Sexy Weiner?

imagesCongressman Anthony Weiner has admitted sexting a picture of his package to young women — yet again — in the tradition of Brett Favre, Kanye West and assorted flashers everywhere.

What are these men thinking?

Tracy Clark-Flory over at Salon put out a call on Twitter to get women’s reactions to this sort of sexting. Plenty of women wanted to see a man’s chest. But with few exceptions the response to THIS was complete repulsion. When asked whether crotch shots “do it” for them, one tweeter replied, “If by ‘do it’ you mean ‘send me to the toilet retching,’ then yes, they do.”

Flashers seem similarly clueless. Flasher message boards suggest that these men expect women to get turned on. At least one man finally “got it,” saying, “I simply can’t do it anymore… I found that I was basically just offending woman after woman.”

Men love looking at lady parts, so they think women must love the sight of man parts, too. Surprisingly, “penis” is a common web search among men, straight or gay, and they are as likely to “google” penis as vagina. No wonder they think women want to look at theirs, too. Of course, porn depicts women going wild at the sight of the male member. But porn is a wildly inaccurate instructor on women’s sexuality.

Some believe the flaunting is tied to evolutionary psychology. After all, “Male monkeys and apes routinely display their penis (usually erect) to females to indicate sexual interest,” says cognitive neuroscientist Ogi Ogas. The move may make female monkeys and apes swoon. But among women, retching seems an unlikely process by which to pass on ones genes.

But I think women’s reactions also run counter to Freud’s contention that women experience “penis envy” (this being the supposed cause of our feelings of inferiority: “His is so big!”). I know my first reaction to seeing a penis was a huge relief that I, myself, was streamlined. Looks like others might feel the same.

Women may appreciate a man’s package in the context of “wanting” and/or loving a particular man. But this sort of sexting? Not so much.

It seems men are a bit more obsessed with the sight of their penises than women are.

In “honor” of Anthony Weiner’s ongoing determination to run for Mayor of New York City, this is a repost of a piece originally published June 10, 2011.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 8, 2013, in men, pornography, psychology, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I don’t know how people can take him seriously after this. He made himself look ridiculous. Also, if a woman had been caught doing this her political career would be over.

  2. Rohan 7 Things

    Very interesting stuff! It’s definitely the case that men enjoy the penis part of porn just as much as the female bits (whether they like to admit it or not). And I read somewhere that girls who like porn tend to prefer girl on girl imagery as it’s more sensual and sexual than the pounding m/f porn.

    Because of the fetishisation of the female body a naked butt, boob or vagina is sexy to a guy under just about any circumstance, however the male member’s attractiveness seems to depend very much on who it belongs to and what else is going on at the time.

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Yes indeed.

      I also have a theory that the reason women like girl on girl more than the pounding is because women also learn to sexualize women – maybe not as much as men do – but when you are bombarded by it in the culture, women can come to see women a sexy and even fetishized.

      Meanwhile, when a man enters a woman it’s off the charts amazing. But it doesn’t feel like much of anything to her. We are also much less likely to orgasm that way. So I think that’s why men get turned on more by the pounding part.

  3. I’m wondering if the retching responses have to do with whose doing the sexting. Would these same women still retch if Brad Pitt or George Clooney did the sexting? Interesting how men search google for penises more than women. Just goes to show who really has the penis envy.

  4. Well it’s kind of intrusive and just being a creep for a man to do that, especially a stranger. No wonder its funny or a turn off and not arousing for women. I don’t know how these guys don’t get it or think this way. It may be one thing if a guys showed an overall pic, but these guys i believe show close ups of their dicks ha. I don’t think women are fond of nude pics in general from guys thehy dont know via text,etc, but especially close up ones. On the same token, I as a man would not be turned on by a close up for a woman’s vag either, and it wouldn’t be too pretty either, especially a close up as most guys like to know or see that the woman is pretty or her body along with it. Boobs close up yeah, well depending who from, but not to closes up of the vag.

  5. Thats what i call “the mirror effect.” In the head of a man a catcall is awesome. Just imagine a man walking in the street and women telling him how big is his penis, or his chest, or how handsome he is. So they(men) say that kind of thing to women. Sadly, women dont enjoy that. The same about this.

    About “vagina is gross” im not so sure, im really sure that if you ask a group of men what they think about vaginas they are gonna say “gross”, but if you show them pics of some vaginas and see what happend. Just visit reddit for some girls gone wild and a lot of men ask for some pictures of vaginas.

    Even me (yes, im just only one), enjoy watching pictures of vaginas in deviantart, and i found them pretty sexy and beautiful.

    • The mirror effect makes some sense.

