Want to find out the signs he’s into you?

In the world of body language, there are many subtle signs that give away attraction and interest. Watch my video below, where I guide you on how to read male body language (along with my special tips & tricks)!

In this article, you will learn:

  • the body part men find the most irresistible on a woman (hint: it’s not what you think)
  • the #1 body language cue that men love more than ANYTHING else
  • why the way he looks at you reveals his level of attraction
  • why men lie more when around people they’re attracted to

Now, let’s dive straight in.

Which Body Part Attracts Guys Most?

Do you know the answer? Is it:

  1. face
  2. butt
  3. breasts
  4. stomach
Click to Reveal Answer

A study conducted by online pharmacy Dr. Felix asked American men from 18–65 years of age what body part they found most attractive. The answer? a) the face!

Women with large eyes, a small nose, full lips, and high cheeks are seen by men as more attractive because these features are usually correlated with high levels of estrogen, which means the woman is more fertile. In men, women like legs, butt, chest, and arms. The majority of women favor a man’s butt as her favorite male body part.

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What Body Language Do Guys Find Attractive?

Another question! Do you know which body language cue men find the most attractive in women? Is it:

  1. smiling
  2. exposing your neck
  3. biting your lip
  4. being available
Click to Reveal Answer

The answer is d) being available. Studies show that men are more attracted to a woman who engages in flirtatious behavior to show she is available, versus the best-looking woman in the room1.

So if you want to attract a man, try demonstrating your own flirtatious body language and showing him you’re available.

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He’ll Touch You Back

A subtle trick to see if he likes you is to give him a light touch. Simply touch his upper arm playfully or while you’re laughing and see how he reacts. He might not touch back, but if he does, you’ve definitely got the green light.

Men who are attracted to you might even engage in more touch. If a man actively tries to touch you during your interaction, it may mean he wants to get closer to you or close the distance between you two.

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His Pupils Will Dilate

Look closely at his pupils. Are they dilated? Pupil dilation is a very arousing cue.

The bigger the pupil size, the greater the interest.

But if they constrict? Yeah, probably not a good sign. Pupils constrict when we’re unattracted to something. Unattracted people’s eyes have been found to dilate or constrict like you’d expect them to when they viewed pleasant or unpleasant foods, political figures, a disabled child, war scenes, or when listening to music.

Pro Tip: If someone is attracted to you, they might immediately perk their eyes right up, even if they’re tired. This is in contrast to normal eye bagginess we might have if we’re staring at the computer screen or daydreaming about the beach.

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He’ll Make Extra Eye Contact

If you’re at a bar or in a social setting, take a look around. Men who are attracted may try to make eye contact with you.

Eye-contact seeking is a gesture we make when we want to start a conversation in social or dating situations—we scan around until we make eye contact as a way to say, “I am here, please talk to me”.2

You might even see repeated attempts to connect eye to eye, with a gentleness in his eyes, face, and mouth. Unlike the serial killer look.

Watch this scene from the movie La La Land to get an idea of how strong eye contact works (timestamp 3:29):

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His Eyes Will Dip

Watch his eye movements. Do they show eye dipping to “take you all in?”

In true attraction, a male will make lots of eye contact, with the occasional dip. Eye dips are when the eye moves in a triangle shape—from one eye to the other, for the most part, but occasionally they will “dip” down below the neck area. Studies show that men will often gaze from face to breasts and the midsection if they are attracted to someone.

So if you catch him looking at the ground, he might actually be trying to take a quick glance at your body.

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He’ll Get Closer

You might notice an attempt to get a little physically closer to you. Men who are interested may try to close the distance by:

  • choosing to sit next to you at a restaurant, instead of across from you
  • leaning forward
  • standing physically closer to you or even touching you while walking

These behaviors indicate he’s comfortable around you. He might even try taking up more space or getting closer into your intimate zone. And it works: men who maximize their surroundings and take up more space usually do receive more attention, especially from females1.

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He Will Flex His Muscles

One of the biggest physical differences in men and women is the amount of muscle our bodies hold. When men signal attraction, they may constantly manifest behaviors that signal high muscle tone1:

  • straightening the back out to increase the size of the chest
  • keeping shoulders rolled back and wide to emphasize a V-shaped body
  • sucking in the belly to hide unwanted fat
  • tightening forearms or upper arm muscles

Note: These movements will be subtle! You likely won’t see him flexing like a bodybuilder… unless he IS one.

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He’ll Turn His Torso Toward You

Men who are interested in you will likely face directly toward you during conversation. Even if you’re with a group, he might turn his whole torso to face you. Watch to see if he’s trying to “close you off” and keep you to himself. He might even position himself in a way that makes it harder for others to enter into a conversation, or he might stand apart from his friends so he can be in the spotlight.

