With the exception of increased promiscuity, the dating world has relatively stayed the same when it comes to deciding who makes the first move. The media has indeed made a dent in influencing women to be accepting of their sexuality and be more proactive in finding a man. But, the reality is that most women are still too scared or uncomfortable with making the first romantic gesture on a guy. And this is perfectly okay. It’s very normal for women to be approached first and we can look at evolutionary biology for the reasons why.

Defining Success in the Human Race

When looking through the eyes of biology, humans are successful when they produce offspring who will produce more offspring. Passing down genes from generation to generation is the ultimate goal of reproduction. A woman’s behavior in choosing a mate did not form in this century but from thousands of years of evolution. This means that what a woman wanted in a mate during caveman times is still the same today for the most part.

What does a woman want in a mate? To ensure the survivability of her offspring, she looks for a man who can give her a child with the best possible genetics. Having strong genetics increases the likelihood that a child will survive to adulthood and produce more offspring. However, this simple goal is not easy to execute.

Having a child with great genetics is only half the battle. The child also needs a good environment to be raised in, and a good environment involves a present father figure. The reality is that a man with great genetics will also have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a woman. Since he is so highly desired, he realizes that he does not have to always settle down and share his resources with one woman. This leads women to either double down on their mating strategy or come up with a compromise.

Most women tend to find the best possible man who will give her children and stick around and raise them. This man may not be the genetically best in society, but he still possesses good traits and his willingness to stay and raise a family adds bonus points. Other women have a different strategy. They produce children with the most genetically optimal man but find another man to raise her children. Surprisingly, this is more common than one thinks.

A man’s reproductive goal is the same as a woman’s. He also wants his children to survive to adulthood and produce more children. A man has the choice of impregnating as many women as possible, hoping that a few children make it to adulthood and that some children find another father figure to be raised by. He also has the choice of impregnating one woman and sticking around to make sure his children survive to adulthood.

What does this all mean?

Since women, consciously or subconsciously, are looking for a man with good genetics, she is evaluating men based on certain traits and characteristics. One important trait is leadership. Leadership conveys confidence, competence, and assertiveness. Men who are leaders take on a lot of risk, but also a lot of responsibility. When a woman is pregnant, she is expecting the man to bring resources to the table and devote his time to protecting her. The best type of man to depend on is a leader.

In the modern dating world, women are still expecting to be led. They expect men to approach them and walk them through the initial stages of attraction. Men who don’t make the first move are viewed as shy, incompetent, or less desirable. Confidently approaching a woman signals that previous women have positively accepted this behavior. Nervously approaching a woman signals that previous women have condemned this behavior.

Can Women Still Try to Make the First Move?

For a woman, her reputation is very important. Her social status determines how she is perceived and treated in life. To take a lot of risks means to potentially risk damaging her social reputation. If a woman approaches a man and gets rejected, she risks being viewed as undesirable to other men in addition to potentially being seen as promiscuous.

For men who are too scared to make the first move, all hope is not lost. You most likely need to improve other areas of your life and develop leadership skills. You can also specifically work on your dating skills. Todd V is a dating coach who specializes in eliminating approach anxiety, or the fear of approaching women in public. His dating advice is rooted in science and psychology, and he often refers to evolutionary biology in describing how women think and act.

If you are a woman reading this article, then I hope your concerns about making the first move are resolved. The act of approaching first is not your job. Rather, focus on improving yourself and let the high quality men approach you first.