We Love Your Bod

Sylvia D. Lucas wants to put the “men’s bodies are yucky” myth to bed.

You’ve undoubtedly noticed, perhaps approvingly, that you’re more likely to see naked women than naked men in movies unless they’re the meaningful, artistic, or plot-essential nude scenes involving concentration camp victims or emotionally distraught older males revealing their surprising vulnerability. (Don’t worry—I’m not discounting the gratuitous penis scenes in the likes of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Wolverine, Wild Things, Color of Night, and others, but you do have to admit those are few and far between.)

A boyfriend and I have had lengthy, and sometimes heated, discussions about why there isn’t a more balanced penis-to-breast ratio in modern cinema. “There’s no audience for it,” he said. “Men like naked women, but women don’t care if they see naked men in movies.”

I’m sorry?

Yes. Yes, we do. We enjoy it. Partial nudity or full nudity, we like it (more so if he has a nice body, naturally—anyone who is plopped naked into a film and who has a body generally agreed upon to be unattractive is usually included for comedic value, and just as men will laugh and point at an unattractive naked female, we’ll do the same when the male is unattractive).

I’m not sure who started the rumor that we don’t like male nudity or the male body, but it’s been very effective—I’ve even heard some women taking the sentiment further by saying, “Women’s bodies are beautiful, but men’s are funny-looking. Their thing just sort of dangles there like … I don’t know what. I would always rather look at a naked woman than a naked man.”

Er… OK.

N … No. Nope.

Straight women like men’s bodies. In fact, it deserves its own line:

We love your body.

Generally speaking, that is. We, too, are visual creatures, after all (if we weren’t, why would we spend so much time decorating?), so to be perfectly honest, we probably aren’t going to be immediately attracted to a man who doesn’t take care of himself by eating right, getting some regular exercise, etc., but when it comes to our overall attraction to The Male Body, our appreciation of it is actually quite healthy.

Robust, even.

We love your strong, solid thighs and calves. Your penises in their wide variety of shapes and sizes (and sometimes, angles), which, by the way, are just as enjoyable to look at when they’re soft as when they’re not. (Penises are no weirder for dangling there than breasts are for hanging where they do—all of these parts are exactly where they belong, and we very much like where the penis belongs, both aesthetically and on a more utilitarian level.) You have broad shoulders. Wide chests. That V shape as the back narrows to the waist.

Yes, we love the naked male body. And we’d like to see more of it in movies. We’ve been deprived for too long because someone, somewhere (probably a man who didn’t want to see naked men in movies) started the rumor that men’s bodies are ugly and awkward. There’s no reason for men to think women feel this way about them, or for men to have adopted the opinion, themselves. As much scrutiny as the female body has endured over the years, it doesn’t make me feel any better to know men have been made to feel their bodies are somehow unattractive or inadequate. Your bodies are damn beautiful. That said, you should, however, be aware that…

Size matters

It’s time you know the not-so-gentle, but still very loving, truth about how we feel about your penis. After all, we know just about all we could ever possibly know about how you feel about our breasts. It’s only fair that you receive the same straightforward and unfiltered feedback.

How we feel about penis size is all very situation-specific, but even so, there’s no getting around it—size does matter. It’s safe to assume that American men are more aware of, and concerned about, this than are—for example—European men, because, of the two, American men are the least likely to wear Speedos. Why are they so reluctant to show us everything while expecting/hoping women will wear itsy bitsy teeny weenie bikinis? It could be that our country—as compared to a European country—is the least likely to expose much of the male body in magazine ads, commercials, movies, and car shows, which leads to our American men feeling like they should always be pretty well covered in the groin area. Publicly, anyway. Privately, you’re often very happy being naked. And we thank you for that.


For those of you who retrieve your information about women from Men’s Health magazine, this section will respond to the 2010 Men’s Health article, “How Big Is Yours? Penis Size Doesn’t Matter to Her. So Stop Worrying and Start Pleasuring Her.” This article strives to reassure men that their penis size is loved just the way it is by citing as support a British research study and an informal survey of two women: Nicole Beland, who was Men’s Health’s “Girl Next Door” until 2009, and Men’s Health “Sex Professor” Debby Herbenick, Ph.D.

The results of the British research: “63 percent of men complained of having inferior hardware—but none of them was smaller than normal!” (emphasis theirs). The article goes on to ask, and answer, “What is the average penis size? Measuring erect, between 5.5 and 6.2 inches long and 4.7 to 5.1 inches around.”

The British study also returned the following results: “85 percent of women reported they were happy with their partner’s size.” I should note that it’s been found women will often lie when asked questions about sex, and this includes questions about whether we’re sexually satisfied with a mate, whether we watch porn, whether we’ve had an affair, and how many sexual partners we’ve had, so draw your own conclusions about the legitimacy of the penis-satisfaction findings.

And what did the female Men’s Health employees say about whether penis size matters?

Former “Girl Next Door” Nicole Beland:  “Yes, we care about the size of a man’s penis. But when it comes to sexual satisfaction, it’s pretty far down on our list of priorities.”

