Overcoming Approach Anxiety

Reader:  In your most recent blog post, you mention that men in general should make the first move. I agree with this about 90% of the time. Men really should be the pursuers. After reading your blog and some of the more men-centric blogs (namely Chateau Heartiste), I’ve come to realize more and more of myself that I need to either work on or emphasize.
That being said, I get significantly nervous when attempting to make a move on a woman I’m interested in. If I don’t care too much about the outcome, then I’m loose enough and things actually work better. But when I care about the outcome, I get nervous and feel awkward and have a difficult time making the move. I know if the woman made a move, then my nerves would just melt away and then I’d be back in control . Time and time again I’ve had this happen to me. I know you’re not necessarily in the business of giving advice to people out in the dating marketplace, but do you have any recommendations? Things that a 30/70 alpha/beta could actually do?
Thanks man. I appreciate it. While I got to your blog too late to save my previous marriage, I still value it immensely, especially as I go about finding the woman that will reap the benefits of my MMSL-induced improvements.
Athol:  My advice to overcoming approach anxiety is:

(1)  Approach any and all women you meet and engage them in conversation without any intent to convert that into a phone number / date / sweaty horizontal embrace. The goal is just to have an enjoyable interaction with them. Even if it’s just a few seconds long, it’s not a problem. Don’t lurk places waiting for women to cross your path, just if one does, be engaging for a few moments and see where it goes.

(2)  Understand that there is about a three second delay between considering approaching an attractive woman, and the anxiety kicking in. It takes time for your body to process the need to be anxious and actually start releasing the hormones to make you start panicking. Once you’re actually engaged with her though, the anxiety doesn’t tend to kick in. So you literally have a three second window between seeing the pretty girl, and starting to talk to her, before the anxiety starts So become impulsive about talking to women.

(1) and (2) work together very well. See a woman, say hi. Nice shoes…

Also (3), Work on your physical fitness and muscle mass. This doesn’t sound like a direct method for dealing with approach anxiety, but it really is a useful thing. Approach Anxiety is basically the flight or fight reflex, the fear creating the anxiety isn’t so much the potential of the her rejecting you, but your Body Agenda prepping for dealing with an Alpha Male making a beeline for you and giving you a warning off punch in the face. So you’re prepping to either fight the guy, or run from him. Adding physical strength makes your Body Agenda feel more confident about winning a fight, so it feels calmer and more confident about approaching women. Women of course directly sense your confidence, and having confidence makes them evaluate you as more of an Alpha Male yourself. So it’s a positive feedback thing.

Repeat approaches also build confidence.

All in all, you just have to approach, approach, approach.

Oh and don’t underestimate this as a skill for husbands to have either. A fluid interaction with an attractive woman in front of your wife can go a long way with sparking your wife’s interest in you. Note I said “fluid interaction,” as opposed to “hit on her like a drunken idiot.” If you need a basic techinque for this, compliment her on something, and then redirect your attention to someone else fairly quickly. Don’t give the other woman her three seconds of attention lock-on after the compliment, that will put her shields up and your wifes too lol.


  1. I work in HR so I make my living talking. Not bad for the guy in high school who stuttered so bad he was almost mute.

    I'm teaching my son to approach everyone with grace and empathy. In the supermarket I always say to the cashier male or female they are doing a good job, its almost quiting time if they look tired, or a simple compliment. Doing it in every day to day interaction does two things; it instills manners and a sense of chivalry and it makes approaching second nature. I'm not approaching her to hit on her, I'm just saying hi to another human being.

    Try this in the non stress, non outcome focused areas of daily life and then you won't focus on the TASK of trying to approach her.

  2. Athol,

    yesterday you talked again about the double dip in testosterone after marriage and kids. What happens when the kids leave, especially for us who had kids at 25 so they are gone by 45. We are still in our prime and women are pre menopausal.

    Does the departure affect the biochemistry. It must affect the psychological pair bond. The strength of the bond to tough it out for the kids sake is gone and as we start thinking about the end we are gee I have x years left, do I want to go out this way.

    I'm thinking the scene in Failure to Launch in the laundry where the mom says "Now its just me and him now that your gone.. what if he doesn't like me?"

  3. Athol Kay says:

    Pair bond is oxtocin/vasopressin hormones, so not related to the testosterone drop.

