What The F*ck Is Feminine Energy & What’s It Got To Do With Dating? (2024)

“Lure him in!” a TikTok caption demands midscroll through your For You page. The video — which has nearly 325,000 likes — posits the benefits of being in your “feminine energy.” The general idea? If you act feminine enough, you can attract a masculine man: one who takes charge and chases you while you sit back and relax. This isn’t a one-off take, either. As of publication, the #feminineenergy hashtag has more than 372,000 videos on TikTok, and people seem eager to latch onto this advice.

For a long time, “feminine energy” has been associated with practices like yoga and manifestation, dating back to ancient religious and spiritual traditions. At its core, the concept is based on being nurturing, soft, intuitive, and emotional. More recently, TikTokers and celebrities are applying the idea to dating and relationships, harkening back to more traditional gender roles.

Some creators have even used the controversial notion to explain the appeal of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s romance. “The reason we all are obsessed with [Tayvis] is because for the first time ever, we are seeing Taylor get to TRULY step into and embrace her feminine energy,” one account wrote in a video that has nearly 30,000 likes. “[Taylor’s] being able to sit back and receive and be pursued. [She’s] able to fully embrace her feminine side and feel cared about, crushed on, weak in the knees, butterflies in the stomach for. She deserves that.”

But what does feminine energy really have to do with building a successful relationship? To dissect the viral dating advice, Elite Daily Senior Dating and Entertainment Editor Sarah Ellis and staff writer Hannah Kerns sat down to discuss feminine energy as a dating tactic.

Hannah: I’ve seen dating advice videos about “feminine energy” or “divine feminine” on my FYP for months now. Essentially, these TikTok creators suggest that you should be in your “feminine energy” while dating. Have you seen these?

Sarah: Yes, these TikToks are everywhere. And no, I don’t think they make any sense.

Hannah: Agreed. It’s funny because the concept of letting someone else take the lead in dating does speak to me. My mentality is typically “If they want to see me, they’ll ask to hang out.” But I’ve been called out in the past for never initiating anything. I’ll complain to my friends, “Oh, my God, he hasn’t texted me.” And they’re like, “Well, you haven’t texted him in days.” I’m like, “Oh, sh*t. You’re right.”

So I do get that mindset of being more passive in dating and letting things happen. But I still don’t understand the need to assign a gender to energy. Could it just be about stepping into your agency, rather than being feminine?

Sarah: Exactly. Also, queer people are thriving, so I don’t know why we need to make this heteronormative. Clearly, a successful relationship doesn’t require this traditional masculine-feminine energy balance.

It offers a prescriptive plan for “successfully” dating: If he’s not texting you, don’t text him.

Hannah: Yeah, why are we relying on a binary that we know doesn’t exist?

Sarah: The packaging of this is interesting, but I think the general idea comes from how frustrated people, especially heterosexual women, are when it comes to dating. People are fed up with apps, and some are going “boysober.” They’re so burnt out that they’ve decided to stop trying.

Hannah: I see that so much. In my mind (and personal experience), it has a lot to do with self-protection and nursing your ego. Being “in your feminine” appeals to people because it offers a prescriptive plan for “successfully” dating: If he’s not texting you, don’t text him. If he isn’t initiating a plan, don’t initiate a plan. We’ve already heard this so many times — a lot of this advice is in Why Men Love B*tches, which was released in 2002 — but by calling it “feminine energy,” you’re just making it sound more whimsical.

Sarah: Right. If I’m in a situationship, and I’m the only one making the plans or initiating texts, it’s something I’m aware of. In that case, it might make sense for me to pull back. But I don’t think going in the complete opposite direction — giving them absolutely nothing — is the answer.

Hannah: Definitely not. Have you seen the memes about the nonchalant dater? There’s one that says “I can’t do nonchalant men. Why would you ever be nonchalant about me? That’s disrespectful as hell. I need genuine excitement and happiness about seeing me ... Like truly anything less and I will decide that you hate me because wtf?”

