The results are in, and the psychological community agrees: Tapping into a man’s “hero instinct” triggers his love muscle.
So now you’re wondering: What’s a “hero instinct,” does my man have one, and can I flip it on?
You’re in luck because that’s what we’re breaking down below.
So if you want to elevate your relationship’s status from casual to serious, get comfy and start reading.
This post is jam-packed with effective tactics; by the end, you’ll be an expert on how to trigger a man’s hero instinct.
What Is the Hero Instinct?
In recent years, relationship experts have cracked another love code: the hero instinct in men.
According to the well-tested theory, due to a mix of hormonal realities and cultural mores, a Superman in search of a spotlight lives inside most men’s souls — and he yearns to feel needed, wanted, and heroic.
Much to the delight of daters trying to bring their man in for a landing, researchers have concluded that triggering the hero instinct works like an aphrodisiac.
Tapping into a man’s “superhero strain” releases natural bonding chemicals that can intensify feelings.
To put it in simpler terms: Triggering a man’s “hero instinct” is one of the best ways to get him to fall in love with you.
Understand, though, that it’s not just about lathering him with compliments and letting him play Mr. Macho (though they are components, which we’ll explain more below).
You must also craft opportunities for him to swoop in like the brightly-armored knight, provide a safe space for his vulnerability, and convince him that you’ll always have his back.
17 Ways To Trigger The Hero Instinct In Your Man
So how does it work? How can you trigger a man’s inner superhero? What are some hero instinct examples? We’ve mapped out 17 tactics below.
Before we begin, note that every human is a complex brew of personal experiences and body chemistry, further defined by various practical and social parameters.
As such, we’re all a bit unpredictable; plus, there’s no accounting for the X factor — that indescribable element that draws two people together.
Beyond all that, relationships built on mind games and inauthenticity are almost always dead on arrival. So trying to mold nothing into something is a colossal waste of time.
That said, a little push in the right direction never hurt an already-healthy partnership — and that’s where the tactics below come into play.
1. Give Him Challenges To Solve
Playing hard to get is fine in the beginning — recommended even. But the dance changes once you become official and the relationship gets serious.
So, if you’ve been together for a while and want to trigger your man’s hero instinct, start throwing challenges his way instead of keeping him guessing.
Please don’t read us wrong. We’re not suggesting you start fights, nag him, or become hyper-competitive with your man. Instead, present him with issues to solve. Maybe you need to rework your budget, or an appliance needs replacing. Whatever the case, give him the reins.
The goal is to make him feel wanted, needed, and capable. Want to add a proverbial cherry on top? Say something like, “You’re so much better at this kind of thing than me.”
2. Be Appreciative
Show your appreciation when he does things for you — whether small or large. And we’re not talking about a quick thanks and forget about it. Make sure he hears you; look into his eyes; say it with feeling.
Remember to show gratitude for the non-tangible things, too. Listening, caring, or even just quietly cuddling when he knows you’re not ready to talk are all praise-worthy actions.
When you’re appreciative, he’ll feel proud for having improved another person’s day.
3. Give Him a Safe Space To Be Vulnerable
Masculinity isn’t just about physical strength and distant emotions.
What many people don’t realize is that men can’t truly embody the hero spirit unless they feel accepted precisely as is — soft spots and all. Only then do they have the confidence to genuinely live their best lives.
In short, men fall for women who love and nurture all their sides. So let him be vulnerable with you; it’ll open his heart and make it easier for him to slip into superhero mode.
But don’t force it. Encourage but don’t nag.
4. Be Vulnerable With Him
Not only must you let him be vulnerable with you, but you need to open your emotional window to him. Invite him into your thoughts and heart. Don’t be afraid to let your guard down.
But — and this is a big BUT — if you’re still in the early stages of dating, forget this tip for now. Chuck it in a Faraday bag and check back in six months. Because being a bit circumspect and reserved at the start is smart. Many charming people morph into monsters by month three. So mind your commitment level on this one.
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5. Ask For Help
Men love to feel useful. When something breaks — whether an object or a person — they want to prove they can fix it.
So don’t fall prey to the myth that asking for help makes you less independent. You’re not a “bad feminist” for letting your man support you.
Feeling like you rely on him for certain things makes him happy and lets his inner hero shine.
6. Be Discreet
One of the best ways to earn a man’s respect is to protect his reputation. Basically, don’t make him look foolish in public. And though it may sound old-fashioned, refrain from emasculating him in front of his friends and family.
Afterward, when it’s just the two of you, by all means, bring up your concerns. But in mixed company, maintain appearances (unless abuse is involved).
When he knows he can trust you like that, he’ll loosen up and enjoy a confidence boost, triggering his hero instinct.
7. Play the Damsel-in-Distress Card
We debated whether to put this one on the list, as it’s a bit of a throwback. But hey, for better or worse, certain things work — even if they collide with modern sensibilities.
So yes, playing your damsel-in-distress card can be a magic love bullet. Don’t put yourself in genuine peril. (Never sacrifice life or limb for a man.) But a little waterworks or a touch of panic usually do the trick.
Hopping into action like Clark Kent or a medieval knight thrills their egos.