    Minus the kids, many women perk up sexually. Think "Married Cougar" rather than "dried up husk".

  4. Strong Man says:

    Good advice as usual. I find your Body Agenda assertion about muscle mass interesting. I've written that men absolutely should be much stronger than their wives and that it's very helpful for general confidence and emphasizing romantic gender differences.

    Do you have any scientific evidence to point to about this?

    On the issue of what happens when the kids are gone–From couples I've seen, I believe a lot of that depends on the quality of the relationship, especially the romantic one, while the kids were there.

    If you're just sticking it out while the kids are around, for their sake, you're not bonding with your spouse–so there will be no bond and lots of frustration still around when the kids leave.

    That's why I like your idea of bringing difficult issues to a head right away (if your sex rank is right), rather than waiting it out and feeling miserable all the time.

    Still, if the relationship is right and she's "into you," I imagine you're usually right about the "Married Cougar."

  5. Tell this guy to get Roosh V's Bang and Day Bang books, especially Day Bang. I didn't expect to like them, but that Day Bang book was outstanding and so was the other one. He covers how to approach, the best spots to approach from, etc.

  6. This is great. We should all teach our children to approach/interact with people this way.

  7. We are approaching the "kids have left" stage and are thinking and talking some about it. I think that you need to plan for it, have in mind fun things that you will do together – trips, maybe a new hobby, volunteer work. Plus the opportunities for great sex increase. We still have teens/college-age kids around the house, in and out at all hours, so it does put a damper on the sex life! I think that planning and talking are really the key things. Assuming the relationship is fairly solid…

  8. I have a problem approaching my wife in a sense. I almost always wait for her to initiate or at least send a signal. We had sex 8 times in January (I track it on the period tracker program on my droid). She approached me probably 7 of them.

    Also, I let her lead in bed. She likes it on her back with a vibrator on her clit. I like it too that way, but also want some variety. I am usually reticent to ask for a position change.

    How can I get my frame right to just tell her what I want?

  9. Anonymous says:

    you should bitch slap yourself

  10. Anonymous says:

    flipper: i will leave it up to AK to tell you how to make incremental progress but what i can tell you is what the end result should look like.

    you dont tell her what you want. you just do it. while in missionary, just grab her legs and toss them aside and take her from behind. grab her arms while standing and use the other hand to pull her pants down and then bend her over the bed. just DO what it is you think you want.

    in my experiences, most women respond very well to going with the flow.

    and with respect to her preferred style of sex, that is something i think you should really try to move beyond ASAP. sounds like you're just a dildo at that point.

    you have to learn the grind move. think about grinding yourself into her clit while you are inside of her. dont think about thrusting, just grind into the clit. clit centered orgasmers usually love that. and then you've taken control of the situation and are still giving her pleasure.

    female dominance in the bedroom has to be rectified asap. it is unnatural imo.

  11. I agree with anon 5:59. Women want men to make the first move. We also do like to be dominated – not in a hurtful manner, but like you know what you are doing. Being assertive in bed tells her you think she is hot and really want her. It ramps the excitement level in bed up a lot.

    Flipper, what is the background on your relationship? Why do you let her make the first move or send signals instead of initiating yourself?

    My husband has a high SMV – always has. This can suck at times because he was used to women throwing themselves at him. I initiate a lot still. For him that is just the way it has always been. I prefer he make the first move. A woman doesn't feel very sexy if she is the one who always initiates – well, at least this woman. It's something we have to talk about here – needs & wants.

    Don't be afraid to talk to her about sex in or out of bed. Have her share a fantasy. You may be surprised what she reveals. Women like to be taken. :)

  12. I'm all for what the others are saying, i.e., just do what you want, but let's be honest that to me seems like a far stretch from where you are at now.

    I would ease into it a bit, I would tell her what you want first. Don't ask, tell. "I want to take you from behind" "it would be hot if you sucked me off first" etc…

    In my experience, it always works. It may seem akward at first, but I would just dive in and try it and see what happens.

    And this goes for approaching your wife. Give her a heads up what your intentions are. Send her a text in the afternoon "I hope you are well rested for tonight…" and go from there. Again don't ask, just let your intentions be known. And if she doesn't want to then don't pout or get mad or anything just leave it alone. My guess is if you have a wife who is initiating 7 times a month then you really have nothing to worry about.

    I started doing this sort of stuff a couple of months ago and it has worked wonders for me.

