On Women’s Attractions

Due to cultural expectations, women don’t often speak up about our attractions.  Much has been made of the generalization, for example, that men are visual whereas women are less so.  When there are exceptions to this generality, women’s explanations are often downplayed or ignored.  So when we do speak up about our attractions, people often attempt to speak and speculate for us as though they know our minds and experiences better.

I grew up in a household that wasn’t especially conservative about sexuality, so I wasn’t forced into any preconceived mold.  It is only when I got older that I began to run into the sexual stereotypes about men and women most of us adults are now very familiar with: women supposedly aren’t visual.  We supposedly are only in it for the emotion.  We supposedly are naturally bisexual.

If a woman admits she can be excited by a man purely in the visual sense and without emotion, people disbelieve.  If we aren’t attracted to other women, people disbelieve.  Part of this is a long-held cultural assumption that women’s appearances are supposedly and inherently more beautiful than men’s, so therefore women can’t be visually attracted to men.  Another assumption due to that, as well as the emphasis on emotion, is that women have to be attracted to other women due to women’s beauty and their emotional sensitivity.

There’s much less discussion of male attractiveness in our society.  We recognize that handsome men exist, but the thought of women being sexually excited by such appearances is something many Westerners struggle with.  Society cannot fathom that a woman can be purely heterosexual and be purely attracted to men physically.  I’ve rarely had success discussing this issue with others because the views are so entrenched that no one wants to hear that such a reality can exist.  My thoughts and experiences are dismissed, speculations are made about the reasons as to why I am the way I am, and my ways are considered “taught,” “not average,” and hard to believe.

Hopefully, we can one day recognize that women aren’t monolithic in their attractions.  Whatever generalities there may be, and whatever broad differences there may be among men and women, we are all individuals with different attractions and tastes.  When women attempt to explain their attractions, hopefully, the other party will listen and not attempt to force their preconceived ideas and speculations onto us.  I’ve always known what I’ve been attracted to, and that is men.  And it is not strictly for emotional reasons.  That may not be the typical, the average, the expected, or the believed—but it has been my lifetime experience and shows no sign of changing as I approach my 40s.

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28 replies
  1. Gemlin says:

    Really enjoyed this! I agree with you! Makes me think to Song of Solomon. Solomon’s bride wrote of the things she was physically attracted to about him, as well as the other things she was drawn to. Never really put two and two together before.

  2. CrazyHappyLoved says:

    Heck, yeah! I love the way God made men. And it doesn't take a perfect physique to be attractive, just basic self-care and a sense of self-confidence. Not that muscles hurt…

    • Lasso says:

      Love this subject! Would like to get a more detailed understanding how your eyes work and how your bodies respond to it.

  3. Hotnorthern says:

    This has been something I’ve brought up in discussions before. People do like to downplay it for sure. So annoying. I’ve often admired hot guys just for their looks. Now if they are rude or nasty, I might still think they’re hot but that doesn’t mean I want to have sex with them.

    I’m also strictly attracted to men. I do think girls are beautiful, but that’s just like looking at a pretty flower or nice architecture to me. Beautiful and nice to look at but nothing else.

    But men, now they’re hot and handsome and sexy and desirable.

    • SuzyQ69 says:

      I'm very visual, was one of the girls who liked porn that are apparently a tiny minority of super deviant women. That was a great way to grow up, taught that men were visual and all struggle with porn, so we should be very understanding, but that only a few women do and they are obviously whores. My youth group was super healthy….

    • SecondMarge says:

      There has been a great deal of research and what men and women respond to sexually. What they admit to, and what they deny, often even to themselves. Very early we are taught certain things are unacceptable as a turn on. We become fearful of admitting things. Fortunately science can go around such taught prejudices and register our bodies true reaction to stimulation of various kinds.

  4. RockyGapMan says:

    So true. I totally concur that although there MAY be broad stereotypes between men and women, I believe as human beings we’re way more nuanced than that.

    I’ll be willing to bet that because many wish to fit into the “norm” and to be accepted by their peers, much of the data we get from polls on topics like this are skewed. Not many are solid enough to share differences they have which will most likely be ridiculed by society.

  5. LovingMan says:

    Very well written! FYI my wife is very attracted to handsome men and can admire the beauty in both sexes. I am attracted to beautiful women but can recognize a handsome man. But we focus our love and sexual expression on each other.

    That being said, I appreciated CrazyHappyLoved’s comment that a man doesn’t have to have a perfect physique. (Thank heavens!) I did have a near-perfect physique when we married but I don’t now and yet Melodie still says things like “you have a cute butt.” She still loves me. She does not look the same as she did when we married three decades ago but she is still spectacularly beautiful to me… even at almost 70. I’ve said this before… I think seeing your spouse as beautiful even as they age is a spiritual gift that God grants to righteous married couples.

    My wife and I also recognize that a physically handsome man or beautiful woman seem unattractive if they are not nice people. Personality affects how we see beauty and there are many happily married couples where society would label them as average looking or unattractive. But they are beautiful and sexy to each other.

