What Men Should Know About Misinterpreting Women’s Sexual Cues?

According to a new study, most men often find it hard to read women’s body language and clothing while trying to determine whether a woman is sexually attracted to them. However, this does not come as a surprise to any women with experience in dating.

This is because there is always that guy that tends to think that all women are into him while others do not even seem to pick up these cues.

The study was done on college undergraduates in the U.S and it included 103 female and 96 male students. These students were required them to meet and talk to each of the five members of the opposite sex for three minutes.

Moreover, before taking part in the exercise, the participants were required to rate their attractiveness and then assessed for their short-term desire for a sexual encounter.

Then, the participants rated the other person after the conversation on a variety of measures that included perceived sexual interest and physical attractiveness. The study was able to reveal the following:


*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

  • Men were more likely to overestimate women’s desire for them if they wanted a short-term sexual encounter.
  • Men who found women more attractive were more likely to overestimate her interest.
  • Men who were considered attractive by women thought differently of them, but men who thought that they were hot believed that the women were hot for them.
  • Finally, the research found that most women underestimated men’s desire.

Non-verbal Sexual Cues

Another study was conducted in the U.S to understand how men interpret women’s non-verbal sexual cues such as facial expressions and body language that involved showing female models images to participants.

The study was able to show that men tend to base their opinions on women’s attractiveness. On the other hand, the research found out that women based their judgment on clothing modesty and on non-verbal cues[1] of the models.

According to relationship experts, discussing such findings can greatly help in preventing sexual aggression in colleges and social places. A recent research by the American Universities revealed that about 23 percent of women tend to experience some form of unwanted sexual contact in learning institutions

Most people attribute the high cases of sexual assault in colleges to alcohol and drug abuse. However, several researchers believe that alcohol is not a direct cause of sexual assault[2] but it increases the vulnerability as it exacerbates the possibility of misreading the sexual cues.

The other study from the University of Iowa that wanted to determine if students could learn how to interpret sexual cues accurately after a cognitive training was done. This study included 220 male and female college students who were then examined on how they perceived momentary cues from women of likely sexual interests.


*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

Smart Cues

The exercise involved watching a number of pictures of women captured in scenes that match the real-world. The women on the pictures fell along three dimensions of psychology that included sexual interest, normative attractiveness, and provocativeness.

Some of the participants were trained and given instructions on certain sexual cues before the exercise to help them assess the situations correctly. Moreover, all the participants required to carry out an assessment to determine their attitude towards rape.

This is involved asking indirect questions such as whether a woman should be blamed for allowing things happen to her if a man rapes her while, she is drunk.

The study found that participants who received the cognitive training[3] were able to notice emotional cues such as physical beauty and clothing when giving their opinion on perceived sexual interest.

Besides, the study revealed that participants who stuck with more supportive attitudes on rape did not rely much on the women’s emotional cues but more their attractiveness.

On the other hand, participants who held on attitudes that support rape even after receiving instruction tended to take their focus from the emotional signs. This study helps in advancing our knowledge on how people are sexually perceived as well as how these perceptions influence or change.

How do Men Misread Sexual Cues?

Men Misread Sexual Cues
According to psychologists, men make a mistake in misreading women’s cues through two ways. First, a man may just think that a girl is sexually interested in him but later turn out not to be true, which may lead to embarrassment.

Therefore, it is important to learn how to read women’s sexual cues as prevents from doing something that might feel shaming. Secondly, a man might fail to realize that a woman is sexually interested in him. In reproduction way of thinking, such a man misses out on the chance to pass his genes.

However, this is likely to continue happening since men have a natural bias to the sexual while most men are numb to many of the signals from women. This means that these men do not have a natural bias to the sexual, but are not perceiving all the types of cues well.

A study on studying of pictures reveals that men are not good at characterizing women cues as they misread friendly pictures as sexually interested. On the other hand, men mischaracterized pictures that indicated the woman is sexually interested as friendly.

This study shows that men tend to have a tendency to oversexualize all interactions[4] and therefore find it difficult to perceive whether a woman is interested or not. However, this is not to say that all men have this weakness as some have mastered the art of reading women sexual cues and therefore they can rarely misread them.


In conclusion, considering the findings of these studies, sexual cues miscommunication will remain to be an issue between women and men. However, men can reduce the chances of misreading these cues by trying to learn more about them and paying keen attention to how women express themselves non-verbally.

This will help in preventing sexual aggression towards women in colleges and other social places. Besides, it will also play a key role in reducing cases of rape as studies have shown that most people who commit the vice do so after misreading that women are sexually interested.

Learning about these cues can also save men from embarrassment as it helps them understand when a woman does not want to be approached.

Image Credits
Feature Image: Shutterstock.com
In-Post Image: Shutterstock.com

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