Libido Killer: My Man Ogling Her

oglerYears ago I briefly dated a guy who ogled other women.

Ogle: To look at amorously, flirtatiously, or impertinently; to eye; look or stare at.

I “get” noticing and appreciating an attractive gal. But he dissolved into her. The many hers. While I faded away.

He thought I was weird: “Most girlfriends wouldn’t mind!”

But it was a huge turnoff.

Men desire; women feel desired

Turns out, men get turned on by desiring while women get turned on by feeling desired.

It’s actually natural for both sexes to desire and to enjoy feeling desired. But we are bombarded by sexy-woman images, while the male bod is largely ignored. So men learn to consume sexy ladies. And women learn to be consumed.

Then, when a couple goes to bed, “she” gets turned on by seeing the lust in “his” eyes.

The guy I’d been dating thought that was weird, too:

I get turned on whether a woman thinks I’m attractive, or not.

He said.

Well, that’s because you don’t have female sexuality.

I replied. (A socially constructed female sexuality, anyway.)

How women feel about ogling partners

Plenty of women get turned off if her guy seems more interested in others.

I surveyed my women students and it turned out that, most often, the more her guy focused on other women the less attractive he seemed.

And women who find that post on my blog often say the same thing:

  • I’m in this situation now. In the beginning of our relationship I felt better than any women. I was all he wanted. Then porn came in, then he made a comment about banging a ring girl during a boxing match. Well that was it, no tingling down there anymore and even when he tries to kiss me I cringe. So really when the woman realizes she is no longer top dog the pussy gets put in a box and stored away. Its a mental thing.
  • When I asked my ogling husband to read this article, he declined and returned my phone. Thus, hurting my feelings even more. I now feel as though what I feel means nothing. We’ve been married less than 2 months. In the first 48 hours we were sleeping in separate rooms. He doesn’t want to hear anything I have to say. All he demands is that I get into the bed. I’ve lost nearly all desire to be with him. We’re ages 50 (me) and 48 (him). I’m lost and hopeless in this marriage. Broken hearted and degraded.
  • I’m really glad that someone actually wrote this article! I just have to agree with everything said here! I have a husband who ogles but denies ALL THE TIME! Unfortunately I have two little kids and cannot afford to dump this marriage based on this ogling aspect… When he knows that it will hurt the relationship, then why ogle! I think such men take their partners for granted – especially now that I have two little ones, it’s not like I can leave him in a jiffy!

Most women don’t mind? Maybe some don’t. But plenty do.

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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 December 15, 2014, in body image, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. I also want to add that yes, it is definitely a downer when you try to look pretty and be appealing to the man you’re with but you still aren’t quite good enough.

    There are a LOT of gorgeous ladies out there and society makes women feel the need to be competitive with one another.
    We went to Las Vegas recently and I literally could not walk more than a few steps without seeing beauty in a variety of women. It blew my hometown away and my hometown is known for having some very pretty women. But these women were sinfully gorgeous and wearing as little as possible, even in cold weather.

    To his credit, I didn’t see him looking at anyone inappropriately on the trip. I’ve dated or talked to guys in the past who would be in the middle of a conversation with me and then they would be like “damn” the minute some girl walked by, no matter what the girl actually looked like. It was hurtful to me because I became invisible when this would happen.

    Some men can have a woman in front of them who is sweet, funny, smart, pretty, talented, sexy, etc…but they are always on the lookout for the next pair of boobs to come along and suddenly the woman they were talking to can’t hold their attention anymore.

    It doesn’t kill my libido but it is hurtful. I believe that this is a subject with many angles…some people are unreasonably jealous or suspicious of their partners, some people are truly hurt with good reason, while others claim that it is healthy to ogle and even flirt while in a relationship.
    Men need to realize that sometimes women are insecure because of the crap hurled at us and in relationships, we need to feel like Number 1…not in a high-maintenance way but in the sense of our partners appreciating us and seeing beauty in us, instead of secretly wishing we looked more like the girl they want to “bang”.

