The XX Factor

Are Women Turned on by Pictures of Naked Men? Kevin Costner.

Photo by Stokkete/Shutterstock

Earlier this week we asked female readers to write in telling us whether and how visual turn-ons (or turn-offs) impact their sex lives. Many responded. We’ll be publishing some of those responses today and tomorrow. Here is the first: 

From: Rebecca

When I read this column yesterday, my first thought was that I would have nothing of value to contribute, as I don’t look at men as separate parts, like a six pack or a pair of guns. Personally, due to my own experience as a once-beautiful (now attractive) woman in my early 50s, I find such dissection offensive to the soul. I didn’t like it when I was viewed merely as a pair of legs or beautiful eyes or a great rack, so my focus has always been on my experience of the entire person. I am what is known as a sapiosexual—defined by Urban Dictionary as one who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature. And, as I have aged, I have become more aware of the creepiness in cross-generation voyeurism. Although I am a feminist, I do not believe that feminism means taking the worst qualities of men, such as objectifying and degrading younger women, and adopting them for myself. So I figured I wouldn’t be a good candidate to respond to this request.

And then I sat down last night with a nice glass of wine and watched Bull Durham

To my chagrin, I noticed my mind wandering during Kevin Costner’s monologue on the small of a woman’s back; good scotch; the sweet spot; and long, slow, wet kisses that last for three days to thoughts of his mouth and how I could kiss it for hours. Sure, some of that could be my sapiosexuality, but some of that was also because of how inviting his mouth looked to me.  

Now I had to be honest with myself. Yes, his mouth, with his half-smile and the gleam in his eye, was provoking highly erotic thoughts and images, but as I reflected further I realized that in fact it was not his mouth in isolation but the way energy moves through his whole body, with an animal grace and promise of much, much more, that has always and to this day attracted me to Kevin Costner. Fortunately for me, he is in my age cohort, so it is only a little bit creepy, not law-breaking creepy!

As I reflected on that and my long (imaginary) love affair with Kevin Costner, I realized that my husband of 20 years has in fact been the informed, willing, and appreciative beneficiary of the emotions and appetites inspired by my visual response to Kevin Costner’s physique. 

So, in summary, although I thought I was not influenced by a visual reaction to masculinity, upon further review I must confess that I am pleasantly influenced by the visual impact of a gorgeous man! I have also come to love the current trend among NFL players to forgo wearing a cup in the interest of speed and maneuverability. For the heterosexual female football fan, this adds a great deal to the game!