Why Women Dress Sexy

Why do some women dress sexy, showing off their cleavage and body, but get mad when guys stare?

Sexy Mila Kunis

Sexy Mila Kunis

That’s what a guy wanted to know on a forum called Date Hookup.

One woman replied,

Women don’t dress sexy for ya’ll to stare at…women dress sexy to make other women jealous.

But most said they wanted men to look, “but not too much.”

Just because she wants the attention doesn’t mean she wants a guy to be a perv about it. Looks… yes… comments and prolonged obvious stares…NO

Curious as to what my women students would say, I asked them. 

I surveyed 25 women in my “women’s psych” class and 24 more in my “intro to women’s studies” course. I had them rank a variety of choices on a scale of 1 to 10, one being low agreement and 10 being high.

The women in both classes answered very similarly. Mostly, they wanted to get attention and feel good about themselves, as in “People notice me and think I’m attractive.”

That’s probably because most of us have been taught that our worth depends on our looks.

Okay, but how is that divided? Do they care more about how men see them, how women see them, or how society/the world sees them?

My students were evenly divided among the three categories. About one-third were focused on women’s perceptions, one-third dressed sexy because society/the world values attractive women, and another third were focused on men. Notably, the easiest way to get feedback on whether you look attractive by society’s standards is to see how men react.

Did anyone want to look attractive so that men would be nicer to them and do them favors? Yes. About 1/5 did.

Another fifth enjoyed having a large choice of partners.

And one-third wanted to attract the interest of a particular person.

When I asked whether women dressed sexy because they enjoyed men’s desire and were turned on by it, nearly all of them ranked that a “1.” One gave  it a “0” with exclamation points!!!!!!!! The only exception was women who desired the lust of a particular man who they were attracted to. They did want his desire, and got aroused by it.

So that’s what my students say about why they dress sexy.

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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 June 9, 2014, in body image, psychology, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 184 Comments.

  1. This makes sense. In society we are often taught that our worth and looks are related. Women want men to look but not “too much” … not sure that’s possible given the effect that women have on men sexually speaking. It is interesting that women are interested other women’s perceptions as a reason to dress sexy. I guess it’s the competitiveness in us that wants to outshine other women? What’s also interesting though is why we think dressing sexy will make us more attractive. Getting people’s attention of course feels nice – “wow they noticed me”… but if it is because of our bodies (legs, cleavage, etc.), does that really make us feel good inside? Apparently so. What I notice more than looks is a person’s smile and disposition. It is possible to radiate beauty and confidence without dressing in a sexy way. Of course, I am a bit older than the average college student so I’m seeing it from a different angle altogether. Also, I was a bit shy when I was younger and did not want to draw attention to myself either.

  2. I don’t think dress sexy is only apply to women but men too. The only different is men would not dress less clothes to look sexy since it is not in our social construct. In my point of view, it is partial blame to the entertainment and media industry, where it promotes the concept of dress sexy. A young hollywood star dressed sexy for her birthday party and then it was on the news and social media. Men might interpret it as an invitation or seeking attraction. While women would think that they would get more attraction if they dress sexy. Regardless how you look, I think self-confidence always beats the look just like in Phenomenal Women by MAYA ANGELOU.

  3. Regina Phillips

    I can definitely understand why women “dress sexy”. As a women, I sometimes wake up feeling good about myself and want to dress “sexy”. I believe in some weird way it gives women a boost of confidence. Not every woman has the same definition of sexy and not every woman wants attention from a man, however it does feel good to be noticed.

    Some women may enjoy dressing sexy because they are trying to keep up with all of the different fashion trends. Social media is a huge part of most people’s lives and we see images that are appealing and we want to mimic what we see. Women spend a great deal of time shopping and purchasing clothing that compliments their bodies and I believe when you look good you feel good. I am pretty sure most women want to look and feel beautiful and dressing sexy is a way to satisfy those feelings.

  4. When I wear a dress that shows off my figure I wear it for the purpose to show off. I put on tight dresses because they boost my self esteem. And yes of course I want men and both women to look at me. But i’m not going to lie I “choose” who I like looking at me or not. For example sometimes when a older not to cute looking man checks me out I feel uncomfortable. When a cute young man checks me out I feel a boost of confidence. Like I said before I where these dresses for myself and myself only but it isnt so bad when a get a little attention. What does piss me off is when a man will consistently stares or cat calls. I am a human if you wanted to talk to me you could come up to me like a gentleman. Some women maybe brush you off, but that’s ok that doesnt mean every women is like that. One thing I’ve also notice is when a very pretty girl checks me out I get a little self conscious because I wonder if I look as good as her. These thoughts make me feel guilty because I’m not trying to compete, but my brain makes me feel like I am. Wanting to look good and sometimes even better than other girls. It honestly just depends, you can catch a girl on a good or bad day.

  5. First and foremost, this was a very enjoyable read and excellent work in incorporating very interesting yet amusing facts! After reading this, I got a clearer idea as to why women tend to dress sexy and some of the rationale behind it and goals in doing so. Before I read the article, I came in with the mindset that women dress sexy in the intentions of getting attention and feeling good about themselves or in simpler terms, “People notice me and think I’m attractive” (Platts). While Platts confirmed that theory through her class surveys, what really changed the game was when she proposed three categories in regards to the potential rationale behind why women dress sexy. The categories ranged from women either: A) Caring more about how men look at them B) How other women see them C) Based off of how society sees them. Interestingly, this is when the responses became more “subjective” and not so much coming to one big conclusion. Some women believed that society and the benefits of looking attractive was to blame, while others thought that the reasoning was all behind women’s perceptions. Nonetheless, the article debunks the myth that women dress sexy in the hopes of getting “turned on” by men’s desire; a myth debunked after Platts confirmed this through a class survey. Overall, the topic of “Why Women Dress Sexy” in some respect remains a very broad topic in our society today, however, in reading Platt’s work it gave me a different perspective to appreciate as a student enrolled in a Women’s Studies course.

  6. I can understand all of these reasons for dressing sexy. There are times when I feel like being sexy to feel good about myself, which is actually most of the time. But, there are times that I dress sexy to catch the attention of a specific person. I don’t think it’s wrong to dress in a sexy way for any of these reasons, not even just to impress men in general. What I do think is wrong, is that men expect that it is always for them and that a woman only feels good if a man is attracted to her. There is an issue with men feeling entitled to a woman’s happiness and body when it comes to how she’s dressed or his attraction to her. Especially when strangers engage in cat-calling. There is nothing that makes me feel like showing less skin than unsolicited comments from men on the street.

  7. I completely agree that women dress “sexy” to feel good about their selves. Women also like to feel attractive and just to catch attention of their desired sex for a partner. The fashion industry has a huge role to play in this. We, as a society can only buy clothing of which is provided for us. The fashion industry also knows that women will buy clothing that shows or draws attention to women’s better parts of her body. I found it very interesting that you conduction this study on your student, and being a college student; I did not find much of a surprise to this study. Being in a college atmosphere there is a range of women that dress “sexy” and those who also dress in t-shirts and running shorts, not seeming to care all that much. I think it would be interesting to conduct the same experiment on women who dress in lazier attire.

    • One of the question I ask was whether the students ever dressed sexy, and most did at least some of the time. They’re the ones whose responses I used.

      For the lazier attire what sorts of questions would you be interested in?

  8. Solome Banjaw

    I believe most women like to dress up sexy for all the reasons above. When women wear sexy cloths sometimes people think of it as she is interested in sexual things which is wrong. With fashion changing time to time some women wears whichever they think it’s sexy from the new looks. Growing up in a different country, it was very difficult for girls/ women to wear what think is sexy because there are so many negative comments from other people. I remember an older woman telling telling me i should never wear a dress shorter than my knee because it’s distracting to men and the public. what they are wearing is very shameful. Of course for majority of our generation we liked and enjoyed wearing those type of clothing until a pervert come and argue to walk with us because the cloth is “Calling” him. After i moved to the united states i was able to wear whatever i want without anyone stopping me and telling what i am wearing is wrong.What i think is sexy in my own opinion is something that fits me perfectly and looks good to go out with. I wear something sexy because i like it and and it gives me more confidence not to attract men in the wrong way.

  9. I agree with some of the stats that were provided such as 1/3 of women dress sexy to gain the interest of one particular person. I think that a lot of girls do that but i also believe that a lot of women dress sexy for themselves and as men we need to realize that rather than assuming women dress sexy just for sex. A lot of men will dress a certain way for themselves and women do the same.

  10. For the most part, I agree with this post. I also dress up and wear make up to feel better about myself and feel more confident. I have this belief, that when I wake up and get ready I always tend to have a better, happier day. When women get ready and put on make up, they all look prettier and better, so of course they’ll be receiving comments and complements. I think that for the most part women do not get dressed up to get every mans attention. I know that when I am looking at myself in the mirror I don’t tell myself “Let me change shirts and put some eyeliner on so that this guy and this guy can look at me and like me.” What I don’t agree with is, “That probably is because women have been taught that women’s worth is based on their looks.” Although I can see why this post mentions this, I believe that women are not worth depending on how they look. What they are able to do, have achieved, all their hard work, love and care for a person, a career and their lives is what makes a women worth so much. Women are told by the media and internet how they SHOULD look, but it does not necessarily mean that if they aren’t the best looking that they are not worth anything. Girls and women should continue to get ready and wear make up and look how they want to look for themselves and for their own confidence and self-esteem.

  11. I agree. Personally, when I get dressed up nicely and put on makeup I feel more confident. There were times in high school where I would physically feel sick because I didn’t really get dressed for the day, and therefore felt unpresentable. Sometimes I would straight up go home because I didn’t want other people in my class to see me. Honestly, when you’re lookin’ good on the outside, it really does give you confidence to conquer the day, or at least that’s what I’ve found for myself.

  12. I, as a young lady, agreed with the opinion that women are willing to get attention from men by wearing sexy clothes. However, I don’t think this kind of behavior actually attracts men. As I read some articles, it points out that the sexy clothes doesn’t take much visual stimulus at all for guys to become sexually aroused. The sight of the female body, even just a little bit and even if it’s a complete stranger, can trigger sexual thoughts instantly. This might be difficult for women to understand, but it’s absolutely true. In reality, the article let me think how much pressure women suffer. They care so much about how men looks about them and they believe the sexy apprearence will help them get the attention whereas inner beauty is much more important than apprearance.

  13. I feel that whenever I want to dress “sexy” its for myself, and never for guys. Its the same way with makeup. No girl wakes up in the morning and says “Wow, I’m going to do my makeup all pretty for Jason.”, or “I’m going to wear this dress out because Kyle wants me to.” Sure we all love to be told we are pretty, and even sometimes crave the attention of being noticed by men, but from personal experience the feeling of wanting to be sexy and pretty stems from self approval. It goes along with the saying; “When you look good, you feel good.” When I look put together and even sexy, confidence hits me like a lightning bolt. I stand up taller, and am a lot more outgoing, and will even do things that I would not normally do, simply because I feel good about myself.

  14. Johann van Niekerk

    Tell me if there are no men around how many women will dress sexy?

    • In our society women are judged by how sexually attractive they are. And that may well be because men have been in charge. But if for some reason you have a world with no men, and a woman’s worth was still judged by how sexually attractive she was, then the vast majority of women would want to be sexually attractive. On the other hand, if we lived in a world without men and a woman’s worth was not judged by how sexually attractive she was, then most probably wouldn’t find it very important.

  15. Mehtab Bhinder

    In a society where our outwardly appearance equates to our self worth, I think women definitely feel a lot of pressure to look good from a very young age.Because we are taught girls should look well put together and good at all times. Since this is ingrained in us from a very young age, I feel as if whether we want to dress good for ourselves, society, men, or other women it’s necessary to get some sort of validation from someone else to see ourselves as sexy.

  16. For me, I think I’m more tend in the division of women’s perception. The reason why I wanna dress sexy is want to be more beautiful than others and want other women to be jealous. For example, when I hang out with my boyfriend’s friends, I don’t want to be inferior than other girls. Like what you mentioned above that I want my partner be proud of being with me.

  17. why do women really dress sexy? women dress sexy to get attition and feel good about themselves. from the surevy we can see that women are divied equallty into these categories :How men see them and how women see them, and how society and the world sees them. In my opition dressing sexy doesnt mean you have to be showing cleavage or wearing short short, someone can feel sexy in a pair of jeans. If dressing sexy, showing cleavage, legs, makes some one feel good about themselevs then why not. I agree people are much nicer to you when you are dressed sexy. But you also have to be ready to get stares and comments. Because some men just dont know how to admire and keep their mouth shut. i say dress in whatever makes you feel good, and if that means showing cleavage then so be it. People will always have something to say weather it postive or negtive.

  18. This is very interesting. Its good to know that not all women care what men think of them, or at least say they don’t. I think this is a harder question to answer though. it is certainly true that everyone in this society has their self-worth judged based on thier physical appearance. It is really sad, but it is very true, and that definetly plays a part in why people dress the way they do. I didn’t even intitially think about trying to impress other women, but, now that i think about it, it does make alot of sense. I suppose there is the need to be accepted by other women.

