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.”
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.”
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.
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…
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