Men Are Naturally Attracted To Unnatural Women

Ask a guy why he looks at porn and he’s likely to say that men are just naturally attracted to women. But the women in porn don’t look too natural.

Actually, women in fashion magazines and billboards don’t look too natural, either.

Women and men both learn to admire a feminine ideal that ends up frustrating both men and women.

Most women have to starve themselves to be ideally skinny. Many models are so thin that they have stopped menstruating. Isn’t the natural instinct to stay alive and well?

And how about fake breasts? If men are naturally drawn to breasts, why do so many women go under the knife and mutilate themselves so that men – and society – will find them attractive?

Then there’s the preference for blondes. Few women past puberty are true blondes. But unnaturally bleached hair is the top color of choice, both for men and for women who want to look beautiful. Well, at least peroxide doesn’t require enormous amounts of money or risk much bodily harm.

So models go through all their pain and suffering, but it’s not quite enough. Next, the malnourished, plastic-chested, bleached out images go to be photoshopped and airbrushed to look even more fake than they already are. 

So women try in vain to match ridiculous notions of beauty. Then get depressed because nothing they do seems to work.

But the models don’t look like “themselves,” either!

At the same time, male students have told me that all this hurts them, too. “What’s wrong with me?” they wonder. “Why can’t I get women who look like THAT?”

Well, those “picture perfect” women don’t actually exist.

So women can never achieve the ideal. And men can never have the ideal woman.

Meanwhile, men are left feeling “naturally” attracted to something that isn’t natural.

Georgia Platts

Should You Ask Why Your Lover Loves You?

We often ask our lovers why they love us.

That may not be such a good idea.

When people become analytical – making lists of pros and cons, what they like and don’t – they can end up misleading themselves.

Social psychologist, Tim Wilson and his colleagues found that analyzing our feelings can actually make matters worse.

Unfortunately, we don’t always know why we feel the way we do. So we might latch onto reasons that are easily identifiable, and easier to verbalize, than what’s really in our hearts. Our reasons sound reasonable, but they aren’t necessarily correct.

Now comes the bigger problem: After looking at our list, we can change the way we feel, at least temporarily, to match what we wrote. Maybe the list doesn’t seem too spectacular and we reassess our feelings.

Wilson gives a couple of examples. Suppose you enjoy dating someone, and you wonder why: What is it about this person? As you think about it, you start to notice that you and your partner don’t have much in common. With so little in common, you can’t have much of a future! So you change your mind about the relationship.

Then there’s that episode from Friends when Ross makes a list to sort out his feelings toward Rachel and Julie. He loves Rachel but can’t figure out why, so he writes down whatever comes to mind: “She’s just a waitress… She’s a little ditzy.” In real life, Ross would have concluded that he did not love Rachel as much as he thought, because all he could think of were negative traits. (But when he next thought about Julie, all he could think was, “She’s not Rachel, she’s not Rachel.” Perhaps fiction is more forgiving.)

If you ever do chose to list the reasons why you love your lover, consider that you may not know, or may not be able to articulate, your real reasons.  

Fortunately, the effects of “reasons-generated attitude change” are temporary. So at least don’t do anything rash based on your new perspective.

I once asked my husband why he loved me. He said he didn’t know. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t push the matter.

Georgia Platts

Source: Elliot Aronson, Timothy Wilson and Robin Akert. Social psychology. Pearson/Prentice Hall. 2007

Repressive Female Sex Culture

“After I’ve just gotten laid, the first thing I think about is that I can’t wait to tell my crew who I just did. Omigod, they’re not going to believe I just did Kristy. They’ll all be high-fiving me.”

Guys routinely celebrate having sex. The messages they give each other pretty much translate to, “Sex is great! And more is better!” 

But what do women hear? 

After anticipating “high-fives” for his sexual success, the young man above adds: “And Kristy? She’ll probably ask me not to tell anyone, to protect her reputation.” 

Men and women receive very different messages about sex. 

In fact, the term “hookup” is deliberately ambiguous. It can mean anything from kissing to intercourse. So if a guy says he hooked up, he’s hoping other guys think he went “all the way.” But if a girl hooks up, she hopes her friends hear, “I kissed him.” 

At one northeastern college, men returning to the fraternities after a night at the dorms are said to be strolling the Walk of Fame. But women returning to the dorms from a frat are taking the Walk of Shame. 

