@207 @LateBloomer Who is to say being visual only means being positively stimulated by visuals? When I scroll porn, I would guess I do a lot more scrolling than the average guy because I'm seeking visuals I really like that do not ALSO include visual elements I do not like. Visual elements I do not like will detract from the visuals I do like. So let's say l scroll through 10 images to get to one I like, then have a bunch of orgasms, while maybe a guy can just look at the very first image, focus on only one aspect of that image that he likes and crank one out. I don't know that it makes either of us "more visual."


And I find porn boring, so so much for clichés. You and EmmaLiz have me backing away from this whole “more visual” business, but not from my conviction that there is a fundamental difference that could be better understood by both genders. I was trying to identify it with “more visual”, but if that’s inaccurate maybe EmmaLiz’s “more simple and linear,” or maybe “divorced from surroundings” is more to the point.


205: Do you think there is a difference, though in the male response to a woman who is accompanying herself on an instrument as she sings songs she wrote(and if she had recorded them, had arranged and produced) on the one hand, and the male response to a woman who is a vocalist, playing no instruments, accompanied by a largely or exclusively male band, singing songs written and produced by male figures in the recording industry?

That is, is there a difference in male response based on the degree of agency the woman is perceived as holding in each of those scenarios?

Are there a lot of straight men, do you think, who are more likely to be attracted sexually to a woman who is singing but is perceived as "just the singer"?


EmmaLiz @205, thank you for expanding so well on my point. Sure, an ugly dude with a guitar is still an ugly dude. And a dude playing a guitar badly, or playing music I don't like, does nothing for me either. You're right that it is the whole scene. It's charisma. And if anything it's even more so when it's a woman on stage, because it's not just that she's talented, she's breaking gender norms, so basically when there's a hot gal in the band I am instantly in love, lol. (Remember the scene in Wayne's World where Wayne enters the gig, sees Tia Carrere on stage, and "Dream Weaver" plays in his head? That's me!)

But going back to the objectification versus lust discussion, it's how I act on this desire I feel for Mr or Ms Hot Guitarist that makes a difference. If I seek this musician out and attempt to seduce them without actually caring about who they are as a person, that's objectification. Instead, I respectfully tell them how much I enjoyed the gig, then go home and wank to the memory.

Late @207: "Yes, I’m defining horniness as DTF. What do you mean about that being a narrow definition?" My turn to expand on EmmaLiz. That's a narrow definition because we may find someone fuckable in theory but have many reasons not to seek out, or accept, sex with them in that moment. The many reasons for this are in our heads: safety concerns, ethics concerns, slut-shaming concerns, will-the-sex-be-worth-it (in most cases, no) concerns. Going back to my guitar example, crushing on this hot band member may make me horny as hell but I elect to act on that by myself rather than seek to have sex with this person I don't know. So in this situation I am horny but not DTF. When I go home, I might weave a fantasy in my head about how after the gig, I meet this person and they flirt heavily with me and we end up having sex backstage. If these were the conditions of reality I would be DTF, but they aren't. Men would be less likely to care about the conditions of reality; they would seek to "close the deal" (going back to the letter) even if conditions were not right, for instance, going back to the letter, the object of their lust not reciprocating their interest at all. In my guitarist fantasy, his or her reciprocated lust is a key factor. Without it, I'm down to put them in the wank bank but not DTF. But if I go home, cue up their YouTube channel and give myself three orgasms, I think that should be ample evidence that they made me horny.

Now, if there were no societal slut shaming, no STIs, no pregnancy risk, no monogamous expectations, would women be just as DTF as men? This has been debated with no clear answer. It's logical to think yes, but since casual sex is far less likely to be satisfying sex for women (see FutureCat @185), without all those external influences women might still be less likely to jump at any chance for casual sex, even if horny.

Perhaps we could define horny as "feeling an urgent need for an orgasm"?

And I find sex an excellent way to relieve stress, so again so much for clichés.


@203 larrystone007
"@65 said exactly what I was going to say. Well played 65, well played."

It's not really a compliment if one doesn't know one's being complimented.
No one knows what their thread Comment numbers were.

