Objectification: Male & Female Fantasies

Édouard Manet - La Nymphe Surprise

Édouard Manet – La Nymphe Surprise

Some guys complain that they want to be objectified, too!

Judging from research at the University of Montréal, men may want to be objectified more than women do.

The researchers asked men and women to rank 55 fantasies and describe their personal favorite. The average age of respondents was 30, and 85% were straight, 3.6% were gay/lesbian and the rest were none of the above.

Findings? Below are the percentage of women and men who have had each fantasy:

Does being naked turn you on?

Women are more likely to be portrayed as sex objects these days. But it looks like they aren’t too keen on being naked in public.

That sort of thing is a bit more appealing to guys:

Showing myself naked, or partially naked in a public space

Women 17, Men 23

Both men and women can get turned on by fantasies of watching someone undress, without their knowing about it. But men are twice as likely to find this arousing:

Watching someone undress without their knowing

Women 32, Men 63

Men like breasts, big and small

Also, rumor has it that guys get turned on by ginormous breasts. And the rumor seems to be true, with a large percentage of men having had fantasies about just that. Women are much less interested in enormous boobs:

Having sex with a women with very large breasts

Women 19, Men 69

Still, more than half of men have also fantasized about sex with women with very small breasts. Again, women not so much:

Having sex with a women with very small breasts

Women 11, Men 52

Wearing clothing of the opposite sex is a turn on?

I also found it interesting that nearly equal numbers of men and women got sexually aroused by fantasies of wearing the clothing of the opposite sex — but percentages were low for everyone:

Wearing clothing associated with the opposite sex

Women 7, Men 10

Since women are the sex objects of our culture, plenty of their clothing is considered sexy: bras, panties, low cut blouses, garter belts. It’s actually a common fetish of transvestites, who are typically straight men. By wearing women’s bras and panties they transform into sex objects, themselves, and become self-arousing.

So what’s up with women? How turned on can you get by donning boxers? Or a suit and tie? Doesn’t seem all that seductive! Not like bras and garter belts. Maybe a power suit feels sexy? Or maybe a woman fantasizes about wearing her boyfriend’s football jersey while they have sex? Hmmm, that seems sexy.

Expectations and surprises

Some of this data completely meet expectations. But some are surprising. Men are more likely than women to get turned on by fantasies of being naked in public? A fair number of women get turned on at the thought of secretly watching people get undressed? … Who’d a thunk?

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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 March 7, 2016, in men, objectification, psychology, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. I saw this and it made me think of a previous post where I found it interesting judging from my experience as a man and seeing how other men seem to operate. I think it might also be why it’s confusing to other guys and I regarding women’s sexual fantasies such as the lesbian or threesome fantasies with another woman. Or being turned on by lesbian porn but saying they are straight and such. The same can be for the domination fantasies too where women have the 50 shades of grey type fantasy and want to be dominated in their fantasy but have no desire to do it in real life. It’s because from my and men’s or must be a common male view is that we don’t understand getting turned on or fantasizing about a certain sex act without wanting to try it in real life is the right situation presented itself for it,

    For men it seems like fantasy is like what hunger is. You don’t have a hunger for a food and then say you’d never eat it if there’s a chance set up for you to eat it right? You want that food, cause you crave it, you crave it because you’re hungry. It’s like interconnected, and it seems that way for arousal and desire for sex for men. Fantasies are more varied and graphic and such for men, which I think people aren’t surprised about. But yeah men often fantasize about what they would do, would like to do or could do in just the right situation. Here’s the link.


    “But the biggest difference is that women are far less likely to want these sexual fantasies to become a reality — a distinction that may often lead to misconceptions between men and women about the sexual desires of their partner.” “But this doesn’t mean that all women secretly wanted to be dominated: Many women who express more extreme fantasies of submission (e.g., domination by a stranger) specify that “they never want these fantasies to come true,” Joyal notes. In contrast, a majority of male participants said they wanted their fantasies of threesomes or extramarital affairs to actually happen in real life.

    So while a lot of women may flock to the theaters to check out Fifty Shades of Grey, that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to experiment with BDSM in real life — but if a guy says he’s into it, he’s more likely to actually go through with it.”