Sarah: OK, yes. I have seen this.

Hannah: I completely co-sign it. I want someone to be chalant. I want to feel like the person I’m dating cares. But if that’s what heterosexual women are saying — they want men to care more — isn’t it fair that men would want the same? This advice suggests the opposite: If you want more, you need to give less.

Sarah: Right, and why would you expect someone to pursue you when you are acting like you don’t give a sh*t about them?

Hannah: Exactly! Who wants to date that person?

In one video about feminine energy, an influencer was talking about a guy who was setting up a date, but he was unsure where to make a dinner reservation. She explained how big of a turnoff it was for her. She literally said that he didn’t have the “masculinity” to pick a place. In a separate TikTok, she suggested this kind of behavior was grounds for a last-minute cancellation.

Sarah: Oh, I don’t like that.

Hannah: It’s gross. Now, I get why it might be hotter if a guy comes in with a message like, “I made a reservation for us for 8 p.m.” If you’re attracted to someone being decisive and taking initiative, that’s your prerogative — and I get it because I feel the same.

This is just a f*cked-up coping mechanism with a really good PR team.

But I also think that has nothing to do with gender. Someone isn’t inherently more masculine because they make a dinner reservation. Be real: Have you ever asked a man to make a dinner reservation? They’re horrible at it. Half of them don’t know how to do a notify on Resy.

Sarah: Also, I frankly don’t want someone to choose every restaurant we go to.

Dinner reservations aside, everyone is seeking emotional security, regardless of who you are, what gender you are, and what gender you date. I think people who buy into this theory assume that following these steps will grant them more emotional security.

Hannah: Yeah, maybe because you’re putting someone through the wringer right off the bat? But a guy could make a dinner reservation, take you out, pay for dinner, and make a follow-up plan. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be a good boyfriend. He could still be a complete piece of sh*t.

Sarah: Yeah, I think it ultimately comes back to what you said earlier: self-protection. If you have been burned by people in the past, especially if you’ve been burned by men who ghost or flake, it is completely valid to want better for yourself and to demand it.

But I would never sit here and tell someone that they need to be more feminine. There’s a difference from saying “I have enough self-respect to expect that someone shows up to meet me where I am.” This feels like the opposite: “I’m going to pull back so far that they have to chase me.”

Maybe that works for some people, but it doesn’t seem emotionally healthy and open to me.

Hannah: Right. No one wants to put themselves out there to the point where they could get hurt. That might be especially true for heterosexual women, but if you adopt this advice, you’re expecting men to fill that gap.

So, they’re supposed to initiate. Then, chase. Then, follow up. But what about their fear of getting hurt? They just have to put that aside so you feel more comfortable?

What you’re really doing is potentially making yourself more unavailable. Everyone has to shoot their shot at some point.

Sarah: Right, I also don’t think this helps you avoid getting hurt. Isn’t being vulnerable kind of the point of dating?

Hannah: Exactly. If you’re putting up these layers of gameplay, you’re just prolonging how long it takes to get to the nitty-gritty of getting to know someone. You’re delaying the inevitable. And feigning “I don’t care” just doesn't work. Who are you fooling?

The more I talk about it, the more I’m convinced this is just a f*cked-up coping mechanism with a really good PR team.

Sarah: It is packaged pretty. It sounds powerful to say “I’m strong in my feminine energy. I’m letting him chase me.” But what you’re really doing is potentially making yourself more unavailable. Everyone has to shoot their shot at some point.

Hannah: It makes me wonder how many people would probably be in a relationship right now if they had just sent a follow-up text to someone they really liked — or told them where they’d like to go for dinner.

Sarah: Isn’t wondering about those what-ifs worse than risking the sting of rejection? Just send the DM, text, whatever it may be.

Hannah: TL;DR: If you want to have a fulfilling dating life, focus less on the “gender” of your energy and more on putting out good energy.

This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

What The F*ck Is Feminine Energy & What’s It Got To Do With Dating? (2024)
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