@204 EmmaLiz
"I've banged on about this before"

Well I didn't notice, so...

"this "oh men are more visual" shit is junk"

... I'm glad you did again. That was a thoroughly convincing deflation of a common myth. About what women aren't like.

As for what women are like, I'm still no more sure than ever about that famous mystery...

@208 Kitten Whiskers

Oh, wait, now I see what y'all mean by "contextualized".
Certainly covers a lot of territory!


Forgive me please if this is redundant, but IJWTS that guys' attraction reacts to context too (for example musical artists).


Late Bloomer imagine when you are really horny but there is no one around with whom sex is a possibility. That doesn't make you feel any less horny. This is what it feels like to be a woman a lot because sex with the available people could be kind of gross or painful or just neutral/awkward- it doesn't reduce your horniness. Just makes it hard to move it out of the lust/fantasy in your body and into reality- it won't be like that in real life.

I have periods of time like this, looking at the men running around at the lake, ballet dudes, guys on stage with guitars, the ag workers down the road, any number of attractive men around when I'm feeling horny. Would I be down to fuck them? Most of the time no- because experience has taught me that most random quick casual romps aren't going to be very pleasurable and in fact might be awkward and lead to all sorts of inconvenience and weird situations that then I'm going to have to get myself out of. I won't walk away sated, the old thrusting in and out isn't going to do much for me, it's more trouble than it's worth etc. The circumstances, the context, matters a lot. I liked casual sex when I was younger, but I was pretty picky about it, set aside time for it. Most of the time, it's just not right. That doesn't make me any less horny.

Again I think the thing is that men's horniness is more linear. There really isn't an end goal for my own, it's more like a sea I'm swimming in, it ebbs and flows- sometimes I'm not interested at all. Other times, I'm distractedly raging horny but without the right experience, nothing to do about it. Just walk around feeling horny. Like carrying a thing with no place to put it. Other times, everything is just right and it's like having a feast.

You're not being rude, but horniness and sexuality has usually been defined as how men experience it, and then women's experiences are judged against that metric. Women do not experience sex or sexuality in the same way. Now there really isn't a definitive thing here because within the genders, there is so much variation as well, and best we can do is run with generalizations, and yes socialization is mixed up in that as well, also hormones, organism, physical mechanics, risk assessment, etc. So I'm not saying there is an "answer", just that it's obviously true that men and women generally approach sex differently and experience sexuality differently.

I can tell you two experiences that I'm sure every sexually active woman has had. One is when you are fucking - even if it started out really fun and hot- and you are just feeling the guy wham bam jack rabbit and wishing he'd hurry the fuck up because it's doing nothing for you. Now I'm sure there is a male equivalent of this, but that leads to the second. Two is when the guy cums and is done, sated, resting, and you either did not get off at all (often through no fault of the guy, some of this has more to do with my body than his actions) or you had an orgasm and you are still every bit as horny as you were before you started, if not more so- sometimes it's like opening the gates. I'm still swollen and wet and the dude is sleeping, only now I'm furiously teased. Again I'm sure there is a male equivalent of this experience.

OK so you combine the two- that either of those things are likely to happen with a newbie who has no reason to be especially attentive or responsive- and you add to that the actual risks- and I don't just mean the biggies like assault but the more common small things, like loads of guys really do shame women for fucking them, they get this sort of shit eating grin "I got away with something" attitude, like a switch goes off right as soon as they start fucking you, and also the very real possibility of pain (most women have had painful sex from time to time but there's a significant minority who have it almost all the time), and what you end up with is raging horniness that is not down to fuck, or at least not in most times/places. It requires context to get everything right.

Honestly it's very frustrating in my opinion, female sexuality. And most of us have years and years of experience with ignoring it, internalizing it, etc. Some women are even taught this from childhood.

Your orange analogy doesn't work because it's the same orange for everyone and everyone has the same tongue. Men and women do not have the same junk nor hormonal systems nor experience of the world. So actually it would be like trying to describe a banana using the experience of eating an orange.


@ 207 Late - as far as the Trans man that was on NPR (if that's what you were referring to), he also said that after going on T he got more interested in science and better at physics, so...yeah. Even if you're thinking of a different story, that case shows that a trans man going on T with preconceived notions, which anybody from any society will have, is gonna bring the baggage of those ideas with him.

