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Are men and women socialised to find each other sexually attractive even if they don't respect each other? Or what?

(54 Posts)
BasilBabyEater Thu 25-Apr-13 11:46:31

I've been reading a thread on which the subject of domestically incompetent men came up and I didn't want to de-rail that thread but it sparked a thought I'd quite like to discuss. I'm thinking about the men who claim they can't take responsibility for childcare or managing the planning and cleaning of their homes ("you tell me what to do and I'll do it" in other words, "I don't own this work, you do and you're responsible for thinking about it and planning it and then directing me").

As I've got older I realise I simply don't fancy any man who I don't respect anymore. I don't respect men who are so pathetic that they opt out of taking adult responsibility for their own children and homes so I don't fancy them, even if they're really gorgeous. Is that just an oddity, something to do with getting older and not finding sex quite so urgent so therefore being more discriminating about who I'd want to do it with, or is it because I now expect more from my relationships than I did when I was young? Is it just because I source my respect for a man from different things than I did then? (I think when I was in my twenties, I would have simply accepted a very untidy man who didn't sort his own housework out as messy and it would not have had any effect on my estimation of him, whereas now, I'd see it as inconsiderate, entitled and selfish and so it would affect my respect for him and therefore my sexual desire for him.)

On this other thread, someone mentioned a group of women with PhD's joking about how hopeless their husbands were and my first thought was "how can they want to fuck them?" Is it because these women don't need to respect their husbands to find them sexually attractive, or is it because we're trained as women not to base our respect for men on them being able to carry out the basic functions of an adult?

Then I got to thinking about the other way round but that's a whole other kettle of fish and this post is already too long...

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Jul-13 19:58:02

Then you have to question why our culture constructs male bravado as finding a beautiful woman repulsive because she's got body hair in the right place.

Also, you don't know tht they wouldn't feel disgusted actually; we all know the story of Augustus John who couldn't bear to shag his wife because she didn't have the body of a statue. How do you now these boys really aren't modern day Augustus Johns?

arsenaltilidie Fri 26-Jul-13 10:48:31

And they have a 9" penis, earn £50k and drive a bmw.

Fact is all of them would jump at the chance of having sex with her, its nothing but male bravado.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Jul-13 10:37:24

Arsenal, go on the interweb and look out boys' conversations about pubic hair on women.

They express disgust at the idea of having sex with such a woman. Total disgust.

arsenaltilidie Fri 26-Jul-13 10:28:13

"Greek society did not distinguish sexual desire or behavior by the gender of the participants, but rather by the role that each participant played in the sex act, that of active penetrator or passive penetrated"
According to wikipedia

Err I want you to show me what 17 year old would not jump at the idea of having sex with a beautiful woman with a classic waist to hip ratio, classically taut breasts, arse etc., perfect skin,

Body hair and hygiene (BO used to be normal) are things you can change, but the CLASSIC waist hip/ratio etc has never changed.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Jul-13 09:18:09

Of course lust is culturally constructed.

How else to explain the disgust of 17 year old boys at the sight of a beautiful woman with a classic waist to hip ratio, classically taut breasts, arse etc., perfect skin, who has pubic hair?

30 years ago there would have been no question that such a woman would have excited lust in most straight boys. The idea that she should excite disgust rather than lust, because of the presence of pubic hair, is because the cultural ideal of women's bodies has changed.

Similarly a century ago, the same woman would have excited lust if she'd had underarm hair. But even 30 years ago that underarm hair might have been a turn-off for many men (and even more so now), because women have been showing their underarms (and shaving/ waxing them) for at least half a century.

Lust is as subject to cultural constructs, as anything else.

vesuvia Thu 25-Jul-13 09:42:57

arsenaltilidie wrote - "the greek sculpture with warrior like body has been attractive for the last 1,000s years and will remain so. The dominant artists etc will always will always induce lust to women and that will never change. Who we find attractive in a lusty way is ingrained in our dna and will probably never change for a long time."

I think it's worth noting that those Ancient Greek sculptures were created for not for the benefit of women, but for the benefit of men (e.g. homosexuality, homoeroticism, Greek love).

arsenaltilidie Thu 25-Jul-13 09:04:18

Its all evolution science, big macho man 'bad boy' is attractive when you don't have children, but once you have children you begin to appreciate the 'sensitive' side a bit more.

Who we find attractive for LTR is indeed socialised. 100s of years ago LTR, men didnt have to do the housework, but now its expected a man to help around the house.
Women werent expected to bring an income but now its expected.

On the other hand, Lust is not socialised, the greek sculpture with warrior like body has been attractive for the last 1,000s years and will remain so. The dominant artists etc will always will always induce lust to women and that will never change. Who we find attractive in a lusty way is ingrained in our dna and will probably never change for a long time.

Most women prefer a dominant partner to a submissive one

Solari Mon 22-Jul-13 16:40:58

Just rambling here, so please do excuse me if my thoughts seem a bit jumbled, but I'm reminded a bit of that scene from American Psycho, where Christian Bale is having sex and spending the whole time admiring himself having sex in the mirror.

