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Dr Gabrielle Morrissey: Sexologist

Dr Gabrielle Morrissey has been a sexologist — sexuality educator, sex therapist and sex researcher — since 1990. She is also the author a number of successful books. ASK ME A QUESTION

How do I keep a man's attention?

Gabrielle Morrissey
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Image: Thinkstock
Question: Why do men love the thrill of the chase so much and what can I do to keep a man interested? It seems like once I sleep with a guy, he breaks up with me. How can I keep a guy’s attention after I’ve given over to sex with him?

Answer: Males the world over are ignited by the excitement of woo-ing a mate. Even in the animal kingdom this is the case. There’s a certain amount of hard wiring that is responsible for the drive to find a partner, sexual or romantic, and of course it is also ingrained into our psyche and culture too.

Courtship is a complex process and love scientists have been studying it for many years. One of the leading researchers in the field is anthropologist Dr Helen Fisher, so if you’re genuinely interested in learning more about the courtship and falling in love process, watch a few of her talks on her website or Youtube. I may be biased because I’m involved in the field too, but it is truly fascinating! Falling in love is a lot about timing, and Fisher argues, your “lovemap”. This is essentially a mental collage of images and qualities that we find attractive. When someone fits our mental lovemap, and we are looking for a relationship and to fall in love, the potential is there for it to happen. While the dating game has changed in our culture quite a bit to make it more equal between men and women, many would agree the responsibility is still more on men than women to do the courting, ask a woman out, and get her interested. And getting someone interested can feel exciting, especially when there is strong chemistry and sexual interest there.

Men have 20 times more testosterone than women, so while it’s true that women have a healthy and strong sex drive, biologically, men’s are stronger and can take a more central role in their lives — especially at the beginning of a relationship or dating situation.

Some men may not be interested in you for a relationship. Some may be looking for sexual signals for a short term affair only. If you want a relationship, you need to be very smart about getting what you want. It is true that sex before a relationship is established, and even sex on the first date, won’t necessarily doom a relationship — after all, ask around and you will find couples who have married or been together a long time who had sex on the first date. But, and this is an important but, the chances are greater that sex early on in a relationship will categorise the relationship as primarily sexual and there are more cases of early sex leading to a casual fling and break up than early sex leading to the relationship happily ever after.

Your decision to have sex with someone should be because that’s what you want, and that’s what you’re ready for, but it must be in line with your greater goal. Are you looking to have fun in this instance or do you want to have a long term relationship with this new man you’ve met? Rather than using sex and your sexual appeal as part of a bait and lure game, it’s much better to be honest while you’re dating and tell him what you’re looking for. If he doesn’t want a relationship with you, you will be able to tell that by having a series of dates where you do things together that doesn’t include sleeping together. If you’ve got interest there, a relationship may bloom. But if you jump into bed together, the relationship becomes sexual and you could be sabotaging your chance of a relationship, and of finding the right guy for you.

So to answer your question, the key isn’t as much in keeping his attention after he has sex with you, but doing everything you can to ensure you know, for sure, that he likes, or loves, you… before you even get to the sex part. Because with that foundation, once you get to the bedroom, ongoing interest won’t even be a question.

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