I'm not saying testosterone doesn't affect anything. But some men have lower testosterone (and it tends to decrease with age) and some women have higher testosterone, plus hormones fluctuate throughout a woman's menstrual cycle. If it affects anything I think it's probably sex drive, not differences in how women vs men experience attraction.

Re: language usage - put me with @205 Emma and @212 Bi: I normally think of horny as meaning turned on (or as @Bi 212 said feeling an urgent desire for orgasm) wheareas DTF (literally - down to fuck) means you actually will fuck if the other person is willing. Just because someone is horny doesn't mean they will actually decide to fuck.

@210 Late - I think "divorced from surroundings" (vs in context) is a pretty good descriptor - Men mostly look at X --- Women look at X, and in addition they look at Y and Z. (Where X=a persons level of physical attractiveness)


@214 Emma - thanks for conjuring up some really annoying college this guy was just jackhammering away, no change up, for over an hour and a half. I was staring at the clock like, 'seriously when is this gonna be over with?' I kept not stopping him cause for a lot of guys that's what they gotta do to get off, so I was telling myself, "ok, just a little longer..." I finally just stopped him and it was so terribly awkward. He was a nice guy and I think he thought it was a good thing that it just kept going...

I've always wondered - do other women ever make frustrated/impatient faces during doggy style if the jackhammer thing just keeps going? Cause I found myself doing that a couple times and I remember being like, "oops...wait? Is this bad/wrong or should I just lean into it as a way to amuse myself and pass the time?"

To the sex vs eating analogy - it's not just oranges vs bananas. On top of experiencing different things we also experience them with different parts, so it's like... shoving a banana up your nose vs shoving an orange up your butt.


@216 Kitten Whiskers
"no change up"

That sounds /so/ lacking in imagination. Do guys like that benefit from suggestions?


Well, regarding the orange. My point is, if men and women don’t feel the same thing and don’t want the same thing when they are horny, why then are we calling both experiences horniness? How did that even come about? We need a different word to communicate the two different experiences. Bet there’d be a lot less confusion if we did. If men have been saying since forever that the only fruit is the orange, rather than expand the definition of orange to include fruit that is long and yellow and can be inserted nasally, how about we start discussing the existence of a “banana” instead?


Totally unrealistic actually, I withdraw the question. I guess the only real option remains using the words we have and making as few assumptions as possible.


@217 curious - in that college situation I believe the guy would've listened/benefited. That's part of why I was so embarrassed (and still cringe a bit) - I wished I had said something. When I was younger I found guys who definitely had difficulty learning to change things up, but they were willing. I think it was a combination of inexperience and over-excitement.

The guys who won't benefit mostly seem only concerned about getting off, so you can say whatever you want and/or try to physically change things up, but they go straight back to what works for them. (In my experience guys who grab your head during a bj and "face fuck" you without asking tend to be of this ilk).

With some guys it does just take time to... figure out how to work together best I guess? That's why I prefer FWBs to random hookups. So even if we don't immediately click, I can more reliably expect a given sexual interaction to be satisfying. With someone new there's a good chance I'll leave more frustrated (as a couple other women have mentioned) even when a guy will listen/benefit from suggestion. I guess I want to be able to reap the rewards of those benefits.

@218 Late - going to the fruit analogy and expanding on @Emma's point - I was looking at it as you can't definite a woman's experience of sex from a man's perspective because we aren't even /physically/ experiencing the same thing. You were trying to say, "this is how an orange tastes, so doesn't an orange taste the same to everyone?", but we aren't all using "tongues" (the same body/parts) to interpret the experience and we aren't all "tasting" "oranges" (the same body/parts). And being "hungry" (horny) doesn't necessarily mean you'll actually choose to eat that donut you saw in the shop window, whether you're a man or a woman.


@215. Kitten. Yes--part of what one experiences in passing, appearing as the other sex or transitioning is one's idea of the socialisation the other gender's been through. There's a feedback loop between perceptions of socialisation and lived reality. This means that the socialisation is real, but not something pre-given or always resistant to change.