  19. Savannah Owens

    The answers your students gave made a lot of sense to me. There are many different reasons as to why women dress sexy. It is important to note that none of those reasons included trying to get raped. All around the world, men rape women under the excuse of “she was asking for it”. This excuse is ludicrous. No matter what a woman is wearing, she is never asking to get raped. If I chose to dress sexy, I should not have to fear being sexually assaulted. Men should have the ability to control themselves. Men are not animals who have no control over their desires. They are highly intelligent beings who can control their sexual desires regardless of what a woman is wearing. Claiming otherwise is simply a copout and an excuse to blame women for rape.

  20. As a male kid growing up, I was always taught that you should dress how you want to be addressed. So I feel like some women dress the way they do to grab attention from a lot of men, and some just want flaunt here beauty in front of other women. I just don’t get why females would get offended if men overly stare at them. I get it, its really creepy when a man stares at you and it probably annoys you, but wasn’t that your reason for dressing that way? In my opinion I feel like women dress sexy just to feel wanted. Its like no matter what, she can get any man wrapped around her finger.

    • At base, it’s probably a self-esteem boost. Women are judged primarily by their looks, and if men look that gives them confirmation that they are attractive and “Worthy.” I think men have no idea the kind of pressure women feel to look attractive in order to feel good about themselves. Instead men are looking at the situation from their own perspective. The woman looks hot and the man wants her, so he assumes that she is experiencing the corollary of what he is experiencing — he wants her and she wants to be wanted (he thinks). But she doesn’t actually want so much attention from him as to wrap him around her finger. I’m talking about your average woman walking down the street here. I actually get your point that it seems contradictory that a woman would dress an eye-catching way and yet be annoyed when men stare at her. But humans are contradictory. And as you note, it is creepy to be stared at. So they want the confirmation that they are attractive, And therefore worthy, yet it’s also human nature to get creeped out when someone stares at you.

      The women who did want to be wanted were talking about a man they were interested in having a sexual relationship with. And since women are the sex objects in our culture, They get turned on by a man’s wanting. See this: Women Making Love to Themselves

  21. I believe that both men and women dress up to impress one another, also to impress themselves. Dressing up sexy may mean a variety of things to different women, for example some may think that dressing up sexy is showing a lot more skin than usual, while others may think that dressing up sexy is being all “dolled” up. In today’s society dressing up “sexy” is not too hard to accomplish, all you have to do is throw on a short tight dress and you’ll be considered sexy, not all agree to this though. I do know some girls that always want to dress up sexy to impress other people, or just to have someone notice them. These girls have told me that they do this due to lack of confidence and they believe that dressing up sexy gives them that boost of confidence. I think that if they need that extra help then so be it, dress up sexy everyday.

  22. There are plenty of reasons as to why women dress sexy. For me personally, I dress sexy when I go out sometimes because it boosts my self-confidence. I start to feel naturally good about myself because I look aesthetically pleasing. It’s nice to look appealing to the eye. There is no shame in that. My dressing sexy is not for other women to be jealous of me nor is it for men to stare at me. It is a personal statement I tell myself, “Hey, if you do good in this world, you’re allowed to feel good and look good as well.” If women and men stare, out of spite or just to admire, then so be it. I have no control over that. Their further action will be what I have to worry about.

    Also, sexy can be defined in many different ways but many different women. Sexy can be sweats and a hoodie, or some jeans and a pair of chucks. Sexy does not always mean a little red dress outlining your curves with some high heels and your cleavage teasing every men that pass by.

  23. I like this article, do you mind if I reblog this with my own language?

  24. I understand why som of the girls dress the way they do with regards to how society tends to favor this particular manner. Regardless, as long as that women is comfortable with what she wears than her intentions should NEVER be questioned in the first place. That being said, she should never feel obligated to explain herself to anyone ever.

  25. In the article “Why Women Dress Sexy” the author took a survey of her students to find out why they dress in certain ways. For the most part the women answered that they wanted to” get attention and feel good about themselves, as in people notice me and think I’m attractive”. When asked if they dressed that way because they enjoyed men’s desire and were turned on by it they mostly all said no. Just because a women is dressing “sexy” doesn’t mean she’s necessarily trying to turn men on. Unfortunately we live in a society that our “worth” can be determined by just our looks. So if a women is dressing a certain way, it could be just to be seen as important. Not like look at me I’m better then you, but more as a way to be accepted and not just written off because she isn’t “attractive”. In other words dressing sexy can be a way women don’t get looked past, making men think about who that women is instead of just how unattractively she is/is dressing.

  26. nicolette qubain

    I love this topic!!!
    Why do I think women dress sexy? I think that women dress sexy because they have the confidence to do so. Do I think they do it because they crave attention and want men to notice them? NO. I am the type of girl that goes out wearing form fitting clothing, v-neck tops, tight jeans and I am usually in heels or wedges. I don’t wear these types of clothing for anyone but myself. I am confident, I work hard in the gym and I eat right so that I am able to wear clothing that emphasizes the body that I work for and that I was blessed with. Just because I choose to express myself in a way that makes me feel good about myself, does not mean that I want attention. I am actually a very shy and slightly awkward person. I don’t want men to approach me or comment on my looks, it makes me feel uncomfortable. I wear what I wear for myself. I have enough confidence to dress sexy that I do not need approval from anyone else. I obviously know I look good 😉

  27. This study basically confirms my own thoughts and observations regarding women’s motivations regarding their style of dressing. There is a definite line between someone thinking your attractive and being offensively interested in you. It is interesting that feeling as you look attractive is a ego-booster because it frequently seems like that attractiveness is defined by what men find attractive, which isn’t something that heterosexual women would have any inherent insight into. It would be more like dressing to fulfill a concept of attractiveness patched together from various portrayals of women in the media and personal role models.

    I feel this study would also be more representative of men as well if it wasn’t for the entire concept of sexy men being perceived as ‘gay’. It does feel confusing sometimes that the harder you try the farther you get from your goal. The more you appear to dress for women’s attention the more it seems you are dressing for men.

    • Women get a sense of what is considered attractive just by looking at media, whether it’s men’s reactions to a woman in a movie, Or Women that are used to model — what do they look like? The closer you feel you fit that look the more attractive you with think you are. So yeah I agree with you on that. But even men’s ideas of what’s attractive very from culture to culture, based on what the culture says is attractive pulling skinny, curvy, obesity, tall, short, hair color, hairstyle…

      With regard to the idea that sexy men can be perceived as gay, There are exceptions. You might be interested in this post: Do Women See Sexy Men As Sexy? https://broadblogs.com/2015/05/06/do-women-see-sexy-men-as-sexy-2/

  28. Finally!! A post where I can vent my troubles! Being a young woman in today’s society, I’m not shy to admit that I make an effort to dress attractively. Personally, I find it to be very effective for myself. However, at times, yes, it does gain some unwanted attention, regardless of gender, and I find myself squirming under penetrating glances. Do I feel that I brought that upon myself? NO! Why? Because I don’t choose my outfits with the intention of getting effects out of people, either distaste or desirable, but rather for the appreciation of the beauty and the attractiveness that the clothing has. I dress with the idea that my clothing represents uniqueness, which personally, I think is one of the most attractive things about me. I find that my confidence comes from the empowerment my clothing represents and in turn desire myself.

    Although I find my artistic side benefiting to my self-esteem and how I present myself to others, I too often see the other side that this brings. A commenter above me stated: “I sometimes wonder if in the world we live in today that only becomes possible when one gets older. I definitely would never have considered that possibility in my teens or twenties.” Personally, I actually find it harder to connect with older generations and often see their hesitation in conversations and judgment of my character and abilities because of how I represent myself with my style. Often, I feel like I’m trying to be repressed while conversing to some people and feel like I should be degraded to the image of myself as a small child trying on her mother clothes. In closing, being a young woman, representing attractiveness while trying to succeed in today’s society, is no easy task with social norms of women’s identities being a constant and the continuous lack of education on equity. This forum was excellent and I really enjoyed the feedback from everyone!

  29. The only reason i could think of why women dress sexy to me would be because i want to make myself feel pretty and beautiful or i want to look sexy or for my partner who wouldn’t want to look great for their partner, i honestly don’t see anything wrong with that at all.

    • You’re right. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to attract a mate or sexual partner — that’s human nature. That just isn’t always the main reason why women dress sexy. But since in America a woman’s worth is so tightly tied to how attractive she is, self-esteem can be even more important to her. Unfortunate.

  30. I think that men often have a grey area of what consent is, especially today with the popularity of the internet. We have access to any information we want, at the click of a button. We can know whatever we want about our friends on social media because we keep our profiles constantly updated. We can also type just one word into google, and hundreds of thousands of porn websites will show in the results. Sex has always been something that was kept private between consenting individuals, but the internet has drastically changed that by making it such a public affair. I think that the internet has served to blur the lines of consent and has made everything seem within boundaries. This is why men get confused that women are offended by their stares when wearing sexy clothing. Their thought is ‘its ridiculous that she’s upset when she’s the one wearing the revealing clothes. Doesn’t she know that any man in their right mind would look?’ It’s common for them to deflect the issue back onto the woman and blame her for her clothing choice. But really it’s not about that. Just because a woman decides to wear a short and tight dress, does not give a man the right to stare or say degrading things. Her wearing that dress is not a form of consent to that behavior and it doesn’t inherently deserve that type of response.

    • Interesting thoughts. Maybe it has some effects in certain ways. But this isn’t a new problem at all. And in fact, rape is actually down from historical levels. I will write about this sometime but gender inequality and violence against women go hand-in-hand. The more gender unequal a society is the more violence there is against them. Sometimes it is perpetuated precisely to make women feel demeaned and disempowered, And sometimes it’s just a part of the culture that doesn’t care about women and their feelings or their well-being. Over time we have become more gender equal in the US and rape and violence against women are all decreasing. Rape is down 75% since the early 1990s. (This statistic is based on victimization surveys — randomly calling people and asking them if they have been the victims of various crimes.)

      But there has been less of a drop among young male perpetrators — I suspect because they’re just entering manhood in a world that’s still values men over women, and so they’re motivated to demonstrate their manhood, which is still attached to so-called “male superiority” — demonstrating it either to themselves or to other men. The problem tends to be biggest in fraternities, where older guys pass down to younger guys a legacy of male superiority, and white superiority, and superiority of one fraternity over another — they’re very hierarchal-minded. So fraternities are more dangerous than general society (and it depends on the fraternity — they aren’t all equally dangerous). So you have a whole atmosphere in which demonstrating so-called “superiority” of one type or another seems to be very important.

      It’s ironic because anyone who would treat another person in such an inhumane way is actually demonstrating their inferiority. Their complete loss of humanity.

  31. I agree with the results of the survey. Society tells women to care immensely about how they look, but most of the time are ridiculed for it. A woman could be considered “vein” or a “tease.” She could also be “asking for it,” some men show aggression to women who dress sexy because they know the woman is unintainable and it questions their masculinity, which could lead to violence. Masculinity is what drives men. I appreciate clothes, I love dresses, skirts, or anything printed with floral, but overall I love the clothes that accommodate my body type and make me feel good about myself. womem should be appreciated for their beauty, not disrespected for it. In the end it goes back to respecting each others bodies.

  32. Yahaira Arreola-Rodriguez

    I also agree with the results of the survey to the main question of why women dress sexy. Most women, that I just asked, agree that we dress sexy to feel attractive and appreciated but not to get disrespected. Women’s confidence grows significantly when receiving compliments about their looks. Most dress sexy to get some attention and to be noticed. For many, they choose to dress to look good for both sexes and sometimes just to impress either women or men. For young teenage girls, they dress sexy more to fit in or to start transitioning into adulthood. Unfortunately, another reason why girls and women dress sexy and provocatively is due to peer pressure. Many find it terrifying to stick out in the crowd and not follow the trends of everyone else.
    On a bad note, many women don’t know how sexual they’re dressed as until they have been cat-called a couple of times. However, women should know that they get what they are advertising. If women only advertise their bodies, truth is all women/men will just be going after their bodies. If they advertise the inside beyond just body parts, then they will be attracted to much more.
    Overall, women dress sexy to feel beautiful and feel as appreciated as the next women. However, some do not know how to respect a women when dressed too provocatively. Both women and men should learn how to respect their own and the opposite sex’s bodies.

  33. After reading the blog post I could say that the answers from the survey were reasonable and true. For women to dress sexy, I feel is a different definition for each individual lady. Dressing sexy for one can be a form of giving a confidence boost for themselves and to feel proud and comfortable in there own bodies. As well, it can be meant to catch attention from men or women. But attention to the point where appropriate complements and comments can be brought up. However, nothing to the point when it comes to men attention and it feels a bit perv feeling thats where it gets uncomfortable for some women. Im pretty sure thats not the point to which many women are aiming for when dressing sexy for themselves or for others. Overall, every woman in this world have there own definition of dressing sexy and the way in which they chose to express it, should be respected.