    Your emphasis that we are all different is also an important truth. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences in this topic.

  6. Woods says:

    This is why I hope someone of the female persuasion out there will try to do for those parts of the Song of Solomon and share with us something like what I (being a guy) tried with the Song in my post of some time ago. (You are Beautiful: A Study of the Song of Solomon for Two) posted August 10, 2020. I felt like I had left half or more of the job undone but was really clueless and unqualified to do more.

    Any takers? Please?

    • LovelyLonelyLady says:

      I would love to do this! I'm a woman and I really enjoy the sight of a handsome man. Women are certainly hard-wired differently from men, but we're visual too. My sisters and I will joke together when we spot good-looking guys. Once, at the beach, three or four attractive lifeguards we're on duty and we were giggling and admiring (without lust) from a distance. It got even better when they said hello to us! All that to say that yes, we are drawn to the masculine body, and it's not a bad thing. After all, if there was no God-given attraction, there wouldn't be marriage! I'll try to do something with that Song of Solomon passage.

  7. Watts2 says:

    Good article. I am not surprised at the negative response you got. Historically, in the west, the assumption was that women had no sexual feelings. This was based on the "Church" adopting the writings of Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, who wrote circa 400 bc that women were entirely passive in the sexual process. They neither got aroused nor got physical enjoyment from it. All of that was to distance themselves from the Jewish beliefs that gave rise to Christianity which was pretty much the opposite.

    Jews taught in the first century (still do) that sexual pleasure is a wife's RIGHT and a husband's responsibility; and NOT the other way around. But the fact that women can get aroused from seeing male genitals is assumed and referenced in the Hebrew Scriptures:

    Ezekiel 23:20
    She lusted after their paramours, whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys and whose issue is like the issue of horses.

    Here it is portrayed in a negative sense of idolatry, but it is predicated on the fact that women found a very large penis (flesh of donkeys = 12-18 inches) and a large volume of ejaculate (issue of horses = about 1 cup) to be VERY arousing and attractive. I have read posts on some Christian chat rooms where a lot of Christian girls enjoy seeing male genitals and masturbation. As one put it: "I am all about the squirt."

    • SuzyQ69 says:

      Thats the first time I've heard it explained that way. The problem isn't that they like big penises and lots of cum, it's when that is an idol?

    • CrazyHappyLoved says:

      @SuzyQ69, it's more like the idolaters are being described as pursuing the idols of their neighboring countries like "horny, size-queen cumsluts", if you'll pardon the slang.

  8. hornyGG says:

    As a woman I am quite visual. Probably more than some might admit. Like CHL said, a man doesn't have to have a perfect physique to be attractive and sexy. Personality and self confidence is very important. Also like CHL mentioned, muscles doesn't hurt ( my husband is into physical fitness and body building).
    I also am not ashamed to say that I appreciate the beauty and sexiness in other women. Occasionally I will point them out to Ben and comment things like " she's got a cute butt" or something along that line. It doesn't bother me that he looks or " checks out" the beauty of other women because I know he loves me and we trust each other 100%.
    I think women are unfortunately and incorrectly stereotyped as being non-visual. However, I feel women today are bolder and more attune with how they view things and the sensuality that surrounds us on a daily basis. Stay horny ya'll and God bless!

    • SecondMarge says:

      We enjoyed pointing out sexy people of either gender to each other. Nothing wrong with that and it helps heat things up for later.

  9. SingleDreamer says:

    This is very well said! I am also tired of women being shamed for being sexual beings, or anyone being shamed from it. When men are aroused from women, it is usually accepted as natural or "a guy thing". But when women are aroused, they normally get a judgmental look or comment, then get labeled a dirty word, even from other women! At least that has been my experience. It is crazy and obviously not how God intended it. God made all creation beautiful. And I am so happy someone mentioned the Song of Solomon above; obviously, the bride had sexual feelings and thought he was beautiful. Men really are beautiful, stunning, and a turn-on. Women are beautiful, but that does not mean that they are a turn-on for us.

    • SuzyQ69 says:

      Single dreamer, don't discount that some of us are actually turned on by both. I fall into that category and spent years in shame and guilt about it.

    • kdm1984 says:

      Thanks everyone for the thoughts and replies! I honestly had no idea how this would be taken, and I was prepared for possible criticism or skepticism based on things that have happened in the past, but I see this community is very different from most others. Very refreshing!

      SingleDreamer, my first experience of being judged for that kind of thing came in 7th grade. As mentioned, my own household wasn't conservative or prudish, so I wasn't taught much about sex one way or the other; I just remember Mom and Dad saying it was a good and natural thing, and not ever elaborating much beyond that. But when the hormones started hitting in those middle and junior high years, I was still quite naive — so one day, when I decided which boys in class were cute, I went up to them during lunch time and just told them so! I then got labeled a word I knew meant something bad, sexually, but I was surprised because it's not like I went up and tried to have sex with them all, lol. I just said they were cute. I told my dad about the names they called me, but instead of using it as an opportunity to teach, he just went to the lunch room with me the next day and stared down the boys until they were too scared to eat their lunches. They never called me any names again, lol, but I didn't know why they had done so in the first place, or how I should have perceived and reacted to such a phenomenon.

