Sep 15, 2011
Two Totally Terrific Questions, Part I
From various spots around the interwebz:
Wilson said: what do u think abt straight men who like women who enjoy lady sex?
I’m not exactly sure how to answer this question because I’m not entirely sure about what I’m being asked, but here’s a stab at it.
I’m not maybe the best person to ask for a subjective opinion on this because as a woman who loves ladies and ladysex… I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t. I mean, sure, I get the theories as to why some people aren’t turned on by it, and I know it varies from person to person depending on taste, but I can’t really get outside of my own head to really understand why ladysex could be anything but great. But more to the point, I know that straight men especially love ladies, having sex with ladies, and looking at ladies, so it seems to stand reason that they’d also love watching ladies have sex with each other. Double the fun, right?
But that’s answering as if we exist in a cultural vacuum, and sadly, we don’t. The issues that this question raises are multitudinous. For instance, there’s a gigantic double standard in our culture that while it’s acceptable for straight men to unabashedly adore watching women go at it, it’s decidedly less acceptable for straight women to gush over how hot it is when men get it on. Frankly, I can see no good reason for this, but there are certainly enough not so good reasons for it.
Women who have sex with women can easily have ladysex without being branded “gay” or even bisexual in a lot of ways, because female sexuality is considered (and may well be, but the jury is still out on that one) more fluid than male sexuality. Because a lot of ladysex is viewed as undertaken (especially in porn) primarily for the pleasure of men, watching it happen can be a turn-on both physically and mentally for a man, who feels little of the territorial sexual jealousy that he might get from watching a woman with another man. He can also watch a woman be sexy without comparing himself to another man, feeling nervous by the possibility of homoeroticism, etc. It’s fine for a guy to watch ladies get it on. But the opposite? Bah! A man who even touches another man in the wrong manner, or god forbid kisses him, is automatically labeled “gay.” There’s virtually no wiggle room for most men.
I think because the long-standing relationship model (which, by the way, is steadily being routed but still persists in rarely-examined corners of our lives, like this one) relies on the idea that the male partner in a heterosexual couple is the “important” one, I think that the idea of a husband or boyfriend hooking up with another man is potentially scarier than a woman doing the same with another woman. In gross generalizations, men tend to assign more importance to the physical act of sex than to the emotions behind it, whereas women (again, gross generalizations here) do the opposite. And for straight women who fall in love with men, the overriding idea in relationships is that male attention is more important than female. So for a woman to have sex with another woman, from the man’s perspective, is hot but not emotionally important. Whereas for a man to have sex with another man, even within the context of a relationship (threesome, voyeurism, etc), the fear that an emotional attachment might be made is a problem for the woman. And, of course, there’s that deal-breaking terror: “What if he’s really gay and drops me?”
So on these many levels, I think the idea that ladysex is a turn-on for men makes sense, culturally, where mansex doesn’t always do it so much.
Most porn does very little to temper these erotic dreams with sometimes-less-sexy realities: sometimes when women have sex, they’re in love. Sometimes they like it better than sex with men. Sometimes they run off together. Sometimes, if there are two women with a man, it’s not ALL ABOUT THE MAN. Gasp! I love threesome porn, don’t get me wrong. And I love threesomes. But I find that in most pornography, the idea is that a man will be watching and therefore the man must be the focus of the action: the cock is fought over, coveted, and worshiped. Sure, this could be fun in a real threesome situation, but ladies having sex is often NOT ABOUT THAT at all. So I sometimes find that men who “enjoy ladysex” in their porn might not get a very well-rounded picture of what ladysex is all about in real life. Just a disclaimer.
Then of course there’s the ancient bias that the female body is more beautiful than the male, which persists to this day and which I find distasteful. I mean, they are beautiful, those lady-bodies. I love them. But to say they’re more beautiful than man-bodies… That’s just silly. I believe that because women are taught from an early age that one of their biggest goals—if not the biggest goal—in life is to be beautiful, women carry themselves that way. They know they’re gorgeous. It’s not hard to notice when someone is projecting attractiveness. So naturally, when we see women together, we think: double-whammy of attractiveness. But the flip side of the coin is that men, and people of other genders who have way more obstacles to accepting their appearance in the first place, are not taught to think they’re attractive. Or, if they are, the attractive factor is rated below aggressiveness, intelligence, money, etc. So while I don’t think the male body is inherently less attractive than the female body, men just don’t project sex appeal in the same way that women do. When they do, and do it well, you get superstars: George Clooney springs to mind. That guy KNOWS he’s hot and boy does it ever show. Women are on him like… women on George Clooney. But the cultural bias that exists in all of us until we confront it tells us that male bodies together are not attractive by virtue of their maleness. But fuck that—I know plenty of women who LOVE gay male porn and erotica. I do. Watching men get into their sexiness is a huge turn-on, even to a queer like me. If the men actually think they’re sexy, we will too!
But then there’s also the idea that a friend brought up to me recently, which was that for him as a straight man, watching lesbian porn was a big turn-on, but he couldn’t quite get himself the whole way there unless there was a cock in the scene, too. And while at first I was confused because…well, that’s not how it usually is for me… I realized something. The reason amateur porn, and gonzo and POV pro porn is so popular is because the whole idea of pornography for those who aren’t hardcore voyeurs (ie, don’t get off just on watching but in taking part) is that you imagine yourself in the action. If your mode of having sex involves your penis, well then, it makes sense that the porn that gets you off would feature a penis you could imagine as yours. And furthermore, even for those who get totally into girl-porn but can’t quite reach the mountaintop of arousal…
So, I guess the short answer is: I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying people of the sex/gender(s) you like getting together for a little sexytime.