Women Looking at David Beckham Showing Skin

David Beckham

Since women were so uncomfortable with the male stripper image I discussed last time I thought I’d try a more masculine image with a bit more clothing.

David Beckham is a conventionally attractive man who looks masculine and is known for his prowess in football (soccer to us Americans). And this type of photo (men’s underwear ads) occurs more often than others I’d shown my classes. Does that make a difference?

Beckham’s attractive

Most women (60%) called him “attractive” — and a third of is group put a little more umph into it:

  • Oui!!! 🙂
  • Yesssss. Amazing. Perfection. My future husband. My Lord. Wow. Just wow!
  • Amazing! Very attractive. He seems open, sexy, welcoming. I want to hop in bed next to him, feel him up!

But another group of women said he was attractive but… They toned things down, like this:

  • I don’t necessarily want anything more out of it, but it’s a fine image.
  • He’s attractive but I’m not super turned on.

And this woman finds him attractive, but she also seems distracted:

  • I wonder if/how much Photoshop has been done.

Neutral; Doesn’t really affect me

About one in five (20%) said they felt neutral about the image. One just stating, “eh.”

It makes me uncomfortable

Some of the women seemed to be struggling with their discomfort, saying things like, “It doesn’t affect me” but “it also feels awkward” or “it’s too much shown.”

The women were nearly as likely to say this image made them uncomfortable (57%) as to say it was attractive.

One woman found his eye contact intimidating.

Mostly they were uncomfortable because they were “not used to” this sort of thing. One said, “If he had boxer briefs it would be different.” Maybe his briefs didn’t seem masculine enough.

The feeling that it was “too much” was common. Some felt there was too much emphasis on the penis. “I feel uncomfortable, his package is right in your face, it’s awkward.”

Another woman was aware that she was more drawn to his face and chest than his penis adding, “Looking at his penis makes me feel oddly uncomfortable.”

Another woman said, “It feels like I shouldn’t be looking at him. I don’t like it.”

Others talked of feeling “amused” or said, “It’s kind of funny to see a man being sexualized/trying so hard to be sexy.”


In conclusion, the women I surveyed were more comfortable with this image than with the nude or nearly-nude pictures of Sly Stallone or stripper Magic Mike. But women are typically less comfortable with male nudity than men are with female nudity.

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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 November 20, 2017, in men, objectification and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 43 Comments.

  1. I’m fine with the picture. He does look attractive and there’s nothing wrong if we women stare at the picture for a few seconds… 😀

  2. I believe women has always been brought up in a more conservative way and that affects our outtake on nudity. Majority of females were brought up in times where they were told what was acceptable and unacceptable. They were also taught to be more conservatives in their daily wear, which I believe causes the female to be less comfortable in their own skin. Therefore, seeing someone, even an attractive person, can cause females to be less comfortable on nudity.

  3. I am a woman, in the early twenties.This David Beckham’s picture did not make me feel uncomfortable. The first reaction when I saw this picture was that the picture was taken very well. Black and white light and shadow highlight the strong male body. Body is black, white clothes, both directly with a strong contrast. So I think this is a very good picture taken. Very textured, not low-grade sexy.If the man simply naked skin to serve the sexy, then this photo will make me feel uncomfortable. But this picture, Beckham’s expression is very confident, body posture is also very stretchy, so I did not feel uncomfortable, it only makes me think it is in the beautiful range of appreciation of the screen.

  4. Hello.!

    I will try to comment first.

    I am not an English speaking country.

    Please understand my cryptic English grammar.

    I have carefully observed the postings related to your gender psychology.
    Despite the cultural differences between my country and the country in which you live, Women in our country are also more familiar with the naked body of women than naked bodies of men.
    It seems to be common among women around the world.
    Women are more excited about the body of women.
    I totally agree with your claim.

    But there is a question.

    *(University of Queens) Meredith L. Chivers In one experiment
    Male masturbation scene and female masturbation scene,
    The woman showed excitement in both scenes.

    At some university, did the same experiment for the students
    showed male and female students a male and female masturbation movie.
    result, Like the *Chivers experiment, female students were all excited about male and female masturbation.