  34. I often time hear women (myself included) saying that they enjoy dressing nice, because that’ll make them feel better about selves. The hidden assumption between the lines is that women will get more attention and compliments from men when they dress up, thus they feel more confident or generally good about themselves. I honestly find myself sometimes spending lots of time preparing my look before I leave my house when I feel a little down and need some extra positive energy to continue my day. Then I asked myself if guys’ opinions on my appearance matter that much to me, and the answer was unfortunately yes. Over the years, my male friends’ opinions on my appearance or fashion style have drastically changed my style. For example, I’ve recently been surprised by how much pink-colored clothes there are in my closet. And the reason I started wearing pink clothing was that my dear guy friend told me in 8th grade that he noticed I didn’t own any cloth in pink. As a young teenage girl, I freaked out by the casual comment and was worried that I didn’t look feminine enough to guys. So over the years I’ve insisted to buy clothes in pink to deny that comment to the point that I now own too many pink clothes!

    As mentioned in the blog, women don’t want to admit their real intentions behind dressing sexy. Because they’re likely aware that they are gaining attention and compliments from other people by putting themselves out as sex objects, which is in contrast to their self-esteem and independence. 1/5 of students in your classes admitted that they wanted to look attractive so that men would be nicer to them and do them favors. I think most of them understand that this is probably not the best way to gain respect and help from men, but they probably would agree that this is the most convenient and effective way, which women enjoy doing a lot. Connecting to the different gender roles in American dating culture, the reason that women keep letting men opening the doors, pulling the chair, paying for the first date for them, etc. is that they simply enjoy all of it so much. Even though many women (including me) recognize the unequal gender effects in these traditions, we still do because it’s just very difficult to reject them when we still LOVE and ENJOY them. So my question to you is should I feel guilty about helping maintaining the old ways of dating because I recognize the unequal gender roles in dating culture and yet still enjoy my “privileges”?

  35. I completely understand what one of the ladies who replied to the date hookup forum meant when she said she dressed sexy for attention, but not so much that it takes a perverted turn. I know there are times when me and my friends dress up sexy and go out (as most 20 year old women do) and of course we want others to notice that we look good and put effort into our outfits, but what we don’t want is the whistling and the intense stares that feel like the stranger is undressing you with his eyes.

  36. In my opinion, I think its not right when a woman obviously tries to dress sexy to impress either men or women, then gets upset or even self-conscious when men stare too much. Women don’t understand that when they dress like that, their giving men the opportunity to look at what they have to offer. To add to that, men do indeed get aroused if a woman dresses a specific way, because they often fantasize what they would do to that woman “in bed” while staring. And i’ll admit, i’m guilty of doing that as well as many other men in society. Furthermore, I believe that it is completely wrong for women to say that men objectify them when they ask for it through the way they dress. Thats all I have to say, thanks for reading.

    • It’s difficult because Women are caught in a double-blind. If they look sexy they can get comments that make them feel uncomfortable. If they don’t look sexy they can feel like society devalues them.

  37. I agree with the one third of the women; in that I dress “sexy” to feel confident. However one person’s definition of sexy might be different from another. I wonder if men react to the different types of “sexy” that are out there. It would be interesting to see what one girls version of sexy is compared to another. Then to get men involved, because they are often the target audience, we could ask if they think a certain “type” of sexy appealed more to them.

  38. I strongly believe that women dress up SOLELY for other women , NOT for men , guys need to avert their eyes from women , as most women really hate a man looking in their direction. Women do not ” check men out ” , so guys , do the same…eyes to yourself !! , It seems a lot of men are learning this & here is an article on this same subject


    • I surveyed my women students and about one third dressed for men, one third dressed for women, and one third dressed to feel good about themselves — feeling like they were meeting society’s standards of beauty. And probably all of them are dressing to feel good about themselves. Since female beauty is tied so closely to their self-esteem. And when men glance at them it helps confirm that they are attractive, so of course plenty of Women don’t mind guys noticing them. But that doesn’t mean that they want catcalls and staring — which is rude. And it doesn’t mean that they’re trying to get men to proposition them. Or that they’re seeking out sex with the guys who notice them.

      My guess is that guys who dress to look good have similar motivations. But because men’s sexuality is much less repressed — and much more celebrated, and because men are less likely to fear women, and because guys earn points by sleeping with women, they would probably be much more open to having sex with plenty of the women who notice them. But even without that they would probably dress attractively just for self-esteem.

      But I find the article puzzling because women still complain so much about staring and cat calls. Unfortunately, must still be happening.

      • Here in the UK , catcalling & very overt sexual interest are very rare , as it is not in the culture here , we are generally a reserved bunch. I must admit I tend to ignore strangers of both genders when out & about , only a handful of people , mainly family , receive any attention from me. Mind you , most people are buried in their smartphones & not looking where they are going anyway !!

      • Oh yes, the reserved Brits.

  39. This is an interesting article!! In Tokyo, many high school student (girls) wear their uniform so short. Many of them almost can see their underwear. Thats why, in trains, men, who are from 20s to 70s, touch their hip or try to have sex in the train. I know that sounds so creepy. Women say that the men who touch are really crazy, but men say that women shouldn’t wear their skirt too short if they don’t want to be touched.
    My school was really strict to the uniform, and I didn’t take train to go to school, so I have never had the experience, but I understand the both opinions. However, I thought that it’s because women want attentions from anyone, but this article says that it is because women want to get attentions from men who they like. I cannot agree with the survey. I felt like that in the survey, people tried to make the answer normal (though I don’t know) because even on the SNN like Instagram, women often post selfies and I though that they want to get attention. Also, that is what I thought, so this answer surprised me.

  40. This survey seems totally reasonable. I’m a girl and I like to dress sexy, usually to go out in a club. Thinking about why I like to dress sexy, I think the reason is that I want to feel pretty and confident, but I also want others (both men and women) to feel that way about me. Moreover, sometimes I like to dress sexy even at home. I want my bf, who I live with, to look at me and like what he sees. I know that if love exists, he will like anyway but its all about to make me feel good about me. I don’t blame myself for that, and I don’t think its wrong. Women care about how they look much more than men do. It’s all about what society made to us, this is what most people see as “normal”. This is part of our gender roles.

  41. In high school I definitely believed that girls who showed their legs and cleavage where somehow morally loose. I couldn’t figure out why they would dress like that and it angered me. Of course I have since realized that this is a completely stupid viewpoint…I still feel uncomfortable with women using their bodies as tools to entice men, but these days it’s more out of concern for them and disgust for the men who take advantage of them.

    Straight women check out men all the time, without freaking men out or making them feel like objects. Straight men need to learn from women in this regard. There’s a difference between appreciating a sexy body then returning your attention to the lecture or whatever; and then there is fondling a body with your eyes, not tearing your gaze away, getting caught up in a fantasy of what you could do to that body, talking to her about how sexual you find her body …one is miles more polite, respectful, and dare I say -healthy- than the other.

    Something I didn’t see you address is how a woman feels when she -accidentally- dresses sexy. I’m sure all women have experienced this– realizing halfway through the day that your shirt is too loose so people can see down your collar when you lean down, or that you’ve grown a little and now your skirt is too short, or that you wore the wrong bra and now everyone can see it through your shirt, or that your favorite most comfortable yoga pants kind of show your underwear outline. There is no rest for us! It deeply upsets me that women can throw on clothes in the morning and still be perceived as having some kind of nefarious agenda towards men…“she’s temping me” or “she’s flaunting what I can’t have” or “she must be desperate”…do men -ever- have this problem?

    • Thanks for your thoughts. While researching on this topic I did see some women talk about wearing shorts because it was hot and being mistaken for wanting to look hot. Otherwise, I know that women can feel embarrassed and quickly cover up, Or feel uncomfortable all day if they can’t quickly cover up, and hope that they weren’t giving the “wrong impression.” But I think it’s sad that women so often end up worrying about this sort of thing. It shouldn’t be such a big deal.

  42. My wife is pretty and l love she complains l go home late after work why do l have to go to pub talk about fooball and we all make cheessy jokes yes this mite be true in most relation after a year or two the pijamas are not that sexy and you wish you was man enought to tell her in the morning please no mouth kissing before tooth brushing as time passes the breath gets stronger. Other than football we speak about some good experiences we had before marage witch men only speak if his sure his wife is not in the same building few things in these stories makes these stories very similar and these are long legs this means high heels mini tight clothes ,make up , a whole bottle of perfume, some have sexy stockings and few drinks all man out there would like their partner to facelift their pure pretty body. Please not those wierd pijamas and those ag boots whitch look like barefoot men do sale their friend when it comes to……. And it was similar cheessy jokes that made her laugth when we met???. And l feel l have to say ladies some ladies going to work smart is not 20cm clothes and playboy style shoes , stockings you all know men do loot and some men will involve they minds. Sorry for my spelling.

  43. Khaoula Mouman

    If anything I dress sexy for myself. I want to buy an expensive dress for MYSELF, put on makeup for MYSELF, wear something a little tight for MYSELF. I have battled with loosing weight and when I wear something that shows off my body a little it helps motivate me and helps me keep going on my journey to being the weight I want to be, by seeing the progress that I have made.

  44. I agree with most of the responses, because i do think it is reasonable to present yourself a certain way to attract the attention of others. However, i also will dress a certain way just to feel good about myself. If i need a boost of confidence, i will wear something that accentuates my body. I also think about how others will perceive me when i get dressed in the morning. LIke most people in society, i like to make a good impression on people so i take that into account. Sometimes i do dress sexy, however, i am cautious on how society will perceive me when doing so.

  45. The problem today is much broader. This is a societal problem.
    The value of a person is defined by the gaze of others and that’s the problem here.
    A woman who does not look and feel desired by men for her physical appearance will draw the wrong conclusions about herself and her overall qualities as a women.
    In other words, she believes that if she is not appreciated for her physical attributes, then she has no value. I must also say that men contribute to that. A sexy woman attract our attention more easily.Where it is sad is that we confuse beauty and sexual attraction.
    A woman in mini skirt will create desire in men but not necessarily respect. A beautiful woman can be of no physical desire, but rather create admiration. And seriously, some men prefer to marry a sexy woman too. What we want is certainly a beautiful woman, but who respects her body and don’t share it with all the men on the street for them to stare at.

  46. ” I don’t see any evidence that they are. Looking at tribal cultures where men couldn’t care less about women’s breasts and butts, what are they interested in? What’s the visual cue? ”

    Boobs and butts and hips are visual cues. Breasts show sexual maturity right? It’s about reproduction, and breasts develop during puberty and on. Prepubescent girls don’t have boobs. Every hear child bearing hips? Those exaggerate when a girl goes through puberty and gets older. Men and women’s hips are different, women’s are wider and the differences come and show more after puberty. They’re signs of fertility and health which is why they are visual cues. Sure tribal men aren’t turned on by them exposed in their natural element and casually, but they are main parts notice as they signifity fertility. I mean it’s probably a reason no one gets turned on by ears.

    I think fertility and aesthetics also factor in and not just said body parts being covered up. Simply put, toned muscles groups just look or can look nice and certain “fat” can look really nice. Cartilage and bone specifically, no. That’s why, ears which simply aesthetically are weird looking and shaped don’t turn people on. Feet though ugly to me, I think is not as much aesthetic as the fetish due to how women’s feet are slightly sexualized in a way with all the types of shoes and sandals, etc. Though I still don’t understand foot fetishes seeing how feet smell and just aren’t that nice looking.

    • They might be a visual cue. But they definitely are not arousing in every culture. Most guys don’t get aroused just because they see a girl with childbearing hips.

  47. Strictly a pheromones thing for women. Obviously it is for men too. But I think while tribal and nudist men are less visually stimulated than men of our culture or industrialized culture. I think even these men are more visual than you think. I remember reading something from a man from a nudist colony, who brought up how everyday nudity wasn’t sexual. And naked people and women treating their bodies casually. But there were times that they could be sexual or a turn on when say in dance or movements etc done with purpose to be sexual or seductive. So even men being visually turned on even in a nudist colony when something is done out of casual way and women or a woman moving or treating her body in a sexual way. I think that’s true in tribal cultures too with most visual not sexual but given times near nude or nude bodies of these women being to provoke a response from men when treating their body in a sexual manner from seduction. Women always stemmed to have that art. Why? Because the visual capacity men have or can be brought out. I don’t recall men tribal or not being to dance or use their bodies movement wise to turn on or seduce women.

    • On nudist colony, tribal: anyone can communicate through body language, but I’m still not sure what evidence you have.

      Here, it’s harder for guys to communicate the way you describe because it would seem gay. Because we associate that behavior with women. In some cultures, men behave that way. Like the Wodaabe of Nigeria in Africa.


    • How do you know that tribal women are not visually stimulated, though? One thing that hasn’t been spoken about is just a sense of eroticism that transcends gender. I don’t know if most people are capable of this, but sometimes looking at a nude woman i imagine what it’s like BEING her. I’m not transgendered, I don’t feel I should have been born a woman, but it’s a sort of transference. I wonder if women ever feel the same way when they see a naked man? I mean just the idea of being naked, being aroused, the sensual experience of it. Do women simply have less capacity to relate?

      Yeah, while some women definitely can be visual, I’m wondering just how they get aroused? With men, it’s straightforward: I think it’s related to touch, actually. Ultimately, orgasm is a feeling…as is what leads up to it. The blood vessels respond to a sort of ‘touching of the brain’, it’s like a part of the brain gets stimulated by testosterone or whatever. It seems that women report ‘feeling sexy’ as important in arousal, but with men not so much. Maybe I’m an outlier in that the feeling of being desired is a big turn on for me.

