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Sex Objects Who Don’t Enjoy Sex

Sexualizing women can have its perks in the bedroom, with breast fetishes and butt fetishes heightening men’s arousal.

But surprisingly, sexualizing women can have the opposite effect, harming both men’s and women’s enjoyment. And in many ways. Here’s one: self-objectification.

Drowning in “sexy women” images, men and women can both come to see women as the sexy half of the species. So what happens in bed? Because men aren’t seen as especially sexy (at least by comparison) men are focused on women and women can be focused on themselves.

Caroline Heldman, assistant professor at Occidental College, found that some women become preoccupied with how they look instead of the sexual experience. “One young woman I interviewed described sex as being an ‘out of body’ experience,” she said. “She viewed herself through the eyes of her lover, and, sometimes, through the imaginary lens of a camera shooting a porn film.”

Sounds a bit like Paris Hilton: “My boyfriends say I’m sexy but not sexual,” she mused. “Being ‘hot’ is a pose, an act, a tool, and entirely divorced from either physical pleasure or romantic love.”

Heldman feels that girls and women are learning to eroticize male sexual pleasure as though it were their own. She feels they need to explore their sexuality in more empowering and satisfying ways than this vicarious act.

Cultural theorist Jackson Katz has similar concerns. “Many young women are now engaged in sex acts with men that prioritize the man’s pleasure,” he reflected, “with little or no expectation of reciprocity.”

When having sex, these young women may be enjoying themselves, and how nice they look. They may gain a boost to self-esteem as they dwell on their “hotness.” But they’re not enjoying sex.

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