    • Yeah, it’s more of a libido killer for some women than others. But I think a lot of guys don’t get how it can have that effect. Among the students I surveyed there was a general pattern of loss of interest, the more her guy looked at other women, but it varied from person to person as to how strong the affect was– Or if it existed at all. But since it’s so common, it could be helpful for guys to consider whether a woman who doesn’t know or care about him should take priority.

  2. We all (with the exception of some asexual folks) feel attracted to others sometimes for different reasons, and we might stop to take a second look. But I agree with this post…staring or giving more attention than necessary to somebody other than one’s partner is disrespectful.

    My husband once accused me of ogling a guy at a restaurant. I wasn’t actually looking at the guy at all, my mind tends to wander and I seem to be distracted but I wasn’t staring or flirting with anyone.
    He was pretty upset with me though, and accused me of looking at this man in a sexual way. It hurt me because it wasn’t true.

    On my husband’s side, I have sometimes seen him look at other women in front of me but never in an overly disrespectful way.
    There was one time in a diner where this girl was leaving and a table full of guys was looking at her (they were all blue-collar types, construction workers). She was attractive enough in her own way…fairly tall with long brown hair and she was slender, but she wasn’t so pretty that it warranted staring at her.
    My husband turned his head to see what the other men were looking at and his eyes followed her for a few seconds, then he said: “I like those jeans she’s wearing”.

    I wasn’t offended by his comment but it confused me and made me a bit uncomfortable. I wanted to ask if it was the jeans he liked or her ass in the jeans? Because something told me it was the latter. And not to be catty or competitive with that girl, it wasn’t her fault that men were looking at her, but her behind was kind of flat and not shapely. So it bothered me a little because he had an equally attractive wife (me) by his side who fills out blue jeans very well in the back, but he was looking at this woman’s butt in front of me. Which is funny because he isn’t even really a “butt man”.

    Also, we were at a baseball game once and there was an older man with his much younger wife or girlfriend.
    The girl was carrying an expensive Chanel purse and looked very high-maintenance. She was attractive in her own way but just like the other one in my diner story, not stunning. A group of young guys (maybe frat boys) were looking at her as she passed by and my husband noticed her too. He made some comment to the guys, I don’t remember what, and they all chuckled. I felt a bit embarrassed because it made me feel like chopped liver sitting there…like I somehow wasn’t as pretty or as feminine or as worthy of male attention. One of the guys made eye contact with me for a second and I could tell he felt bad.

    I believe, as one poster above said, that social conditioning plays a role in this (although men often say it is simply about biology).
    We see all these old movies that show men freely ogling women and in a way, it mirrors real life. We hear some men talk about being “judges” of beauty and this type of guy tends to be the most obvious in his critique of women, sometimes without even saying much.

  3. Incisive post, as always…

    Below is a link to a youtube from “The Onion” that I just encountered last night. Interesting timing.

    While it is quite humorous, it does get more vulgar than I would usually be comfortable sharing, but the characters’ stereotypic glib responses to the vulgarity is part of what makes it so funny.

    Anyway, it brings the issue of the man being present to his love interest into quite high relief.

    Can’t believe I’m sharing this…

  4. I know my partner finds other women attractive just like I find other men attractive- I used to think that I had to shut off that part of myself when I was in a relationship or I was being “disloyal.” I don’t feel that way now. But it would definitely drive me crazy if he were ogling other women in front of me and I am pretty sure the feeling would be mutual. (Even neutrally though, if I were with a friend (male or female) and instead of focusing on our interaction they were busy ogling elsewhere, I would find that rude.) I wonder how much of male ogling of women is also a product of conditioning.

    • Women are conditioned very differently from men when it comes to objectification. Sure, both women and men can notice sexy, attractive people. But men are much more bombarded by images of sexy women, and that helps to teach them to consume Women as sex objects. Women don’t get the same bombardment of sexy man images. Plus, no part of the male body is fetishized by our culture. A lot of guys get kind of hypnotized, Like they have no choice in the matter, Which doesn’t happen with women. I’ll be talking about that in a future post.

