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Just Asking for It! Part II: Why Dating Partners Say Yes

What persuades men and women say yes to a date?

Welcome back to The Attraction Doctor

We have already seen the power of just asking for the date you want. This is true for both men and women. If you missed the inspiration, you can read Just Asking for It! (Part I) here.

Now, we will discuss why individuals say yes to these love life requests. What persuades someone to get that cup of coffee? When do they decide to get a little more intimate? Perhaps it is their relationship status, your first impression, the location, or a bit of each. Let's take a look!

Research on Requests for Dates and Sex Revisited

Researchers Hald and Høgh-Olesen (2010) performed a number of sub-analyses in their research. They found that participants who were single were much more likely to agree to a date. In addition, attractiveness became increasingly important to women (but not men) as the intimacy of the request grew larger.

The original research by Clark and Hatfield (1989) and work by Voracek, Hofhansl, and Fisher (2005), also point to two additional variables. The first, is that all study requests are very polite (see a sample request here). The second, is that requests are usually performed in safe, public locations. When combined with the "single status" of individuals and average attractiveness of requesters, these variables greatly increase agreement to a date.

Finally, Conley (2011) found other variables at work in requests for sex and short-term relationships. In her analyses, she discovered that the perceived safety and sexual skill of partners influenced a yes response. Conley (2011) further described that women are initially seen as safer and more sexually skilled than men (sort of a sexual bias - study 1a). This accounts for the discrepancies of why women seem to refuse sex more often. But, when men are seen as safe and skilled, and they have a polite and warm demeanor, they are also likely to get a yes.

How to Apply This to Your Love Life Requests

If you want to maximize your chances of getting a date, here's how:

1) Do the asking - It all starts with you asking. Everyone has a better chance of getting what they want if they ask for it. This is true for all genders and sexual orientations.

2) Find someone single - Your chances of success are better with someone who isn't paired up. This isn't to say that you won't ever get a yes from an attached individual, but your chances are much lower. So, keep your eye out for potential partners that are available and looking for love.

3) Look your best - All studies were performed with research assistants of average attractiveness. So, you don't have to be a model to have good results. Nevertheless, it is important to look your best - especially being clean and well-groomed. So, take a shower, groom well, and look healthy and vibrant.

4) Be polite and warm - Pushy, crass, aloof, needy, or creepy doesn't work. Neither does being demanding or acting like a "diva". Simply be relaxed, sincere, and genuine in your request. It also doesn't hurt to ask in a safe and comfortable place. This increases the comfort and receptivity of your potential partner.

Making a more intimate request requires two more steps:

5) Create comfort and safety - Physical and sexual safety are a primary concern for someone considering sex. Make sure you are even more attentive and warm to them. Respect their space and feelings. Especially, do your best to look attractive, groomed, and physically healthy.

6) Be pleasurable - Both men and women agree to sexual encounters with individuals they find pleasurable. This doesn't mean that you need to go out and read a dozen sex manuals (although a bit of information couldn't hurt). It also doesn't mean bragging about your sexual exploits (that is in poor taste). It means to again be receptive, caring, and concerned about your partner's needs, wants, emotions, and interests.


With a couple of added steps, your chances of hearing a yes increase dramatically. Someone out there is looking for you. They want to date you and be with you. All you have to do is ask.

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Until next time...happy dating and relating!

Dr. Jeremy Nicholson
The Attraction Doctor

Previous Articles from The Attraction Doctor


  • Clark, R. D., & Hatfield, E. (1989). Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 2, 39-55.
  • Conley, T. D. (2011). Perceived proposer personality characteristics and gender differences in acceptance of casual sex offers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 309-329.
  • Hald, G. M., & Høgh-Olesen, H. (2010). Receptivity to sexual invitations from strangers of the opposite gender. Evolution and Human Behaviior, 31, 453-458.
  • Voracek, M., Hofhansl, A., & Fisher, M. L. (2005). Clark and Hatfield's evidence of women's low receptivity to male strangers' sexual offers, revisited. Psychological Reports, 97, 11-20.

© 2011 by Jeremy S. Nicholson, M.A., M.S.W., Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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