Oh, So THAT’S What Turns You On

what turns you on

About a year ago, Haley very boldly asked you, the good readership of Man Repeller, what turns you on? With over 300 comments, the post hit a nerve and folks jumped into the comment section to share their very specific turn-ons. I’m going to take the time here to share that mine is an extraordinarily clean bathroom. Like shockingly so. I think it’s the element of surprise and cleanliness; also, there’s something very tender about a clean sink. Anyway! We asked and you delivered and here are some of the highlights!


“When a guy is driving in reverse and puts his hand behind the passenger seat headrest and looks over his right shoulder. Chills.” — 155 likes

“I find it really attractive when a guy is secure in his masculinity/sexuality rather than constantly trying to prove his manliness and refusing to use moisturizer because ‘it’s for girls.’ I was neighbors with a guy who was a really smart, good-looking rugby player, and he was never more attractive to me than when he was talking about his love for the Great British Bake Off.” — 77 likes

“A man eating packed lunch on lap come at me. That or a defined tricep. Rarely find both” — 63 likes


“Watching a guy do mental math. I had to do a stats project with a boy in college, and he was so smart and quick I nearly fell in love with him.”

“The display on my microwave is broken, so my boyfriend wrote out a math equation for how to heat up his fave Trader Joe’s frozen meal that requires heating it a couple times at different heat levels. He put it on a little sticky note and put it over the display. Idk why that turned me on so much?”

“In high school, I tested out of an entire grade level of math because the boy I liked was two years ahead and I wanted to have that in common with him. I probably would have done it on my own anyway, but those math skills really drew me in…😂 and 10 years later we’re still together!”


“My husband’s collarbone…sigh.”

“I love a girl with a big nose. Big noses are SO CUTE.”

“Calves. Gimme dem bulky, sinewy skier calves that can barely be stuffed into the pant legs of skinny jeans.”

“I also feel that butts have been underrepresented in this commentary. Who doesn’t love a perky lil Greek statue bum? Amazing.”

“I have no idea why, but every time my boyfriend reaches into his back pocket for his wallet, I find it SO VERY SEXY. And no, I don’t find the wallet/money aspect hot, I find the actual physical act of him getting out his wallet irresistible, maybe because his forearm flexes? And because he’s kind of touching his butt? But really? I have no idea.”

“Honestly, butts. A nice butt in a well-fitting pair of Chinos…woofda. Come to mama.”

“This may not be that unconventional, but my 29-year-old fiance has a natural, fairly prominent gray streak in the very front of his hair that I LOVE. He’s fairly young looking, but the stripe makes him look so distinguished, and I just melt.”


“This is truly bizarre even to me who experienced it, but my ex spent most weekends reading and writing (grad student) in boxer briefs and Birkenstocks. There was just something about those hobbit feet in slouchy, two-tone knit socks that was irresistibly cute and comforting, like he was perfectly-proportioned to me and his low-ceilinged apartment.”

“The first experience that gave me sexual chills was when my friend came over and used my pens without asking. This continued on throughout high school. It turned me on when they drew into my books with my pens to a point where I couldn’t use them properly anymore. I am still trying to figure out what it is that makes this so attractive but I guess it’s the boldness and self-confidence. Gosh I am so weird!”

“I love a guy who knows his way around a grocery store. Meaning, as soon as he passes through the automatic sliding doors, it’s ON. I love to watch a focused man execute his grocery list while politely interacting with strangers. Sigh.”

“My best friend loves an injury, like a man limping after a football game, or bruised, or a cut lip, or a broken bone. I think she fantasizes that they kiss her and want to be with her through the pain. It is definitely not a maternal instinct; she doesn’t want to care for them. She loves that ‘just shrug it off’ attitude and the sort of delicate and careful treatment of injuries juxtaposed to frantic passion. It now also includes her own injuries, like a bruise that is pressed and he is careful with it…but maybe teases it. SO RESPECT THIS ATTRACTION.”

“I love when a man crosses his legs over one another! Talking knees stacked, not ankle to knee. Something about it! It looks very European and not macho whatsoever. Turnoff: any man practicing manspreading.”

“You know what really turns me on? Spreadsheets. Outlook. Your 401(k). Know how to use Excel? Let’s talk about it. Nah, I don’t want to see your band play The Metro. But damn boy, I’d love to hear about that 9 a.m. client regroup.”


“Why so hetero?????? I really love a woman’s pantylines.”

“If I can see a little ankle showing between a perfectly rolled pant cuff, and a sneaker, loafer, boat-shoe…I’m home and hosed.”

“Backpacks. Every man I’ve ever fallen for has entered my consciousness as ‘that guy who showed up quietly to the party wearing a backpack.’ It’s taken me a decade to unpack (!) this turn-on, but it boils down to the fact that I imagine the man in question likely gets around by bike or skateboard or public transportation and needs to carry more than just a wallet and phone. In my fantasy, they’re opposed to cars for political and environmental reasons and carry sketchbooks and interesting snacks. In reality, they’re usually weed dealers that somehow can’t afford cars, but either way, I’m a sucker for a worn-in Jansport.”


“I love watching a man clean his teeth. The more thorough, the better, and extra points if he flosses as well. Smoking cigarettes? Meh. Good dental hygiene? Yas please.”

“Dancing. Fa sha. When a guy can bust some serious moves, my knees buckle.”

“I’m honestly just attracted to men who don’t have an aggressive male energy to them? Like, beards and style and silky skin are cool for sure, but really, if you are comfortable with yourself (as in self-aware, unconcerned with being ‘cool’ and unafraid of being vulnerable) and laugh and riff jokes with me, then I’m pretty much sold.”

“What turns me on about guys: When they laugh really easily/un-self-consciously. When they have a really great vocabulary. Tenderness toward animals. Hands and forearms do it for me, too. What turns me on about women: Sleepy eyes. Creative swearing. Also great vocabulary”

Didn’t get a chance to weigh in last time? Let loose in the comments! 

Collage by Emily Zirimis.

Nora Taylor

Nora Taylor

Nora Taylor is the Editor of Clever. She can frequently be found knocking things over in the greater New York City area.

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