      But as Georgia said, in some cultures it is the men who wear makeup and dance seductively for the women. I would say the visual aspect would definitely be less in tribal societies, but being the visual creatures we are, I don’t think one can discount it. But most of us certainly turned on ONLY by visual things.

      That’s just my perspective, anyway.

      • Women in our culture are more likely to be visually aroused than tribal women, who see nearly naked guys constantly. When you see it all the time it’s no big deal. In Western societies women don’t see it so much, yet Playgirl goes bankrupt. They can appreciate a hot male body but it’s not sexually arousing because we haven’t socially constructed it to be that way.

        With this African tribe where the men are clothed and dolled up, and show off the whites of their eyes and teeth (that’s male beauty in that culture) and move in ways that might be alluring, maybe it’s sensual. But it’s definitely not gay, like it would come across here.

  48. So I guess the million dollar question to all this is…what exactly is it about men that women are so sexually attracted about and why? Women simply attracted to maleness? Since not that visually physically attracted to men though the biggest difference and obvious differerence between men and women is the body and physical aspect. Should women do things in bed when such actions are insincere? I know it’s a shock since women are used to being turned on by their bodies being desired but men actually like and enjoy being desired as far as a woman visually lusting and being turned on by his body. But seeing all this.. It’s obv a pipe dream and such actions acts and arousal from women is not as strong or legitimate as a mans arousal toward her.

    • I’ll be posting something on sexual orientation and biology later. For now I will mention a study in which women and men both sniffed a derivative of either testosterone or estrogen. When straight women sniffed estrogen the hypothalamus remained inactive. When they sniffed testosterone it activated. Straight men were the opposite. So there is some sort of innate attraction to the opposite sex for heterosexuals.

    • Maybe that’s the reason I admit to sometimes having bi/gay fantasies (sorry if this is off-topic). Unless a women is sexually dominant, I guess for some males it seems he is always the one being the desirer, the pursuer, the one ‘doing all the work.’ While this is okay, it would get tiring if this was ALWAYS the case, imo. I think males want to be lusted after, and also pampered, to an extent, but few will admit it. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand female desire from experience, but the lust of gay men always seemed a lot more visceral than that of women, which on the surface at least seems more chaste.

  49. Yeah mating like animals, in a boring, I want the pleasure of sex mundane routine fulfillment, get your intimacy, rocks off. Yeah that’s depressing, it makes me think of the discovery channel, but I understand it, the primal basica level with humans just havign sex to reproduce and bond, which almost sounds mechanical. I don’t know if I would as I don’t know how it is when old and if your thoughts and eyes change with age and growing old with a wife or not. But plenty of old couples, have less sex or stop having sex and still are happy as they enjoy their company and perhaps their libido drops or they aren’t into each others bodies or they’ve doen everything with each other for so many years that there isn;’t that sexual excitement anymore. But couples are happy and just fine.

    Without visual arousal eh that sucks, I feel bad for women and men having to deal with so many asexual women. Luckily the ones I’ve known seemed quite visual toward my body before “liking” me and not in some asexual, admire beauty type of way. I hope there’s more visual girls than you say. So you’re fine with sex without visual arousal? It’s easy to say that as you’re a woman and women get that visual attention to their body and desire from their men. So I don’t know what women would do if guy’s stoppped being turned on by their breasts and asses? That means they’d stop playing with your boobs and pleasuring or less now or doing so simply for your pleasure and not their pleasure in playing with them, because of the visual stimulation sparking the strong desire and enjoyment in doing so.

    • I’m not interested in convincing you to stop being visual. I really don’t care. I’m just trying to explain how women can want sex and relationships with men even though they don’t get usually turned on by them.

      • Yet on one hand you say visual arousal is learned, but that female visual arousal for males is suppressed?

        I don’t know what the truth is. I would say in nature the visual component is less important, but still present. I think culture, fashion.etc sort of exaggerates the visual aspect, especially sex-selectively.

      • It’s not that female visual arousal is suppressed. Visual cues would have to be innate for that to be the case. As I mentioned in my last comment to you, There is no evidence that visual cues are innate for humans. It’s simply that visual cues for women aren’t learned when it comes to men. The cues aren’t socially constructed.

        Arousing visual cues are created (socially constructed) by selectively hiding and revealing a body part. The tension makes it arousing: I want to look, but I can’t. And so women often learn the breasts fetish because in this society women’s breasts are both hidden and revealed, creating the tension. It’s not that women have an innate ability that isn’t repressed. It’s that something that is not natural is created.

  50. “Arousal is natural and happens to anyone who hasn’t been repressed — and then there are degrees of repression, affecting how aroused a person can get.

    What isn’t natural is being aroused visually. And the whole visual arousal thing can cause problems.”

    What are you getting aroused by then if it’s not visual?
    sounds? thoughts? I would think visual would or should be another component or big factor to arousal.

    “But my point was that not being aroused visually doesn’t mean that you have no sexual desire. So even though hetero women aren’t visually aroused by the opposite sex doesn’t mean that they aren’t sexually interested in the opposite sex and can’t enjoy sex with them.”

    What the hell is this sexual desire and where is it coming from without visual arousal? and why are women sexually interested in men without the visual? I guess the sex enjoyment simply has to be an emotional, sex/pleasure, touch perspective, but not looking at his body. If so it’s because they like or love the guy. That’s really unfortunate and doesn’t feel genuine. So basically, which I figured the acts she does in bed, and turns her on has to be due to it pleasing you and it turning her on to do that, but not because of your great body itself. I don’t believe it. It was to be duee to “you” and not your body. So why have a girl go down on you when or whatever seeing that it’s fake? cool she may be enjoying it, but not they way you’d hope. I know guys aren’t picky because they are just happy getting sex and just getting a bj, but It sucks thinking the desire is not true.

    • It seems I can’t get my point across so I will try one more time. If this doesn’t work I give up.

      For most of human history no one has been visually aroused. Yet there’s been plenty of mating.

      Or, to take a more extreme case, let’s say you get married and over time your wife gets wrinkly and her boobs and butt get droopy. You are no longer visually aroused. Will you stop having sex? Maybe you will, but plenty of people enjoy it into old age.

    • Well personally speaking, I would want my girlfriend/wife/partner to find my body sexy, but I know female sexuality doesn’t always work the same. Still, females CAN be more visual than we think, and it depends on the woman. Sight isn’t the ONLY way we are aroused: personally aside from the physical sensation of touch, even a woman’s voice or what she says can be a turn on. I will agree that the visual is the PRIMARY thing that turns me on.

      However, if a woman doesn’t have a strong and definitive visual preference for males, would that make her sexuality more malleable? In a sense, a juncture between asexuality and pansexuality? Or would there be other things about maleness that turn her on, that say another woman could not?

      Since we are primarily attracted to the opposite sex (most of us), I would think there still has to be something beyond societal convention that makes women much more attracted to men. While I am still at times vexed and even annoyed by the idea of women seeing women as sexier than men, I sort of understand why this is the case now. For instance, while not really gay or bi, I find the image of a hot, sculpted, young man more sexual than that of say an old out of shape woman. So even males aren’t immune from this conditioning.

  51. Growing up, I often asserted that I will dress however I wanted — which almost always meant if I was comfortable and I liked the way it looked, that’s all that mattered. The strange thing is that it’s still the same today, but with a twist. As I’ve matured, I’ve come to realize that what I “like” is intertwined with what I think others might like. That actually includes how elders might think of me, so I wouldn’t consider myself to dress “sexy”.

    The last few times that I found myself looking through my clothes and feeling unhappy because I didn’t have anything nice to wear, I felt terrible. It goes against everything I’ve held on to for so long. The thing is, my self worth does have a lot to do with if people think I’m attractive. This means that if I don’t think others will find me at least conventionally attractive, I will find my self-esteem spiraling downwards. Yet, by thinking about others while dressing myself, I am hurting myself. I try pretty hard to not criticize myself for it, because “it’s only natural”. It’s upsetting though, because there is so much more to a person than how he or she dresses. Unfortunately, first impressions last for a long time, and are formed immediately.

    • ‘As I’ve matured, I’ve come to realize that what I “like” is intertwined with what I think others might like. That actually includes how elders might think of me, so I wouldn’t consider myself to dress “sexy”.’

      Yes, our self-esteem is largely based on others’ perceptions. I think those that think it has no bearing on how others view them are sort of deluding themselves or just ignorant.

      If you really ‘dressed for yourself’, I think you’d prefer the most comfortable clothing, wouldn’t you? Even if it were dowdy. Or you’d go around starkers. Even in places where it’s technically legal to go nude though few people do it, even in summer, which probably says something about social conventions/norms/peer pressure.

      Peer pressure does not end when you graduate high school or college…

  52. What the hell is so fun with the experiencing part without the visual? So basically the enjoyment is simply from physical pleasure you get and give to the other? How about the fun it is watching her body bouncing around? Looking at said body because it’s just so nice looking and desirable during sex. that’s said to experience and lack the visual. And if it’s just because it’s arousing because it’s her body and because it’s part of her but not related to said esthetics that’s sad too, Sex is so fun for many reason and looking forward to it, is visual in my mind. To lose that, would suck. I remember seeing a report about some nudist couples or the wife nudist and would be constantly nude at the house all day vacuuming, etc. And I remember thinking I would not want that. All the fun with sex would just be the pleasure from sex itself but not visual fun. I feel bad for women if they don’t get the visual fun and how fun it is looking forward to undress and play with said body parts and touching and seeing them after them looking so enticing in clothes.

    • I have felt sorry for women — and myself — too, for not being able to experience the visual part. But I have also come to see that there is a huge downside to it in that it causes an awful lot of sexual dysfunction in both women and men.

    • What about blind people? Can they not have fulfilling sex lives? Or how about when people turn off the lights when doing the act?

      Visual is one aspect, but not the only aspect. Touch, mood, even sound definitely play a role. Being a male, you’re also probably more visually-turned on.

      I think the de-sexualisation of the male body is one reason why female sexuality has become a bit ‘convoluted’ as Georgia said in another of her posts. With males, it’s obvious: women are sexy…whereas women are told by society that women are sexy too, and males are not, which might dampen their own arousal towards males.

  53. “And yet, the tribal experience was the human experience for the bulk of our time on this planet. So that is what is actually natural.”

    Arousal is not a high commodity, it’s more of a luxury. Most of human existence was wearing what they could wear to stay warm and if in a warm country they kept clothes off. The reason being is because survival was priority. Shelter, food, protection, all that we take for granted humans during those times had to constantly figure out and prosper. Life expectancy being low just getting by was the premium. Other things take the back seat from there. I remember it was common during egyptian period for men to only live till 30.

    • Arousal is natural and happens to anyone who hasn’t been repressed — and then there are degrees of repression, affecting how aroused a person can get.

      What isn’t natural is being aroused visually. And the whole visual arousal thing can cause problems.

      But my point was that not being aroused visually doesn’t mean that you have no sexual desire. So even though hetero women aren’t visually aroused by the opposite sex doesn’t mean that they aren’t sexually interested in the opposite sex and can’t enjoy sex with them. Where hetero women have difficulty enjoying sex with men, it’s due to repression, Not from not being visually aroused.

      • I’m not sure if I agree that visual arousal is not ‘natural.’ For instance, in nature (again going back to biology/zoology lol) certain traits signal sexual availability, such as the reddened swollen rump or swollen breasts in apes, and I’m sure the male is turned on by these visual cues. I would say that visual arousal is a component, some of the time, but I do agree it’s been highly exaggerated and fetishized in this culture. Since we’re not people who go around not wearing anything it’s hard to really say what it would be like if we didn’t wear clothes, and nakedness wasn’t a trigger for arousal.

      • I don’t know how visual arousal works with animals. Sometimes it’s about scent, like a dog in heat. Other animals have extensive meeting dances, where it’s more about the interaction than a visual cue.

        The higher you go up on the evolutionary ladder the less instinct there is, and the more our behavior is learned.

        I do know that among humans men in tribal societies don’t respond to visual cues like breasts, so it can’t be natural. Meanwhile, Western women can learn the breasts fetish. Both of those factors evidence the learning involved.

      • Yeah, we don’t really know either, but I think visual arousal is at least somewhat innate, at least in males, and somewhat learnt. It’s not only breasts, either, but other body parts or cues.

      • There is clear evidence that visual cues are not innately arousing. I don’t see any evidence that they are. Looking at tribal cultures where men couldn’t care less about women’s breasts and butts, what are they interested in? What’s the visual cue? Probably nothing different from women: symmetrical features that suggest health. But that’s not arousing. It just makes the person appear more attractive.

      • I’m not sure if I agree, with respect it’s maybe because you haven’t experienced the same visual arousal as most men, but I feel even when I started puberty visual cues could produce intense arousal. Of course I can’t prove how much of that is innate, but I personally do think some of it is biological. Maybe the fact is females really are, in general, just a lot less visually stimulated. Since they are supposed to be pickier, wanting to copulate with every male might not be in their best interests, but then again, in some ape societies females are kind of like this. Maybe females are more of a ‘blank slate’ where visual cues are concerned, but I have no personal sense as to how they are aroused, as you have no personal experience of how being aroused as a male is like.

