Earlier this week we asked female readers to write in telling us whether and how visual turn-ons (or turn-offs) impact their sex lives. Many responded. We published some of those responses yesterday and have a few more today.
I can only speak for myself. I believe sexuality is far more individualized than these "men vs. women" studies allow for. That being said, I do not find visual stimuli to be in any way arousing. I'm specifically turned off by the sight of other people having sex, and the mere sight of a naked, attractive man—even my partner, for whom I do have a strong sexual appetite—has never gotten me in the mood. It isn't that I don't appreciate physical beauty in men; I do, very much. I liken the sight of an attractive man more to seeing a beautiful sunset or a gorgeous horse, or a lovely flower, or anything else that people love looking at without having a sexual response. A man's genitals, on the other hand, aren't particularly attractive to me regardless of how nice the rest of him is. I'm sorry, but they just aren't! To me, genitals serve a useful function, but they are not aesthetically pleasing.
This makes me sound frigid, doesn't it? I'm not at all. As I said earlier, my partner and I have a lively and fulfilling sexual life. It's just that I'm aroused by things like certain kinds of touch, and the way he treats me, and the things he says to me. He knows that about me, just as I know that he can be turned on by the sight of my body. He also knows that my lack of response to his mere nakedness isn't a measure of how attractive or unattractive he is to me, but that, for whatever reason, physical beauty and sexual interest aren't tied together in my brain. If a man is attractive, then I want to look at him (from the waist up!). If a man loves me, treats me well, and touches me the right way, then I want to have sex with him.
Previously in this series:
TODAY IN SLATE
Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.
The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly
A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently
How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully
On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.