8. Let Him Know Your Happy
Whether right, wrong, or fair, most men are programmed to be providers. Resultantly, they get a boost from knowing that something they did contributed to a loved one’s comfort and contentment.
So shout your affection and gratitude from the rooftop — at appropriate times.
Why the qualifier?
Because incessant tongue baths aren’t flattering; they’re phony and annoying. Constant praise reads as desperate. Plus, guys who require it probably fall on the narcissistic scale — and you should run away from those types, not toward them.
9. Leave Him Alone
Everybody is flawed. And yes, even people who “have their acts together” still make annoying and imperfect choices sometimes. (Because it’s all relative, right?)
So when he wants to have Subway for the second time that week or forgets to scoop the kitty litter on his day off, don’t let it work you up. Yes, it’s annoying. And yes, you’re much more organized and disciplined. But so what. By all means, pat yourself on the back — but avoid nagging him up and down the street.
We’re not saying you should let him get away with being a lazy grifter who takes advantage of your largesse. Both parties must contribute to the relationship in their own ways. We’re just saying not everything needs to be a thing.
Not feeling intense pressure to be a certain way at all times is a stress reliever, freeing up his psyche to take control in other ways that trigger his hero instincts.
10. Ask Him To Fire Up the Grill
There’s something about meat, flames, and fresh air that pumps up a lot of guys. It may be a primal urge, and grilling awakens men’s inner hunter.
Whatever the case, asking him to fire up some burgers or steaks will trigger your fella’s masculine side. And don’t forget to compliment him on how good it is — especially if he’s one of those folks with a special sauce or smoking method.
11. Allow Him To Be Masculine
Everyone has a feminine and masculine side; we just express them at different hormonal and social levels, depending on various factors. So if your man is higher on the testosterone scale — or wants to be — let him flex his muscles.
Many men’s inner heroes are goal-driven protectors who provide for loved ones. So let him have at it if that’s what he wants to focus on. Don’t force him to dissect every emotional nuance.
Yes, communication is vital. But don’t prescribe his personality if you want him to fall in love with how you treat him. Think about it: How would you feel about someone dictating how you should be and act?
12. Push Your Limits
Guys love it when their partners try things at their urging. It may be something as simple as tasting a new food or something as big as taking mountain-climbing lessons despite being terrified of heights.
It’s intoxicating for him to feel like his love and support helped you go above and beyond what you thought possible.
So show your man you’re willing to take risks as long as he’s by your side — it flips on the feel-good hormone switch.
13. Enlist Him for Handy Work
Does your garbage disposal need unclogging? Is your fire alarm randomly beeping? Or maybe you just got new shelves that need assembling. Whatever the case, ask him to do it. If he jumps on it immediately, you have a classic man who sees himself as the “helpful handyman.”
This tact may not work on all guys, though. A substantial subset of men have no interest in “chores,” even if they are of the “manly” variety.
14. Let Him Have His Treat
Humans are a lot more malleable than we like to believe. And yes, most of us are suckers for Pavlovian conditioning: Give us something we want, and we’ll be more accommodating to your wishes. As the old saying goes: You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.
So if you want to fill your man’s love tank and make him feel like the king of the world, let him have the treat he’s been craving. Maybe it’s a motorcycle; maybe it’s a new saw. Whatever the case, let him have it. If possible, surprise him with it. He’ll feel like you’re celebrating his worthiness — an aspect of the hero instinct.
15. Let Him Take Care of You
Allowing other people to care for you isn’t a cardinal sin. In fact, loved ones usually want to be of service. Think about how you enjoy helping out when a friend or family member is in need.
Allowing him to dote on you makes him feel special, needed, and wanted. So the next time you’re sick, let him baby you. He’ll feel important, and you’ll get the care needed to improve.
16. Ask for His Advice
If you’ve been dating for over three or four months, asking for his advice can elevate the relationship. We’re not talking about small advice. (What do you think: Should I get nuggets or a burger?) Instead, get his viewpoint on something serious.
It signals that you trust his discretion and judgment — which is a huge compliment that gets the hero’s blood flowing.
17. Genuinely Praise Him
Just as everyone bristles a bit at the thought of criticism, so we all perk up when praise lands in our laps. So throwing compliments his way is a simple and effective way to trigger the hero instinct.
But be careful not to spit out generic compliments that anyone could lob in his direction. Make them heartfelt and specific. Be genuine and personal. Moreover, save them for when you really mean them.
The Benefits of Triggering His Hero Instinct
As mentioned, tapping into a man’s hero gene is a tried-and-tested tactic to stir a gentleman’s amorous instincts. But what are some other pluses to giving your boo the gift of a boosted sense of self-worth?
- Triggering the hero instinct fortifies your man’s mental health.
- Couples that trade compliments share stronger bonds than those constantly bickering or nitpicking.
- Your relationship will be smoother than if you were always at each other’s throats.
As with all dating advice, please don’t overdo it. Coming across like you’re trying too hard is a turn-off, not a turn-on. Plus, men can sniff out phoniness just as well as the rest of us. But stroking his ego can do wonders, and it may be enough to take you to the next relationship level.