There are clear differences between individuals (on e.g. having a visually triggered sexuality; being horny without object or context) and statistical differences between groups. But I don't think anyone will find 'fundamental' differences such that they compel a member of a group e.g. a woman to a common position with other members. People want this--this fundamental difference--to orient themselves in the world, to understand themselves and to have a story to tell about themselves.


It's not just an approximation to the non-birth gender's socialisation, either, but a realistic sense of what one can get away with. As a young man, I was punky or combative--unnecessarily punky, arguing when I wasn't sure I was right, or when there wasn't that much disagreement between me and the person I was arguing with. As my presentation became more nonnormative, more female or GQ, that became unsustainable. (People would just have written me off as a weirdo or troublemaker). Now, I'll give someone one chance to get a handle on their misconception, then leave it; I'll lay out my views in a memo or email. Of course, being higher up an organisation, knowing whom to speak to, having more responsibility plays a role, too.

The effect is that I'm more deferential en femme, but it isn't simply because I've adopted the socialisation. (Like everyone, I'm still able to argue in a range of more or less combative ways).


@Late - I'm surprised you are unfamiliar with the phenomenon of women being turned on by musicians. Google "Beatlemania" to see many examples of intense desire, women screaming and crying and pulling their hair out, expressing longing and desire for these dudes they don't even know outside of their images and artistry.

As a woman, I've actually been pretty lucky with casual sex in that most men I've been with have cared about my pleasure, but if the encounter is extremely pleasurable and I feel a positive connection to the person, this doesn't lead to a sense of release and "closure of the deal" but rather greater intensity of sexual desire that is immediate and specific to that partner. Someone else here alluded to this and I wonder if that's part of the cost:benefit analysis for some of being "DTF" vs. being "horny" and choosing instead to satisfy oneself when given the opportunity to have sex with someone who may only have enough interest or availability for a one nighter. I've chosen to seize those opportunities before when I've been in a particularly "damn the consequences, I can't pass this up" type of mood, but much more often I do not. See "Stanford Marshmallow Experiment."


@222 Harriet_by_the_bulrushes
"...I was punky or combative--unnecessarily punky, arguing when I wasn't sure I was right...People would just have written me off as a weirdo"

Well knock me over with a feather.


Oh I’m familiar with it, that’s why I first gave it as an example. But I’ve always assumed it was on some level like admiration—I never thought of it as on a basic lizard-brain level like “nice ass!”


Not that either case makes any intuitive sense to me. More helpful are the cost/benefit explanations of why someone might voluntarily pass up readily available sex (which, as a side note, seems like a superpower to me), and why FWB is preferable to one-night stands for most women, given the higher likelihood of unsatisfying sex in the latter.

The whole friends and sex thing really comes down to a cost/benefit analysis for men too. Sex yields more benefits than friendship. That doesn’t mean you don’t value the other person’s company, or appreciate their finer qualities. But hanging out is not as rewarding as getting laid. Especially if you’re hard up, which guys commonly are, as sex is harder to find than it is for women and we don’t seem to have this ability to turn off the need. Masturbation will do in a pinch, but it too is inferior to sex, and is also laced with feelings of failure if it’s your only outlet. Friendship without the sex doesn’t seem like such a great deal, because how do you turn off the desire that makes that situation frustrating? And valuing sex more than friendship as you do, it’s also a put down: you’re good enough to be friends with, but not good enough to screw.

Sex plus friendship seems to me the best outcome for everyone, but apparently my sex-focused brethren and I don’t share this view. Or maybe my sex-focused brethren are more inclined to fuck someone they’d never hang out with, and aren’t above faking interest.

But you can see why men—inexperienced, well-intentioned young men—would get confused, don’t you? Knowing that the kind of connection that leads to friendship is essential for many women before they’ll agree to sex, at the same time they’re told that wanting to have sex with a friend is seen as a betrayal, and “using” friendship is also not on. We’ve parsed the difference upthread, but on the surface that’s a very confusing Catch-22. I’m pretty sure it’s what’s behind the Nice Guy phenomenon—they’re just trying to prove their bona fides as a decent guy to go to bed with, and are too shy to be explicit. Or maybe they’ve also been told that it's rude to be direct. God, what a cluster fuck of conflicting expectations. I’m joining the priesthood.


