Guys Decoded: Your Top 5 Questions Answered

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then it makes sense that both sexes spend an awful lot of time trying to understand each other. To help align the planets, Mr. Answer Man, authority on all things male, has answered iVillagers' top five questions about mystifying male behavior.

1. Why are men such lousy listeners?
It's not that we're lousy listeners, we're just good editors. If you say something important or interesting to us, especially something about sports, sex or some other topic we hold near and dear to our hearts, we're all ears -- provided we're not busy watching a ball game or reading the newspaper. But when it comes to most other topics we couldn't care less about (fashion, fad diets, your best friend's new boyfriend), we know that if we nod, grunt and otherwise feign listening, it's almost as good and you may not even notice we've tuned out. If you do, we know your anger won't last more than a few hours. Lame? Maybe. But it's the truth. If you want to try to change things, you have two options: Either try tuning out when your man is discussing something you couldn't care less about and see if he likes it (don't be surprised if he doesn't even notice) or choose your topics of conversation more carefully, and save the fashion talk and gossip for your girlfriends.

2. How can I get my guy to be more affectionate?
This is one of those questions that keeps popping up in the world of male-female relationships -- probably because no one has been able to come up with a useful solution. But I think I've got it licked: To get your guy to be more affectionate, use the theory that "men are like dogs" and treat him like the most famous scientific dog there ever was, Pavlov's dog. Find a time, in private, to give your guy a small dose of affection. For example, try a hug from behind. As you hug, make him smile. You might whisper into his ear one of those inside jokes that all couples have, or promise he can watch sports all day on Sunday, without a single complaint from you. He'll associate the affection with something good and, in time, will warm up to the idea of returning this pleasure-producing behavior. I know you'll be tempted, but please don't try to talk to him first about this. I know, I know, you are supposed to communicate in a healthy relationship, but taking the bull by the horns is a better idea in this case. If you mention how much you want him to be more affectionate, it will read like a nag, whine or pester, even though it's not. And that will get you nowhere. Instead, show, don't tell, until it takes. And be patient -- this one may take a while.

3. Do men like it when women play hard-to-get?
Not only does playing hard-to-get work, if done correctly it can help start out a relationship on a very spicy tip. The bottom line is that men like the thrill of the chase and, yes, we want what we can't have. It's just part of how we're programmed. So if you act somewhat interested yet slightly unavailable, we eat it up. The key, however, is to balance the chase with tidbits of encouragement. If you sense that your flirtatious snubs and indecision are frustrating him, throw him a bone. This may seem an antiquated scenario, but the truth is that guys like chasing after you as much as you like being pursued. Give your new man the right bait and he'll jump through hoops to get it (read: you). Just be sure he knows there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

4. Why don't guys talk about their ex-girlfriends?
It's not that guys don't talk about their ex-girlfriends, it's that they talk about them much, much less than women talk about (or want to talk about) their ex-boyfriends. The fact is, every relationship ends with blood on both hands, and the good guys will admit they could have done a better job in retrospect. Other than that, what more do you need to know? There's a word for wanting to know about the ex-girlfriends your guy was in love with: masochism.

The only pertinent questions you need to ask about exes are:
1. How long ago were you together? Hopefully, they didn't just split -- making you the oft-doomed rebound woman. If the ex wasn't an ex until yesterday, well, that changes things. Then you have to ask yourself if you really want to be with a guy who cheated on his girlfriend to be with you.
2. What caused the relationship to end? If he says, "She was crazy," grab your sneakers and run -- don't walk -- away from him. You don't need some scorned ex around to make you nervous.

5. Do men like it when women tell them what they (women) want in bed?
That would depend on what you're requesting. If you ask a man if he wouldn't mind lasting longer or smelling better, you'll get a less-than-positive response. But, in general, there is no better turn-on for us than completely ringing your bell (aka satisfying you sexually). So if you know a shortcut or a surefire method, then by all means, speak up. We're all ears!

If you're shy about speaking in specifics or are worried about offending him, rather than sit him down for an uncomfortable heart-to-heart, why not introduce some new and improved moves yourself, then see how he reacts? Then later on, you can ask him what he thought. He may blush; he may even balk, but it will serve as the green light for him to get creative too.

React to these answers and submit your questions for Mr. Answer Man here.

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