A general note for men:
Over the weekend, it was revealed that Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), or someone pretending to be Weiner, allegedly sent a photo of his bulging briefs to one of his Twitter followers.
Putting aside the issues of inappropriateness (the recipient was a college student) and accuracy (Weiner has maintained that his Twitter account was hacked in a prank), this fact remains:
Weiner, or someone pretending to be Weiner, apparently assumed that women would enjoy seeing photos of bulging briefs via Twitter.
We polled some women. Really, they would like to see . . .
“I would like a photo of a made bed,” says Kathryn Roberts, who works at a law firm in Washington. “I would take rose petals, but I want them on top of a made bed.” And not that fake kind of made, either, where the comforter is smooth but the sheets are a jumbled mess.
“Or laundry,” adds her friend Andrea Neurohr.
“Folded laundry,” elaborates Roberts. “Maybe in a wicker basket.”
Over the years, a handful of famous men — and a boatload full of unfamous, Craigslisty men — have landed in the news for sending women photos of their artfully framed packages. Brett Favre allegedly had a special delivery for Jenn Sterger, a sideline reporter for the New York Jets. Kanye West allegedly provided some of his female MySpace friends with some extra-friendly pictures. There are entire Web sites, aimed at men, teaching them the etiquette for public displays of private parts.
Men! Broaden your seduction techniques!
How about you move away from the below-the-waist close-up? How about you try going naked from the waist up? How about a picture of you, sweaty, cleaning out the storm drain? How about a photograph of you gently caressing the yogurt, as you rotate the soon-to-expire food to the front of the refrigerator? So sexy!
“The refrigerator,” says Gretchen LeMaistre. “That’s a big scenario.” LeMaistre is a San Francisco-based photographer who has worked on the “Porn for Women” series, tongue-in-cheek books purporting to tap into women’s most intimate pleasure zones. In the yet-unpublished “Porn for Working Women,” an attractive man cleans out the office fridge and asks, “Am I the only one who cares if we have a clean breakroom?”
Not all women like this, of course. This is the part where we call up an expert, who affirms that there is a great diversity in what women find arousing.
“There is a great diversity in what women find arousing,” says Marta Meana, a renowned psychologist who studies women’s sexual function at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. She would never want to make blanket statements about what does or does not put wind in one’s sails.
“But,” she says, if you look at the empirical literature, it does indicate that the majority of women are not as aroused by pictures of” naked man-parts.
Cindy Meston directs the Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a past president of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. If there is something you want to know about what turns women on, she is the person you call.
“We spent six years of research on why women have sex,” Meston says. They compiled 237 reasons. Duty sex. Revenge sex. Pity sex. Bored sex, engaged in because women simply had nothing better to do. “Of the 237 reasons why women have sex,” Meston says, “not one was looking at a man’s genitals.”
Women, research increasingly shows, are nuanced sexual beings whose arousal depends on context, mood and a whole bunch of things they aren’t even aware of. Men are different. Men do tend to find the equivalent naked pictures of women titillating. When they send women photos of their genitalia, they are engaging in a sort of sexting golden rule: I think it’s hot, so you should, too. (If women also employed this rule, they would text pictures of themselves taking out the recycling.)
“I can picture liking a photo that’s a little private and romantic,” says Amy MacHarg of Arlington County. She could envision a photo of some massage oils, or perhaps a man sitting at a candle-lit table. He would be holding a pan. Because he had just cooked the meal.
Her friend Sara Monsef has a different dream. “I would like to see a photo of a man who has organized his books alphabetically and by genre,” she says.
Now that is kinky.