I had a lot of comments and email about my blog entry about why some women think that men looking at porn are “cheating”, and how this indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of male sexuality (and a healthy does of female insecurity, as well). Some of the comments were from women who simply can’t understand why males, everywhere and for all times, seem to enjoy looking at (attractive) nude women. Because generally women do not care for nude males (except their own nude male). So I had to ask myself a question that other men have asked — “How come women don’t like seeing good looking buff guys naked?”
Interesting question and I invite my readers to comment. Now, I KNOW some women will come here and say, “What are you talking about? I loved Playgirl. I love porn. I love a hot guy naked!” And sure I want to hear from you, but then I want you to tell me why so many of your sisterhood do not like what you like.
And how do I know that women don’t like nude guys? Simple. Founded in 1973 as a an “in your face” feminist alternative to Playboy, Penthouse and the like, Playgirl went out of print in 2009 (and became web-based only), came back in 2010, but has a very limited distribution. Try finding it in a store. Or at the airport. Good luck! Seems that it’s mostly a subscription magazine that can be purchased online now. Even during its hey day in the 70’s and 80s, it was estimated that their readership was 40% (or more) gay men. It was barely kept afloat by male readers! And still went under to the point now where it’s got a very small audience. Once an alternative to Playboy, replete with thinking articles and subtle and artistic nudity, Playgirl is now run by a large, mainstream porn company, has lost most of its articles, and its imagery is pretty much “in your face” in comparison to its feminist past.
Playgirl in its first two years had 1.1 million subscribers and pitched exclusively to women. But that was then. Today, Playgirl is almost unrecognizable to the magazine’s golden days. Its subscriber base has plunged to around 3,000, and perhaps most notably, its target audience is no longer straight women. You need only open to the first page of a recent issue—which promotes a call line service called “Magnum Male” advertising an “ALL MALE PARTY!” and “BI CURIOUS” Andy—to know that the target demo has shifted to gay men.
And even at its peak, compare this one, lone modest magazine to THOUSANDS of magazines devoted to the nude female form worldwide. And strip bars? Try finding a male strip-joint in most cities. They are hard to find. Few of them exist and some of them have become part male strippers, part female strippers (like the famous “Sugar Shack” in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin). Porn is a visual media that is still largely targeted, and sold to males, despite attempts to market “female-oriented” porn.
So clearly females don’t not get the same “pop” out of visual sexuality and nudity that men do. Fair enough. But I think to some men, it’s puzzling, if not somewhat vexing. Women want to be admired and drooled over, but they don’t want to admire or drool over us men. Why? Men are people too. We like attention to our form too!
So why didn’t women embrace Playgirl, or in general, seemed to get turned on by men in magazines who are obviously above average handsome, built and large? Males worldwide scratch their heads in wonder!
So I did some research and here’s a smattering of what I found
1. Women’s approach to sexuality is obviously different than men’s: Women are more contextual in their sexuality than men. For them it’s almost ENTIRELY a personal thing. They want a nude guy they already know and want, and who knows and wants them, in a (usually private) setting of a very personal nature. A stranger nude, let alone merely one in a magazine, doesn’t fit that construct. Sexuality is far more in the female MIND than in her EYE. A recent survey said that the vast majority of women would choose a copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey” over Playgirl. As one stated, “Women don’t want it all laid out. They enjoy using their imaginations and filling in the blanks.” Anticipation of sex can actually be hotter than sex itself. The written word allows us to build up anticipation whereas pictures and video can give everything away from the onset.”
Another woman wrote, “I’d rather look at my man (naked)”. Another said, “To most women the male body is beautiful, but does not usually become something that turns us on sexually, until it is in the proper sexual context. And that context can be as varied as women themselves.”
2. Shame: Some women do like checking out naked men who they don’t know – in Playgirl, in porn, strippers or whatever. But are ashamed to admit it and still worried what society would think of them. They are “closet porn aficionados”. One study said that women were EQUALLY stimulated while watching porn as part of a study as men were, but did not like to admit it.
As one woman wrote, “I am a woman and I LOVE naked men! In fact I do not know any women who do not like naked men. If a woman does not like naked men it maybe because she is shy about her own sexuality. For centuries, women have been expected to be ashamed of their sexual desires and in many cultures, this way of thinking continues.”
3. Clothed hot guys are hotter than naked hot guys: Female visual sexuality tends to like to be teased. Many would rather imagine what the man looks like naked, then to see him fully naked. As one wrote, “I’m turned on when parts of a guy are covered. Yeah the whole jeans thing with no shirt is wicked hot!”
This may explain why Chippendale dancers (who do not get completely nude) are more popular than fully nude male strip shows?
3. Repulsed. I find a number of comments where women said that the naked guys in Playgirl were “gross.” “Repulsive.” Or some such comments. Really? Repulsive? Gosh. I only find repulsive people “repulsive.” I think I’d be horrified if my wife found the male body “repulsive.” I really want the opposite! I wonder if someone who found the male figure, especially a perfect one, to be so uninteresting. Would they be good in bed? Personally I like that my wife likes to see me changing. Or enjoys a good “flash” from me. Not only does it please me (I like my body admired. I work hard on it!), but it tells me that she’s hot for me. And sexual in her own right. All good. If a woman thinks of the male as an ugly, God-awful creature, I think that would be beyond a turn-off.
I also got this from one of my emailers– and the inspiration for why I did this blog. I thought it summed quite a lot of this up in a very good way.
“So I don’t find playgirl erotic because the men in it have nothing to do with me. They’re just men with big cocks. They have no connection to me and they’re not naked in a magazine just for me. They’re just some guys posing and getting paid for it. Women know this.
That is about as good of an explanation as I’ve ever heard. In the end, I think this issue very clearly demonstrates the differences between men and women when it comes to sexuality — and why you should not judge our eyes and we won’t judge your romance novels. Whatever gets you there is what gets you there. We like what we like. And its really different. The better we understand this, the better we can be with our partners.
So to my female readers (and ONLY my female readers, please), tell us why you do or do not like the nude male body and why Playgirl, porn and such does or does not interest you. We are curious.