  2. Savannah Owens

    I think the findings of the study are very interesting. The results show that men and women’s sexual desires have more in common than you would think. I feel like our society nowadays tells us that women are not as sexual as men. Society sends the message that a woman with sexual fantasies is somehow perverse and overly manly. This is simply not the case. The data from the study shows us that a high percentage of men and women can become aroused by secretly watching someone undress. I was also intrigued by the fact that men want to be objectified more than women. I think men feel this way because they have never been exposed to the downsides of objectification. Most likely men have a glorified view of what it means to be seen as an object.

  3. To me, it seems like the stereotype of males and sex is true. I feel like males would rather be in a relationship just for the sex whereas the girl is in a relationship for the entire thing.
    That being said, I feel like this is where the numbers come from; women don’t think about sex as much as the men do. I didn’t find it too surprising though that males wanted to be objectified as well, since it seems like males are more into sex than females are.

    Personally, i agree with the last part of the post. I don’t think my boyfriend would be turned on if he saw me in male clothing. Like the post, I feel like it would work best for transvestites. However, I personally think –and think many other girls can agree– its pretty sexy if you’re wearing your boyfriends t-shirt while in the bedroom.

    • Well, when it comes to cross dressing they are talking more about Women getting turned on by wearing men’s clothing or men getting turned on by wearing women’s clothing. But thanks for your thoughts on this.

  4. I have a feeling that men only like being objectified because anything a man does is seen as a positive. Proving to others that they are more “manly” would prove to themselves their own self-worth. It’s kind of like the reasoning behind how men like to prove to other men that they’re manly through slut shaming women. When it came down to women wearing men’s clothing, it’s a sexy self-empowerment sort of them of themselves. There was a movie called “John Tucker Must Die” where the main protagonist got a guy to wear thongs. Other guys didn’t find that to be sexy or empowering because it’s a women’s item of clothing, demeaning his own social status.

  5. This is a classic situation of natural human behavior: people want what they don’t have. Somehow, men do not have as much sexual objectification as do women which is sometimes taken as an advantage. Interestingly, some men view women’s easy sexual objectification as something women can use to win over people in social situations; albeit not a positive thought, there is some evidence of this being true. On another note, society has shifted quite significantly in the past several decades. Clothing trends are always changing, so who knows – men may end up with more sexual objectification from some new more exposing article of clothing. Or, women may end up with less sexual objectification and more social equality with men. Nevertheless, it is largely a matter of current time – this topic of sexual objectification could possibly be completely irrelevant to society several decades from now.

  6. Regarding the fantasy of wanting to be naked- I wonder if the arousal is in being gazed at. For me, as a woman, to be caught naked in public would make me feel very vulnerable and exposed. I’ve sometimes thought how clothing is in its own way a protection from sexual assault in that there are physical barriers there. I don’t think that’s something most men have to worry about.

  7. Roberto Iraheta

    Great post and very realistic when it comes to the fantasies but it all depends on the men. Not all of us are the same as far as cloth goes most of men clothes is big or well it was baggy and oversized now we are seeing it getting smaller 10 years ago there were no skinny jeans or slim size it was all regular for men which is a little interesting how man are opting to change their apparel to show a more slim, fitted type of body I wonder were we are going with this 🤔

  8. This is an interesting post thank you for sharing it. Women’s underwear and clothing are definitely seen as more sexy than mens, and it leaves men in an area where we do not feel sexualized enough. Societal standards make men more unaware of their ability to be sexy at all, thinking that being sexy is only for women. This kind of puts men in a safe zone and away from the possibility of rejection to the standards of “sexy”, which I would bet has to do with our patriarchal society. So, this actually gives men the option if they want to be sexy or not, and are not judged for their choice. On the other hand, it forces women to latch on to the idea that they are the sexual gender and judge themselves for their sexual appeal starting at a young age. They do not have the option to not be sexy without receiving some form of judgement.

    I understand where this article is coming from. This is kind of a funny anecdote but I have started to wear tights to the gym because not only are they comfy and easier to work out in, but hey, I want to show off my ass and legs that I have worked hard for just like the women in the gym! I get some looks, but that is the point, I want to be looked at sexually for once and am hopefully setting the tone for other guys who feel the same. Hopefully this makes women more comfortable than uncomfortable, by making it seem like both genders can be sexy and not just men ogling women.