Late Bloomer,

It's not that women can turn it off like a super power. It's that there is no release a lot of the time. It's just not there, the possibility of relief. You are acting like the woman, by passing up sex with available men, is passing up relief. That's not what it's like. I'll try another analogy.

When a straight man is really horny and there are no women to fuck, he can surely fuck another man. Why doesn't he, most of the time? Why does he choose masturbation over fucking another man? Is it some super power on his part, turning off his horniness? Is he satisfied with the option of jacking off instead of taking the available sex with men? Does he see jacking off as superior to all the available sex he could be having?


@LateBloomer - If I could live in a perpetual FWB zone, I would. Having to perform lesser emotional labor, having the freedom to enjoy variety, never feeling like one person is tasked with fulfilling my desires and vice versa, these are all huge plusses in my book. In fact, this is my situation now. Two ongoing FWBs. But satisfying FWB situations don't typically result from guy who is only interested in the physical + woman who prefers connection. Guys who already know they are only interested in the physical will sometimes be super attentive at first (you know, to close the deal) but then adjust their behavior to give a non-verbal message that it is SEX ONLY. Often in the form of booty calls, talking only about things of a sexual nature, emotional distancing. Even guys who might enjoy a woman's personality sometimes do this if they want to be really sure the woman gets that it's NOT SERIOUS in case she wants to "lock him down."

On the other side of things, some women (and men, I am told, though it sounds like you disagree) really don't enjoy sex as much without some type of connection. Not only is the experience not as fulfilling, but then there's the inevitable impulse to distance after sex, regardless of gender.


@227 @EmmaLiz I've been having similar thoughts. I remember my mom warning me in my youth that none of my male friends were real friends, they all just wanted to fuck me. She'd never even met them. Many of those men are still friends today, decades later. Maybe they're playing the long game. But I'd like to think at least some of them actually value our friendship, as they value their platonic friendships with men.


LB @226 "Sex yields more benefits than friendship. That doesn’t mean you don’t value the other person’s company, or appreciate their finer qualities. But hanging out is not as rewarding as getting laid."

That sounds really weird to me. For me, sex is like scratching an itch, but friendship is what gives life meaning. It probably also has to do with (in my life) friendship being the scarce resource, not sex, because sex is readily available by hiring a sex worker whenever I feel an itch.


@RegisteredEuropean Reading Late's comment again, it sounds to me like he is saying the fact that he wants to have sex with someone who does not want to have sex with him is frustrating and the frustration diminishes his enjoyment of the friendship. I would guess this means he can find non-sexual friendships rewarding as long as he isn't sexually attracted to the friend. So perhaps male friendships and friendships with women to whom he is not sexually attracted can be rewarding because he isn't frustrated by lack of reciprocal sexual attraction. Late can correct me if I'm wrong on this.


Ya, I knew someone would pick up on that. It was an inaccurate generalization just to make a point. The point still stands, but maybe I should have said, “There are times when sex yields more benefits than friendship.” On that note, this discussion is grossly general, I think legitimately so, in the service of getting at basic differences of mindset and expectation. I’m not suggesting it’s at all helpful in understanding individual circumstances, or is accurate in all cases, consult your physician if you experience any adverse symptoms, etc.

EmmaLiz, futurecatlady is referencing the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, so I assume some element of self-control is at play in her case. I take it to mean her motivation is “knowing better,” through hard-won experience I suppose. I guess people’s experiences vary. But I take your point, that there’s no conscious exercise of control if you can’t find someone attractive in the first place—and that for many women, “attractive enough to sleep with” has more basic requirements than it does for (many) men.

futurecatlady, I wrote an awkwardly ambiguous sentence. It should have read: “ sex-focused brethren don’t share this view with me.” I’m actually with you in that I need a connection to find sex interesting or satisfying. I also prefer written porn to visual, and like to talk about stuff. So I’m well aware that my generalizations are just that—part of my education on Slog has been not just how women experience sex, but how women experience men, which is just as much an eye-opener for me. The men I know are not the men women know when they’re dating them.