This is a great sign! It means he’s more receptive toward you than others. A close friend told me a story of how a man approached her and her friends and talked to every single one of them but her. She thought she was being ignored but then noticed his torso was facing her the entire time. It turns out he wanted her phone number all along!

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He’ll Make You Laugh

Men who are trying to win you over might try to make you laugh. The ability to make others laugh is actually a dominant trait (think: if I can make YOU laugh this much, guess what other things I can make you do).

If he’s cracking jokes or acting funnier than usual, it’s a good sign he’s getting his flirt on. And the more a man can make you laugh, the more attractive you’ll find him, since laughing releases dopamine.

And guess what? Men are also attracted to others who laugh with them. So if he’s telling you that one pickup line about how you’re the only ten he sees… then share a laugh to show him you’re interested!

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He’ll Preen Himself

Men will constantly preen themselves to maximize their attractiveness. When around someone he likes, preening behaviors may go up1:

  • Rearranging clothes. Unbuttoning the top of his shirt, adjusting his suit, straightening his socks, and readjusting his tie can be subtle preening behaviors to look for. Men want to look clean and powerful around others, unless they’re going for that rebellious look.
  • Fixing his hair. Men may check for loose strands of hair or ruffle it to make sure everything’s in place. Preening the hair not only makes it appear better groomed, but it also draws attention to the hair since our eyes are attracted to movement.
  • Glancing in the mirror. If you’re walking by a mirror or window, you might notice him paying close attention to his appearance. He might be checking to see if his outfit is wrinkled or his hair is in place.

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He’ll Point His Toes

Men often point their toes toward the person they are most interested in. You might even notice with friends, the men will likely point their toes to the most attractive person in a group. If men are not interested in anyone, their toes usually are pointed toward the door or angled outward and not pointing to anyone in particular.

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His Lips Will Slightly Part Open

Slightly open lips signal he is drawing attention to them. You might even notice his lips parting when you first make eye contact. This is a nonverbal way of saying, “You just took my breath away from me.” You might even notice men parting their lips right before they go in for the kiss.

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He’ll Play With His Drink

If he wants to touch you but can’t for some reason, his desire to touch you might transfer to other objects3. You might notice him playing with the stem of his wine glass or circling his finger on the rim of his glass.

You can also reciprocate if you notice this behavior—start mirroring his body language, and you’ll both catch on to what’s really happening.

Side Note: Touching other objects can also be an anxious body language cue, so watch for other body language to confirm your suspicions.

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His Face Will Be More Expressive

Even though women are generally more expressive than men, a man who is attracted to you might be more facially expressive. One study shows that women even value men’s expressiveness as an attraction indicator. Heck, there’s a reason why many people find Russell Brand attractive:

Watch for the 7 different microexpressions to determine what emotions he is showing. If he’s attracted to you, he’ll likely show more positive facial expressions. In most cases, you’ll see happiness if he’s attracted to you. This means you might notice the Duchenne marker right around his eyes. This indicates a genuine smile, compared to a socially polite one.

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His Voice Will Be More Positive

Do you know the vocal cues? Men who are excited and psychologically aroused may use more inflection in their voice, and their voice may be more expressive than normal. This is a great sign he’s into you. Think of the last time you were excited and how your voice sounded, compared to your voice at a routine physical checkup at the doctor’s. Totally different, right?

Men who are trying to control their excitement may even deepen their voice to sound manlier and more collected. And if you want to maximize your voice, head on over to our article on How to Speak With Confidence and Sound Better.

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His Nostrils Will Flare

The definition of nostril flaring is when a person’s nose widens momentarily so they can take in greater amounts of oxygen. Flaring is common before fights, but it can also happen during arousal and attraction. If he’s into you, he might briefly flare his nostrils in excitement and anticipation, in order to absorb your pheromones3.

On the other hand, if you tease him, and you notice a nostril flare, it might mean he’s getting angry. In this case, it might be best to lay off the teasing—you may have hit a vulnerable spot!

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His Body Language Will Open Up

One thing you might notice if he’s attracted to you is open body language. This means he is NOT:

  • crossing his arms
  • putting objects between you, creating a barrier
  • turning his torso away

Instead, he is displaying open body language:

  • keeping his hands uncrossed from his torso
  • removing objects between him and you
  • keeping his forehead pointed toward you, instead of away

Open body language is attractive, and men will subconsciously open up if they like you. In a 2016 field study of 144 speed dates, postural expansiveness was rated as the most romantically appealing trait.

