13 Biggest Turn-Offs For Men

Relationship Advice | | , Senior Editor & Correspondent
Updated On: February 13, 2024
biggest turn offs for guys

Once a female friend of mine asked me what are the biggest turn-offs for guys. My eyes widened in response because there were quite a few. I told her that guys and girls tend to have some common turn-offs – like hygiene. But she wanted to know more since she had been trying to get a guy’s attention and wanted to do everything right. So, I decided to play the wingman and help her figure out the things guys are put-off by.

Men essentially like women with a personality – someone who is benevolent and independent. They do not like the fuss or the drama, but at the same time, they will appreciate a little bit of coyness. Most men love simplicity and no-frills in a relationship. And what they like also holds the answer to what they dislike in a potential partner. Confused? Read on and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

What Are Turn-Offs?

Turn-offs in a relationship are behaviors (think: baby talk) that elicit negative emotions, such as sadness, jealousy, and rage. Because they have the potential to alter someone’s mood or the way they perceive another person, they can be deal-breakers in a relationship.

For instance, what turns off guys on a first date is women talking about their ex too much. This is something a woman won’t like either. Although the terms “turn-off” and “turn-on” are often used in a sexual context, they also have other meanings. When someone does something that bothers you or irritates you to the extent that you begin to view them negatively, that behavior can be described as a turn-off.

The 13 Biggest Turn-Offs For Men

The list of biggest turn-offs for guys is exhaustive yet basic. This dos and don’ts catalog will help you navigate through the maze of things that can diminish a man’s interest in you. A piece of advice before we start the list: always be real when trying to build an intimate connection. No one (man or woman) likes fake people. Now, let’s dive right into 13 definitive traits that could potentially make a man steer clear of a woman who has been fawning over him.

1. Playing dumb is a big turn-off for men

A woman who on purpose lowers her intelligence to get more attention is one of the biggest turn-offs for men. Men like women who are smart and know their business. The dumbness has no allure but is a mere parlor trick that women should refrain from using. If you think your baby talk is cute, let me tell you it’s not.

Besides, I would like to ask why would a woman like to play dumb. Is it just to seduce a guy who likes you? That is clearly not the point of dating. If you want to build a real connection with a romantic interest, you have to let him see you for who you are. Just be yourself, and you may just find more than what you wanted.

2. Being arrogant could steer men clear of you

Women who treat people with contempt or saddle a rude attitude on their noses are the biggest turn-offs for guys. It is wise to note that arrogance is not confidence. A man will observe not just how you talk to him but also how you treat others. And, if you have been on a berating tirade, this attitude could put you in a negative light.

It is also true that men desire partners they can talk to and share a comfort zone with. There is a certain sweet pleasure in opening up. Arrogance may hinder your bond. Here are some signs of arrogance that men will definitely notice:

  • Being late and not apologizing
  • Behaving rudely with the wait-staff
  • Throwing tantrums or being fussy about things (necessarily)
  • Dismissing their problems as minor and not listening to them
  • Always being boastful

Related Reading: Top 15 Signs Of A Selfish Husband And Why Is He Like That?

3. Dishonesty is among the biggest turn-offs for guys in a relationship

Trust is the foundation of any relationship – we can all agree on this, right? The bricks of this foundation are made of honesty. A brick missing here and there could actually ruin the base – that is me saying that lies will take your love down. Dishonesty is not only a big deal, but it is also one of the biggest turn-offs for guys in a relationship. 

When a man invests himself in a relationship, he commits to sharing everything. Lying can ruin this to an irrevocable extent and change your relationship for the worse. A person whose trust is broken is just not going to be able to look at you the same way he did before, and that’s bound to impact every aspect of your relationship – emotional, physical, and sexual.  

biggest turn-offs for guys physically
Lying can ruin your relationship

4. Excessive self-centeredness will keep guys away from you

Self-love is great. Narcissism is not. Refrain from making out with the mirror every morning. Most guys like women who are comfortable in their skin as opposed to those who need a cakey layer of cosmetics to boost their sense of self-worth. This is undoubtedly one of the instant turn-offs for guys.

But we all know that self-centeredness is not just limited to vanity. Men like women who are generous and can make decisions in tune with the circumstances. Thus, if a woman starts bringing too much of “me and my priorities”, or “I and myself” into the equation, it just might prove to be off-putting for the man.

Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips On How To Deal With A Narcissist Spouse

5. What are the major turn-offs for a guy? Faking it

No, I’m not talking about just sex – but yes, that is potentially one of the biggest turn-offs for guys in bed. Apart from faking it in bed, men detest it when a woman pretends to like something he said or did so that he will like her. Being disingenuous in any aspect of life can make it hard for a man to see you as someone he can trust and truly connect with you. That’s why pandering is a death knell. Some instances of faking include:

  • Pretending to be interested in his work when you really don’t care
  • Saying you love something, like football, when clearly you’d rather watch a movie
  • Pretending to like his friends or family but hating them when you are alone. 
  • Faking pleasure/orgasms

And it’s not hard to see why. No one wants to be in a fake relationship. A man who is secure will have no qualms if you do not like or appreciate everything he does or says as long as you are not rude (refer to the point: arrogance).