    • Thanks for sharing. It would be nice if we could see women as more than sexy — and in less narrow ways — which makes few women feel like they live up to the ideal. And also appreciate the sexy side of men — and hopefully not in a narrow way that leaves most men feeling like they exist outside of it.

    • Not really, if a man wants to be or look sexy, he will or could look “feminine” or “gay” so he doesn’t always have that ability to be sexy without being judged either. And men don’t realize their sex appeal not just because sexy is seen as a woman thing, but I think many guys just don’t see their bodies as that desirable or so attractive or attractive enough to spark desire. Guy’s may not feel bad about their body as women, but guy’s also don’t usually feel that their body is that lust worthy attractive either. It’s usually in a neutral territory. Where many guys might not feel awful about their bodies like women, though it’s showing up more now, but also not really that sexy or attractive either. It’s like a “it is what it is” meh” view on their own body.

  9. If a straight guy gets turn on by watching other guy undress, does that make him gay, or bi? Women are seen as sex objects for the most part. Women clothing are seen as sexy most of the time even if it’s not. I’m not suppress that both women and men don’t really find it sexy that their partner is wearing the opposite sex clothing. “I also found it interesting that nearly equal numbers of men and women got sexually aroused by fantasies of wearing the clothing of the opposite sex — but percentages were low for everyone: Wearing clothing associated with the opposite sex Women 7, Men 10” I don’t think a girl want to see his partner in a sexy lingerie or short tight dress and i don’t think guys want to see their girlfriends in boxers or suit.

    • Women can get turned on by certain symbols that our society has sexualized — like female breasts — without being lesbian or bisexual. But we don’t have an equivalent cultural situation for men. If we had an equivalent situation for men — where we constantly sexualized a part of the male body, then I can see how a guy could be turned on without being gay. But there are other reasons why Women might be more likely to get aroused without their orientation changing. See this:

      Sexual Fluidity, Images & Biology

      But really, you would have to ask the man whether he was gay or bi. Does he want to have sex with men? Does that sound appealing to him?

  10. I wonder how much of this is comparing how much a hungry person wants to eat versus how much a full person wants to eat. It’d be interesting to ask Idris Alba, the Hemsworth brothers, and Daniel Dae Kim if they feel the same way.

    • Interesting. And whether one is hungry or full probably depends on things like how much their sexual desire has been repressed. For women, repression causes sexual desire to diminish, which makes them get full much faster. Sometimes they don’t even have to eat.

  11. Women objectify not just men’s bodies, but other things, like social status, power, wealth, fame etc. And those things are intrinsically connected with sexuality.

    • When I complain about objectification i’m not targeting either men or women, but patriarchy. And a lot of men are against patriarchy.

      Patriarchy is an expression of domination culture. We value people who dominate others. So men at the top of the hierarchy are valued over others. And specifically, we value men who are economically successful and powerful. Meanwhile, women are reduced to one thing, Their looks. And they feel like they need to be at the top of the hierarchy, which leaves 80% of women with poor body image.

      I’m hoping that all of us will do our part to break out of the domination/hierarchy mentality. And work more for partnership.

  12. Women would often say how “well fantasy does not mean what you actually want and a difference between fantasy and reality”. This is probably why it can confuse men and me sometimes, because while that it technically true, it seems more true for women than men which is why it doesn’t always make sense. Women would say that about lesbian porn right? or whatever lesbian turn on they get. But yet you see, us men we seem to have fantasies nor for shits and giggles, but because it turns us on and there’s a reason we think about what turns us on, because in a situaiton where we could not be judged or get in trouble (exhibition sex would be an example, where you could get arrested ha), many men would probably do the fantasy, whereas, women it’s more fun fodder in their head. It’s weird, it seems like there’s a”purpose” behind men’s arousal and attraction unlike for women.

  13. A couple of things. Men wanted to dominate more and women wanted to be dominated more, but the difference really wasn’t that big at all. The percentage despite many people probably thinking men would have a much greater percentage of wanting to dominate is apparently not true. There was only a 10-13% difference between men and women for both.