A few years back a fraternity at Dartmouth published the names of all of the women the brothers had had sex with, making disparaging comments about them. 

Is sex something to avoid? Something dirty? Or something to pursue with a vengeance? It all depends on whether you’re male of female. 

When it comes to sex, men are celebrated but women risk punishment. 

Many think sexual repression is not a problem in our society – that these notions never reach the subconscious. Yet women can come to turn off sexual feeling, whether they realize it or not. Not feeling can be safer. 

Sex therapist, Lonnie Barbach, says that highly repressive societies create women who have difficulty climaxing, while women in non-repressive societies have regular and satisfactory orgasms.  

In 1972, when women were more penalized than they are today, a Playboy foundation survey found that more than half of single women under age 25 found their first sexual experience neutral or unpleasant. Only 20% found sex highly pleasurable.

Things may not be as bad today. Indiana University’s recently released sex survey found that 58% of women in their 20s had had an orgasm the last time they had sex. But when that compares with 96% of their male counterparts, we see the tell-tale signs of continuing repression.

But really, should we be surprised?  

Men who slut-shame don’t seem too worried that women won’t enjoy sex with them. After watching sex-craved porn stars, and thinking that accurately reflects women’s sexuality, perhaps they assume women can’t help but come back for more. No matter what.  

Some will interpret my observation that men are more sex-positive and more promiscuous as prescribing male behavior to everyone. As one reader put it“But I don’t want to run around like a tart!”

Actually, I want to have a conversation about the positives and negatives of so-called men’s and women’s ways of doing sex. It is certainly not better to treat people like currency – the more you bang the higher your status. But what can women learn from men, and what can men learn from women? 

Georgia Platts 

Sources: (quotes edited for length and clarity)
Lonnie Barbach. For Yourself. Anchor. 2000; Michael Kimmel. Guyland. Harper. 2008

Gays and Women with Boyfriends Shouldn’t Teach (It Limits Freedom!): The Gospel of Jim DeMint

South Carolina Senator, Jim DeMint, was quoted in the Spartanberg newspaper saying that no one who is openly gay should be teaching in the classroom. And neither should unmarried women who are sleeping with their boyfriends.

Apparently hetero men can sleep with whomever they wish and keep their jobs. Good thing, or a lot of his Congressional colleagues would be out of work.

Then he continued, “(When I said that) no one came to my defense. But everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn’t back down. They don’t want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion.”

Huh?

How does denying jobs to gays and women with boyfriends increase their freedom and limit government intrusion in their lives? How does this increase their freedom of religion?

So whose freedom is he talking about?

DeMint actually wants to limit the freedoms of the less powerful members of society — women and gays — in order to increase the freedom of more powerful members of southern society: conservative Christians who don’t want the burden of interacting with anyone who doesn’t share some of their views.

But these good Christians seem to have forgotten the golden rule. To paraphrase Jesus: Do unto others as you would have done unto you. And what about the second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor?

Georgia Platts

October is Gay and Lesbian History Month

 

Sex Lessons from Mom and Dad

Even when girls and boys get the same negative message about sex, girls seem to come out worse. 

Many young people only get silence from their parents on the subject. But silence communicates: Sex is unmentionable, shameful. 

Parents often worry that raising the subject will lead kids to have sex. Actually, when parents talk, their children are less likely to become sexually active, and more likely to behave responsibly. 

“Don’t touch yourself there.” Another message linking sex and filthiness. 

The advice doesn’t always work as hoped. Sex therapist Lonnie Barbach tells of one little girl who, “put that extraordinarily dirty place directly under the faucet of the tub in order to wash it more thoroughly and was pleasantly surprised to find that the water created a most intense sensation which culminated in orgasm.” 

Other little girls aren’t so lucky. 

Here’s the downside to the parental rebuke. Touching yourself is exactly what sex therapists advise when women have trouble achieving orgasm. Because they often don’t understand how their bodies work. 

In fact, while parents may scold both boys and girls, the reproach seems to have a more negative impact on girls. Boys who don’t touch themselves, and who don’t have sex, will have wet dreams because their bodies need regular ejaculations to create fresh sperm. This clues boys in to how their bodies work. 

Girls don’t always figure out how the clitoris works. It’s an organ that’s small and hidden, and girls’ bodies don’t force orgasms. Women can go their entire lives, having many babies, without ever experiencing one. 

