This comment was by Aeon Blue on The Danger in Demonizing Male Sexuality.
Many hetero women do lust after men, every inch of them, and even when they are not emotionally attracted to a man. We love to see attractive men in shorts, speedos, absolutely naked, and everything in between. I am sure we notice the gentle swell of a man’s chest and the lean firmness of his thighs with the same maddening intensity of lust heterosexual men feel for a woman’s breasts and hips. It is disappointing and frustrating when people claim to believe that women “just aren’t visual” the way men are, when I know that I, and many, many other women, certainly are. It’s especially maddening because men aren’t the only ones to perpetuate this belief. Every time I hear a woman say that women’s bodies are more beautiful, I shake my head and wonder how any woman that considers herself heterosexual could think that, because I know how completely in love I am with the male physique.
The funny thing is, though, I think I know why, because I used to be one of those women that believed men looked better dressed up than down, and was more aroused by naked women than men. The truth is, I had to learn how to be a heterosexual woman. That may sound weird, but consider this: men are taught from a young age that they are sexual (even if it’s a predatory, warped sexuality) and that this is natural. Women, on the other hand, are taught their sexuality (or lack thereof) is, as this article mentions, shaped around the idea that sexuality must be rejected, denied, or used as a bartering chip. As an adolescent girl with no friends, I had no idea that men could be sexy. I had no idea I could have a sexuality.
I certainly had sexual urges and I’m sure I masturbated as much, or more, than any horny teenage boy, but my fantasies were half-formed things that reflected mostly what I saw in the media – and that was women’s bodies. I had never seen a naked man before, nor had I seen a man act sexually desirable (except sometimes on tv as a joke – vain men and men who think they are sexy are always ridiculed in media), but in movies I’d seen plenty of women playing the vamp and my father kept Playboys in the bathroom. I knew what it looked like to objectify women, so that is what I used. I thought men were icky, hairy predators that secretly terrified me, and as the media showed me, the thought of a man being sexually desirable was a joke; I could like men’s faces, but that was about it. All of the women in my family had been raped, and there was a guy coming around daily still trying to rape my mother, so I didn’t want to bother with any of that. Women were safe, and men were safe as long as they were androgynous teen heartthrobs that didn’t exist below the collars of their shirts.
It took a long time, and a lot of effort on my part, to learn about my own sexuality. I discovered alternative, underground sources of women’s art where the male body was glorified and presented as desirable and not predatory. There was yaoi, and erotic fanfiction, and fantasy novels where men were portrayed as vain creatures of beauty that knew how sexually desirable they were, and for the first time in my life, I began to understand that men could be sexually attractive too. It was an incredibly exciting discovery for me. When the assumption of predatory behavior and my own contempt for my sexuality was removed, I discovered that I was, in fact, absolutely, wildly, in love with the male body. I just had to get through a nigh impenetrable layer of social conditioning, fear, self-loathing, and inexperience to find that out.
So, if you think heterosexual women aren’t biologically primed to be as physically attracted to men as het men are to women, well, I don’t have any proof of that one way or the other, but consider that there is a lot straight men take for granted when it comes to being able to follow their own natural urges.
And, keep in mind that this is just my own story, and I was a pretty repressed girl. My sister never had the problems I did. She was sexually active from a young age, and I guess her sexuality always just felt natural to her. She pinned pictures of naked men to her walls, would always slow her car to a roll to check out male joggers, and in general was a liberated horn dog.