I wonder if for some men, having a partner act 'beneath them' isn't a problem because their version of lust doesn't include respecting and loving another person, but rather boosting their own ego, making them feel more powerful etc.

In that scenario, the more servile and objectified their 'partner', the better. Because in the end it really is all about the man in that scenario, and the woman really is just a prop to his spotlight.

BasilBabyEater Sat 20-Jul-13 13:58:02

Yes Scallops I think there's a lot in that - we're socialised to respect men for bread-winning abilities, strength, speed, sexual prowess etc.; not for house-keeping skills.

I also think we're not socialised to respect men for the respect they give us; women aren't supposed to be respected by men, so when they behave disrespectfully towards us (by refusing to pull their weight in the home etc.) it doesn't necessarily impact our respect for them? (I say "our" collectively, it bloody does mine nowadays, but I think that wasn't always the case.)

scallopsrgreat Sat 20-Jul-13 11:56:13

Lots of 'in facts' there hmm

scallopsrgreat Sat 20-Jul-13 11:55:37

But how do you get your beliefs, Sausage, if not through socialisation?

I am wondering if in fact that women are socialised to continue to respect men when in fact they don't do much at all to warrant that respect? So you can still fancy someone who does not pull his weight because in fact the respect is still there. You just have to look at how low the bar is for a 'good' father to understand why women can still have respect for men who only rarely enhance their lives.

I think feminism helps put that 'respect' in perspective.

Sausageeggbacon Sat 20-Jul-13 11:18:32

I went from a man who was very alpha male and controlling but could do anything domestically including doing the ironing because I was rubbish at it to a less than perfect man domestically who is less capable but we fitted well everywhere else. Our expectations are through our beliefs as much as socialised but given the choice of the two doing more is not a problem as my expectations have changed as I have got older.

Think it is just part of taking in your personal life experiences and using them to shape what you want.

lizeyorks Fri 19-Jul-13 23:55:54

After 39 years, 11 months and 2 weeks into my marriage I finally found the courage to tell my husband that for me it was over..... by separation ..divorce..whatever. No one else involved (JUST HOW DO AFFAIRS HAPPEN! )!
You must be wondering, I am sure, quite why I am bothering to want a divorce (sounds so much better than a separation, but much more complicated!). I remember when his parents got divorced after 32 years, I thought "why bother"? But times change and I'm tired of my husband being taken for my father, and our son being taken for my husband. That's one of the shallow reasons, I should be rejoicing and appreciative that people see me as being so much younger than I am. I have a cutting of a newspaper cartoon, rather yellow and fragile with age, which says it all about my marriage......."I gave you the best years of my life and you spent them in a pub"......

Our house is on the market, leaving it will be a wrench, but I just couldn't see a future together with him because his habits are so entrenched and predictable. Some will think I'm a bitch because he was very ill last year.....a colostomy.......I saw into his future as an old man, but an old man that I didn't love, and who hadn't had a physical relationship with me for over 10 years..........(brewers' droop).

Well, we have four great children, 39,37,35 and 24......and 6 great grandchildren.......all happy and extremely it wasn't all in vain....

Would just add, keep doing the pelvic floor exercises, very important because I'm in for a posterior /anterior repair op in Scarborough Hospital in August....if anyone is interested in how it goes, I'll let you know!


dogsandcats Sat 27-Apr-13 09:12:57

When pretty but not very bright women, are partnered with intellectual men, their children, on the whole,both boys and girls, end up good looking. Which further perpetuates the "top of the tree" elite people.
[yes I know I am making some mass generalisations here].

I also think, that some autism and aspergers comes from two very bright people having children. It seems like if a person gets too bright intellectually, then there is more of a probability of that happening. So, to marry a person of less intellect...

I realise I have gone off topic here. Will shut up now.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sat 27-Apr-13 00:15:18

There are also some women whose sense of worth is attached to "looking after her man", they view them as a prize catch and act the handmaiden (consciously or subconsciously) in order to keep them - certainly this is what I have seen from some of my social circle.

But those women do not not respect their patterns, if you get my double negative. The question posed by this thread doesn't apply to them. They're happy enough with their lot.

Specifically talking about women who do not like being partnered to useless men they have come to not respect, I do tend to think, generally speaking, that sexual attraction does dwindle.

And yes, pretty women are absolutely blessed. There's no denying it. You have a much easier ride through life being good looking than not, the playing field absolutely is not level, and good looks carries way more cache than other attributes.

dogsandcats Fri 26-Apr-13 23:43:07

BBE. re the intellectual men with women who read Ok magazine. Are the women pretty?
I am starting to see pretty, but fairly dim women in their early 20s being snapped up by intellectual, financially stable men.And wondering if the partnerships will stand the test of time.
fwiw, I think they will - or at least as long as other relationships.
[the men seem to not believe their luck,especially if they are not all that hot in the looks department themselves]
On a side note, I am thinking that pretty women are blessed, if that is the right word, in more ways than one?