Nearly all men masturbate, but only half of women do. Perhaps this is why. 

But parents give boys more positive messages about sex, too. “Never waste a boner,” a male student volunteered when I asked what sorts of parental advice they’d heard. 

Girls probably won’t hear anything remotely similar. 

We’ve all heard how boys are told to sew their wild oats before marriage, while girls are encouraged to abstain. Some dads have even taken their daughters to “purity balls” and vowed “before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity.” A little extreme. And the notion of “covering” a daughter seems a little creepy. But it reflects the larger society’s concern with girls’ “sexual cleanliness.” 

Girls and boys get different messages on sexuality from parents. And even when they don’t, girls’ sexuality can be more damaged. 

Georgia Platts 

Popular Posts on BroadBlogs
Men Are Naturally Attracted To Unnatural Women 
“Cock” vs “Down There”  
Yale Fraternity Chants “No Means Yes.” Men? Or Scaredy Cats?
Surprises in Indiana University Sex Survey

Why Are Men Surprised by Breakups?

Over the years I’ve dated men who’ve ogled other women. Actually, only four men behaved that way, most weren’t so rude. When I told them their behavior bothered me, it had no effect. One responded, “Someday you’ll have a breakthrough and get over it.”

Instead of breakthroughs, I broke up with each of them. They all were shocked.

Sometimes the surprise happens differently, as when men “hear” me say that I like what I don’t.

When I was in college at BYU some of the students believed that although Mormons no longer practice polygamy (only “Mormon Fundamentalists” do) polygamy was the way of Heaven. (A religious instructor told me this was folklore and not theology. I haven’t been to church in years and don’t know what the common view is now.)

Still, I heard men say they couldn’t wait to have many wives up in Heaven. Put off, I asked men how they felt about polygamy. I told one man that it pissed me off. But projecting his own interest onto me, he was certain that I was as intrigued by the idea of heavenly threesomes as he was. I was mystified. He was surprised when I broke off our relationship.

Breakups can be harder on men than on women. Partly because men are more likely to be surprised.

Why are they so often surprised?

The male role seems to be in play. Men are less relationship-oriented, so they are less likely to monitor their relationships. Men learn that they’re not supposed to listen to women. Not helpful! Taught to constrain their emotions, men are less able to read the emotions of others.

Women are commonly objectified, too. When men see women as objects, sex toys that exist for their pleasure, men don’t experience women as having feelings. They lack empathy and can’t feel women’s pain.

Additionally, men often have more power in society and in relationships. How could this hurt them?

The Wall Street Journal recently reported studies showing that power decreases empathy.

People moving up the ladder of success are typically considerate, outgoing, agreeable and extroverted. Nice “guys” do finish first.

But once in power, things change.

One researcher compared the effect to brain damage, saying that people who hold a lot of authority can behave like neurological patients with damaged orbitofrontal lobes, an area of the brain that’s crucial for empathy.

I’m not saying all men behave this way, but it’s an interesting observation.

Still, the scales of power are tipped in men’s favor, often because it feels natural and normal to many men and women. So it’s interesting that even limited experiments, like asking people to describe a time when they felt powerful, could make them more egocentric.

Power keeps people from hearing points of view that differ from their own. So when a woman says she’s unhappy, and her partner feels she shouldn’t be, he may not sense her suffering even as she tells him about it.

Power diminishes empathy. Lacking empathy, some misread their partner’s feelings.

Then its surprise! Bye, bye baby.

Women, if you’re having issues, perhaps this will help you to understand what’s going on. Maybe you can have a conversation (if he’ll make an effort to talk to you.)

Men, if you want to keep your relationships strong, recognize women as full partners. Be attuned and listen to them. And be empathetic and alert to your partner’s emotions.

Georgia Platts

Sources:

Elizabeth Rider. Our Voices. Wadsworth. 2000

Jonah Lehrer. The Power Trip.” Wall Street Journal. August 14-15, 2010

DO Women Like Sex Less Than Men?

Responses to my post asking why women like sex less than men included:

  • Says who?
  • I think it’s the opposite – I think women like it more
  • I don’t think anyone can know who likes sex better

Or as one reader put it, “The overwhelming majority of men and women get their attitudes and desires for sex primarily through the natural, healthy desire to have sex… Women are equal to men and thus capable of every form of behavior that men engage in.”

