists believe the reason your odor turns him on is because smell is one of the most primitive senses — it travels a direct route to the brain’s limbic lobe, where it can promote an emotional reaction.