This is a topic I’ve thought on, well… not as much as I’d like, honestly. Nude or barely clad females surround us, sensual images of women are now used to sell us everything from cars, to chocolate, to beautiful resorts in exotic places, to burgers, and everywhere in between. We see women presented so often in sexual manners, that even as women we’re conditioned to accept it, embrace it. Many women enjoy looking at other women, be it for sexual purposes or other reasons.
Now, this blog is going to be a bit more anecdotal, and a bit more personal in regards to my sexuality and how it developed.
When I was about six years old, I got into my father’s playboys, and I was fascinated. I won’t say this was the sole developing factor, but I believe that it played a role. I saw the images, I read the stories, and I got a very strong impression on how women looked, and how they related to sex. Most of the stories, of course, focused on describing the female body, what women did to drive men crazy, of course.
So when I was around 12, my friend showed me a playgirl. I didn’t feel the same titillation, the same desire, the same interest. To me, it was almost shameful and embarrassing to look at it in a way that I didn’t feel when I was looking at the playboys – though there was still the fear of getting caught. At 13 I started looking up porn online – hentai mostly – and it was all female focused, of course. Men were an after thought, if present at all.
At 15, a friend asked me if I ever looked at men naked, and I felt that same burning shame – despite the fact that I was straight identified and had had many crushes on men, including on my then-boyfriend. It wasn’t that I didn’t find men sexually attractive – I just wasn’t that interested in the super-masculine, hairy chested, testosterone spewing, ribbed muscled guy that seemed so popular in playgirls and online.
My celebrity crushes were Leonardo Decaprio (circa Titanic), Seth Green (circa Buffy), Steven Hyde (circa That 70’s Show), Kurt Cobain… They weren’t traditional looking men. Dare I say, they were more like men I was used to seeing in real life. They were guys that you might pass over in the street.
I liked looking at men – real men that I had an emotional attachment to in some manner, and most pictures and art can’t convey that – same with females. It’s hard to convey emotion through a photo, and a lot of it is reliant on clothes, props, poses… and it just seems that most photographers didn’t really use that in a way that appeals to me.
It seems to me that the idealized man is more of a male fantasy rather than a female fantasy. Sure, there are plenty of women out there that enjoy the hulking muscle looks, but some of the ‘hottest’ stars were, at best, leanly muscled. Fewer women find the he-men look attractive than they do the delicate male look – there’s a reason Yaoi features ambiguous characters and is marketed to women, where as typically more burly men are reserved for the gay male demographic.
So we fast forward to present day. I’m a woman in a long term relationship with a man I find emotionally and physically stimulating, who’s able to delight and arouse and surprise me after all these years. I say I could be bisexual, but really, I’m not sure there’s a word for what I actually consider myself.
I have hundreds of pictures of women. I have spent hours looking at image boards, looking at pictures of women, and I find what I’m looking for is the same. I want photos that portray something, a feeling, an emotion. I hate nothing more than a sexual picture of a woman looking bored or miserable.
And yet I find myself avoiding looking at naked men. I find it embarrassing to do so, even, and this is from a woman who considers herself rather enlightened and open minded. I write detailed erotica, I draw pictures of nude people, I have no problem with nudity or sexuality or displaying either.
So why is it that looking at pictures of men is so uncomfortable to me? Is it because I wish to not make my partner uncomfortable? Because I know he wouldn’t, and if he looks at pictures of women, I don’t feel uncomfortable. I don’t feel he’s comparing me to them, and have no reason to believe he’d be feeling unhappy with the situation.
And besides, I can’t even look at them in private, when I’m alone and free to do whatever I want (which is surprisingly the same thing that I do when he’s around, truthfully).
Meanwhile, I love reading erotica that details what a man looks like, his body, his cock. I find it immensely arousing, yet I’m still so shy about actually looking at one.
Honestly, I have no answers. I have no known reason why I would feel uncomfortable looking at men, because it doesn’t seem to relate at all to my sexuality or my sexual preferences. I wonder, then, if it’s just because I’m not used to it. I’m not trained, through my upbringing, to find nude males attractive in the same way I’m able to find women attractive. I haven’t been conditioned, through decades of exposure, to find male nudity and sexuality as normal as feminine nudity and sexuality.
It’s an area in which I’ll continue to reflect on and study, though, and one barrier that I hope to overtake. Obliterate.