      • Of course it feels biological to you. Cultural constructions are experienced as biological. The only way you can tell they are not is when you find cross-cultural differences.

        And women can certainly be visual as evidenced by their ability to develop a breast fetish. I developed one when I was younger but repressed it because that’s just not acceptable in our culture. You’re in the locker room and not supposed to notice, and so you don’t. I don’t experience it anymore in any obvious way, as I did when I was younger, but I do have a memory of it. The fact that women can learn a fetish that doesn’t fit their natural sexual orientation shows that women clearly have the ability. (Regarding sexual orientation, the thought of being with a woman had never occurred to me — it was just the breasts that were a sex signal. I had never had a crush on an actual girl and it had never even occurred to me to think about them that way. When I got older a very attractive woman came on to me and I thought she was very sexy, but as I ran through how things would go in my mind I got nauseous when I came to the actual sex part. So as far as I can tell I’m hetero but managed to learn the fetish. When I got into sociology, The social construction of reality, The social construction of sexuality, it all finally began to make sense. And it begins to make sense to a lot of other women who end up reading my blog post on the topic, which has been shared on sites like Yahoo answers. A number of women and up on my site by googling phrases like, “I like breasts and I lesbian?” When you see how strongly our culture sexualizes and fetishizes breasts, it’s no surprise.

        Women Learn the Breast Fetish, Too
        Women Seeing Women as Sexier than Men

        Men: Erotic Objects of Women’s Gaze

  54. I feel that sexy is a matter of opinion so there are two points here really. One is that I feel there are sometimes I dress up because I am going to see someone but sexy can be something comfortable in that circumstance, that it is just putting more thought into what I wear without over doing it. On the other had there are times when you want to show off or show up based on what others consider “sexy” and dressed up and that is a matter of being self conscious and wanting to impress others which is not something people should be doing for others. It is all about what makes you feel a certain way and then dressing however you want. It can be empowering and good but dressing for others is a slippery slope and you should always make sure that you are comfortable in your own skin and clothes and not be anything for anyone else but for yourself. Now dressing for a job is another thing too because you want to be comfortable emotionally in what you are wearing because dress code is a thing but there are plenty of ways to work around dress code so that you are comfortable with what you are wearing in the work place too.

  55. “Women haven’t been taught to sexualize the male body. Tribal men haven’t been taught to sexualize the female body. Men who’re overexposed to porn stop getting visually aroused by the female body. You don’t need to visually sexualize a body to be attracted to someone and want sex with them.”

    I don’t know, I’ve looked at a lot of porn, and while naked breasts don’t provide the shock value they once did. They can still be quite arousing as well as a nice butt to look at, even seeing plenty before hand. It hasn’t stopped me from being turned on from girls I date or meet or from their bodies naked. The only difference is the shock value is gone, but that’s it. I’m sure that’s the case for plenty of men who watch a lot of porn too. Tribal men are primitive where everybody is naked so obviously nudity is not a big deal in it’s basic element. It’s not so much tribal men aren’t taught to sexualize, they aren’t given any incentive to sexualize, because women walking around naked all day ruins it for them.

    That will naturally dull your visual senses, seeing something all the time with no mystery. But in some tribal cultures, the women are topless, but their hips covered, because that’s a sacred or sexual body part. And I’m sure there aren’t television ads sexualizing said body part but simply its an attractive feature, fertility related that men like which they don’t get to see and look forward to seeing, so sexualized. Men don’t have to be taught to sexualize women’s bodies. If a woman has a body part covered, especially relation to feminiity and fertility, then it would be eroticized without media or ads doing so. Media just exaggerates the sexualization more so.

    I have to be sexually attracted to one’s body to want sex with them though. When you say you can look and simply admire a nice looking man and do the same as women and kids, etc, that makes me wonder how sexually attracted to men’s bodies you are. It sounds more so like you are sexually attracted to a particular man that you like’s body, but not men’s body. This makes women sound so asexual. I’m sorry but there are plenty of cute, pretty, hot attractive women that I don’t have to know personally, yet still be sexually attracted to them. Well because I’m a straight man, you know women’s bodies are (not all women), sexually attractive to me, not men, which is why I’m straight. And this seems to be the case for most straight men.

    • And yet, the tribal experience was the human experience for the bulk of our time on this planet. So that is what is actually natural.

      Fetishes are caused by selectively hiding and revealing. So much so that women can even learn the breast fetish when they are heterosexual.

      Maybe you haven’t been overexposed to porn. I’m talking about guys who have said that they no longer get turned on by nude women. Maybe you still do. My definition of overexposure is if you can’t get turned on anymore.

      And just because guys aren’t turned on by breasts doesn’t mean they are no longer heterosexual. Most men who have been with a woman for a long period time no longer experience a breast fetish with regard to her breasts. He starts to experience her body more similarly to how she experiences his. You can find each others’ bodies beautiful and attractive, but not highly arousing. And sometimes the visual part of sex simply goes away entirely, and you’re left with the experiencing part. That’s the part that is actually natural. And that’s the part that works the best for women. A lot of the reason women experience sexual dysfunction is because they’re so distracted by visual concerns. Usually worrying about how their body looks so that they can’t experience sex. Some are distracted by thinking how great their body looks so that they end up distracted from experiencing sex. Or guys notice that the girls they are with don’t have a body that looks like porn stars, and they get distracted from experiencing sex. The whole visual thing causes all sorts of problems. It’s not natural. And it’s not even helpful — it’s the opposite.

    • I’ve had similar thoughts, Bob. Like in nature films, for instance, it usually depicts the females as being rather apathetic or uninterested in sex, and who will ‘allow’ the male to mount her. Yet females also desire sex to, and can be quite proactive about it (hyenas, bonobos), yet for the obvious reason that in nature sex leads to pregnancy, they have to be more selective about it. It varies a lot with species too, of course. I don’t know why pandas only have sex on one or a few days a year, but for the most part pandas are pretty uninterested in sex. It’s mostly munching bamboo for 16 hours a day (and sleeping the rest lol).

      But getting back to humans (yes I know, I have a tendency to compare humans to animals, because we are animals after all, although we do have culture and society), yeah traditionally – at least in say western culture in the past 150 years, there’s been the virgin/whore dichotomy: women are either portrayed as chaste, angelic, saintly, rather meek virgins, or else as loose, sexually rapacious and often villainous figures. Just consider some of the ‘femme fatales’ and other female characters in literature and film who came to disaster because of their sexual promiscuity. I think this has also influenced the perception of female sexuality over time. The vibrator, for instance, was first invented as a medical treatment device to treat ‘hysteria’.

      But in terms of women desiring males for the male body vs just a man they’re into…yeah not being a woman i can’t speak from experience, but what Georgia says does make a lot of sense. One woman once said that she felt birth control pills had a large impact: that off the pill she appreciated men a lot more. As a male female sexuality sometimes seems a big mystery to me, but I can appreciate how society further changes things.

  56. Nice post Georgia 🙂 I wear those clothes, I am comfortable in. Who doesnt wants to look sexy including men! I dont want a guy staring at me badly instead I dress sexy sometimes because even I want to look good for myself and my partner 🙂 Not to make any women jealous or grab an attention of any guy.

  57. It seem hard for us women to dress sexy as some men interpret it the wrong way. And as in one comment, men do like a sexy woman and can’t help looking… then they shouldn’t get slapped. I like to dress sexy just for my man especially when we are together… and even more when we are at home together. That is the best hting for me and gets the best reactions.. hehe

  58. “Well, I notice and appreciate attractive men without desiring them. I also notice and appreciate attractive women without desiring them. I can notice and appreciate the beauty of a variety things without desiring them: children, flowers, a beautiful view, fantastic artwork, a lovely home…”

    I always find this weird when women say this. No offense, but what the hell makes you straight or women, when attractive men can be compared to be simply aesthetic like children and flowers or scenery or other women? Of course I would expect you to say you can notice and find women attractive without desring them if you are straight. Of course you aren’t going to be attracted to any good looking man, just like I’m not attracted to any woman either. It’s weird how you compare the two men and women, like you are asexual. There should be a difference with how a straight woman looks at a good looking man versus women if she’s straight or man to scenery. What makes women straight then? Attracted to men’s physical strength, personality, financial/leadership role, protector, a man’s dick?

    I fin that interesting because if it was non physical related, I already saw you discuss how women and men have feminine and masculine side, just men not expressing or being able to express their feminine side in society. So a woman that’s physically strong, masculine demeanor would be attractive to a striaght women now vs a man with a feminine trait? A man can act womanly and a woman manly, but I mean the physical is still what makes men, men and women, women. You say you have to know the guys first, but there still has to be something you see with a man even one you just see vs a woman, if the man is good looking and catches your eye. I call this bluff when women say such things making it seem like their appreciation visually to men can be aesthetic purely just as much as theirs to women and other things. It might not be her wanting sex with him then and there, but there can be a hint of desire too or even if not, there’s something more than just visual appreciation and sexual attraction related.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve been glanced at and caught some glacnes for girls I didn’t know or saw some glance at a guy they thought was hot vs girls looking at anotehr pretty girl. There is a difference with body language and their eyes. I don’t know what a girl is thinking, but if I’m to put a subtext to her expression when looking its like “mmm” or “oo la la” “or nice body/butt!”, vs girls looking at a pretty girl it’s like “she’s got nice legs” “oh she’s pretty” “I like her shoes, pants, etc” You see with the first, there’s obviously something sexual and not purely non sexual, whereas the latter one is simply admiration, which makes sense if a girl is straight.

  59. To the comment I read where it said,

    “The difference between men and women here. Now if this was reverse and men were asked and were asked this based on if men enjoyed women’s desire and turned on by it. You bet your ass men would say so ha. An attractive or probably even average looking woman could turn a man on if he sees that she’s visually lusting after him.”

    A man might like to know women think he’s attractive, but would he really enjoy just being stared at and ogled to the point it was getting weird? Again, I don’t think we are talking about the odd subtle glance and a smile, we are talking about staring and ogling.

    My response: Not all guys stare really long and it’s weird to the woman because she doesn’t like being ogled. It would be weird if the woman was staring for a really long time, but even guys don’t stare too long. But a stare, a lustful one would probalby turn guys on. The difference is even if a man glances and a girl sees him looking she can be annoyed. Or even if she likes the attention usually it’s simply that, a compliment. Whereas, a man seeing a woman visually lusting for him, that’s more likely to turn a man on if that woman is attractive him. I don’t know if a hot girl was ogling my body, I’d most likely be turned on, flattered and turned on.

  60. “I think men do dress, as well as work out, to impress and compete with other men. Not necessarily sexy, as that is not as valued in our culture, but things like business suits or the latest brand names, it’s social status all the same. I mean straight women aren’t trying to attract women either, so it’s mostly a self esteem boost when other women admire her sense of style. Being sexy is also a way to fit in with peer pressure.”

    No men don’t. That’s my exact point. Women dressing sexy is more so about themselves, whereas, men trying to look is relation to women. The only thing men may do to compete with other men is lifting weights and getting muscular. This can be due to some men trying to be intimdidating and look like an alpha male and be superior to other men. But as far as dressing in a nice shirt and looking stylish goes, no, not true at all. Sure men dressing well can be competing with other men, but why do you think that is? Because of girls/women.

    If a man tries to look better or wants to look better than another man it;s usually related to get the edge on other men to put him in a superior position to be higher on the totem pole so to speak for women’s attention and eyes. Men dress sharp look better than other guys and to catch women’s attention. Seriously if all the women vanish on earth, you really think men would dress up in nice botton up shirts and get toned and fit? or manscape?. Women are the incentive for men putting the effort to look good. You’d probably see much more men with zz top like beards ha in places where women are scarce or an all male place unless those men are gay or bisexual.

    I probalby wouldn’;t let myself completely go, but I’d care less about gaining weight, growing a big burly beard and dressing in just sweat pants if I wasn’t around any women. I mean what’s the point? I’m not a narcissist, I’m not going to get my rocks off looking at my own body and don’t really care what others guys think as I have no sexual interest in dude and have no incentive in competing if there are no girls providing such incentive.

    • Well, a woman’s worth is more commonly judged by how she looks. That’s why women see it that way. And their sexuality is more repressed, so they’re less likely to dress to get laid. Plus, it would be scarier for them to do that.

    • I think many women say it’s about themselves, for themselves and all that, but a lot of what we do is sub-conscious, and some won’t readily admit it is deep down attraction. Not saying they’re all lying or clueless, but I think sex and sexual selection controls more of our behaviour than we like to admit.

      It’s the same thing for women. Women can be even more competitive than men, really, even if it’s behind smiles and outward compliments and stuff. Not EVERYTHING men do or how they dress is because of girls/women, just like girls don’t ONLY dress for men. We both dress for our same-sex peers (social standing) and the opposite sex (social standing and sexual attractiveness), and just because of self-esteem…today the emphasis in female fashion is ‘sexy’, whereas in another era that might not have been so much the case.

      • If the women were dressing to attract men’s sexual interest, and drawn to these men sexually and got turned on, why would they get so annoyed when guys express sexual interest? Wouldn’t that be a good thing?

        That’s what confuses guys. That’s what they often think should be happening. But it doesn’t. The reason it doesn’t is that the women aren’t dressing out of a desire to have men sexually desire them. They’re dressing sexy to get feedback that they are attractive (a turning head will do)– which in turn boosts their self-esteem.