    Good luck, but the only way you will get out of this rut is to do something about it. Sounds like it is working fine for her so she won't be changing it up anytime soon.

  13. A lot of beta males and complacent wives are in for ashock at this stage. Without the buffer of kids and the threat of child support it brings many silent issues to a head. At the same time sex rank also radicallh shifts. Womens age becomes an issue where the men are often at the peak of their careers as aprovider. Also the spector of i have x years left forces a hard look at lifestyle.
    I agree the Map and the ultimatim is fair but it comes as a shock to the former alpha partner who got by on either looks or tje parent commitment for security.

  14. OMG. Wet panties every time I read one of these accounts of taking a woman. Melting into my poor office chair.

    Got it? Lainney isn't the only woman turned on by her hubby taking control. I love feeling like a piece of high-quality candy that my husband is devouring!

  15. Seanholio says:

    I can't say enough good things about working out improving your mindset. I started just a few weeks ago, and the improvement in my mood, thoughts, and worldview is amazing.

    Guys, we're not designed to be sedentary, and I'm pretty sure there's no treadmill-to-happy-neurotransmitters pathway in the brain. BUT THERE IS some kind of Lifting-Heavy-Things-to-Happy-Neurotransmitters pathway.

    If you're not lifting now, don't run down to the gym, load up the heaviest bar you can and then spend a week wondering why you hurt so bad. Start something like Starting Strength, by Rippetoe, or Stronglifts 5×5. It won't matter that you're only squatting a 45lb bar: YOU WILL FEEL BETTER FOR DOING IT.

  16. Lainey
    I conceptually agree with you but what about the woman who has used withholdimg as a weapon for years. I started the map about two years ago,got in shape [bemch 200] and make 6 figures. In 2009 had sex 6 times. First time i tried just grabing her the what the hell are you doing insults were astronomical. Feeling of screw it not doing that again kickeed in. Similar to prior discussion about women rejected in lingerie. Its a real minefield.
    However the ladies at the barn love me at 6-1 180 riding a 2000 lb Belgian. Im really tempted to.start over there. So advice. You man up she falls into classic reject power trip. Keep being forceful and risk it or cut and run after 25 years

  17. Horseman,

    If there is no sex whatsoever, and you got that reaction then you guys need to talk. Is your marriage pretty much over? Does she know it?

    Working on your SMV definitely helps. Has she noticed? Have you tried the 10-second kiss on her?

    If I were flipper, I'd give her the 10-second kiss a few times a day and tell her what was going to happen later. It helps to get her prepared while also feeling close and sensual.

    Flipper's wife is initiating so she likes sex and him. He should be able to switch things up and he should. The wife may get bored of the situation before long as well.

  18. Lainey
    see comment in glorified cave art for background. 70% beta formerly who realized worth amd dignity largely from athol and ian. Now strong alpha mix. However 25 year marriage dome. No significant response to stage 5 so just riding it out umtil the kids leave. Family is huge to me

  19. I get that. I do struggle with direct stuff like that. I think it just comes from being conditioned to treat them with respect and all that. Fear of rejection plays a role as well. On the other hand, we've been married 10 years so there are some long standing habits that need to be broken.

  20. The Outsider says:

    As usual, Athol is right on the money. The risk/reward payoff for an approach is so strongly in your favor, you really have no reason to hesitate. That's not to say nothing can ever go wrong. Sure, you could get rejected, you could even get humiliated. So what? The net effect on your ego from giving it a go and getting shot down is still mildly positive.

    Don't pass up opportunities to interact with kids. The way you tease and talk to a six-year-old is not so different from the way you want to talk to an older girl. See if you can make friends with a kindergartner.

    Your next best low-risk practice opportunities are older women – in their seventies. They grew up in an era when girls learned how men were supposed to talk to them. They know the banter. Flirt with them.

    One piece of advice when you start to break new ground with your wife. When you make your demand, you absolutely cannot not flinch. Don't take it back, don't apologize, don't act like it was a joke. Look her in the eye. Use a slow, low voice, but speak with confidence. This will be new to her, too, and she's going to be straining her super-girl-senses to see if you're for real. You must must must must make her know you're for real.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I am a woman and I like to be treated with respect, but I want my husband to do more of this. I would love it if he texted me and said "I want to do ___ tonight" or "I want to take you ___." This is not disrespectful; it's hot. You should probably ease into it, but I definitely suggest trying it.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The approach of anon at 5:59 will be too strong for some women. For those women, you will need to ease into this more gradually. The feeling she should get is not that you are attacking her, but that you are incredibly attracted to her, so hot for her, etc.

