men / porn / women

Are Men Really More Visual?

image via smh.com

I just read this Erika Lust interview: What turns women on; less kitch, more context in the Globe and Mail, once again affirming how much I dig this chick and how happy I am that women like her are making porn. I was intrigued by this quote that brings up several issues I’ve talked about before:

You write that women looking at pictures of sex “freaks a lot of men out.” Really?

It is still the case, but it’s changing all the time. From a historical perspective, it’s obvious that porn was created for men, by men. Almost every time you watch a film, you can see that the woman is the vehicle for his orgasm. We haven’t liked it as much because it hasn’t been as attractive to us. But there’s a general idea in society that women like reading erotic novels and having softer sex, that we aren’t as visual as men, that we don’t like to look at people having sex. It’s like soccer: There’s a general assumption that we don’t like it very much.

I’ve had the women aren’t as visual conversation about a zillion times and I still don’t know what to think on this topic. And as I beat this long-dead horse, I do realize that it’s probably not of paramount importance whether I think men are more visual than women or not. However, it’s one of those oft-repeated clichés that has some implications. A bit like: women are less logical. To me, these types of blanket statements have always sounded like boys will be boys justifications that perhaps confuse biology with what is being socialized, ex: perhaps men are more visual because we teach them it’s normal to look at sexual images but don’t explicitly or implicitly teach women the same thing. Here’s an article that argues against the men are more visual myth.

When it comes to porn, it may well just be, as Erika says, that we gals haven’t been as catered to with images that please us. I’ve also heard many women express the sentiment that we don’t seek out porn the way men do because we aren’t hard-wired to think about sex all the time. That may be more biologically sound (though my creative writing degrees didn’t cover it) but perhaps it’s also true that looking at sexual images begets thinking about sex. I suppose it remains to be seen whether if mainstream porn becomes less chock-a-block with fake d-cups and bronzed beefcake and more, well, Lust-esk, there will be less of an assumption (and/or a reality) that women don’t like it as much as men. Just as it may take another hundred years of evolution for me to truly care about soccer or, in my case, hockey. In the meantime, I’ll keep tuning to the playoffs each spring for an excuse to drink cocktails and directing my porn preferences to lustcinema.com.

But does women watching porn really freak men out? Any male readers out there care to share? I know there are at least two of you…

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One thought on “Are Men Really More Visual?

  1. I don’t see why men would be freaked out about this. Personally I find it rather attractive, since it means that she feels comfortable talking about the topic. Which in my experience, means that as far as communication is concerned she is a professional.

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