  5. I think the same, it gives you a feeling of being neglected. Men also have similar feelings when a woman praises another man about his physique or anything else in front of her boyfriend or husband.

  6. I do mind if my man is busy checking out the other girls around. If you find someone,I feel for me he is the one who would be everything to me. My hero, my macho man, my fantasy. Even I find it very disturbing if my man fantazies about the other girl while making with me.

  7. When “it’s casual”, what do you really expect? Seriously.

    Yes, it is poor taste and disrespectful.

    But, when you have a dating environment where people change partners frequently AND seem to always be on the prowl for someone better or different, I am not surprised by this kind of conduct.

    Btw, women do this sort thing just as much as men. Women are more subtle. Hence, men simply do not notice.

    • Who said it was casual?

      When I first met the guy I’m talking about here I thought he was perfect for me. I thought he was completely different from how he turned out to be. I met him while doing work in political activism so I thought he was “deep” and empathetic. And since we weren’t always around sexy ladies I didn’t notice it for a while.

      But even if it were casual, it will often keep a relationship from going any further. I’ve been in that situation too. Out of all the men I have been in relationships with — casual or deep (and I’ve never been in a casual sexual relationship — that doesn’t interest me at all — though it does interest some of my good friends, so to each their own!), there were only four guys who behaved this way. And in each case I lost interest immediately and the relationships never went anywhere.

      And I don’t care if people are subtle. Of course you’re going to notice attractive people. There’s a difference between subtly noticing that someone else is attractive, and appreciating that, and ogling (See definition above).

      • I was not referring to your specific situation.

        I am talking about the general “casual” nature of dating today. We have an environment where people are just “dating” and “seeing other people” while dating. While this is NOT typical of all interactions, it does characterize a very significant portion of these interactions.

        I think we have to see all of this ogling against the back drop of an increasingly narcissistic society. Men and women alike are all out for the “hot” and conventionally attractive people. Regardless of the character of such people. The ongoing Kardashianing of America.

        “There’s a difference between subtly noticing that someone else is attractive, and appreciating that, and ogling.”

        Hmmm? Yes, there is a difference between being subtle and not so subtle. But, if the other person is aware of what’s going on, the impact is the same. It sends a clear message to your date (the other person) that he or she less desirable…Seems like neither sex understand this fact.

        Lastly, a question for you: Is their really a difference between casual sex and casual dating? Do not the two go together?

      • It doesn’t matter how casual the situation is, most women will be turned off by feeling like the guy’s sexual energy is directed at someone else. And that’s why subtle needs to be so subtle that it’s not really noticeable.

  8. Personally, If a man is out with a woman, be it a date or his wife, I believe it is just downright rude to ogle another woman as his sole attention should be focused on the woman who has graced him by being by his side…

  9. If the boyfriend or guy she is with is making comments how he’d like to bang the girl or she’s so hot right in front of his girlfriend, well he’s a d bag. I don’t know if it’s simply that way for girls, as I think guy’s can be affected if in reverse too. Maybe a girl not checking a guy out in front of her boyfriend, but commenting how hot he is or she’s like to bang him. I guarentee that would and does bother the boyfriends too. Especially if the boyfriend is a little chubby or even fat and the guy his girlfriend is checking out in front of him is tall, fit and handsome, then it can and does bother guys too.

    • So in my case the guy never said those sorts of things, his attention was just completely distracted. I felt like he wanted to be with her and not me. And it seemed like I wasn’t his type it all. He and I had completely different taste. Women who I didn’t find attractive he seemed to think were really attractive. And I’m glad that there’s a variety of taste out there — I’m glad that there are men who find those women attractive. I just didn’t want to be with someone with his taste. I need to be with someone who finds my type attractive.

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