      As I mentioned to a commenter above men seem to be more okay with vaginas than women are with penises. And that might be because when a man enters a woman’s vagina it’s pretty off the charts terrific, not to mention the orgasm that quickly follows. So he has a strong association of great pleasure with a vagina. If he’s sees a picture of a vagina that might make him think about that. Other guys may well think vaginas are gross, or have no desire to look at them particularly, since men are much less likely to do a search for “vagina” than “breasts.”

      On the other hand, when a penis enters a woman it doesn’t feel like much of anything. She notices it but it doesn’t feel especially good. It feels okay. It can feel painful. Only about 20% of women are likely to have an orgasm this way. So she is less likely to come to associate seeing a penis with great pleasure.

      I bring this up because it seems that as porn has increasingly turned the “money shot” into man ejaculating on top of a woman, men increasingly associate a picture of a penis with ejaculation, and men are beginning to get more aroused by just by looking at a penis. Because he thinks about orgasm now when he sees a penis.

      But women are less likely to have an orgasm from anything having to do with a penis. Because for some odd reason women are much more likely to have orgasms from clitoral stimulation.

      • Interesting theory! Makes a lot of sense.
        Yeah, penises are basically the hub of pleasure for men, whereas for women, it’s like, meh.
        Now that I think of it…I’ve never had the chance to sext anyone, but if I did, I *would* be interested in a dick pic because it’d make imagining penetration easier, but I’d perhaps be even more interested in a picture that showed his hands. So I could imagine him doing things to me with those hands. When I check out a guy, I *always* look at the hands, lol.
        (Also, I’m not sure if by “for some odd reason”, you were actually curious about the reason, lol, but Sperm Wars by Robin Baker has an interesting, evolutionary biological* theory on why. Apparently, if it’s harder for a woman to orgasm, then that allows a woman to gauge a man’s sexual prowess via his capability to make her orgasm. If he’s capable of making her orgasm, then that shows her that he’s probably had some practice before, & that means that other women have found him sexually appealing enough to have sex with him – therefore, any sons she has with him would also be more likely to be found sexually appealing by other females, which would help spread her genes even more. Now that I think of it, perhaps that could explain why – if it’s true – women would be more likely to fall in love after orgasm than men, but that’s not true, anyway, it’s been debunked.**)

        * I actually very much recommend Sperm Wars. Unlike PopEvoPsychTM, it actually captures how both men and women are wired to be both promiscuous and monogamous, in different ways. Here:

      • Evolutionary psychology is all over the map. Full of contradictions within a particular theory and among different evolutionary psychologists. And it tends to be Western-centric.

        In non-patriarchal, sex-positive societies (very few still exist today) women have no problem having orgasms. I’ll be writing more about that in the next few months.

    • and this give us another question, by evolution in not interested in women (again)pleasure?, why a penis can give a women pleasure?.

      As a guy im really happy that enjoy sex is really easy for me, but what evolution dont care about women.

      • Women are interested in pleasure, but they receive it best through the clitoris, not the penis. I have no idea why. So they will be with partners who care about them and will do foreplay – which is really usually the main event for women? As opposed to selfish men who only care about getting off, themselves? Maybe these more caring men make better fathers so that women will seek them out?

        Who knows?

      • I actually love being penetrated. Having a guy give me oral doesn’t really do much for me and I rather have the guy penetrate me with his fingers during foreplay. I’ve had this conversation with 3 of my girlfriends and one agreed that oral doesn’t do anything for her and she needs deep penetration to orgasm, another friend said she likes both but it’s just difficult to find a guy who’s good at oral sex but she still needs to have P in V sex to be fully satisfied. My third friend said oral is pretty much her favorite thing in the world and getting penetrated does absolutely nothing for her, and it can be nice but its mostly for the guy so he can finish after she’s done.

        I also do like looking at a man’s erected penis, especially seeing my bf really turns me on. Surprisingly my friend who loves oral sex but doesn’t get pleasure from a penis also loves loves the sight of an erected penis.

        So I think it really is different for every woman. If women didn’t get pleasure from a man’s penis than dildo’s probably wouldn’t sell as much as they do. It probably also depends on the two people’s sexual compatibility. If a guy is too small, too big, likes slow sex, or only likes having sex in positions I don’t like then I wont enjoy it. Which is probably how my friend who said she never liked oral sex until she finally had a guy who she thought was good at oral do it for her to change how she feels about oral sex.

      • About 20% of women orgasm when a long penis stimulates their cervix. Others may also orgasm from penile penetration, though it’s just less common than w/”outcourse.”

        Another 20% find cervix stimulation painful.

        Also, women are more likely to O from digital than penile penetration, since you can reach the G-Spot better that way, and especially good if combined w/clitoral at same time.

  6. I agree with your conclusion that “It seems men are a bit more obsessed with the sight of their penises than women are.” Men probably sext pictures of their penises because they get off on it, not because women do. It’s enough for these men to pretend that women like it.

