By Amanda Montell
Obviously, wearing a body-hugging ensemble or watching a sexy flick together can get a man in the mood. But there are some surprising sights (and even scents!) guys find equally arousing. Here, experts share the top 10 most unexpected turn-ons for men, and how you can use them to spice things up in ways you won't believe. Photo by Thinkstock
1. The Smell of Pumpkin Pie
Forget the Chanel No. 5, ladies. Chicago's Smell and Taste Research Center found the scent of pumpkin pie mixed with lavender increased men's penile blood flow more than 23 other fragrances. Why? The combination might conjure up memories of a pleasure-filled meal or simply make men feel extra-relaxed. Thanksgiving desserts and potpourri may seem innocent enough, but bake a pie next to a sprig of lavender, and your hubby may suddenly want to take a trip to the bedroom.
Terror as a turn-on? It seems that way! University of British Columbia researchers dispatched two sets of men to stand on two separate bridges-one reassuringly sturdy and another that was long, shaky and suspended 230 feet in the air. Next, they sent a beautiful female assistant to ask the two groups to fill out a survey. Those on the precarious bridge gave more risqué answers to her questions. Feeling threatened is linked to arousal in the brain, which may have spurred those men to open up. Who knew anxiety could be such effective foreplay?
3. The Color Red
Consider that little red dress for your next date. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers instructed men to rate pictures of women wearing different colored clothing. Guys said the ladies in crimson were most attractive, even more than the exact same women donning other tints! Cultural conditioning, thanks to red-light districts and rosy Valentine's Day hearts, could play a part in the appeal. But biology may be to blame, too: Female humans and other primates go red in the face before ovulating, which attracts males during this most fertile time.
4. Long, Shapely Arms
You may want to give your gams a break and focus on toning your arms instead. Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, showed male volunteers videos of women. Men consistently rated those with long arms among the most attractive, whereas ladies with lengthy legs didn't even make the list. The theory behind the results: Long arms may make a woman look slimmer, indicate that she's highly functional or suggest she gives great hugs.
Related: Discover 8 sexy ways to burn calories.
5. Matching Lingerie
And not because men are picky about colors or fabrics. Rather, guys prefer coordinating lingerie because it shows the woman put extra money and energy into clothes no one gets to see but him, says relationship expert April Masini, author of Think & Date Like a Man. So consider springing for a new set of matching unmentionables next time you want to give your spouse a sexy surprise. For a double dose of allure? Choose a pair in red.
6. Full Hips and Thighs
Another reason to love your body (if you're not a statuesque model, that is): Many men prefer thicker thighs. One evolutionary explanation from scientists at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California, Santa Barbara is that thicker hips and thighs contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can pass from an expecting woman's bloodstream to her placenta, nourishing babies' brains. But if your thighs are on the slender side, you can still make your child smarter.
Related: Try 10 foolproof ways to get in the mood.
7. Women Near Them
For ladies on a love-hunt, the Propinquity Theory of Attraction suggests looking no further than your current locale. "Men can be drawn to women, not just based on commonalities, but more so on a regular shared proximity," explains Kailen Rosenberg, a relationship expert and founder of matchmaking firm Kai-len Love and Life Architects. Rosenberg notes that male coworkers are more likely to pursue female colleagues who frequent the same restaurants they do. "As much as men feel they want change, they actually respond strongest to stability and familiarity," she adds.
8. Their Female Look-Alikes
You may have heard that certain facial and body proportions can make a woman more attractive to men. But men's own faces may affect this, since they fall for women whose features are similarly proportioned to their own, says Rosenberg. Homogamy, a theory that we mate with people who are similar to us in some way, may be what's going on here. Maybe the old adage that opposites attract deserves a second look!
Related: Check out the 10 things men wish women knew about sex.
9. Your Laugh
A smile may be worth a thousand words, but all-out chuckles could earn you a hot night in the bedroom. According to Maria Sophocles, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Basel in Switzerland and member of the Intimina Medical Advisory Board, men are subconsciously aroused by a woman's laugh, possibly because the sound reminds them of the moans they may hear during sex, explains Dr. Sophocles. One more motivator to find a man who's funny.
10. Your Sex Toys
"Women are often uncomfortable using a vibrator in front of their partners for fear he will feel extraneous or offended," says Sue W. Goldstein, health educator and program coordinator for San Diego Sexual Medicine, a healthcare facility. But many men find it incredibly arousing to watch their partner use sexual enhancement products. Men operate visually, so watching you please yourself is a turn-on, whether he's involved or not. So don't feel shy bringing props into the bedroom.
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