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« Tough Times | Main | Careers and Family »

September 21, 2005

Girls Together

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Lots of fun speculations over at GNXP about why guys might enjoy watching girls make it together. (Actually, the question -- naively-put, as far as I'm concerned -- was: "Why should guys enjoy watching lesbians make it? And why don't gals enjoy watching gay men make it?") My profound answer to this eternally-pressing question is a two-parter, consisting of, "Well, why not?" and "Hubba hubba!" Nonetheless, I managed to elaborate these hunches a bit in the posting's commentsfest.

Here's my modest contribution:

I doubt most het guys would find actual lesbians having actual lesbian sex very interesting. For one thing, there's the cliche of "lesbian bed death" -- lesbians living together often go off sex almost entirely. They're often driven more by cats, food, getting fat together, fondness, etc, than they are by lust.

What het guys seem to enjoy is watching sexy chicks make it with each other. And why not? Two hot chicks instead of one. The spectacle of female arousal, doubled. The wonderfully provocative/masochistic fantasy that you're being excluded, or maybe you're missed, and maybe your cock could surmount all these problems, but maybe it'd be more fun just to watch anyway. And, heck, it's easier than participating -- you get the fun of feeling intense arousal (and much else) without having to break a sweat.

Haven't sultans and emirs everywhere always enjoyed watching dancing girls? The actress who played Carmen in a semi-recent film of the opera once said something interesting: that the kind of dancing Carmen does (which drives the male characters wild with desire) is intensely auto-erotic -- lots of thighs rubbing against each other, lots of exalted/challenging looks, etc. And that the illusion she creates of being entirely self-sufficient unto herself -- of not needing the man for her own gratification -- is hyper-provocative to the men. They're galvanized, outraged, aroused, and grateful. They fall at her feet and also want to dominate her.

So maybe the two-coeds-kissing thing that's so prevalent today is something similar: the visual suggestion of the female world being complete unto itself, with no need for men to come in dickwise and provide fulfillment. And that spectacle outrages, stimulates, and provokes the male, which the male experiences as sexual heat.

BTW, there's a small but very real percentage of gals who love, just l-u-v, watching gay male porn. The guys are better looking, the photography's often better, there's a little attention to mood and setting (gals like mood and setting) ... And the display of raw, unapologetic male lust -- male lust making no compromises to the female -- turns these gals on tremendously. Who knows? Maybe they find "feeling excluded while in the presence of raw lust of the opposite sex" a super turn-on too.

Any thoughts from anyone about these urgent matters? And any answers to the more general question, "Why are so many girls kissing and fondling each other these days?" (NSFW, of course.) I mean, beyond "Why not?"

Read here and here about Kate Moss's supposed taste for taking part in coke-fueled girl-on-girl action.

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at September 21, 2005




Comments

A small sample, but only one woman I have known got turned on by gay porn. one ex-wife of mine loved the stuff, it cranked her up totally.

Posted by: John Cunningham on September 21, 2005 06:42 PM



A small sample, but of the group of women I have been intimate with, only one liked gay porn. one ex-wife of mine loved it, she got really wound up by it.

Posted by: John Cunningham on September 21, 2005 06:44 PM



In Japan, the girls grow up on shonnen ai (boy romance) and yaoi (nasty verison of the former). And if you meet an American girl who's into the anime, odds are she's into pretty boy on pretty boy action as well.

Posted by: Zetjintsu on September 21, 2005 09:02 PM



I think that a many men enjoy seeing two women together whether or not they are lesbian, especially if they are reasonably attractive (from a male point of view), simply because men like looking at women. I recall having a heated online discussion with a gay woman who maintained that heterosexual men should not be interested in the sex lives of gay women. This seemed, and still seems, to display a rigid and uninformed allegiance to political ideology over human nature. If a woman looks hot, why would her sexual choice matter? If a man gets excited watching a sexy woman, why would he magically cease to be excited upon learning that the woman was a lesbian?

I know some stupidly sexist men who discount gay women’s sexual desires, and honestly and foolishly believe that they could magically turn a lesbian around. Others, as I note, just don’t care, and just get off on watching hot women, and fantasize about what it might be like to be invited to join in on the fun.

A polygamous married man, or a sultan with a harem, probably gets a sexual charge strolling among his women even if nothing particularly exciting is going on (and I am not condoning polygamy here). I might even suggest here that some of this is a result of the evolutionary history of human beings, and that we evolved from mildly polygamous hominids.

