Men Aren’t Hard Wired To Find Breasts Attractive
And how do we know this?
The same way we discover that many things aren’t biologically-based. By learning about other cultures. And the breast fetish does not exist in them all.
Men and women both resist the claim until they’re reminded of tribal societies. We’ve all seen pictures from National Geographic. And we all know that among tribal people women’s breasts are no big deal.
By the mid-1980s, topless beaches and overexposure to nudity in advertising had a similar effect in Europe. Topless women were plastered all over billboards, magazine and television advertisements because both men and women looked. But by the mid-eighties, no one paid much attention anymore. It was all so blasé. European men studying in the U.S. asked why American men were so obsessed with nudity. What’s the big deal, they wondered.
Even men who are overexposed to porn can lose interest, according to Pamela Paul, who has studied porn’s effect on male sexual arousal. As one man put it,
At first, I was happy just to see a naked woman. But as time has gone on I’ve grown more accustomed to such things.
Now he seeks more extreme stuff.
Meanwhile, studies show that even women learn the breast fetish, with images of a nude woman creating greater blood flow to the vaginal area than images of a nude man. More on that later.
How odd. Breasts turn on Western women, but not tribal men? And hetero women get more aroused by a nude woman than by a nude man?
Fetishes are created by selectively hiding and revealing — making that which is hidden enticing. Both men and women become intrigued. (Women do experience all this a bit differently from men, which I’ll discuss later.)
Meanwhile, a student of mine lived in Iran after the Islamic revolution when women strictly covered themselves except for the face. She told me that every now and again she would pull her veil back a little and watch the men go wild over her “hair cleavage.”
In America around the turn of the last century even seeing an ankle was sexy because they were always covered. In some old family photos one of my grandmothers is pulling her skirt up above her ankle to look scandalously sexy. I couldn’t even comprehend what she was doing until someone explained.
Covering is captivating. If you see the same thing all the time, it’s no big deal.
We always hear that men are visual. This isn’t based in biology. Men learn to become visual, while hetero women are left with nothing acceptable to look at. Culturally, we don’t sexualize the male body.
The fetish feels real enough, but then, much of what is learned feels biological.
As we shall see, all this can heighten bedroom excitement. Or it can have the opposite effect. More later…
Posted on November 4, 2010, in body image, feminism, gender, men, objectification, pornography, sex, sexism, women and tagged body image, breast fetish, breasts, culture, feminism, gender, male sexual arousal, men, men are visual, men's health, objectification, overexposure to porn, pornography, pornography effect on male arousal, sex, sex research, sexism, sexual objectification, sexuality, tribal societies, women. Bookmark the permalink. 238 Comments.