6. Poor hygiene is a major turn-off for guys in bed

An embrace is supposed to be a warm experience and not feel akin to holding on to a bag of discarded vegetables. So, it should come as no surprise that bad hygiene is a common turn-off for men. Of course, it is not expected that you smell like a tulip garden all the time, but basic cleanliness is expected. Here are some hygiene tips to keep in mind to ensure you don’t repulse a guy you’re interested in:

  • Ensure that you shower and smell good
  • Keep you hair well-groomed
  • Clean teeth and minty breath
  • Dress well; wear clean and ironed clothes

Related Reading: 22 Bad Habits That Ruin A Relationship

7. Always looking at your phone? Men will leave 

Men like attention and want to be with someone who takes an interest in them and they can engage in conversations with. Women who remain glued to their phones send out a message that they’re not really interested in the guy they’re with, which can prove to be a huge turn-off. Posting on Instagram instead of living in the moment is not attractive and many women fail to realize this.

Infographic on biggest turn offs for men
Some of the biggest turn-offs for men include faking it and bad hygiene

8. Indecisiveness is not appreciated by men

This is one of the most common turn-offs for men. Indecisiveness is not cute; so if you are doing it to get attention, cut it out. It can get a tad bit annoying and can be linked to playing dumb. Men like women who know what they want, can take charge, and take care of themselves. Also, decision-making is a life skill one must possess. It makes you independent and self-assured. So, do not be a nervous mess, take charge and you will be fine.

9. Trying to make him jealous doesn’t work

Some jealousy can be inevitable when two people share an intimate bond. A healthy dose of envy can also go a long way in keeping complacency at bay and motivating a man to make an effort in the relationship. But if you are fawning over other guys and giving your man the side-eye to purposefully make him jealous, it will do more harm than good.

Unnecessarily evoking the green-eyed monster in your man will lead to permanent debris of resentment. Faking proximity to other men just to get a reaction can be one of the biggest turn-offs for guys. So, steer clear of it. Instead, focus on improving the quality of your communication and learn to express your needs clearly.

Related Reading: 15 Smart Ways On How To Make A Guy Jealous

10. Playing hard to get is a big turn-off for guys

What are your turn-offs? Ask any guy this question and one of the things on the list will be when a girl plays too hard to get. Men like their efforts and advances to be reciprocated and not get caught in a cat-and-mouse game. This tendency is a negative sign for guys that may ruin their interest in you permanently.  

Also, there is a huge difference between being coy and playing hard to get. Coyness has modesty associated with it. Playing hard to get is too deliberate. But hey, that said, a little playfulness is allowed. Because if a guy is not going to make an effort to win you over, is he even worth it? Food for thought.

11. Being judgmental can repulse guys

Being awfully judgmental is one of the turn-offs for men. Men like women who have open minds and are tolerant and accepting. It is a quality that, I believe, every man and woman must possess not just to be able to build healthier relationships but to make the world a better place. If you’re wondering what qualifies as judgmental behaviors, here are some red flags:

  • Always commenting on the way people are dressed
  • Passing negative comments about your friends or his friends
  • Constantly finding faults in people you meet
  • Being judgemental of his choices without understanding them
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12. Helplessness is a huge turn-off for guys

What turns off guys on a first date or even the 10th? A woman who acts helpless. Men like women who seem together and in control. Keeping up with the damsel in distress act for too long can drive a man away. Besides, when a guy always finds himself doing your tasks and rescuing you from precarious situations, he may start to feel like he is being taken advantage of.

Constantly shirking responsibilities can lead to unwanted problems, and may even damage the fundamentals of a relationship. Here are some signs of exaggerated helplessness that many women think are cute, but are actually common turn-offs for men:

  • Depending on him for everything
  • Asking him to rescue you from the smallest of situations
  • Expecting him to always be the stronger one

13. Lack of appreciation can be a put-off

The only guy who will be unbothered by your lack of appreciation is the one who is not interested in you. Appreciation and gratitude go a long way in nurturing a bond, and if you hold out on it, it tells the man you’re with that you don’t value what he brings to the relationship. Be it appreciating him for the little things he does for you or complimenting him for his looks, his intellect, or his achievements – these are basic expectations in a relationship, which if unmet, can drive a man away.

Key Pointers

  • Turn-offs refer to behaviors that elicit a negative reaction or change someone’s perception of you for the worse
  • Common turn-offs for men include playing dumb, the damsel in distress routine, faking it, being self-centered
  • Lack of attention and appreciation, or too much of it, can both drive a man away from you
  • Men appreciate women who are honest and earnest

Now that we have covered the various turn-offs for men, you can up your courting game. But beyond everything, what men (and I am sure women too) like is a kind and genuine person who smells nice (haha!). Do we not agree on that? Just be yourself and make a real effort to connect with him, and you won’t have to worry about turn-ons and turn-offs.

This article has been updated in April 2023.

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