I’m not saying het men and women can’t be just friends btw. I think if your original dynamic is dating and trying to get the other into bed, it’s a little more difficult to stick that landing, but still possible. But I’m willing to bet that there are more men than you think who—I wouldn’t say “want to have sex”, maybe “wouldn’t be against having sex” is a better description, or “have fantasized about having sex”—with a platonic friend. Simply because it’s physically possible, and sex feels good.


Sorry, just to clarify, 232 started out addressed to Registered European.


Actually, RE, I’ll take you up on your comment, because paying a sex worker is not something I’d ever consider. It’s too impersonal. Having sex is more than just scratching an itch for me, it’s a kind of connection I can’t get any other way. I don’t know if it’s because I spent my formative years married, rather than dating around like a normal person. But always having a sex partner who was also my best friend—maybe I’ve reached a point of not being able to enjoy anything else. But there must be something about the human connection that matters to you too. If it’s just scratching an itch, why not save the money, stay home and masturbate? I don’t mean that as dismissive as it sounds, I’m genuinely curious. It’s what I’d do.

PS to concerned citizens—don’t worry, I’m not dating at this time. And yes, I’m just as bad at it as you might imagine.


LB @234 "But there must be something about the human connection that matters to you too. If it’s just scratching an itch, why not save the money, stay home and masturbate?"

Because having another person scratch the itch instead of myself doing it feels better (when done right).

I have my human connections (which matter a lot to me) outside of sexual relationships. At this point in my life I am no longer interested in combining the two in a romantic relationship. Which also means (referring to LB @232) that I'm not fantasizing about sex with my platonic friends.


No time now to respond though reading with interest. Just want to say that you do not come across at all as being bad at dating nor would I personally have any concern (based on what you've said here) about the possibility that you are dating at this time. I think conversations like this (honest engagement about these differences and confusions) are very enlightening and interesting. Red flags in conversations like this are when someone is focused on resentment or punishment, not when they talk about frustrations or confusions about what it is like for others (other people, other genders, etc) which to me is natural and interesting and we all do it- necessary to grow at all actually.

Regarding sex work, most of us enjoy not always being in charge of our own orgasms.


I meant that post @236 above in response to Late Bloomer's PS @234. Crossposted with RE- who also seems like a fair, honest and thoughtful person (just to clarify in case it sounded like I was responding to RE's current choices regarding friendship and sexuality, we just crossposted).


@235–Huh. I’m the exact opposite. I can’t seem to break the pattern, and have become much more selective in my female friendships as a result. There’s only so much frustration I can enjoy for the sake of company.

EmmaLiz, you’ve just spent I don’t know how many days telling me about barriers to good sex women face that I don’t have to contend with. Are you now saying that hiring a sex worker is not one of them? Or are you speaking on RE’s behalf?

I’m never sure if I’m just a particularly dense specimen, which I can at least partly blame on my lack of experience, or whether I’m actually representative, and that a lot of guys don’t get this stuff but don’t generally talk about it.


Man, that sounds harsh. I don’t mean I’m doing some Pence thing where I don’t let myself be alone with women or something. I’m not talking about acquaintances or family friends or whatever. I’m just not interested in letting a friendship grow to a point where it includes an intimacy and openness I generally associate with being in a relationship—just without the sex.


@232 Late - My reference to the Stanford Marshmallow experiment was about delaying gratification when only one desired thing is offered. You may recall most of the kids in the experiment declined the offer of one marshmallow due to the promise of two marshmallows later and then used various tactics to distract themselves from the discomfort of declining and waiting. My point was that for many (not all) women, desire can reach a peak after a really positive encounter, so if a dude is just passing through or is only marginally interested and just wanted to "close the deal" then these women can be left more desirous and frustrated than before but with no outlet for that desire, unless they have another guy in their life they feel equally desirous of who is more immediately available and interested.

As for male friends fantasizing/wanting/being open to sex, I'm not naive about that. In my experience, most straight guys are not all that selective and would gladly have sex with most of their female friends if offered, at least once. All I meant was that I believe my decades long friendships with men have been of value to them for reasons other than this.

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