Why Aren’t Male Strippers Sexy?
The typical atmosphere in such an establishment isn’t one of arousal and longing, the kind that reliably fills the air in a female strip club. As far as I can tell, female patrons are typically cracking up, shielding their eyes in mock horror or cartoonishly objectifying male dancers as a performance for their friends.
Her observations come by way of the new movie, Magic Mike, which gets a lot right, she says, but shows male stripping as it mostly is: “goofball, absurd and sometimes repulsive,” which is how she describes her own first – and last — male strip show outing:
Onstage was an overly tanned dark-and-handsome type dressed like a race car driver. He slowly unzipped his onesie while popping his knee to the throbbing techno music, which was accented by sounds of a car engine revving. Once naked, he took his flaccid penis in his hand, stretched it out as far as he could and let go; it snapped back to his body and flopped around as he wiggled his eyebrows at the crowd.
And so she asks why these strip shows are libido-killers and offers her thoughts. On some points we overlap, on others we don’t (for instance, I think evolutionary psych is full of crap). Here are my own musings:
Some of what I’ve written before applies here. For instance, male bodies aren’t sexualized in our culture. Since I’ve discussed this in pieces like, “Men: Erotic Objects of Women’s Gaze,” or “Women Seeing Women as Sexier than Men.” I won’t dwell on the point. But whether out of homophobia or because women have only recently become involved in creating media, literature, art, or anything else that could eroticize the male form, we see few sexualized images of men. So lusting after men isn’t something that women learn to do.
Some say women are just more erotic, yet breasts are only sensualized in places where they are either hidden or selectively hidden and revealed. The U.S. is so obsessed by the secreted breast that even women can develop a fetish. There’s no biological reason for that.
Repressed sexuality may also make it more difficult for women to respond to the visual. I don’t have data on this other than personal experience and talking with other women about it, but a few of us were better able to respond to visual stimulation when we were very young and less repressed.
Forces of repression? I’ve discussed this before (so see refs), but it arises as women are told that sex is bad – for them – and slut-shamed, from being the ones who get screwed and f’d, from being told not to touch themselves (males are more likely to figure out pleasure sources due to differences in anatomy), and from sexual abuse.
Making matters worse, when men do show skin they can look “gay.” This seems to occur because women are so used to nudity being meant for the male gaze that they come to see nude males through male eyes, too. That’s jarring, not a turn-on.
Men doing women-things (stripping) might be jarring, too.
Another problem is that straight women get more aroused by being desired than by desiring men. (Being desired by men they’re interested in, not by any ol’ guy.) Probably due to culture. While women don’t learn to see men as sex objects, they do come to see themselves that way. So in a convoluted form they can become aroused by experiencing how men are experiencing them. Yet another factor preventing women from desiring men in a fetished way.
And then floppiness could add to the problem, erasing any fantasy of being desired by the stripper. Flaccidity – at least on a twenty-something — communicates that he’s just not that into you. (Maybe a male strip clubber’s fantasy is helped when no obvious bodily sign tells him that the female stripper’s not into him.) But standing at attention might not work with a whole houseful of ladies anyway, since he’s still not necessarily into you.
Also, even if the stripper were erect, women may still have the same reaction that they have to strange men who flash or sext them: repulsion, trauma or laughter.
Yes, women have a very different reaction to the male member on a stranger than the men they love.
There are plenty of reasons why women think men look sexier fully clothed.
But why do gay men find male strippers sexy when straight women don’t? I’ll visit that question next week.
Posted on July 9, 2012, in feminism, gender, men, objectification, pornography, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged feminism, gender, men, objectification, pornography, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women. Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.