  7. Your posts are thought provoking. when my 5 year old son saw his baby sister’s private parts for the first time he said “Look mom, she has no handle”! Growing up I realized that it is a physical object that men “hold onto” and so forth and so on. And as for being a female, While sensuality and erotic sensations are most excellent things to dwell on etc., most women tend to look at the whole picture more … in my opinion anyway. Great article, here! 🙂

  8. I know you’re going to tell me I’m on the far end of the bell curve again, but I wanted to say that I find a man’s penis to be FAR more sext worth than his chest. I even request my lover to send video/pics of his if we can’t get together that week.

    In my mind, a pic of his chest would be too impersonal. I mean, it’s nice looking and all, but it’s not very “sexy”. Male nipples are smaller, and in my experience, they always look erect…unlike female ones, which can at least show excitement. Sending a picture of his chest would arouse me about as much as a picture of his elbow or ankle.

    A penis, on the other hand, is very stimulating. Yes, it’s used for urination, but that’s hardly the first thing that comes to mind, right? If my lover sends a photo of his erect member, it turns me on to know that he’s thinking of me (or is at least horny too). If he sends a pic of himself flaccid, then it’s arousing to think of everything I could do to make it erect. Win win, either way, in my mind.

    But why don’t normal women typically enjoy seeing this? I mean, “retching” is a pretty strong term…I’d certainly never use it to describe my reaction to looking at someone’s body (especially since it seems harmful to their self esteem and rude besides!). What if a guy said that seeing a picture of his girlfriend’s vagina made him “want to puke”? I think people in general, and women in particular, need to be a bit kinder when discussing male sexuality…

    • Yep, you’re on the far end of the bell curve again, as evidenced by the responses Tracy got at Salon.

      But a lot of men will be happy to know that women like you are out there. I have heard from others who say the same thing. Both women who get aroused by seeing penises, and men who love that some women do.

      But men should keep in mind that this sort of sexting is very different from actually being with a man that you love.

      Actually, I suspect that if a woman opened her vagina and sexted a picture of that, a lot of guys would find that gross, too. I had a discussion with one guy who said that he thought pictures of vaginas were kind of gross. We agreed that organs just seem grosser than other body parts.

      So I’ll have to say that I wouldn’t feel insulted or upset if guys got grossed out by sexted pictures of vaginas. It makes perfect sense to me.

      A neuroscientist (the one I reference in the post) did a study of what people search for on the web, and guys were much less likely to search for vaginas than breasts.

      However, studies have found that men are much more comfortable with both men’s and women’s genitalia than women are with either. Maybe that’s in part because women have been taught more that sex is dirty.

      Also, a man entering a woman’s vagina creates an incredibly wonderful sensation for him. But most women don’t feel much of anything when a penis enters her vagina. She’s more likely to feel aroused by clitoral stimulation, which a penis isn’t so great at. But associating vaginas with that kind of feeling, and the orgasm gets, will likely make guys find a vagina more appealing.

      While some men may be hurt by this post, it might be helpful for them to know that while women love the male member of the men they love, women are not necessarily going to enjoy being sexted it. And much less so from a man they aren’t in love with.

      • I agree with that, to a point.

        If a man besides my FwB sexted me just a random picture of his penis, I’d probably laugh or crack a joke. I wouldn’t be disgusted unless the pic had a hurtful, scary, or intimidating caption along with it.

        Then it goes from being a body part to being a threat.

      • And maybe that’s because women can also associate a penis with rape, and perhaps more so when it’s a stranger’s penis.

        (While date rape is more common than stranger rape, most women don’t experience rape with the men that they love.)

      • Yeah, of course.

        If a guy sends a pic of his penis, like they are wont to do on Xbox Live…they’re either kidding, or they’re trying (really badly) to flirt.

        But if they send the same pic with the message “I’m gonna make you like it”, “Tell me where you live so I can give it to you”, or a legitimate threat of rape/coercion…BIG difference right there!

      • Well, the responses at Salon are hardly a scientific sample.
        Some women are turned on by sexting, and some boys do report feeling pressured to send a dirty pic to his girlfriend (which would imply that the gf wanted one):

        Click to access sex_and_tech_summary.pdf

      • Well here’s more evidence: Women Aren’t Visual? It Depends

        But if you were to ask the same question of men — “would you like a woman to sext her boobs to you” — you would get a hugely different response. So the response that she got means something.

        Our society objectifies and fetishizes women’s body parts, but we pretty much ignore men’s. So it’s no surprise that you get this difference.

        Porn makers have been trying for years to figure out how to get women to buy porn, And very few women will pay for it. If large numbers of women found the penis visually arousing then porn producers would have no problem making money off of it.

  9. Ahhh–this man was so poorly named–as many, many others have said already. Great article.

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