        I’ve found that self-esteem frequently trumps sex for both women and men. At frat houses guys gain status/self-esteem based on how many women they have sex with. I read about one guy who had sex with a really high status girl and all he could think about was about going back to the guys with his triumphant news. He was more interested in that than the experience of having sex with Christy. If you look at the reason people have sex for the first time it’s hardly ever about pleasure. These days, half of women and men have sex the first time because they love the person. In the 80s only a quarter of men did it because they loved the women. Half of them did it to create a sense of themselves as adults/men. That’s 75% having sex for non-pleasure reasons. Only about 12% were seeking pleasure.

        And I don’t think it’s surprising that self-esteem so often trumps pleasure. Self-worth gets to the heart of who we are. We all want to feel good about ourselves.

        And I don’t see how it’s about sexual attraction. Because these women don’t want to have sex with all these guys who stare at them. Maybe that’s due to repression in part and maybe that’s due to just not finding every single guy who looks at them attractive. Studies have found that women are much more particular about who they find attractive, so while most men find most women at least somewhat sexually attractive, most women don’t find most men’s sexually attractive at all. (Now, different women have different taste, and so all men will find some women who find them attractive.) That bit of data is reported in “why women have sex” by Meston and Buss. Buss is an evolutionary psychologist who thinks that it’s because women need to be picky in order to choose the best mate. I think it’s because women’s sexuality has been repressed pretty strongly, and meanwhile, women are strongly sexualized in our culture and men aren’t. If there is any natural reason at base to explain that unfortunate discrepancy, as usual our culture steps in to exaggerate a natural sex difference, repressing women’s desire and encouraging men’s by encouraging men to have as much sex as possible and heightening the sexualization of the female form. So, for instance, tribal societies don’t sexualize the female form in the way that ours does.

        The reason women dress sexy is self-esteem. Typically, women’s self-esteem is primarily based on how attractive they look. People want to feel good about themselves, and do what it takes to achieve that. That’s what the women say, I have no reason not to believe them, and that has been my personal experience, as well.

        Since guys see the world differently it’s probably hard for them to get inside a female mind and body and imagine that women see the world in a way that is so foreign to the male experience.

        By the way, I come up with a lot of my blog posts based on the comments I get. I’ll probably end up doing a post on this topic. So thanks!

      • Well firstly not all women are annoyed when male’s express sexual interest. Many actively seek it. It’s part of the hook up culture today. For many women, their entire identity is based around sex appeal, being a sex object. I can’t say the percentage, but when I used to go to clubs or whatever I’d see it all the time. A lot of women, like men, actively sought to get laid by the end of the night, that’s just the culture.

        Some women want to control the amount of desire they receive – look but don’t touch – and it gives them a self-esteem boost. Mostly, I think, it’s just to fit in. Sexy is cool, sexy is desirable.etc, so if all your friends are wearing clothes that show leg and breasts it is more of a statement to wear something more modest. I’m sure some women don’t even think about it because it’s just the way things are done.

        I have to say that it still is, in large part, about sexual attraction, but maybe not always consciously. I still think that sexual selection is one of the primary motivators of behaviour, it’s part of the survival instinct but on a generational level. I’m not saying it’s the ONLY reason, of course, but I don’t think you can discount it. I would say fitting in/standing with peers helps cement social bonds too. Like a male who is able to mate with a lot of females is respected by males and females because he is seen as an ‘alpha’, as someone with good genes.etc.

        It’s true yeah, men will never fully understand what it is to be like a woman (although trans-women would have some idea of life as both), and on the flip side, women will never understand what it’s like to be a man, or see things from the male perspective.

      • I agree with pretty much everything you said.

        Sexual desire may play some role. But a couple things: first, women in our culture are quite repressed* so that they are not so aware of it. I asked my students whether they dressed sexy in part because they wanted to have a lot of choices of partners. I had assumed that that would be a big reason, and nothing to be embarrassed about, but was surprised when only 1/5 strongly agreed with that. (I’ll have to go back and look at the data to see how many said it was somewhat an issue. If quite a few did, I’ll write another blog post discussing all this.)

        Mostly, it seems to be about self-esteem.

        *(whether they know it or not, most American women are sexually repressed — although many deny it. 43% have experienced sexual dysfunction, most don’t cum with their partner and need vibrators — and it can take a long time to get there, for instance. That’s not true in cultures without sexual repression, where women are easily and multiply orgasmic without any machinery.)

      • That’s true, repression has something to do with it. I’m not anti-contraceptives, but I do wonder what birth control pills, as well as other medication, do to the brain. Some have said it can dampen the sex drive, but I haven’t done any research into this. Anti-depressants too. Unfortunately I’m on anti-depressants myself due to severe anxiety and, coupled with the severe anxiety itself it sometimes totally kills my sex drive. I do believe sexual pleasure is basically all psychology: since orgasm can be stimulated simply by the brain, but then again all sensory perception ultimately is, the sense organs are merely the mechanism through which the brain experiences sensations.

        So this same difficult to orgasm/experience pleasure is not so prevalent among groups that not have been repressed? Interesting. I’d say the taboo against masturbation also plays into this. Many women in the past and many now probably haven’t fully got in touch with self-pleasure. I would say there are possibly other factors too, the human brain is a complex thing.

      • Research I’ve seen has said the opposite: birth control pills make women much more sexually interested. No surprise. They don’t have the distraction of worrying about pregnancy. Also, women become less repressed as they age, Even as they take more and more birth-control pills. Over time they tend to be in monogamous relationships, where it’s okay to have sex. And they’re more likely to learn more about their bodies and how their bodies work in these relationships. (Men’s bodies make it pretty obvious how they work. Men have to ejaculate on a regular basis, even if they don’t masturbate. There is nothing in women’s biology that forces them to orgasm on a regular basis.)

        Women face a ton of repressing factors that women in sex positive cultures don’t. See this for instance:

        How To Suppress A Woman’s Desire

  61. I am really interested in exploring this within my own behavior. I’m not someone that dresses “sexy” on a daily basis but I do have a body type that kind of stereotypes me to that anyways. However, I do not appreciate getting attention from random men on the street, and quite frequently I find myself getting cat called at when I’m just trying to walk from point A to point B, which further results in me yelling right back. The real question is why do I even bother wearing moderately revealing clothes if I know that eventually I’m going to get misguided attention? My answer would be that I will wear whatever I want to wear that makes me feel good about myself. I refuse to limit my clothing choice because a few men can’t control themselves. I think instead of asking why do women dress sexy, we should be asking why do men have such an intense reaction to seeing women dress sexy?

  62. i agree with the article. i’m a woman and i like to dress sexy. i feel more confident that way. of course i like men look at me but it desn’t mean they can stare obviously. that’s so rude of them. i bet most of women wanna be sexy and attractive. not only for men, but also for themselves. women usually care about how they look. especially, when they’re married, they’re worry that they will less attractive in husband’s eyes. they will try to dress more sexy to warm the relationship

  63. It is a practice full of irony in my personal opinion. It is unnatural for people to NOT look in the direction of an attractive person. I’m sure there are times when staring actually becomes a form of harassment (like constant staring, for an uncomfortable period of time). However, I feel like girls that obviously put in effort in their looks should not be so offended with the occasional head turning or glances from men.

    This problem is also very interesting to me because I wonder if our opinions would be different if the gender was switched. What if men were putting in a lot of effort into their appearance and are being stared at by girls? Me, as a man who does try to dress nice, appreciate the attention I get from women.

    • Well, first women don’t mind men turning their heads. But they don’t like staring and commenting.

      Your question about gender reversal has come up before and been discussed on some other blog posts. It seems that men are much less likely to find women fearful, whereas women can feel some level of fear from men. Especially since comments can often be hostile. And even when they aren’t, if a bunch of men start whistling and cat-calling, that can feel very threatening in a rape culture. Otherwise, men just don’t get the same level of attention, and they might find it more annoying if they ever did. Careful what you wish for, as they say.

  64. I think the problem I guess is it seems women feel “obligated” to look good, either to look good to other women, men and/or society. But what’s the problem of trying to dress well or sexy and look good? The difference though is that women are more vain and they seem to like to dress sexy and look sexy or good for the sake of it or to impress other women or themselves and pat themselves on the back. But don’t forgoet, while men don’t feel obligated to look good according to society or atleast not like women, atleast guys dress primarily for women.

    Which is why I ask the question what’s wrong with dressing to attract and look good to the opposite sex. Seriously, the reason guys or some guys have fashion sense or dress well, is to be attractive and look good to women and to attract women. Seriously, I would probably not shave, and would wear sweatpants everday if there were no women around or say I went to a boy only school. I could care less if I dressed or looked like a slob to other guys or even if they had anything to say. I do care if I don’t look to women, as I as alll straight men, want to have sex with women, so doing anything to hurt those chances would be stupid. There is a difference though while society doesn’t make men feel obligated to dress well, men kind of are as far as attraction goes. Sure society might not shun a man, but he sure dampered his chances of gettng a date on a saturday night if he doesn’t dress well or look good. Actually there’s more emphasis now, hence the term metrosexual which has come from other women expecting men to manscape and dress more fashionably, etc.

    • I didn’t include any judgment as to whether or not women should dress to attract men. I’m just reporting what they told me. It might help and to understand that part of the reason women dress sexy in yet don’t want men coming onto them is that often times — most of the time — that’s not the point. I’m trying to help man to understand something they don’t “get.”

      If women are more vain it’s because society teaches them to be. Their self-worth tends to be more heavily weighted on there looks due to society’s expectations. Men’s worth is more likely to be focused on their success. We don’t have a word like vain to describe men who are proud of their success. But it’s a similar sort of thing.

    • I think men do dress, as well as work out, to impress and compete with other men. Not necessarily sexy, as that is not as valued in our culture, but things like business suits or the latest brand names, it’s social status all the same. I mean straight women aren’t trying to attract women either, so it’s mostly a self esteem boost when other women admire her sense of style. Being sexy is also a way to fit in with peer pressure.

  65. Bryan Santoyo

    I believe as human beings, beauty plays a large part in our lives. For women, growing up playing with dolls, and having toy babies to nurture shows them the common feminine norms they are supposed to follow socially. Beauty for women is a key part of their lives because it makes them feel wanted and cared for. Because men typically grow up playing with action figures, men learn to be strong, assertive, and and develop leadership skills that are viewed by icons on television and heroic stories, so their minds are in other interests. All in all having said : “Just because she wants the attention doesn’t mean she wants a guy to be a perv about it. Looks… yes… comments and prolonged obvious stares…NO” tells us that yes perverted stares are a no-go but also that women typically like to simply be noticed, and like positive attention towards themselves, which is a normal thing after watching princess movies, and playing with dolls, norms that society have created.

  66. It was intresting this article. I donot believe almost every women dresses up look to sexy into men eyes. Some women dress up how the outfit looks on them .However sexy dress is not the only thing to arouse men it also the body image. Yet if someone is very fat and if they wear mini dress to look sexy front of men which might not arouse men sexually probably i t might turn it away. Most of the time people dress up to fit in a culture as well as feel good about themselves. Unfortunatly men in most socities think that women is ready for sale by looking at the way she dresses up.

  67. Michael Bernal

    I can agree with the results that were found from this study. Honestly when anyone dresses a certain way it is to be more noticeable including compliments and attraction. Although I feel if one is to dress too sexy where it flirts on the borderline of more intentional attraction such as a desire then yes I can see how a certain situation can be misunderstood. If someone feels comfortable with themselves which everyone should, then it shouldn’t matter so much materialistically, because everyone can draw attention to themselves in other ways, opposed to giving someone a reason to be noticed. But then again whatever makes you happy.

  68. When I read this post, it reminded me of my friend said something related to this topic. I’d been curious that she has so many of cute clothes, shoes and so on but never seen her wearing these so I asked her why. According to her, when she dress nicely she feels like everyone is staring at her with erotic gaze and she doesn’t really like how people look at her, so she decided not to wear anything sexy or cute clothes since she came to the US. After hearing all these stories, I was literally shocked and I even had bias about the way she thinks. Like what is written on here, I’m believing that fashion is some sort of self satisfaction and the way to get attention, but some girls thinks like my friend does, which is very interesting.

  69. noellekeshmiri@gmail.com

    I think women dress sexy for plenty of reasons and we get the negative and the bad from it … i think it depend on the person maybe she dresses sexy because she’s insecure or just proud of her body because she works hard to maintain it .. and maybe men thinks its to sexy and we don’t because society says it is, but if a man has his shirt off normal lol… women dress sexy because they are sexy maybe not in ways of everyones eyes but women our proud of there bodes and others are prostitutes and some depend on there looks for getting jobs eta

  70. I think that people dress to impress the same sex for the most part. When people dress up, it’s kind of a way to one-up each other. Dressing attractively does garner attention and it feels good to know that people notice you after all the thought one might have put into an outfit. But it isn’t really to impress the opposite sex. I feel that even amongst men. People will dress to impress the members of the same sex. Personally when I decide to get dressed up, I noticed that at first I thought it was a way to attract the opposite sex, but the more I got into men’s fashion, I started to dress to impress males more. I think this holds true with both sexes in where we decide to dress a certain way to convey a message as well as try to gain respect or envy of others.