    I could hear a number of my girlfriends who I know are excited about the masturbation scene of men. (Not all, but some of them seem to be excited.)
    Even in the Internet community, women were excited to see the male masturbation scene.

    I wonder if the question is whether the naked body of the male is an exciting visual focus.
    It seems to be contradictory to what your claimed before.

    Is it true that women are excited about the masturbation scene of men?
    Do you also want to see it?
    If I get excited, I want to know if it is the reason to visualize the male body or male penis.
    Women are not excited about male nudity, but I would like to know why they are excited about male masturbation scenes.
    I would like to make a comparison with your answer and the material I think.
    I am curious and I am waiting for your answer.
    I would like you to treat these similar things in detail in the future.

    Thank you for reading my crappy English grammar.

    I like your blog.

    • First, just because their body registered an increase of blood flow doesn’t mean that they felt excited in their minds. They certainly may have but I’m not aware of any women who have watched a nature show with animals having sex and felt mentally aroused by that, even though their body seems to register an increase of blood flow to the vagina. So it could be that whenever sex comes into a woman’s mind her body prepares for it, Whether she feels aroused in her mind or not.

      And so it makes sense that the sex would have this effect but just looking at the naked male body would not. A flaccid penis on a nude male body isn’t necessarily sexual. And we see so much of the male body on a regular basis — except for the penis — that the male body isn’t sexualized.

      We sexualize the female, but not the male, body in this way:

      A cultural fetish like this one is a social construction that is not found in every culture. It’s created in this way:

      • Selectively hide and reveal — creating sexual tension
      • Declare the body part sexy, and then say, “Don’t look at it!” — creating sexual tension
      • Obsess over the body part: The camera zeros in on it. People talk about it incessantly… Because it is declared soooo sexy.

  5. Gabriela Sanchez

    When I first saw this post it made me go back to the other post of the magic mike stripper. Personally I think Beckham is very attractive and seeing how some of the women who thought he was attractive react, I would react the same way. The article does point out that some of the girls did feel awkward and comfortable because when you look at the image, his package seems be right in your face. I think that the commercials that have men showing off their body in a tight underwear are trying to target men but also women. If you have a girlfriend, I think she would be “wow, he looks attractive maybe it will look sexy on my boyfriend”. Another thing is that this type of photo can lower a man’s self esteem because they would think they aren’t buff enough nor have the looks the look like David Beckham.

  6. This photo didn’t make me feel uncomfortable, we see this kind of pictures in adds all the time. I also didn’t feel attracted to him, yes he is very handsome but simply not my type. I Think attractiveness it’s up to the person’s taste. The picture is definitely appealing, however. The reason of why women are less comfortable with nudity may be because male nudes are not as common as women nudes. throughout history, we have seen how the women have been sexualized in paintings, sculptures, and adds. men, however, are less likely to be sexualized. One of the reasons might be because women are supposed to act a certain way to be a decent woman, a good woman, and that is not by watching naked man. In some cultures, women aren’t even allowed to be in the same room with men if they are not their husbands. Women had to follow this rules through time so watching a naked man may be uncomfortable. since women have less interest in naked pictures of men, the demand for male nudity is low. This works as a chain system

  7. I think that this photograph of David Beckham very much makes women uncomfortable although somewhat turned on. He is a very attractive man no doubt about it. I personally think that this photograph is good for campaigning although it doesn’t personally turn me on. I think that women do you like to keep things more discrete until behind closed doors. I do think that gender roles when I comes to nude women and men differs. Men are a lot more comfortable with nude women as opposed to woman with nude males. Maybe because women have always been thought of as sexy and beautiful as opposed to men who are seen as very masculine and clothed. I think the reason why many women think of David Beckham super attractive as opposed to a male stripper is because David Beckham has proved his masculinity and sexiness over the time. As opposed to strippers who are very much nobody’s home have a te I think the reason many women think of David Beckham super attractive as a post to a male stripper is because David Beckham has proved his masculinity and sexiness over the time. As opposed to strippers who are very much unknown.

