You may have heard about the ‘hero instinct’.
It’s a fascinating new concept doing the rounds on social media that allegedly holds the key to making a man fall in love with you and committing to a relationship over the long haul.
But what is the hero instinct? Is it legit? And how can it help you with your relationship?
The hero instinct comes from the extremely popular dating book, His Secret Obsession by James Bauer.
In this article I’m going to:
- Give you a no BS explanation of what the hero instinct really is.
- Explain why men need to feel like heroes (hint: it’s deeply rooted in male psychology).
- Reveal how you can activate the hero instinct in your guy.
My goal is simple: To provide you with the most comprehensive overview of the hero instinct possible.
No fluff. No hyperbole. Just an extremely practical explanation of the hero instinct and how it can help you in your relationship.
(This article contains affiliate links which means we may earn a commission from some of the links—at no extra cost to you. However, it’s still an unbiased overview of the hero instinct).
What is the hero instinct?
You probably have a picture in your mind about what a ‘hero’ is.
In Hollywood movies, heroes are everywhere. They usually involve a male character taking center stage and saving the people he cares about, especially the woman he cares most about. The hero is strong, brave, and full of integrity.
Do regular men want to don a cape and save entire cities from villains like we see in our favorite films? Is turning your man into Thor the key to triggering his affection for you?
The hero instinct is less about Hollywood stereotypes and more about the basic biological urge men have to feel needed and wanted.
According to the hero instinct, men are driven by three basic things in life:
- To live a meaningful life and feel appreciated for his efforts
- To provide for those he cares about, including his family, friends and especially his romantic partner
- To be respected by those around him.
If you’ve spent any time with a man, you’ll instantly realize that this all makes a lot of sense. Men come in all shapes and sizes, but these 3 psychological urges are common to us all.
The simple truth is that your man doesn’t necessarily want to be an action hero. But he does have a biological urge to be your hero.
Why he wants to be your hero
When a guy falls in love, he becomes naturally protective of his love interest. This is basic male psychology.
When you’ve had an argument with a friend, he’ll naturally take your side. When you cross the road, he’ll put his body on the side of the traffic.
He can’t help it.
Even if he is afraid to admit that he loves you for whatever reason, he won’t be able to control his actions of wanting to protect you and be your hero.
A study published in the Physiology & Behavior journal shows that male’s testosterone makes them feel protective over their mate’s safety and well-being. So naturally, if he loves you, he would want to protect you.
He might not have told you in words that he loves you. But you see it in everything that he does. You see it in the way he looks at you. You see it in the way he holds you.
He shows it in the simplest gestures that touch your heart in the deepest ways.
Who coined the term ‘the hero instinct’?
James Bauer introduced the term ‘the hero instinct’ in his best-selling book, His Secret Obsession.
I read this book cover to cover and wrote my review of it here.
James is a relationship psychologist who, over the last 12 years, has worked with thousands of men and women to help strengthen their relationships. As well as being the author of His Secret Obsession, he also wrote an earlier book, What Men Secretly Want.
By carefully studying the dynamics of his clients’ relationships and researching male psychology, James discovered what he believes is the key to a happy relationship: triggering the hero instinct in men.
As a trained psychologist and popular author, James Bauer is the real deal.
And the hero instinct has catapulted James Bauer into one of today’s leading relationship experts.
What does the hero instinct mean for you?
We all know that women are natural caretakers. Their best qualities are their loving, caring and selfless nature. Making men feel empowered to feel like a hero, therefore, should be right up your ally.
The main takeaway of the hero instinct is this: Instead of making your guy feel unessential, you need to make him feel wanted and needed.
This doesn’t mean women need to come across as weak. Although you may not need a hero, you do want a man who feels like one.
Your guy probably knows you can do most things on your own. And he probably respects you for it. But there isn’t any harm in letting him take charge once in a while to fulfill his biological urge to step up to the plate for you.
He wants to have your back. He wants to be your rock. You just need to let him be this once in a while.
The alternative is that a man who is in a relationship where his hero instinct isn’t triggered is much less likely to stay in that relationship.
If you’re with the man you want to be with (or at least plan to be one day), is your pride in your unwavering self-sufficiency worth losing this relationship over?
I don’t think so.
What I think of the hero instinct
The reason why I like the hero instinct so much is that I see so much of it in myself.
All men have an innate drive for meaning, respect and to provide for the people we care about. We want to dedicate ourselves to the things and people that are important to us.
I know I certainly do.
And I’m probably not your stereotypical man. I have a strong interest in psychology, Buddhism and eastern philosophy. I have even written books on Buddhism and mindfulness. I don’t like drinking all night with my mates, I don’t know how to change a flat car tire, and I’ve never wielded a power tool in my life.
But when it comes to romance and settling down with a woman, I want to be her hero. In fact, if a woman can’t tap into my hero instinct, our relationship would be doomed.
All men have the same primal instinct to protect and provide for the people we care about.
Even new age men like me.
But hasn’t society moved on from the whole ‘primal instinct’ thing?
No we haven’t.
The central assertion of the hero instinct is that men have a primal instinct to be a hero. We are hardwired to provide for and protect women and to be respected for our efforts.
In 2020 it’s politically correct to argue that gender stereotypes are outdated and that the only differences between men and women are socially constructed. However, just because something is politically correct doesn’t make it correct.
In this case, the view that there are no gender differences is completely wrong. There are still big differences between men and women because of our biology.
Men are still driven by the same instincts we’ve always had, even if we’re not always consciously aware of them. For thousands of years we’ve wanted women to desire us and to need us. We want to make sure women are safe. We want to satisfy them.