      As the years went by, and I grew further into adolescence and young adulthood, I became more and more entranced by attractive men, but I didn't know what to do about it. Only later did I start coming across some of the stereotypes I mention in the article. It left me quite perplexed, and I encountered a level of dogmatism in some churches about the stereotypes that was hard to break. Churches have little experience and resources for women who can spend hours looking at the male form and getting excited by it! Occasionally I did run into some folks in the church who could acknowledge it in some cases, like mine, but they were still much more uncomfortable and surprised discussing it than they are when it comes to the more typical male examples.

      I used to occasionally write poetry about very attractive men. I've wondered how I might incorporate that into the site at times, but I would of course try to keep it only about the husband. He's very shy, though, and not sure how he'd react to being described like that, even rather anonymously in a community like this. I may ask him about it sometime. In the meantime, I'm 37 weeks pregnant tomorrow from the result of our love, so it may be awhile before my attention can be as narrowly focused on these things as it used to be. Babies change everything. 🙂

    • SecondMarge says:

      Lust is a positive emotion, guilt a negative one. Many during the beginnings of the church tried to control us by stating the opposite.

      Desire is programmed into us, denial and guilt are taught often by those without our best interest at heart.

  10. CrazyHappyLoved says:

    On the discussion post "Do women struggle with lust as much as men?" LochMaree mentioned that she "sees" the story in written erotica. I answered, "That is a good point! The movie in my head when I read a racy romance novel or erotic story (or just enjoy a personal fantasy) is probably akin to what most guys do with the visual stuff they enjoy. It turns me on, excites me. When it comes to what is sexually exciting, maybe it's less 'visual versus not visual' as it is 'imaginative versus concrete' or 'fact-driven versus story-driven', and these are individual differences, though their prevalence could be correlated with one biological sex or another. Even with the visual erotica, my preference is for something that tells a story versus just showing me physical characteristics or actions. I usually want a couple involved, or at least an implication of interaction with someone behind the camera, who I imagine to be the spouse. Unlike a lot of folks, other people's solo masturbation isn't really one of my turn-ons. So, yeah, I think visual stimulation is involved whether I see or imagine.

  11. FaithEllie says:

    As a woman, I’ve always been visually attracted to men besides physically. I’ve heard that disbelief too, that I’m not attracted to other females. I never am because I am one. And sure, I can notice a hot female, but apparently, my body style is most desired yet I cannot see why. (Big butts with a tiny waistline are a hassle if you wanna really know… nothing fits properly and bodycons are kinda explicit…). But I am designed the way God created me, so I accept what I cannot change and workout on areas I can.

    Men’s torsos, I know, were specifically designed to please the “weaker” female eye because really, WHO can not notice the MASSIVE shoulders men generally have compared to women??

    Honestly, I also believe the cultural narratives are being created by sick men who are actually pervs & porn addicts. So the fact someone MENTIONS aloud how men are attractive sheds light on their twisted agreement to that, and that “women are more beautiful” must mean even women go around lusting after each other. Which logically makes ZERO sense to me as a female—I think that’s perverted. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll compliment a lady who’s taken care of her body and notice her natural attractiveness, but I’m not gonna ever be attracted to her!

    I am actually VERY visually attracted to guys, but it’s really when they’re topless I have to control my lusts—it’s those hot MUSCLES that melt me…. 😉

    • Lasso says:

      Its a taboo for me to admit that I have very visual and vivid images of male bodies when I masturbate. Am I the only one?

  12. Loving Guy says:

    I am attracted to a woman's personality as much as her looks. If I find a woman attractive, but then find out that she does not have a nice personality, then I no longer find her attractive. I think that both genders can find each other attractive in terms of looks. When you first meet someone, that is often all you have to go on. However, once you get to know them as a person, that's when you decide to go forward towards dating/attempting to establish a relationship with them. There have been girls that I and other guys have found attractive but wished that they had better personality. The thing is, different people find different looks and personality types attractive. How boring it would be if we had the same views on what is attractive and what types of personalities we like.

  13. Loving Guy says:

    Hi FaithEllie,

    I wanted to make a statement about you're comment regarding big butts. I must say that I have personally noticed that outside of a woman's face, the aspects of a woman's body that I have most often noticed is often butts, legs and finally breasts. When it comes to breasts, I have found myself attracted to woman with all different breast sizes.When it comes to butt size, I have read some studies that say women with bigger butt size is a positive in terms of overall health, and intelligence. Personally, I do find big butts attractive. However, size does not matters as much as how round it is. As the saying goes beauty is in the eye of beholder. Finally, if I guy likes you just for you're butt, and does not care for you're personality than he is not the guy for you. To be honest, you sound like the type of girl that I have found attractive. However, I have always been and will always care about a personal connection, as well. Keeping praying and good luck on you're search! As a single guy, I understand you're desire to find someone. We keep positive and not give up!

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