For each unit of increased expansive body language behavior, participants were 76% more likely to be picked out of all the other speed daters! You can also reciprocate if the man is opening up toward you. Open up to him, as well, to increase your attraction points!

Try incorporating open body language when you’re getting your flirt on.

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He’ll Mirror Your Body Language

Mirroring is a way of imitating another person’s body language. People mirror when they find the other person interesting, want to build rapport, or if they’re attracted to them. Look for mirroring in the following ways:

  • The arms. If you cross your arms, does he cross them, too? If you put one hand on your hip, does his body language follow?
  • Leaning. Are you both leaning close or leaning against the wall?
  • The legs. Watch his leg movements. If you’re both sitting down on a sofa, are your legs both crossed? Both open?

Now, mirroring doesn’t have to be exact. If it’s too close to our own movements, we may even consciously notice. Subtle mirroring displays are usually subconscious and can give away a man’s interest.

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Are Men Good at Reading Body Language?

Men use different areas of their brain to read body language and often are not as good at reading body language as women are. So if you’ve heard that men don’t pick up on cues as well as women do, you’re right!

Researcher Monica Moore from Webster University in St. Louis found men often miss a women’s first courtship signal.

On average, women need to eye gaze three times before a man even takes notice.

So why are women so good at reading body language? It might be due to the fact that we are wired differently for social interactions. Studies show that women find social interactions much more rewarding than men do. Women’s brains release more oxytocin when socializing.

Because they find interactions more rewarding, women are more likely to pay close attention to body language and pick up on subtle cues than men are.

Even though there are differences, that doesn’t mean he won’t leak flirtation cues of his own. Here are the top signs he’s interested in you:

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Do Men Lie When Flirting?

Men and women lie differently, and science says men do lie when flirting. Their motivations for deception are different:

  • Men lie to appear more powerful, interesting, and successful. They lie about themselves eight times more than they lie about others. If a man is trying to woo you, he may lie about his talents, skills, and experiences to make himself look better.
  • Women lie less about themselves and more to protect others’ feelings or to make others feel better about themselves. When asked for an opinion like “How does my suit look?” she may respond positively to maintain social harmony.

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Nervous or Attracted? You Decide

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a man is attracted to you and/or really nervous. Some men might close down because they’re so nervous—I even had a man sweat profusely, bite his nails, and make little eye contact during a date but later become completely relaxed after chatting for an hour. Here are 2 nervous cues you might see during a date.

His Hands Are Buried in His Pockets

Open hands are a good sign he’s comfortable and relaxed. If his hands are shoved deep into his pockets, however, he may be insecure or uncomfortable. You might even notice this when you meet a stranger on Tinder. Gesturing and other hand movements are a great way to tell he’s open to you.

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He Might Be Tense

Can you tell which posture below looks more comfortable?

Comfortable vs. stiff body language

Of course, the man on the right looks more comfortable. His body language is open and relaxed, while closed body language indicates the opposite. Attracted men may have open body language, showing they are receptive to getting closer to you.

Look for these signs of open body language:

  • Arms. Are his arms more open around you? Are they freely moving and not held closely to his body? Men are more likely to fold their arms across their torso around unattractive women, but if they find you attractive, they’ll open their body up4.
  • Legs. Crossed legs doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not into you. If they are crossed, make sure to note the direction of his knees to see if he’s pointing toward you or away from you.

However, closed body language is a common sign of nerves. If it’s the beginning of a date, you might notice closed body language. Watch to see if his body language gradually opens up as the date progresses and he gets more comfortable.

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Bonus: How Do You Tell If He’s NOT Interested?

A great way to check if he’s not interested in you is to take everything you learned and look for the opposites:

  • Is he avoiding touching you?
  • Are his pupils constricted?
  • Is his torso pointed waaaay toward the exit?
  • Is his face expressionless with you but not around his buddies?
  • Is his body leaning so far away that you can’t even touch him?

Opposite cues are all signs of disinterest. Pay close attention to his body. Even from one moment to the next, the dynamics of attraction can shift as emotions change. You might even notice him making negative facial microexpressions:

  • Disgust. If he’s totally not into you, you’ll notice his nose wrinkle up, and you might even see his upper teeth showing. If you touch his arm or give him a few eyebrow flashes of flirtation, and he responds with disgust… sorry, but he’s probably not that interested.
  • Anger. Anger microexpressions can be as subtle as a quick lowering of the eyebrows or pursed lips. If he’s chasing, and you’re playing hard to get, watch to see if he’s really cool as a cucumber, or if he’s playing it off and actually getting angry.