  71. Sometimes women need that extra boost of confidence and want to feel good about themselves, as mentioned above. I for one know that sometimes I do like to try a little bit harder when I get ready to go out. Not because I want guys to think I’m sexy but more for my own confidence. I’ve heard girls complain about getting “checked out” when they are out in public. I don’t understand why they complain. Isn’t it a confidence boost to be checked out when a cute guy walks past? It doesn’t always come down to sex appeal sometimes women just like to feel good about themselves. I for one know that it is easier to walk with my head held high when I know I look put together.

  72. Veronica Perez

    Since I am a mom its been a while since I cared if I looked sexy or not. I did care before when I was a teenager. I guess we grow up pressured to seek acceptance of society. we want to feel complimented and that creates a sense of completeness. Now that I don’t care what others think of me I dress sexy to feel good about myself, but my idea of sexy may differ from what other women or men think. I like to wear light makeup and I always wear my hair down without blow drying it or curling it I just towel dry it and brush it. the funny thing is that other women think I am lazy and ordinary, but I feel good and natural. I hate to wear high heels because its torture but my in-laws make it seem I am less of a woman because I cannot dominate heels. But they are wrong I am still feminine i just don’t like to hurt myself. The people who dress sexy to seek attention are the ones who feel the urge to prove to the world how beautiful they are. They might not be happy with their lives therefore they want the approval of others to feel better. Some just want to feel better than other women, and their main purpose is to opaque them. My mother in-law does this all the time. when there is a party with her in-laws she panics and starts telling me i have to buy a new outfit and I have to look better than my sisters-in-law. Since her in-laws never approved of her she feels that by dressing very sexy she will be greater than them and get some sort of approval.

  73. I feel like women dress sexy because other people have begun to expect it of them. If a woman decides one day that she will wear baggy clothes that do not show her figure and no makeup, she is judged for how she looks. People notice these kinds of things when they are used to seeing women dressed sexily all the time. When in reality that may not be her true self, she may put up that front for society to see to avoid disdain. Sure, women dress sexy to “get attention and feel good about themselves,” but I believe the true reason is that both men and women and society as a whole will ridicule them if they do not.

    • Interesting double-blind there. It probably depends somewhat on how you define sexy. But you are right that if you don’t conform to some degree people may think that you’re not taking care of yourself, or latch onto the stereotype that you are a butch lesbian doesn’t like men at all.

    • Pretty much, and often it’s just what’s available in stores/the fashion. Like the popular styles for young women are designed to be sexy. If a girl/woman wants longer shorts they will be hard to find. While short shorts aren’t in themselves ‘ sexual’, the discrepancy between women wearing very short shorts and men wearing longer shorts is significant: it sends the message the female body ought to be shown off more (and thus sexualised) relative to the male body. So many women probably aren’t even consciously trying to be sexy but the subtle social message is sent via fashion…

      • Someone else I’d like to add. In the 70s or 80s for instance, shorts for both sexes were ‘short.’ So little was thought of it. In the early 90s, however, for various reasons longer styles became popular, both men and, a women actually. Then in the early 00s the long style fell out of favour with women but not for men and we began associating them primarily with women. So much so that thighs became seen as a ‘female’ body part. It’s no coincidence that fashion today emphasises being sexy compared to the 90s which was being cool and casual.

  74. I think this is extremely interesting, and it does seem true. Although I find that there is a whole other reason some women would dress sexily. It’s not for society, or men or other women, but merely for ourselves. More than acceptance from the outside, we need acceptance from ourselves, and so when we wear something that looks nice and brings out our features, we are generally more confident. I find it sad that sometimes we have to tone it down in fear of getting too much attention. My reason to dress like that is not to get attention from others, but to be confident and self accepting.

    • I think I get what you’re saying. I think it ties into being seen as attractive according to society’s standards, though. That’s not to say that it is wrong. As it turns out, our personal identity is socially constructed. We tend to see ourselves through societies eyes and evaluate ourselves. That’s because society — how others see us — feels more objective (A lot of people are agreeing that we are a particular way) as opposed to just subjective notions of ourselves. We seem to be hardwired to see ourselves through others’ eyes — even if the others eyes are how we imagine them to be. So for instance, if you lived in west Africa where obesity is preferred, you wouldn’t experience yourself as attractive there when you’re dressing sexy as sexy is defined here.

    • We are not islands, and everything we do sends a message to those around us. You feel better about yourself because you think strangers will think more highly of you. Dressing for yourself is probably more about comfort and not caring what others think. Even if you wear pyjamas or something out.

  75. Shahin Larhnimi

    People may agree to disagree on this topic, but I actually agree with both sides. I feel like women do want attention from men and other women to impress and to show off. I think that we all are intrigued by beauty, and clothes enhances beauty. A lot of women also say that they dress sexy for their own satisfaction, to make themselves feel good and that they don’t do it for anybody else, which is believable to a certain point (if they don’t dress extremely revealing or what not).

    “One-third dressed sexy because society/the world values attractive women.” This is very accurate, which I can say from my own experience. I was working in retail and my boss would always require pictures of the people that were applying for any position. She would say that she wanted pictures of them to get a sense on how they were as a person (happy etc. which is understandable). Reason for the pictures were to see if their physical appearance was meeting their standards, results as giving the resume less attention and basing the potential on how the persons looks.

  76. I don’t necessarily think that dressing sexy means that you have to dress “slutty” and wear things that are very revealing. I think dressing sexy can also mean dressing in nice clothes that make you look good. Its funny i find myself dressing in different ways sometimes. Most of the time i’m honestly too lazy to look good for anyone and end up wearing leggings and a t-shirt, other times i want to look good. Most of the clothes i buy actually are to impress other women, or men with good style. I do find that most of my compliments on my clothes are in fact for other women, because they seem to appreciate clothes the way i do. I don’t think that guys think i look bad, but they don’t necessarily stare at me because my boobs aren’t always hanging out or my butt doesn’t always look good. But it doesn’t bother me because i think what i wear looks sexy no matter what a guy thinks.

  77. I think it is very good for women to strive to dress sexy or attractive. Every person wants to be looked cool or attractive, and this is true for especially women. In order to be looked more sexy or attractive, wearing good clothes is one of the best ways. Generally, girls express their feelings through the way wear. When they feel bad or gloomy, they wear dark or simple clothes while when they feel happy, they wear bright or fancy clothes. Likewise, when girls dress up sexy, it usually means that they want to be looked good and attractive to others, not only boys, but also, girls.

  78. Hayley Epstein

    I really love how you broke this down into categories and addressed how women really feel about this subject. I think, often times, people make assumptions about women and how they dress. For instance, people will think that a girl dresses sexy solely because she wants every guys’ attention. I think it is so important that people realize it is not just that. Women dress “sexy” to feel good about themselves; whether it is for themselves, society, girls, or boys. All of the data you found seems very reasonable to me and I definitely feel like people should realize that girls are not “aroused” by every guy staring at them, and in fact, the only time that a woman would be aroused by a guy looking at her if she was interested in that guy! Because of society and the way that it values women’s looks, I don’t think women really have a choice in the fact that looking sexy makes them feel good. People sometimes act like girls do have that choice, and that they are doing this just so that guys will want them. Or people even just act as if it is a negative thing that women “care so much” about their looks or wanting to be sexy. I definitely don’t think this is fair, considering the pressure that women feel to be beautiful, and the way they are treated accordingly beginning in childhood. Back to why girls dress “sexy”, I think there is much more to why girls dress this way, and I am so glad that it is not being ignored. I wonder, did the survey only ask if women were dressing this way because they wanted to make girls jealous, or did it also ask if they just wanted to impress women? Because I feel like these are very different. I think a lot of girls might dress a certain way so that other girls are impressed and find them interesting, cool, or beautiful for whatever reason. Dressing a certain way could even be used as a way to make certain types of friends..

  79. Most of the answers from the survey reflect my thoughts on the matter. I think women enjoy dressing sexy because it makes them feel good about themselves and in turn it gives them a confidence boost. It something done for themselves. In my experience women dress for other women and vaule the complements they receive from other women in higher regard then the one’s they receive from men. I think the reason behind this is because women understand the work the goes into looking nice or dressing sexy. So their comments comes from a place admiration or appreciation. While Men comments more often than not involve suggest glances or innuendos and as a ploy to get something in return. Its seems insincere and makes women feel like sex objects. I think the issue lies in the way media objectifies sexy women and portrays them as one dimensional sex objects and in turn makes it difficult for people to know the difference from being/dressing sexy to an actual sex object. I think explains men’s actions and women’s responses.

  80. I find that even if a woman isn’t partially trying to dress sexy, some men still comment and are overly perverted. For example Ive been walking down the street with my make up all messed up with sweats and a t shirt and I man said something I found to be very disturbing. So its BS when guys blame woman for dressing sexy because they did it ether way.

  81. Women don’t like being stared at because it’s gross and creepy. I think if you have made the effort to dress up and wear sexy clothes it’s unlikely you’d be upset over an admiring glance, but there is a lot to be said for subtly. I am not attracted to women, but I certainly notice attractive women but I don’t sit there staring.

    As for the comment at the begining where a woman said that women dress sexy to make other women jealous? Pish posh, I don’t think that is true for most women.

    I’m single so if I am going out somewhere, yeah I might try and look a bit sexy, because it is in the back of my mind I might meet someone, but I wouldn’t like to be stared at to the point I’m feeling uncomfortable.

    To the comment I read where it said,

    “The difference between men and women here. Now if this was reverse and men were asked and were asked this based on if men enjoyed women’s desire and turned on by it. You bet your ass men would say so ha. An attractive or probably even average looking woman could turn a man on if he sees that she’s visually lusting after him.”

    A man might like to know women think he’s attractive, but would he really enjoy just being stared at and ogled to the point it was getting weird? Again, I don’t think we are talking about the odd subtle glance and a smile, we are talking about staring and ogling.

    Remember what your Grandmother said when you were a kid, “It’s rude to stare!”

  82. Little girls are raised playing with barbie dolls and other dolls they dress up. Fashion is ingrained into women’s psyches from a young age, so for a lot of them it’s a hobby, obsession. While they might wanna upstage or impress their gal pals, the root cause of these behaviours is rooted in a very 1950s sort of view of women as literal ‘dolls’ for men. I’m not saying dressing up objectifies you, but the connection is obvious, and women who say they dress only for themselves should remember this. High heels are sort of a very mild form of foot binding – the same in principle – even if they’re done by choice, there is peer pressure. Some believe one of their ‘functions’ is to make women walk in a way that is sexually alluring to men. I mean how many women would actually CHOOSE to wear high heels if they weren’t considered sexy, I wonder?

  83. I think women dress sexy because they feel that guys will want them more if they show off more of their bodies. But I think the truth is that some women feel so low about how they look that they feel like they have to dress sexy for their guy, it’s almost like they are competing with each other without knowing it. But I think the problem with that is if you’re not the type of woman to dress sexy it’s only going to last for so long and then you are going to get tired of it. Most women dress sexy for guy and I don’t think we should because that is not who are. All women should dress and act yourselves.

    • In your first sentence you are referring to the women who are dressing for a particular guy. But often times women are dressing to impress other women or men. Or just to feel like they look good in society’s eyes — meaning that they think they are valued in the world. But interesting comment.

  84. “This thing was actually happened to my friend, fortunately not me, which he stared at his female friend and got slapped because he was staring too much and seems to be pervert. I do not understand female’s logic. However, I would blame this issue on the society which pictures sexy as women who dressed openly and showed all the cleavage.”

    This is an example where it depends on the guy and how he’s looking. It’s hard not to look when an attractive women has big boobs and cleavage showing and boobs hanging out. I have good peripheral vision, and it’s hard for my eyes not to look at what it can see on the corner of my eye. When a woman has big boobs even if I’m looking her in the eye, my peripheral vision can still see the breasts. However, guy’s over do it, it’s hard to not look but you can still control gawking. Guy’s when confronted with cleavage and nice boobs, just blatantly stare even though they are aware or aren’t aware. I’m not an angel for sure, but I will glance, multiple times spread out if it’s something really catching my eye. I try to be discreet but I’m sure some girls have noticed, but none have ever had a problem with me looking.

    Actually an amusing thing is my buddy’s ex gf was well endowed and she used to wear cleavage when they came over my place. I remember one time, my step dad was over too. But as we got up, I was facing my buddy and his gf then and my step dad on the other side of me. I was less discreet than usual and I glanced at her boobs, and I saw her see me, I saw the look in her eye she saw me. Apparently she liked me attention. It’s pretty amusing, she tried making it seem coincidential, but soon after she stretched like she was tired which doing so made her boobs stick out more. And then she bent her back forward a little bit stretching forward. Pretty amusing how she was making it like she just happened to have to stretch that moment. The ironic things is I didn’t glance back when she did the stretching as I hesistant with obvious ego strokes to girls.

  85. “When I asked whether women dressed sexy because they enjoyed men’s desire and were turned on by it, nearly all of them ranked that a “1.” One gave it a “0” with exclamation points!!!!!!!! The only exception was women who desired the lust of a particular man who they were attracted to. They did want his desire, and got aroused by it.”