  23. Anonymous says:

    did heavy deadlifts today and practically skipped out of the gym. and this during a period of high stress for me too.

    can not say enough about lifting heavy.

    it is never too late fellas

  24. Anonymous says:

    If you can skip, feel like skipping, or even entertain the IDEA of skipping afterwards, you're not working hard enough.

  25. Anonymous says:

    And when she doesn't flinch, looks you straight in the eye and in a low, slow confident voice tells you:
    "Go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut",

    You'll know SHE's for real too!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Just keep in mind some women are never, ever going to get to like this. They are ALWAYS going to feel like they are being attacked.

  27. Anonymous says:

    My wife likes me to be dominant and initiate as long as she's in the mood for it. And there in lies the impossible catch 22 that wives put their husbands in. Trying to figure out or guess if she's interested is back to beta, a turn off. But just going for it, Alpha works great, as long as she's open to it.

    When she's not then my Alpha attempts to initiate get the eye roll and the "seriously?" response. I can still work through this if I want and get sex out of it, but it still has a sense of obligation to it in her mind. Its ok sex but usually not great and sometimes just not worth having.

    My wife goes back and forth on this and doesn't know what she wants in this regard. She wants it both ways, yes, just take charge and go for it, but not if I'm not feeling well or not in the mood. You should just know that. My take on this is that many women just don't really know what they want. All a guy can do is man up and assume the sale with her and take it when its good and take it or leave it when its not.

  28. That comment was in context of a relationship and sex life that can sustain such an act. Also, please remember that sex is different for everyone. This exact script may not work for me, either (i'm only 5' tall!!), but it's the *spirit* of it that works. Done with pure love, this says, " You are desirable. I want you so badly that my passion for you is taking over."

    But, you're right… The foundation and trust have to be there. I'm one of the *very* extremely lucky ones!!

  29. Have you tried holding firm when she rolls your eyes at you? That eye roll is indicative of contempt. Needs to be addressed.

    Just like requests should be reasonabke, so should the turn-down. Respect is key.

  30. Anon 11:33

    Thank you for your post and giving your point of view than asking for what we want is hot and not disrespectful. Unfortunately most of us men have been trained the exact opposite way. If you actually want your husband to go against his upbringing then YOU need to ask for what you want directly. I do mean ask directly, no hinting. You may find that hard to do since it goes against your upbringing. That should give you an idea of what men are up against.

  31. The Outsider says:

    I know what you are describing, believe me, I've been there. You've laid a foundation of beta and that's no easy thing to undo. Especially not in an instant in the bedroom. The point is that every interaction you have with her is an opportunity to start changing it. If she reacts badly to a sexual demand your response is important. You can take it back and fall into the same pattern you've established. Or you can let it stand and start building a new pattern.

    Listen, it's probably not going to work the first time. She's not used to taking you seriously. But hold your frame. You *are* are guy who acts this way. If you neglected brushing your teeth for years, you wouldn't expect to get everything ship-shape in one day. And the first time you floss it might get worse – your gums will bleed and it will hurt. But if you keep brushing every day pretty soon it will get better.

    It's going to take time for her to adjust, too. But she will, and she'll be happier. Obviously I don't know your wife, but it's a safe bet that she doesn't really want the role she's got now. She doesn't want the responsibility, and she almost certainly harbors a certain amount of contempt for you because you've allowed her to take it. You're not doing your job!

    That sex with a sense of obligation is the worst, isn't it. It makes you feel about this big. Have you considered turning it down? This may be delicate, you don't want to seem petulant. But it could send a strong signal that this isn't about her doing you a favor. "Listen, I can tell you're not into this. That's cool. Let's do it tomorrow instead." This does two things. First, it gives you some control over the situation and shows you're not just about begging her to ration it out. Second, it builds some anticipation for the next night, which is always good.

    (I wonder what Athol's take is on that idea.)

  32. The Outsider says:

    By the way, guys, I *know* that eye roll. I'm not trivializing it – it sucks. In fact, I failed to work my way past it and it cost me everything. So in retrospect I wish I'd worried a lot less about how the eye-roll made me feel. You've got to suck it up, it's important.