“Sex Professor” Debby Herbenick, Ph.D.: “Women find it difficult to orgasm [during penis-vagina intercourse], and oral sex and hand stimulation are often more effective, as are vibrators,” she says.  “It’s not personal—it’s just how some women’s bodies work.”

When it comes to penis size and intercourse, Dr. Herbenick’s assessment is difficult to argue with because it’s often true. While we certainly enjoy sex with your penis, it isn’t necessarily going to finish us off without help elsewhere.

As for what Beland says, I suspect she may not have had sex with a man with a very small penis. While even a small one can be very gratifying (sexual position can change to accommodate size), if it’s very small, it usually won’t be as gratifying for a woman as it will be with a man who has a larger penis.

Of course, whether a penis is “small” or “large,” for the purposes of intercourse, depends entirely on how the male/female bodies fit together as a unit. Jane Doe’s “large” may be Jenny Doe’s “small.” And, again, whether the insertion of the penis brings her the greatest pleasure she’s ever known isn’t as important as many men think it is, because, as Dr. Herbenick said, we like other forms of stimulation, too.

But then there’s aesthetic value.

It’s true that we love the male body and the many sizes and shapes it comes in. But, just as many men enjoy looking at larger breasts—in tank tops, in tight T-shirts, in wet T-shirts, in bras, in baggy sweaters, in bikinis—women enjoy looking at larger penises.

In the previously mentioned study of British men and their penises, the men were found to be of “normal” size when they were measured erect. Somehow, I have a feeling it wasn’t their erect penis they were concerned with, but their soft, un-engorged penis. It isn’t the erect penis we see in jeans, sweat pants, Speedos, and underwear. It isn’t the erect penis we first see (unless it’s early in the relationship) when you take off your clothes. When we look down as we pass you on the street, we’re hoping for something we can see, something that presses against your jeans, something that makes us say, “Oh…”

It doesn’t mean we don’t love your soft penis no matter what size it is, it just means you might catch us turning for a second look (or staring) when a bigger one happens by. It’s nothing personal. It’s just how some women’s visual stimulation works. (Thank you, Nicole Beland.) While we should certainly avoid being obvious and rude about it, we hope you’ll take our interest, even if it’s a very fleeting interest in another man’s pants, as evidence that whoever started the “men’s bodies are funny-looking” trend is full of shit.

Check out Sylvia’s book, What Every Woman Wishes Modern Men Knew About Women.

—Photo Oggie Dog/Flickr

About Sylvia D. Lucas

Sylvia has also written an ebook called "No Children, No Guilt" for No Children, No Guilt
and Nook. "It is a no-holds-barred must-read for everyone who is thinking about having children, isn't thinking about having children, wants children, doesn't want children, has children, or doesn't have children." -- Jerry Steinberg, Founding Non-Father Emeritus of NO KIDDING! Find out more about Sylvia D. Lucas at www.sylviadlucas.com.


  1. Matt Casto says:

    WOW. This post struck a nerve. Funny commentary on our society. Are we debating balls?

  2. Good article. I have to disagree about breast size though. Bigger is not better when it comes to breasts. Women seem to think that D and E cups are what men desire, and while that may be true of some men, most men I’ve spoken with prefer breasts that are B to C cup.

    All of the beasts I’ve drooled over the most have been either a B or C cup. So know that girls, we want a woman with huge breasts about as much as you want to date a guy with a 12″ dong. It might be interesting to try it once, but you’d probably prefer one that’s 6-8″.

  3. Venom Froggy says:

    This article is a farce. It’s freaking baloney.

    Women only pay lip service to the beauty of men when men confront women about their lack of fiery passion. This article is no exception.

    But left to their own devices, the average woman will verbally express far more enthusiasm for buying new shoes and for CHOCOLATE than for good-looking men.

    • leorising says:

      I’m sorry you’ve been hurt badly enough to become so cynical. I hope you have experiences in the future that restore your faith in womankind. Not all of us are shallow and affectionless.

      Yes, I like cute shoes and chocolate is a wonderful thing. Would I prefer them over a beautiful and loving man in my bed? Hardly! No contest there, I assure you.

      Good luck to you.

    • HidingFromtheDinosaurs says:

      Hey, don’t knock chocolate.
      I may be a virgin, but I seriously doubt sex with a woman could ever be nearly as fulfilling as some of the Belgian shit I’ve tasted, not to mention those Aztec wheels with the cinnamon. And don’t even get me started on pastry, ’cause there’s no way any human being could ever be as beautiful or meaningful as a bear claw….

      Seriously, why do you think Hercule Poirot never had sex? He was always sipping Belgian hot chocolate, so he knew it would just be a distraction.

  4. It’s ok to be a female doctor that laughs at a patient with a small penis.

    What she doesn’t know is that it’s small because she scares him,and it’s not his job to be large whilst with his doctor.

    This is the matriarchy she so desires, where men are rated in all aspects first by penis size, including health care.

    It’s a real treat to submit to prostrate exams with this emasculating woman.

  5. My opinion might be in the minority, but I’d just love to see more VARIETY of nude people in film, presented without shame or derision. Male, female, intersex, non-binary, large, small, average, dark, tan, pale, covered in freckles, et cetera.