  8. The image of David Beckham and many other images of models with very few clothing on is not as common as the same image but with women. In my experience, when I’m out shopping, I usually see more women models dressed with less clothing in order to advertise a product such as Victoria’s Secret. When I’m in Victoria’s Secret with my girlfriend to help her shop, I usually see other couples unphased by the large images of half-naked women plastered all over the walls. Occasionally I’ll see a guy admiring those images, or women staring at them saying, “I like what she’s wearing, where can I get it?” However, I couldn’t imagine bringing myself or my girlfriend with me to a “Victor’s Secret,” a male version of Victoria’s Secret that I made up. I don’t think I’d be comfortable with images of half-naked men on the walls, with their bulging packages on every corner of the store. I feel like it would also be uncomfortable for my girlfriend and other women too, as it would be different from what we usually see. Men, in my opinion, are also more territorial, so if they were to bring their partner to my made up store, I feel like they’d be somewhat jealous. Whereas in Victoria’s Secret, I rarely see any women expressing concern of jealousy since stores like it are normal and in almost every shopping center.

  9. Of course, some women would feel uncomfortable with this kind of photo because he’s almost full on naked. The only reason why celebrities like David Beckham have to pose like this is to appeal to the women and men by showing men that if you wear Calvin Klein boxers you will look “sexy” just like David Beckham and impress your significant other. Sometimes they just try to hard to look sexy hence the uncomfortableness.

  10. I think this picture of David Beckham is great! It’s something we’d see at the store, or even in a quiet and soft TV commercial which we (as girls) would be very much intrigued in. Pair it with some breeze to blow his shirt off a little, soft jazz, and VOILA! Hot, hot, hot. I can see why the image can be a little bit awkward though. I feel that we as women like to be teased, and not shown too much. Sidetracking a bit, and somewhat inappropriate, if a woman were to text her boyfriend a nude, he would be very much impressed, and turned on, versus when a woman receives a picture of a package she did not ask her, it’s very much uncomfortable. Women like to keep what’s private, private, meaning that more than likely, an American Eagle commercial would receive higher ratings than this Calvin Klein commercial because the other one would feature a topless man with jeans on.

  11. ❤❤ haha he is a handsome man. But him and his wife are too beautiful together.

  12. Since nudity, generally, is directed toward men, I do wonder who this ad is targeted at. It does almost feel aggressive.

    • Maybe target to guys buying underwear. A lot of guys ell me they wish thy were more sexualized. And yet plenty of us, men and women alike, feel uncomfortable with this since we are so unused to it and associate it so much with women and not men.

  13. Besides his pose looks aggressive. That might played a role in why most women were put off

  14. I’m a man, 70. Female nudity alone has never impressed me much. It has always been when there’s a relation to be explored that I’ve been turned on. And “turning on” has several different aspects to it. The bodily adventure is one. The intellectual, the mental, the emotional are others. I think it is the interweaving of them all that turns me really on.

    It may very well be that, to most men, seeing nude female skin is enough to turn them on. And as it seems from the discussion here, women often need the relational exploration in addition to turn themselves on.

    Are these differences culturally conditioned? Or biologically? In my own case I think my way of being a man has a lot to do with my upbringing. Maybe men and women can be taught to experience sex as part of a communication in which relations are explored.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with this. I think it’s conditioned. Men aren’t visual in all cultures, or necessarily even in those where it’s culturally taught. And women seem to be getting more visual, or straight women are often conditioned to be turned on by the female form.

  15. Of course social conditioning plays a role but it also proves that women are more cautious. They need to get know a man first before they are ready to go. Men don’t really need that. It’s “shoot first ask questions later”.
    But for women it’s “I don’t know you well enough”.
    That’s why women aren’t interested in seeing male *strangers* naked.
    And this was a still photo. It didn’t say anything about his personality or didn’t show any attributes that women may find attractive.
    On the other hand, when the male actors in Twilight showed some skin, women were more interested because they felt like they knew them more.
    I think that women are programmed to not feel attraction to male strangers.
    But once a woman gets to know a man well enough then she may change her mind.

    • You could be right. The only way you can untangle some of these things just by looking at cross-cultural evidence and I’m not aware of cultures where women have sex with strange men. Men are on average bear and stronger than women which can make them more concerned about things like mental well-being of their partner.

      Studies have found that looks aren’t the most important thing. When people spend time with each other they tend to find each other more attractive.

