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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