Now, with your newfound knowledge, how will you use it? Will you spot the signs he’s into you and use them to your advantage? Or will you cut it off immediately? Let me know your experiences with male body language in the comments below!


Sources:

1 Knapp, M. L., & Hall, J. A. (2014). Nonverbal communication in human interaction. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 2 Navarro, J. (2018). The dictionary of body language: A field guide to human behavior. New York, NY: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. 3 Navarro, J., & Karlins, M. (2015). What every BODY is saying: An ex-FBI agent’s guide to speed-reading people. New York, NY: Harper Collins. 4 Pease, A. (2017). The definitive book of body language: How to read others’ attitudes by their gestures. London: Orion.

Side Note: As much as possible we tried to use academic research or expert opinion for this master body language guide. Occasionally, when we could not find research we include anecdotes that are helpful. As more research comes out on nonverbal behavior we will be sure to add it!

About Science of People

Our mission is to help you achieve your social and professional goals faster using science-backed, practical advice. Our team curates the best communication, relationship, and social skills research; turning into actionable and relatable life skills. Science of People was founded by Vanessa Van Edwards, bestselling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People. As a recovering awkward person, Vanessa helps millions find their inner charisma.

13 replies on “Reading Male Body Language: 17 Signs He Secretly Likes You”

  1. Raju Khan

    Huh! Seriously, Women attracted to men butt. I would thinking that women like broad arms and broad chest, thick long neck, thick strong thigh and taller body. But one thing as a man I admitted one fact that I myself prefer availability of women than her looks that 100% correct.

  2. Karla

    Personally I would agree that as a female I would lie to protect someone’s feelings. However, I found it interesting that men lied to seem more powerful regardless I think a female’s intuition kicks in when this happens and we can sense some lying. I never realized that men fail to realize a women’s first courtship signal very interesting!

  3. Dan

    Interesting article, especially the part about lying of men and women is nice to be aware of.

  4. Drishti Narang

    I wonder what triggers more activity in a woman’s brain compared to a man’s? There is often an evolutionary explanation (a theory, of course) on such things.

    1. Seleh

      You know women are made to take care of people naturally, like taking care of babies and they need a lot of body language knowledge to take care of kids that can’t talk, so I think that happens naturally

  5. Lauren Freeman

    I was also very surprised to learn that women typically have 14-16 active parts of the brain while men only have 4-6, although Vanessa made sure to mention that that is not a bad thing. Men and women definitely communicate and perceive things differently, but it is important to understand those differences to better understand the men (and women) around you. I have heard a few of these things before from a Gender Communication class I’ve taken, but it’s great to have this information reinforced. I think this will definitely help me understand the nonverbal signals a man in sending, and ones to signal to a man, when I interact with them.

  6. Bella Perennis

    Wow, the thing with the brain parts really surprised me. The question is, is this due to socialization or due to biology? What about neuroplasticity, could men learn to activate more parts of their brain when reading body language? And what about the body language of queers, gay, and trans people?

    1. JULIET

      There is no sexual orientation difference. And yes! Men can definitely learn body language. Some of the best body language experts are actually men!

      The brain… it’s actually evolution, most of our body language behaviors come from our “caveman” days and we can subconsciously pick up on these behaviors but thats why its great to actually learn how to read and interpret body language

      1. Bella Perennis

        I didn’t say that men can’t learn it! I just wonder if they use more brain parts as well if they learn it, or if they stick with the parts they already used before learning it.
        Yeah, I know that thing about the caveman stuff, but do we actually know how much of these results are skewed by socialization? I mean, boys are often trained to not show emotions and are discouraged from social games like playing with dolls. This might be a factor for their later ability to read bodylanguage.

        I’d say that there is a sexual orientation difference in how people use body language. Ever wondered how people can tell which people are gay? I observed that a lot of gay people use body language that is slightly off the gender norm, e.g. lesbians who take up more space than most heterosexual women and gays who self touch a lot.

  7. Liam Hayes

    Really good stuff. I definitely find availability to be an attractive quality. If a girl flirts with me, that is a huge plus.

  8. Andrew

    Being in a fraternity it is definitely interesting having this perspective in seeing how men interact with others. A question I want to bring up is men usually lie because they want to be the “alpha male” in the room because women usually prefer the “alpha male” for the attention that comes with it. What is your opinion on the overall “alpha male” philosophy and what are other healthy ways to show you’re a cohesive guy?

  9. Robby Smith

    Such a great article on Body Language! It is so true that we as men miss a lot of cues a woman gives us. I would like to study this further in the Body Language course.

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