To which I respond: no and yes (in that order).

Women are certainly capable of enjoying sex immensely. In some societies women are highly orgasmic and inclined to engage in sex with great frequency, as with Tahitians and American Indians before contact with Europeans.

But highly orgasmic women in America? Not so much – at least not by comparison.

Of course women are capable of having great sex. But the extent to which they actually do depends on factors other than just what nature brings them. Repression plays a role, and so do sexual objectification and male dominance (all will be explored later).

Do women like sex less? Consider this research on sexuality in America:

On the orgasm front three-quarters of men say they “always” have an orgasm, but just 30% of women do. One quarter of women don’t usually have orgasms. In the casual sex of hook-ups the rate is lower, especially for women. Sociologist Michael Kimmel (Guyland) surveyed college students on their most recent hookup. Only 44% of the men reported having an orgasm, and only 19% of the women did.

The more orgasmic a person is, the more they report enjoying sex. Not surprisingly, women report liking sex less than men do. A Chicago University study found that men have more interest in sex at all ages. And an ABC News Primetime Live survey found that 83% of men “enjoy sex a great deal,” while only 59% of women do. That same study found that while 70% of men think about sex every day, only 34% of women do.  

Women also experience more sexual dysfunction than men. A report from the Archives of Internal Medicine showed more than one quarter of young women feeling weak sexual desire. While research at the University of Chicago found that 32% of women (but only 15 -17% of men) have low libidos. Not surprisingly, 40% of men say they would like to have more sex than they do now, but only 28% of women feel the same way.

For more evidence of gender difference in sexual interest, see my post: Sex Research: It Doesn’t Fit Me, It Must Be Wrong

I wonder if men ever sit around confiding to friends that sex ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’ve listened to these kinds of conversations with many groups of women, yet it’s hard to imagine men doing the same thing.

The difference in the male and female experience is due mostly to cultural forces. The difference in the female experience between modern Americans and ancient Tahitians is entirely due to culture.

Yet many people think our society has no negative effects on women’s sexuality.

Maybe that’s why we don’t do anything to create change.

Georgia Platts

Why Don’t Women Like Sex As Much As Men?

What’s the difference between a slut and a bitch? If you are an American university student you probably know the punch line:

“A bitch has sex with everyone but me.”

How do men view women’s sexuality? And how does this affect their relationships with women?

Many men get their sex education from two primary sources: friends and porn. And their friends learn a lot from porn, too. These are the men who seem to see women as bitches or sluts.

So how are women portrayed on the pornography front?

Women meet strangers and become immediately aroused, sexual activity quickly ensues, and they come swiftly to orgasm. And by the way, women love threesomes and orgies. Really, the more the merrier!

In porn women’s sexuality looks more like men’s than women’s.

Pornography leads single men to believe that other men are getting an awful lot of sex. And they wonder why they aren’t. “Why do babes (aka sluts) have sex with everyone but me? Those bitches!”

In the U.S. women’s sexuality is far different from how it is portrayed in porn. Typically, women are much more interested in romance and relationship than in casual intercourse. And while some women love sex (sometimes more than their partners) surveys show that they typically enjoy sex less than men do, and want far fewer partners.

Biology does not seem to be the main reason for the difference. While the male brain does seem to be designed for greater interest in sex, women and men have matched up far more evenly in other times and places.

I will be posting an ongoing series (interspersed with other topics) to discuss these questions, among others:

  • How do men and women experience sex differently?
  • What affects sexual experience and why do American women typically enjoy sex less than men?
  • How do differences and misunderstandings affect relationships between women and men?
  • What are the benefits and costs of the so-called male and female ways of sexuality?
  • What can women learn from men and what can men learn from women?

To understand all this, we’ll need to explore things you might not expect, like how objectification can dampen a woman’s sexual experience, even as it heightens a man’s. Or, we still rank men above women in our society, and this ends up diminishing women’s sexual interest in ways that are not immediately obvious – though they should be.

Meanwhile, men, if you’re not getting a lot of sex, don’t take it personally. And don’t take it out on women.

