Physical Attraction - "It's a trap!"


Men's rational minds seem to stop working when they become physically attracted. I don't mean to judge, because I've been there myself. All men have been there. It is responsible for men diving headlong into unhealthy relationships, why men can't get over a break up (especially when it is the right thing for them), or even get caught up in becoming obsessed with one woman, otherwise known as one-itis. There can definitely be other extenuating emotional factors involved, but for the purpose of simplicity I will focus on this one factor that is more common in men than women, leading me to scream out to all men captivated solely by physical attraction - "It's a trap!" (to join in the recent flurry of Admiral Ackbar references going around lately)

The short narrative I am about to relate is extremely common. I was reminded of this recently when an acquaintance (not a client) was telling me how perfect this one woman was for him. I hear it ALL the time from men, so I realized I had to address it in my blog. This acquaintance then told me all of these ways this woman who was "so perfect" for him was being inconsiderate of his emotions and needs, almost to the point of not acknowledging the relationship. The only thing he said that was positive was "She's so hot." Why would any man be willing to put up with neglect of their emotional needs just because a woman is "hot"? Theory points to something deeply embedded in the reptilian part of the brains of men that has an evolutionary purpose to propagate the species. For men the pathway is more visual, and is associated with dopamine release in the reward pathways of the brain (Sternberg, p. 90). Men can, and do, mistake this for love.

There is no doubt it's a great sensation, feeling like butter in her hands, like all your worries have just melted away. You feel so giving, will do whatever she says. It feels so good to say yes. You might even think, "Why did I ever say 'No' before? Why is that word even in my vocabulary anymore? I don't need it. Everything is great!" It is a legitimate natural high.

Bank account is drained? Ah, no problem, I have 'True Love' here right next to me. I don't need anything else. I don't need money, I don't need my friends. They don't understand my love anyway, what good are they? Why do they keep telling me that she's so bad for me? They're just jealous. If they were such good friends why would they try to tell me she's wrong for me when she is OBVIOUSLY so right? Fuck them! She's all I need anyway. I have (insert beautiful woman's name here), I don't need anything else.

Meanwhile, she hasn't said anything, but she's been thinking "What happened to him? He used to be so bold, outgoing, have lots of friends, was driven and ambitious… Now all he does is wait for me to come home and wants to spend all of his time with me. We used to go out and do things. I am feeling smothered." OR, if she has low self-esteem, she would be thinking "What's wrong with this guy? Why is he so into ME?"

In this state of lust men make bad choices. Men say yes when they mean no, keep driving down a dead end road of a bad relationship at 90 mph, even in some cases give up their identity to hold onto something that is not real. What you think about her, based on your lust, is nothing more than a fantasy.

No matter how physically attractive she is to you, no matter how good the sex is, it is not going to overcome the quotidian, because those things alone do not smooth over the strains of daily life. The nuts and bolts of a relationship come down to how the two of you get along on a daily basis, on acceptance, and on whether you feel you can comfortably be yourself. Lust is great, no doubt. Lust is certainly part of a great relationship, but it is not the only part. Many men forget this and become allured by the seductive spell of the Sirens, just like a Greek myth. If you are willing to give up your personal power and well-being for it, then you are headed for a heap of trouble.

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Sternberg, R. (2006). The new psychology of love. Yale University Press. p. 90. (

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