    The thing that is weird, all across the board whether watching men, fantasize about sex with men, etc. men are lower percentage or low percent compared to women regarding watching or sex about women. But for some reason fantasy of having sex with two men is pretty high at 45% for men and definitely higher for women for that one. It doesn’t make sense for straight men and if gay or bi men pushed up that vote, then makes me wonder why sex with one man or watching men make love or fellatio not higher too? Just that one, so I don’t understand it.

    Another interesting thing is the interracial sex fantasy. Men were higher in percentage to want it or think about it compared to women, when in reality it seems like women interracial date or have sex as much or more than men. Well it depends on the race. It seems like more white men date asian women, asian women with white men, than white women with asian men. But on the contrast, as far as sex and dating goes, statistics have to be backed up, but just looking around in general, you see much more white women date, in relationships or have sex with black men, then white men with black women.

    So it’s interesting that much more men have interracial fantasies and not women when women in real life seem to actually be having more interracial dates and sex than men, well if you look at it as far as black and white person dating and sex. Men think of more forcing a partner to sex fantasy, sounds like a rape fantasy, hopefully it’s more of a role play, safe word, bodice ripper fantasy and not actual criminal intent fantasy. But the interesting thing too is men slightly have a higher percentage of being forced to have sex by women too. So rape fantasy in both directions, being forceful to the women and men slightly want a woman forcing sex on them too. So apparently women raping them too. Obviously I don’t mean it literally or hopefully that’s not the case. I guess it shows the submissive side guys have to match the dominant side as much and men liking to be sex objects like you showed from wanting to be looked at and the being forced to have sex might have to do with men wanting to be lusted strongly or like sex objects too. And women do seem to overall though have bisexual fantasies. You say it’s not true and women are just more fluid, but it does seem interesting with how women seem more attracted to women than men to men. But the also interesting thing is what I already knew, is that men seem to want to act out more of their fantasies than women.

    • The researchers found that men have more fantasies, More variety of fantasies, and described the more vividly. And they were more likely to want to do them. Meanwhile, women were less likely to want to do their fantasies.

      And maybe what you are seeing is women being more relationship-focused in terms of interracial dating. Because that’s not just sex. I don’t actually know the numbers on that. While maybe the men are more sex-focused. So the guys were having more sex fantasies with more variety. But in real life when the focus is relationship and not just sex, women might be more into interracial relationships. But like I said, I don’t know the numbers to know if this is necessarily true.

      • “And maybe what you are seeing is women being more relationship-focused in terms of interracial dating. Because that’s not just sex. I don’t actually know the numbers on that. ”

        True, but if more white women have relationships with black men compared to white men with black women. To me that would suggests, more white women are less particular because it’s more about personaloty and attraction that looks for women, so they can love and lust men of differently races compared to men toward women. But what it also suggests to me is that it is in a way about sex too. Because white women who date black men, they seem to have a sexual preference for black men. So it is sex based too, as they seem to find black men more physically, sexually attractive than white men.

        The few white women I see who date black men, their dating past is usually mostly black men so it isn’t “I’m attracted to who clicks with me thing for many women interracially dating” and dating a white guy here, a black guy there and such. Usually it’s about physical, sexual attraction I think to have such a consistent, continued preference and dating. If a white woman, which you can see many times, is dating a black man, and just about all the men she dated before were black, then it suggests that’s the flavor she likes, thus a sex thing to go with the emotional leading her to relationships with black men. I’ve noticed it from some I know, which it was like that just like how most people usually probably date the same race. So if that’s the case you’d think women having the sexual attraction to black men would have sex fantasies even if they usually only have relationships with men, and who happen to be black men often.

      • Maybe there aren’t enough of them to make a difference in the numbers?

  14. This part was interesting
    “Another difference between the sexes was that while women were more likely to imagine their significant other, men fantasised more about extramarital relationships.”

    So after all women are more monogamous than men are

    • They may will be. But is that due to nature or nurture?

      Our society sexualizes and objectifies the female body much more. And women are more punished for being sexual outside of relationships, for instance.

      • I would definitely say this has to do with our society. Men who watch porn get “spoiled” in a sense by always watching a different women have sex each time, which can carry over into their real life by being less satisfied with just one partner.

      • Thanks for your thoughts on this.

  15. Great post! Thoroughly enjoyed the read. Wild & Romantic Fantasies would love to read a few! 🙂

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