Georgia Platts

Sources:

Michael Kimmel. Guyland. Harper. 2008

Pamela Paul. Pornified. Holt. 2005

Popular posts on BroadBlogs:

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http://broadblogs.com/2010/08/23/are-women-polygamous-or-monogamous-a-discussion/

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http://broadblogs.com/2010/07/22/did-slut-shaming-kill-phoebe-prince/

The Burqa: Limiting Women’s Power and Autonomy

With the French voting on the “burqa ban” next week, I’m republishing my first post from BroadBlogs, originally published July 20, 2010

As European countries step up to ban the burqa, many protesters don’t understand that the burqa is neither a religious requirement nor a simple cultural costume. The burqa is about limiting women’s autonomy and power.

The Koran only asks women to be modest and to veil their breasts (24:30 31).

If the burqa is not a religious requirement, how did it arise? Let’s take a look at how covering affects women in the countries in which it is law, which points to its intent.

In Saudi Arabia women cannot drive because they cannot get a driver’s license (no face picture for identity purposes).

Meanwhile, Sheikh Abdul Mohsin al-Abaican recently declared that women should give breast milk to their male drivers so that they can symbolically become their sons. Not sure that this means breastfeeding, which would neither enhance modesty nor separate the sexes. But it would keep non-lactating women from driving. (Or could they feed their drivers formula?) Women who cannot afford drivers are pretty much doomed to stay close to home.

Reflecting their lack of power, Saudi women make up only 5% of the workforce. Maybe it’s hard to get to work? This low number reflects a social norm that women’s place is in the home, leaving the larger society largely safe from their influence.

In Afghanistan, women political candidates cannot speak or give speeches face-to-face in mixed company. If there is enough money for campaign posters, a burqa amidst men’s faces would certainly stand out, I suppose. Meanwhile, the bulk of Taliban-style culture is designed to limit women’s power, whether keeping them from venturing outside the house or keeping them from education and work.

The Burqa is not a fashion statement. It is not a religious requirement, so it cannot be defended on grounds of religious rights. It is not really about morality. Why should free societies support the lack of freedom and power that the burqa was intended to create?

Georgia Platts

Sex Research: It Doesn’t Fit Me, It Must Be Wrong

A couple of people who joined the discussion on how women and men “do sex” questioned research findings I had cited because the data didn’t fit their experience.

 There is reason for concern. Often, people want to look good, normal and acceptable, even when they are anonymous.

 Prudish people are more likely to throw sex surveys in the trash. People who have more interest in sex are more likely to fill them out.

 Men exaggerate the number of partners they’ve had, while women under estimate theirs.

 Some people who are gay or lesbian may be in denial, or they may fear someone finding out, so their numbers may be underestimated.

 Trying to look normal, most people say they have sex with their spouse once a week, since that’s the number they always hear.

 At the same time, the data is based on a larger swath of the population than most of us interact with.

 Most of us are friends with people who are like us, and who share our views. That’s why they are friends. And our group may not be typical.

 One person who felt the studies didn’t fit his experience is in an open marriage, which constitutes less than 1% of the population. That’s not your typical group. Another is a feminist, also not typical of the population. A group of Southern Baptists would probably see things differently from these two.

 Keep in mind that research reflects averages. You and your friends may not be typical.

 We also tend to project our own views onto others. If we love sex, we don’t get that others don’t. If we think sex is dull, we have a hard time believing that others love it.

From the comments I’ve posted, it is clear that there is no one way that men or women behave. There is no one attitude.

But there are some strong social patterns:

  • Surveys say men want, on average, 14 partners over a lifetime, while women say they want 1 or 2
  • Women report enjoying sex less than men
  • While prostitution finds plenty of male customers, female customers are in short supply. Gigolos are practically a myth
  • Playgirl is perennially bankrupt, yet the male porn audience is huge
  • Hooking up: College women get bored quickly and exit the scene, but college men want to continue casual sex even after leaving college
  • Men are usually more enthusiastic about open marriage or swinging, and more often initiate the idea
  • Male fantasies are more x-rated; female fantasies revolve more around romance

Is this conversation dated?

One woman commented:

  • I came out of the feminist 70’s and this conversation seems a little dated.  Really, we can do whatever we want to do and who cares? 

Yet this issue still comes up with my 18, 19, and 20-something students. They still feel the conversation is relevant.

Another woman’s perspective:

  • While we are free to do what we want, what good is the freedom when you feel used and discarded?

Or slut-shamed?