Men Know My Sexuality Better Than Me
Some are sure I want sex with them even when I’ve said I don’t. Some Mormon guys thought I’d enjoy a polygamous marriage in Heaven. (No. That sounds like Hell.) Another guy thought I’d like to bring in another woman and have a threesome relationship, or at least periodic threeways. That’s because I told him about research showing that women got more genitally aroused by a nude man than a nude woman. Or, that when women watched hetero couples in foreplay through goggles tracking eye movement, they spent half their time looking at men’s faces and the other half looking at women’s bodies.
The strange pattern of women seeing women as sexier is not about sexual orientation. As I’ve said before:
I’m straight, but ask me which image I find more erotic, a nude female or a nude male, and I’ll choose the girl. Many of my straight female students nod in agreement.
But men have “informed me” that I am bisexual. Or that all women are either lesbian or bi:
You are a great person but you aren’t straight.
I’m afraid I don’t agree with you… doesn’t matter if you say that you are not interested in having sex with women, if you feel sexual arousal with female images, it is more than enough to be bisexual… Definitely, women are bisexual.
The comments come often enough that I’m writing this post so that I can simply insert a link in response to future comments because I’m tired of repeating myself.
On the breast fetish being learned and not biological, here’s what I said in one post:
Women’s bodies are obsessed over, with breasts selectively hidden and revealed, creating a captivation, leaving us wondering about that which is hidden. The camera gazes, zeroes in on women’s bodies. We talk about women’s breasts as alluring. So they become a sexual signal to both men and women. We don’t treat any part of the male body in the same way.
When cultures don’t fixate on breasts that are selectively concealed they are no big deal. So tribal men, who see them all the time, aren’t especially interested. European men’s attraction waned in the 80’s when topless women appeared all over local beaches and billboards. And men can become numbed to titillation with overexposure to porn.
I could add that mere covering has managed to make women’s hair erotic in the Middle East. A student of mine said that when she lived in Iran she would sometimes draw back her veil to reveal a hint of, shall we say, hair cleavage. It drove men wild.
In a culture obsessed with boobs is it any surprise that both men and women learn the fetish (though hetero women may experience it a bit differently)?
Sexual appeal is a part of being human, but must it be turbo-charged with women and withheld with men?
I’d like to see balance: women portrayed more multidimensionally in addition to sex appeal, and I’d like to see sexuality attached more often to men. But not narrow notions that say you have to look like “this” to be attractive. Variety is the spice of life!
On the breast fetish being no indication of sexual orientation, I have explained to various guys that:
Being a guy you likely associate the fetish with attraction to the woman who’s attached to the breasts. I don’t. It’s the breasts, only, that are arousing. I was in Nice, France, where some women were topless at a beach. I found that arousing but was not drawn to any of the actual women. I suspect a lot of the arousal came from a sexual breach: Topless women in a public place! Scandalous!
Tribal men are the opposite. They are drawn to women but aren’t aroused by breasts. So if they don’t get aroused by breasts they’re not hetero, right?
Now, given the research, some guys insist that all women are either gay or bi. Yet tribal women aren’t aroused by breasts, either. So they’re the one exception to all women being lesbian or bi?
You can’t seem to understand that breasts have been made into such a strong sexual symbol in our culture that they can provoke a fetish response in the West, on some level, among men and women alike, but not in places like tribal societies, where they are not sexualized.
And oddly – or maybe not — it is not uncommon for a woman in Western society to get aroused by seeing her own sexy self through her lover’s eyes. As she imagines his arousal over her body and lives through it, on some level she vicariously makes love to herself. After all, he’s not a sex object to focus on. She is. Yet it’s hetero because she needs his gaze and his lust to get aroused. This may sound strange to a lot of guys, but plenty of women recognize themselves in this.
Meanwhile, I know quite a few lesbians and bisexual women and more than one has offered to have sex with me. But I’m just not interested.
If despite all this explanation it’s important to you to believe that I’m bi, go ahead. No big deal. I’m interested in educating people but I’m tired of trying to explain something that you may never understand.
Now, it could even be that I have a natural ability to be bisexual but that that potentiality is so repressed in our homophobic culture that I no longer have access to it. In fact, one time I found myself rather drawn to one woman, but still didn’t want sex with her. So it just seems weird to me to think of myself as bisexual when I have no interest in actual sex.
But the thing is, the breast fetish has nothing to do with male heterosexuality, either.
In fact, men are more likely than women to like enormously large and unnatural breasts. How could being drawn to something that does not exist in nature be biological? In fact, when some men get so that they can only appreciate large, unnatural breasts, they get less aroused by natural, smaller ones. And that makes perpetuation of the species less likely.
Also, when men have been with a particular woman for a while the fetish disappears. A number of men have remarked on this, some on this blog. A man may still find his partner’s breasts attractive, just as he finds her legs attractive — and new lingerie may help create a sense of newness and mystery — but her naked breasts will not provoke a fetish response in the way a new woman’s breasts would. Or in the way that hers did the first few time he saw them. There’s a reason why men needed a new Playboy pinup each month, back when Playboy was the porn of choice. Guys won’t keep getting aroused by the same woman’s breasts over and over again. And yet, he will continue to be turned on by her, and will still want to have sex with her, over and over again. And to repeat: In tribal societies where women are topless all the time men don’t get aroused by breasts. In 1980’s Europe, when men saw plenty of naked breasts on topless beaches and billboards, the fetish disappeared. Men who are overexposed to pornography stop finding breasts attractive.
What’s arousing is the hiddenness and intrigue behind that which is hidden, heightened by a culture obsessed with breasts as a sex signal.
Apparently, many women are confused about experiencing a breast fetish while being sexually drawn to men and not women. “How is that possible?” they have wondered? So my posts have found their way to various sites like “Yahoo! Answers.” Or, a number of women have found my blog by googling something like, “I’m a straight woman but like boobs.” When I put “Women Learn the Breast Fetish, Too” on StumbleUpon, it received a 97% “like” rating. So there must be plenty of women who can relate. I doubt they’re all bi.
That said, women’s sexuality does seem to be more flexible than men’s, which I’ve written about here. Women’s sexuality is also more repressible, as I written about here. And I have suffered major sexual repression as I’ve written about here. So it’s entirely possible that I’m just out of touch with my sexual self so that these two forces are working at cross-purposes for me. But based on my own experience and the experiences that other have reported to me, women can actually find breasts arousing without desiring sex with a woman.
Being bi would probably make me – and all women — more intriguing. Sorry to disappoint.
Posted on March 25, 2013, in feminism, objectification, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged breast fetish, feminism, objectification, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women. Bookmark the permalink. 120 Comments.