  6. @Stefanie: “I’d just love to see more VARIETY of nude people in film”

    Give us nude people, any kind, make it a natural thing (IT IS natural!). :)

    It’s about time stopping this hypocrisy on the screen: violence is portrayed as “ok”, sex and nude bodies as “icky”. It’s the stupidest thing ever.
    Bodies are beautiful, sex is beautiful, violence is awful – violence is the true obscenity.

  7. Random stranger says:

    In my experience, women are all over the map on this topic. Some women say they like it, others insist they dont, and others are totally indifferent. Further, their response is highly conditional, for or against, on the context in which the male form is presented and the man it is attached to.

    Still, I can’t but wonder if the desires of those expressing interest comes from a feminist believe that men and women are the same in all things, including sexual predilection and that somehow, possessing a mans weakness is a strength. While conversely, those expressing disinterest are exercising a traditional view of female sexual power, where total control over sex requires invulnerability to external arousal stimulus, especially stimulus controlled by men, the supposed subject of a women’s sexual power.

    I don’t pretend to know the answers, nor do I think these are fully conscience forces. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe interested women are a large group. Most of the demand for the male form appears to be driven by gay men, a group not larger than 5 or 10 percent of the male population. And, I cannot accept that gay men are somehow privileged to hetero women.

    • Interesting view. You could hash this many different ways.

      I think another prevalent factor is that women are MUCH MORE OFTEN turned on by BEING DESIRED themselves. The times that women express lust in a total stranger man (as men do for women in photographs, or in public) seems to be a common truth.

      Of course there could be an issue of social pressure that women pay a higher social stigma for expressing their lust, but I don’t think this explains all of it. In my view, the idea that women are much harder to turn on by lusting after a stranger man (compared to men lusting after a just-met women) is true. It also seems to be an undeniable fact that the #1 way women are turned on is by being the object of a man’s lust (again when we’re talking about strangers, not familiar lovers).

  8. Love men’s and women’s naked bodies. Not all, but many. Gives me great pleasure to see them.

  9. Hullo Sylvia,

    I’m so glad to finally see somebody debunking the myth about women not being visually turned on by men’s bodies. Despite a lot of evidence since the advent of third-wave feminism that women are just as turned on visually by the male body as men are by the female body, and that the male body is in no way aesthetically inferior to the female body, it is sad that so many guys are still desperately clinging on to the patriarchal mentality that women prefer it when a man covers up his body from head to toe, and are repulsed if a man shows a bit more skin than is expected. It doesn’t help with all the running dogs of the patriarchy, the guardians of male dignity, rambling on about how men need to cover up to be sexy:

    ” Guys that wear short-shorts are typically homosexuals (think The Village People-YMCA) or yuppie up-tights with zero fashion sense.I don’t know how you figure that longer/knee long+ shorts being “gansta” or “rapper” influenced, that is a typical upper middle class suburban assumption.I am now over 30, was never “gansta” influenced and still feel more comfortable with at least knee length shorts! I don’t have chicken legs,so check that off your list as well.Never had a problem getting women wearing them as I have dated 2 models and numerous other very attractive women.

    … Enjoy feeling secure in your little world of tight snug fitting clothing, maybe someday everyone can be, look, think and dress just like you. Guys should really all be parting their hair to the side and wearing 3 button high collar shirts, even when at home with their Stepford Wives.”

    (Excerpt from a 30-ish anonymous male comment)

    “They (some men) wear tank tops all the time (the ones they call ”wife beaters”)… or those sleeveless T shirts. These are the same guys that wear Under Armour shirt to the gym (hint… all of us look much more muscular in those shirts, but they are really corny). Make sure and wear fashionable clothes that ”happen” to show off your nice physique. Maybe a fitted short sleeve vintage T shirt instead of a tank top. Wearing clothes that are blatantly meant to show off muscle mass make you look totally cheesy. Show off your body in the context of ”good fashion”.

    But see what he says about women’s fashion:

    … ‘I think women are too conservative at times. There are times when it is appropriate to wear skimpy clothing, especially if you are in great shape. You won’t look good forever, so enjoy it while you can!”

    (Another straight male blogger; note the contradiction between his 2 paragraphs; while women who show off their bodies have “good fashion sense”, men who show off theirs just look “cheesy”)

    I mean, that mentality would have been understandable in the 1950s, because it was assumed that women had no interest whatsoever in the male body, and that they had sex to please their partners. The idea stems from the notion that “since I (the straight guy) don’t find the male body to be sexually stimulating, then how can women find it to be sexually stimulating? I so feel for the majority of straight guys who have no sense of being physically desired in the same way they desire women. Myself? I always knew that women found men’s bodies attractive, growing up in a liberal progressive household with mom as the head.

  10. We need more female filmmakers especially in America! That would fix it, finally!!!


  1. […] on gender issues, an article on the attractiveness of the male body (via Andrew Sullivan). Given the extent to which women have been objectified throughout history, a […]

  2. […] physique — which Beer and Bacon Mancakes will not help to improve, by the way — for The Good Men Project (h/t Andrew Sullivan) on Thursday. Excerpt: We love your strong, solid thighs and calves. Your […]

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