The simple truth is that for most of human history women have always needed men to protect them. For a man, this is a pretty big deal.
Yes, times have changed and women these days are as capable of looking after themselves as any man. But does this mean that you should just treat your man as an accessory? As someone who is ‘nice to have around’ but not essential in your everyday life?
No, because your man still wants to provide for you and protect you, as much as any man throughout history always has.
How to trigger a man’s hero instinct
Today a man can’t be your hero by protecting you from wild animals or neighboring tribes.
However, there are still many ways to make a man feel like your hero in the 21st century.
The big way, of course, is for men to work hard and provide financially for his relationship (and eventually family). Buy a house. Put food on the table. The onus to do this is largely on him though.
However, a man also needs to feel like a hero in everyday life.
Here are 5 simple ways that you can trigger the hero instinct in your man starting today:
- Ask for his help. If you need something fixed around the house, or your computer is acting up, or if you have a problem in life and you need some advice, then seek your man out. A man wants to feel useful. And he wants to be the first person you turn to when you genuinely need help – no matter how small you think the problem is.
- Show your appreciation. When he does something genuine for you (such as fix something or give you thoughtful advice) then tell him how much that meant to you. This is just basic human psychology. Men want to feel appreciated as much as women do and praising him will only encourage him to do more things for you and spend more time with you.
- Boost his confidence. Remember how I mentioned earlier that one aspect of a man’s hero instinct is to be respected by his peers? Well, this means that you should speak positively about him around his friends and family. Never belittle him or put him down. This one is a little more ego driven, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with stroking a man’s ego in front of his mates once in a while.
- Make sure he knows he makes you happy. When it comes to providing for a woman, a man wants to do more than just make sure there is food on the table and a roof over her head. He wants to make her happy. Whatever your man does to make you happy, tell him this. Otherwise, he’ll look for a woman he thinks he can make happy.
- Encourage him to be his best self. This probably won’t come as a shock, but a man’s life doesn’t entirely revolve around women. Men need freedom to pursue other things, whether it’s exercise, the bonds he has with his mates, or heck, even fantasy football. If you encourage him to do these things, rather than complain about it, you’ll make him feel that your helping live a complete life.
At the end of the day, a man cares less about how beautiful you look or how electric you are in bed, and much more about how you make him feel about himself when he is around you.
This doesn’t mean you need to act meek and weak around him. You certainly don’t need to pretend to be someone you’re not.
The goal here is simply to allow your man to step up to the plate. That’s all men really want. To step up to the plate for a woman when she needs him to, which ultimately fulfills his desire for meaning, respect, and being a provider.
Your man will feel better about himself and he will see you in a whole new light – which will only lead to a better relationship between the two of you.
Want to learn more about the hero instinct?
My explanation of the hero instinct above, including my tips for triggering it in your man, is just scratching the surface of what this fascinating contempt is all about.
If you’re convinced that the hero instinct is the real deal, like I am, then I highly recommend you read His Secret Obsession by James Bauer.
The book tackles the issues that affect women everywhere, including:
- Why men can lose interest after their initial attraction in a woman wears off
- Why men don’t want to commit long term, even when the relationship seems to be going so well.
- Why men can pull away suddenly and stop communicating with their partners.
The central premise of His Secret Obsession, of course, is that women have to tap into a man’s hero instinct. And this is a practical guide with simple, actionable strategies you can use to awaken the hero in any man.
After reading the book, you will be armed with everything you need to know to:
- Get your guy to commit to you
- Gain his love and devotion over the long term
- If you’ve recently been through a break up, rekindle his interest in you and get him to chase you again.
Let’s be clear: the strategies outlined in His Secret Obsession aren’t about silly mind games. No manipulation is involved. And you don’t need to pretend to be a damsel in distress to feed his ego.
Instead, the book encourages you to show a man what you genuinely need in life and then allow him to step up to fulfill it.
Triggering the hero instinct is about empowering men to be the best version of themselves, which ultimately leads to a better relationship between the two of you.
What else you need to know about His Secret Obsession
I’ve read and reviewed a lot of dating books on Hack Spirit, but my absolute favorite is His Secret Obsession by James Bauer.
You can read my full review of the book here.
I liked it so much because the hero instinct is a fascinating insight into what drives men romantically. More importantly, the book is VERY practical and provides step-by-step strategies for tapping into his hero instinct to help forge a long-term relationship.
James Bauer is a practicing psychologist and he uses real-world examples of his clients who have achieved incredibly successful outcomes by adopting these methods.
The book is certainly comprehensive. At over 200 pages, and with bonus eBooks and a workbook, it’s probably the last dating book you’ll ever need to buy.
Why do men need to feel needed and wanted by the women they are attracted to? Blame natural instinct and deep-rooted biology.
Instead of fighting against it, you need to empower your man by triggering his hero instinct.
Look at it this way.
Women who understand the hero instinct that all men possess are the ones who will likely go on to have loving, long-term relationships.
And the ones who fail to acknowledge this innate drive in men, and don’t allow him to step up and provide for them, are the ones who will continue to have short term, unsatisfying relationships that eventually fizzle out.
I know which type of women most would prefer to be.
His Secret Obsession Review
What I liked
What I didn't
His Secret Obsession by James Bauer is the most comprehensive and insightful dating book I’ve read.
It contains the wisdom of a relationship expert with 12 years in the industry, as well as tips and strategies based on concrete human psychology. The hero instinct is a fascinating new take on what drives men romantically.
If you found value in this review, please consider clicking on a link in this article (like the button above) to buy the book. It helps keep the lights on for Hack Spirit and food on the dinner table of all our writers!
$47 from the official website