      • So after all it seems that men are indeed hardwired to look for sex even with female strangers whereas women need to feel some intimacy first.
        Perhaps women are hardwired to not be attracted to male strangers

      • Not sure. May have been different in very early tribal societies, see Sex At Dawn.

      • People in early tribal societies knew each other. They all spent their days together. So even then women never have had sex with male strangers. That could be why women are hardwired to not be attracted to male strangers

      • Sex At Dawn describes small bands of around 20 people running into each other and people casually leaving one band to join another.

    • “”But for women it’s “I don’t know you well enough”.”

      This totally false.

      How do you explain women attending bachelorette parties AND engaging in sex with the male strippers? Or how do you explain womens behavior on Tinder? Or how do you explain womens behavior regarding one night stands?

      All a woman needs is to be excited by a particular man AND feel safe/comfortable in engaging said man. Yes, women do indeed feel attraction for male strangers. However, this is usually the case for the most attractive men.

      I think your views reflects the mis-education that I see with most men today.

      • Because women in Bachelorette parties are among friends and feel safety in numbers. Women in Tinder feel safe because they are just playing through the Internet.
        Even women in one stands need to spend enough time talking with the guy to feel some connection. That’s why there are so many pick up artists making money by teaching guys how to talk to women.
        There were many times social experiments conducted were an attractive male was approaching women on the street. He was almost always rejected by the women.
        For women it’s always “I don’t know you well enough”
        That “well enough” might be weeks or months or it could be a few hours. However there’s always a threshold.

      • Yeah. Some women seek out sex with strangers. Some are my students who have written about it. They generally site low self-esteem and trying to get attention.

      • Even for those few women who seek sex with strangers there is a threshold. Even in one night stands they need to spend a few hours talking to each other to pass that threshold. So in their mind that guy isn’t a stranger anymore. They feel some intimacy.
        That’s not the case for most women however. Most women need weeks or even months to feel a connection.

    • “That’s not the case for most women however. Most women need weeks or even months to feel a connection.”

      Again, this is just flatly untrue.

      I have a friend you got oral sex from a woman within 2 hours of meeting her at an airport! I have met women and they have been very forward with me about wanting to have sex with me. There are far more women who behave like this than you think!

      Women “feel a connection” right away for men whom they are attracted. Even if said man turns out to be “jerk.” If a woman is on Tinder and meets a guy later that day for sex, please explain to me just how much of a connection exist? Stop believing this nonsense.

      The only men whom women “need a connection” are usually men whom they desire for long-term partnership (i.e., marriage). For these men, the bar for sex is raised significantly. The reason being is simple: women do NOT marry the men whom they love to have sex AND they do NOT have sex with the men whom they profess to love. So, these men must offer something else in exchange for sex/romance such as financial status, security, etc.

      The very sad reality for most men is that women do NOT value us men for WHO we are as beings. Rather, they value us for WHAT we are and more importantly what we can do for them. The irony is women continue to complain about objectification while practicing the exact same thing with men: we are mere objects. We are not viewed as human beings. Yet, feminism continues to propagate the big lie that they are interested in “equality.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It is like the old communist who once argued about how free man was under communism.

      As a a man who has both experienced and observed the ways of women, you really need cleanse your mind of this miseducation. If you do not, you are going suffer a similar fate as many other men.

      • I think that socialization makes it difficult for Women to want a lot of partners with strangers they don’t know. There are greater fears for straight women in terms of personal safety. Also women’s sexuality is punished so much that they fear doing it out of punishment or because they have become repressed from years of punishment.

        That said, about half of both women and men prefer monogamy and about half of both women and men prefer multiple partners. I would not like a culture where everyone is pressured into multiple partners. Nor a culture where people are pressured into irresponsible sex. Whether monogamous or polygamist I believe that people must be responsible: see your partner as a person and care about them and safe sex, for example.

  16. Maybe men see nude women (real or otherwise) too often that such images don’t please them after a while. Most women, on the other hand, consider it a shame to even be looking at such pics.

  17. The only question the folks who published the picture would ask is: Did it sell any underwear?

  18. this is how the media influences our thoughts and attitudes. A little skin here and there.. will do the trick

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