    The difference between men and women here. Now if this was reverse and men were asked and were asked this based on if men enjoyed women’s desire and turned on by it. You bet your ass men would say so ha. An attractive or probably even average looking woman could turn a man on if he sees that she’s visually lusting after him.

    I think a man staring well that’s just rude and I can’t blame women for being upset. Some I think can be annoyed by prolonged glances or if they notice a guy looking, based upon if they are into the guy or not or find him attractive or not. I think a girl can enjoy the attention as long as it’s not staring and rude and especially if from a man she finds attractive and caught her eye.

  86. I am surprised that no one dressed sexy because they enjoyed men’s desire. Of course, if they did genuinely enjoy men’s desire I don’t believe anyone would admit to it, because some men would latch onto that to support and continue rape culture. Logically, it makes no sense for dressing sexy to have no basis in what men think because what we consider attractive in women is ultimately rooted in what men think about women’s appearances. The other reasons that women supposedly enjoy dressing sexy (feeling attractive, having a wider selection of partners, being treated better because they are more attractive) are again all rooted in men’s desire.

    I understand that men as a group get royally pissed when a woman dresses “too” sexy (whatever that means) and is not available for sex. But hang on – how do you think I handle it when a man dresses / smells / appears “too” sexy and is not available for sex? Do I go pout and rage and put chemicals in his drink? No. I move on and pay him no further attention because I’m a grownup(*).

    (*) In this context, “grownup” and “woman” many be used interchangeably since women are expected to act (and do act) much more maturely as a group than men.

    • Well actually a couple of women WERE dressing because they wanted men to desire them. But in each of those cases they wanted a particular man to desire them.

      And I totally get why they would do that. If you are attracted to a man and want a relationship with him and want sex with him, it would be really helpful to be desired by him. And since women often get aroused by sensing a man’s desire for her, she will likely have better sex.

      I also understand why a woman would want men’s attention and approval, generally, because that lifts her self-esteem. Women’s self-esteem is so often based on her looks that this would be really important to her.

      But I don’t get why a woman walking around in the world would seek the desire of every man around. How would that be helpful for her? I’m all ears, as they say.

      • “But I don’t get why a woman walking around in the world would seek the desire of every man around. How would that be helpful for her?”

        Because that’s what it takes to help achieve the other stated goals – having a wider selection of partners, having people be nicer to them, to be noticed, to be attractive – all of these are rooted in men’s desire. So I don’t see how it makes sense to say that they want all of the above but not the desire of every man around; I don’t know how you can have one without the other.

      • Well, I notice and appreciate attractive men without desiring them. I also notice and appreciate attractive women without desiring them. I can notice and appreciate the beauty of a variety things without desiring them: children, flowers, a beautiful view, fantastic artwork, a lovely home…

        From the time we are a little we are told we are pretty, beautiful. I don’t think we interpret this as being desired. We do interpret this as being valued.

        Women aren’t taught to desire men’s bodies, yet we can still appreciate their beauty — it’s actually very common for women to separate out the two concepts. Although, some women may be exceptions and tie the two together. I am not sure whether you are male or female. If you are female you may be one of the exceptions.

        At the same time women could find feeling desired problematic. It could seem scary. It could seem lecherous. When unattractive people are clearly attracted to you it can feel uncomfortable, some women could even worry that they are constantly rejecting men by not returning their desire.

        And since women routinely appreciate beauty without desiring, they are likely be seeing the world through that perspective instead of a perspective of desire. A perspective that likely won’t even occur to many, many women.

      • “I can notice and appreciate the beauty of a variety things without desiring them: children, flowers, a beautiful view, fantastic artwork, a lovely home…”

        That is a good point – it is definitely possible to appreciate beauty apart from sexual desire, especially with things and people that one could not / would not have sex with. It may have something to do with an object’s purpose – a beautiful view is not made for sex; it would indeed be difficult to have sex with the view of Denali from Fairbanks, AK on a clear day. Adult bodies on the other hand …. I know there are other functions that human adult bodies have, but as I recall from my single days, it’s very easy to focus single-mindedly on sex since the pleasures of sex are not guaranteed if you have no steady partner.

        I actually do split concepts of attraction vs. desire with regard to men / male bodies. But it’s a learned behavior because I choose to practice monogamy, which is a lot easier when I don’t dwell on how sexy everyone around me is. In my natural state, anything attractive about someone (either physically or personality-wise) is enough to make me want to sleep with them. Of course, as I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t go around sulking or blaming them for my feelings if they aren’t available for sex with me.

        “At the same time women could find feeling desired problematic. It could seem scary.”

        Seems to be a necessary reaction to rape culture, and the pervasive idea that women somehow owe men sex. The minute a woman acknowledges that a man desiring her is a good thing, oh look! She’s a whore and her assault was all her fault because she was asking for it. I’m willing to bet that if women were allowed to unleash their sexuality the way men have always been encouraged / allowed to do, more women would acknowledge or realize that they do want to be desired by men generally.

        I’m not aware of ever being taught to desire a man’s body – just seem to happen naturally once I turned 10 or 11 or so.

      • There is always a bell curve to these things. So some women are going to notice and desire men’s bodies even if culture doesn’t teach them too. But overall, there is a social pattern that goes the other way. Have you seen these posts?

        Men: Erotic Objects of Women’s Gaze
        Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze
        Men, Women React to Male/Female Nudity

      • I have not – I will have to check them out.

  87. As a male, I feel like this issue of women wants the attention about her body but not to much is unacceptable. I mean, is not she dressed up so sexy to show her body and curves to get attentions? This thing was actually happened to my friend, fortunately not me, which he stared at his female friend and got slapped because he was staring too much and seems to be pervert. I do not understand female’s logic. However, I would blame this issue on the society which pictures sexy as women who dressed openly and showed all the cleavage.

    • I’m sure a lot of men feel the way you do. And I’ll try to write more about it. Women can feel they face a double bind. Damned if you do or don’t. Don’t and you’re not valued, do and many men get confused and angry. I don’t think it has to be that way, but it’s often seen that way.

      • Yes! This “looked at, but not too much” is exactly the kind of mixed signal that gets everybody mad at each other. It’s like the people who wear outrageously unconventional styles — 24-inch purple mohawk, enough piercings to fly a small airplane through, whatever — and then get angry when people give them the attention they seem to be seeking.

        The subject is also closely related to arguments about modesty. Yes, it’s not your fault if you wear less than 3 centimeters of fabric over your entire body and a man misreads that signal. No, no matter how sexually attractive you dress is no excuse for a man to give you unwanted attention. And yet… if you KNOW that men are going to respond that way when you dress that way, is being absolutely correct in your right to dress how you want really worth the very high probability that you will attract the wrong kind of attention?

        People who feel strongly about this inevitably take the “reductio ad absurdum” path, presenting the two extremes of dressing in a burqa or going naked, but it’s not a binary choice. The more you reveal parts of your body that men find sexually attractive, the higher the likelihood is that at least one such man will not take “no” for an answer.

        If it sounds like I’m specifically going after women for the way they dress and (entirely unintentionally, I promise) making it sound like I’m blaming the victim, let me shift it around to my own clothing choices. For the most part, a man can get away with much more extremes — if a man goes out in the bare minimum legal coverings, he will likely enjoy ALL the attention he gets from women, however sexually explicit, because he is not likely to be in physical danger. He can take all the catcalls as affirmation that he is a physically and sexually desirable mating prospect, and not worry that some overexcited lady will wrestle him to the ground and rape him (or perhaps he even fantasizes that this would happen… “Oh no, don’t throw me in dat briar patch!”)

        So anyway, that’s all right for a man dressing in a provocatively masculine way. I, on the other hand, am not only a crossdresser but a particularly rare breed in that I do not imagine myself or desire to be a woman in any way. I present as fully male — beard, arrogance, sloppy lifestyle and all. Only one small thing, I’m doing this in soft dresses and skirts, the occasional leotard and tights in cold weather, etc.

        I have every right to expect people to treat me with respect and dignity and not judge me for my nonstandard choice in clothing. If I go out in my blue velvet gown or the lovely floral sundress I bought in Jamaica, any problem they have with it is THEIR problem, not mine.

        And yet… I wouldn’t dare set foot outside my house. For all my moral high ground, that wouldn’t mean a thing when I’m in the ER having broken teeth and broken bones glued back together.

        Does that make sense? There’s kind of a paradox of “It’s not the victim’s fault… and yet it’s something the victim can prevent by making safer choices.”

        We could educate some enormous percentage of society to stop treating the display of an attractive body (or an extremely unconventional one) as an invitation… but we will never educate the rest of society, and those are the ones you and I have to watch out for. Everyone can and should make his or her own choice, but my choice is to minimize the likelihood that I will receive unwanted physical attention for the way I dress. So I dress to blend in, not stand out.

      • Regardless, this is what women are thinking when they dress sexy.

        And since most guys don’t scare or annoy women who dress sexy I’m sure that all men can avoid doing so.

    • The thing is women(and men) often dress according to fashion. So when you want to look nice and wear whatever is considered fashionable and hot at the time, you’re simple just doing that. If the fashionable clothing of the time happens to show more of your body, it doesn’t mean that person is dressing to show off her body but that she’s simply dressing according to what’s hot and fashionable at the time. It’s really unfair and sexist to assume that women are doing what the do only for sexual male attention, when they’re simply just dressing according to fashion.

      In the 60s men wore really tight and short shorts. It wasn’t perceived as men trying to show off their body for more sex appeal. That was simply the fashion at the time.
      Men’s suits have evolved from having, extreme padded shoulders that get tight at the waist which creates a V shape look and shows off their curves. Yet it was only a fashion trend and men who wore those suits weren’t seen as “attention seekers,” or “showing off their body sexually for female attention.” Again it was simply the thing in style at the time.
      There was a time when men started to wear low cut V-necks and unbuttoned their shirts at the top because again, it was the fashion at the time. Men’s clothes have gone from being tight, loose, short, baggy, figure flattering ect. in the same way women’s fashion has but for men, when the fashionable clothing shows more of their skin or body it’s considered dressing nice according to fashion but with women for some reason, it’s viewed as her dressing to be “sexual” or trying to get attention by showing her body instead of seeing her as simply dressing nice according to fashion.

      I remember bermuda shorts became the hot thing my sophomore and junior year of high school. Almost every girl was wearing them or wanted a pair and then by senior year it was short shorts again. The thought process that goes into girls/women buying and getting dressed whether it’s short shorts or bermuda shorts is the exact same! We wear it because it’s cute according to the fashion trend at the time and we like dressing nice. I hope that helped you understand “female logic” better.

      Maxi skirts and maxi dresses are another example of fashion trends that show less skin than dresses and skirts that were popular before maxis became “in style”
      Same with wedding dresses with sleeves and lace being the in thing now and more popular now days.

      Another example is rompers. Which were very fashionable at a time and showed just as much skin as regular women’s shorts and it became a popular item at women’s clothing stores. Yet there were a lot of “complains” by men on popular websites and even TV about how they weren’t that “sexy” and women should stop wearing them. Not understanding that women weren’t wearing them for sex appeal but to look nice according to the fashion trend at the time. High wasted shorts and pants is another example of this.

      Key notes:
      Most of the time when women get dressed for every day things it’s not for sex appeal but to look nice according to whatever is cute and fashionable at the time. Even if the cute and fashionable thing at the time is short shorts and V neck tank tops.

      P.S if you see women as a whole instead of just their body parts you will be able to appreciate their beauty without being a pervert.

    • It is unacceptable and a double standard. I get mad because most the women that go to my gym dress too sexy. Yr shorts should be longer than yr vagina. The men drool n stare including mine. Maybe if mine looked at me the same way I would feel better. I’ve tried to get that attention from my man but nope….

  88. Can definitely understand why your students feel the way they do and dress accordingly. In an ideal world women would dress “sexy” because they love how they look and it makes them feel. Or perhaps incorporate that into the reasons mentioned above. Easier said, than done. I sometimes wonder if in the world we live in today that only becomes possible when one gets older. I definitely would never have considered that possibility in my teens or twenties.

    • Yes. An awful lot of how all of us present ourselves involves how we see ourselves in others’ eyes. That’s because our identities are largely socially constructed. I’ll have to write more about that later, but basically: if I see myself a particular way it’s more subjective, it’s just me. But if others see me a particular way, that takes on objectivity. “Everyone” sees me that way, so it feels more real.

    • Yes but why do they love how it makes them feel? If we were living on a desert island we wouldn’t care how we dressed, we’d probably go around naked all the time. These are social cues, we feel good BECAUSE we feel attractive, desirable or whatever, you can’t separate the two. I don’t know how old you are, but even old people feel they have to live up to expectations. Not all but most.

      • I agree- feeling desirable and attractive feels great. I have no judgment about that whatsoever. I am just saying there is also a place and a benefit for self-reference- to feel great/desirable/attractive without having to need to effect externally- which is something that is challenging for people of all ages, myself included. I’m just more aware that there are alternatives, is all, whereas before– there just wasn’t as much dialogue about these issues as there is today so it was harder to know.

  89. All of these answers sound very reasonable to me. Also, I noted none of them said it was because they wanted to extend an invitation to get raped (which so many rapists seem to assert as a defense).

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