  33. Flipper, of course don't ask for a position change, just do. If you are uncomfortable with giving verbal direction, just start by moving her body where you want it during sex. Start with pinning an arm down, or putting one leg on your shoulder, or grabbing both ankles and pushing her legs backward. Stuff like that. Eventually you will learn how to grab hold of her ankles and flip her onto her stomach in one motion and pull her hips up and toward you in another.

  34. Anonymous says:

    The outsider, you made a much more thorough thing of my eye-roll comment. Thank you.

  35. Anonymous says:

    hahah 5×5 at 350. i think i did just fine thanks.

  36. Anonymous says:

    No doubt the eyeroll sucks. Give her a little banter, a little sly grin and a "don't try to play like you don't want me. I know you do. Now take your clothes off and get in bed". Practice this line before she gives you the eyeroll, you will be better prepared.

  37. Outsider said…
    "Listen, I can tell you're not into this. That's cool. Let's do it tomorrow instead."

    And she says…

    "The answer will be the same tomorrow, fuckwit, and the day after that…"

  38. Anonymous says:

    If that's the case, sorry, but your marriage is a very bad place. Hope you are. Working the MAP.

  39. The Outsider says:

    Wow. If your wife talks to you that way – if you have allowed her to talk to you that way – I am worried for you. That's not okay from anybody, least of all your wife, who is supposed to be on your side. Do you have similar problems with other people? Coworkers, friends, family, etc.?

  40. Anonymous says:

    Most people get the same problem when they repeatedly try to get someone to do something they don't want. Family, friends, coworkers – if you keep asking them to do something they don't want, they'll get pissed off and tell you to screw yourself.

    Sometimes, it doesn't matter how you say it, they don't want to know. And if you keep saying it, eventually, they'll tell you. Hard.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Is getting service sex really that bad? When my needs aren't being met outside the bedroom it's difficult to flip a switch and suddenly desire his sexual attention. So we'll have sex but I won't care to orgasm and he gets irritated. I wonder what the big deal is if he's having one. He says he wants me to be as interested in having sex with him as he is with me, but I don't feel like he's interested in me when he doesn't meet my needs outside the bedroom. I probably orgasm once to every five or six times he does…and yet he's not happy. I thought it would be better to have that kind of sex than to say no. I feel like I just can't win sometimes.

  42. OffTheCuff says:

    Anon: Duty sex is always bad, but only when it's in the spirit of "I can't/won't enjoy this". That will corrode your relationship and eventually kill it. That doesn't sound like your case, though, if you get off 1:5.

    Your husband needs to up his game, in the sack and out. Send him here!

  43. The Outsider says:

    To me it's not the "service sex" that's so bad, it's the patronizing, "I'm doing you a favor, and while we're on the subject could you hurry it up" sex. One of you is always going to want it more than the other one, so going along to make him happy is kind.

    I think guys hate to admit how much it matters to us to know you're having a good time. We'd all like to pretend we're more pragmatic – "as long as I get mine that's what matters" – but the truth is a lot mushier. Read the comments above and notice how freaked out these guys are that their wives may roll their eyes. Roll their eyes! Who gives a crap about that? Well… we do. Apparently.

  44. Tequila Mockingbird says:

    On the subject of "service sex,"

    I am a woman. Now and then I just am not in the mood. If Himself is making sexual overtures and I am just really tired or not feeling like going through a big song-n-dance, I will usually tell him something like, "I adore you and want to feel close to you, and I am also very tired and not up for a big production. How about if we make tonight All About You." So, we'll have sex, and I usually end up having quite a lovely time in spite of being tired and not really in the mood at the beginning. Of course if I am sick or something like that, it will just be a "no, not tonight." But I do my best to be accommodating to his sexual overtures because:

    1. He's hot. I like having sex with him.
    2. He's awesome. He treats me wonderfully every day.
    3. I don't want to establish anything even remotely resembling a pattern of being rejected sexually on a routine basis.
    4. Most of the time I end up having a really lovely time.

    Win/win. :)

    But the thing is, I really do love him and love to have sex with him. If I were just lying there rolling my eyes asking if he were done yet, that would be awful. I would call that a "Hate F***" and it would be a very ugly thing to do.

Speak Your Mind