DeafLeopard Fri 26-Apr-13 23:27:46

I'm probably too pissed tired to make much sense on this thread but I wanted to be able to come back to read it properly in the morning.

Speaking personally, my libido is not very discerning at all - embarrassingly so actually. I can experience a sexual response to men that I would never sleep with because their personality is a real turn off - arrogant / sexist / uneducated / disrespectful etc. Equally DH can have majorly pissed me off and I can be fuming with him but my body can respond sexually to seeing him even if I don't want it to / would not want to have sex with him as I am so cross.

So I can see why life partners don't necessarily need to respect one another to have sex with them.

I can also see that there are lots of men who actively would not want a partner who would demand or expect respect from them.

There are also some women whose sense of worth is attached to "looking after her man", they view them as a prize catch and act the handmaiden (consciously or subconsciously) in order to keep them - certainly this is what I have seen from some of my social circle.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 22:58:21

Yes, that's a suspicion I have too.

wol1968 Fri 26-Apr-13 16:59:37

I have a horrible suspicion that men in those sorts of relationships might be intelligent but they don't want to be challenged by their partner. They want to feel that they're in power, that they're the boss, that no-one at home's in danger of making them realise they're not numero uno. I don't like it.

BasilBabyEater Thu 25-Apr-13 23:52:04

Oh yes, I'm sure the men get their intellectual stimulation elsewhere nicetabard. That's what I find odd though - not that they get some of it elsewhere, but that they get so little of it from their primary relationship. For me, to not be able to get at least some of it from the person I live with, with whom I have a sexual relationship, would be very boring and quite limited. You're right, very few people work in places where the office banter is highbrow. Most of the people I know, get that all that intellectual stuff from their friends and their partners, and in some cases, their political contacts.

Am LOLing at the idea of you and your DH sitting there in stony silence. But if you wanted to talk to each other, you could right? It wouldn't be pointless because he wasn't interested in it or didn't get what you were talking about? You wouldn't give up disheartened? I'm imagining the silence is comfortable rather than uncomprehending? grin

I think couples stay together for all sorts of reasons, sometimes for years and the reasons aren't always good. I'm not saying that these relationships are unhappy - far from it, sometimes they're very happy and they meet both parties' needs - I just find it interesting.

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 22:56:03

actually DH and I sit here in silence every night hmm

maybe give them the benefit of the doubt? people don't stay together for years without good reason (and hopefully a good reason, not money or something)

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 22:54:26

Basil I am guessing that in the set-up you talk about "men I've known who are educated, well-read and clever, who have female partners who literally only read things like OK magazine and have no idea about politics, history etc. " the men get their intellectual stimulation at work?

having said that I have never worked anywhere, where the conversation was very high brow!!!

maybe the clever educated men enjoy talking about what the beckhams have been up to, when they get home?

maybe the women have hidden depths? When I was a sahm I watched a lot of telly, sure, but it included the daily politics grin

BasilBabyEater Thu 25-Apr-13 22:21:38

Ooh, we've moved on to the other way round.

I wanted to mention that in OP but it would be way too long. I think men are socialised much more to not have to respect women to be long-term sexually attracted to them - to see women as being there to use for sex if they can and only to respect them if they can't - and long term this can cause huge unhappiness. It's not very current, but I've got a vision of Mr Bennett from Pride and Prejudice in my mind. However I've also lost count of the number of men I've known who are educated, well-read and clever, who have female partners who literally only read things like OK magazine and have no idea about politics, history etc. and seem perfectly content with them. I've always wondered how that works.

Of course for a temporary liaison, it's fine, but even for a casual, no-strings arrangements the screaming boredom of having to entertain someone who knows nothing after the sex is done, quite quickly makes you question if it's worth it (well, it does me) and so to actually go on and marry someone who is really never going to give you the variety and interest of someone who is your intellectual equal, is really weird IMO. I'm guessing these men don't expect or want to get their intellectual companionship from their life partners. confused And I suppose it is a pretty recent thing to have that expectation.

Lessthanaballpark Thu 25-Apr-13 21:42:14

do men not also need to respect their partners to find them sexy?

When I was a teenager I heard my best friend (male) discuss with his friend all the things they would like to do to this one girl who I know they absolutely despised and spent a lot of the time taking the piss out of her.

It was a depressing but proto-feminist moment for me, the realisation that men don't need to like a person they want to have sex with.

CoalDustWoman Thu 25-Apr-13 21:38:35

Great thread.

I wrote out a rant based on what I see and hear around me on a daily basis, but then my phone crashed, which is probably a good thing.

In a nutshell, it's depressing.

On a lighter note, if and when the men in and around my office brag about their ineptitude in matters domestic, I ask them if that gets them much sex. They and their partners seem happier these days...

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