A friend who owned a video store reported a small, but significant number of women who regularly rented gay male porn. Later, some women friends who were having an all-night wedding shower for one of their group, sent me to rent some videos for the party. Along with stuff like “Body Heat” and the Jack Nicholson version of “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” they specifically directed me to ask the owner for a few of the hottest gay male titles (one was something called “Kip Knoll, Superstar”). Later, all the women confessed that they enjoyed watching two (or more) handsome, hot, hard body males, as opposed to the often plain or slovenly males in straight porn. A couple of women noted that they learned new ways of playing with the male organ. Another confessed that she could imaginatively relate to some of the sex acts shown because she could relate to being penetrated. Nobody mentioned anything about feeling excluded or intruding in a world of which they were ignorant, particularly because a number of them had gay male friends with whom they regularly discussed their sex lives.

Posted by: Alec on September 21, 2005 09:02 PM



I'm not willing to conclude that most men actually enjoy watching girl-on-girl action. All evidence on the topic seems to be anecdotal; as far as I know, no one's ever done a statistically valid survey.

Posted by: Peter on September 21, 2005 09:59 PM



You can read Kristy Valenti's essay on yaoi comics from #269 of The Comics Journal here:

http://www.tcj.com/269/e_yaoi.html

(Full disclosure: I edit The Comics Journal.)

Posted by: Dirk Deppey on September 22, 2005 12:40 AM



This posts kind of skirts the real question. Why aren't heteros aroused by male on male sex?

The answer is not homophobia.

In swingers groups, male on male sex is discouraged because it greatly increases the possibility of infection with disease.

I don't think that girl on girl sex is innately any more arousing to heteros than boy on boy. People are simply responding to the reality that male on male sex carries with it a tremendously higher risk.

Well, I sort of take that back. For many people, the increased risk leads to a decreased arousal.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on September 22, 2005 07:37 AM



Dude, I totally love watching two guys go at it. (I'm a het woman, btw.)

I realize this means I'm 100% lecher.

Posted by: Peggy Nature on September 22, 2005 09:27 AM



One possible reason why straight women generally aren't stimulated by man-on-man action is because it hits a little too close to home. While I don't know the exact numbers, or indeed if there are reliable numbers at all, anecdotal evidence clearly indicates that the "Down Low" phenomenon (married men with clandestine gay lives) is far from uncommon. Subconsciously at least, a heterosexual woman who looks at gay pornography might be thinking that one of these men could be another woman's husband - or even her own. Not a recipe for enjoyment.
As for straight male enjoyment of girl-on-girl action, "this could be my wife" is not a serious caution because there doesn't seem to be much of a counterpart to Down Low among women.

Posted by: Peter on September 22, 2005 10:01 AM



I am with Peggy Nature -- gay porn is very hot. When Will & Grace was still topical (and funny) Debra Messing's character talked openly about watching gay porn, and that was considered cutting edge just a few years ago.

I think het women are often embarrassed by or simply not exposed to non-traditional sexual stimulus and either stumble upon it with girlfriends (like the bachelorette party), or (in my case) through experimentation in a committed and deeply sexual relationship. I'm also a fan of girl/girl action (my husband can take it or leave it) -- the sexy, pretty girl kind -- because it creates that fantasy element of something that is intriguing from afar, but not something I would be interested in putting into practice.

I would endorse any kind of intimate activity that keeps things exciting and interesting, and of course consensual, in the bedroom -- traditional gender roles be damned. Male/Male action breaks down every barrier for hets who watch it -- masculine-looking men are suddenly vulnerable receivers -- in more ways than one. And yes, I think women can appreciate what that feels like.

The phenomenon of men who live on the DL I think is not so extraordinary. Men and women are conditioned to certain gender and sexual roles and can be intimidated by the social stigmas associated with what's been ingrained in our minds as "deviant" behavior. Not to sound like a 60s flower-power-hippie, but if you're two consenting and interested adult parties, do and watch what arouses you. And there is, for some, a solution to the threat of your devoted hubby drifting to the other team for the occasional raw male/male encounter: 1) open communication, and 2) of course, a strap on.

Posted by: CocosSasha on September 22, 2005 11:23 AM



Ok, let's risk the obvious here. I've logged forty-something plus years as a straight guy and I enjoy looking at gay porn sometimes too, for all the reasons given above. We've had ten plus years of online porn and so more people have seen more (and higher quality) porn than ever before in human history--ta, da--and it doesn't seem to have really done much to anything or anyone that I can tell. Perhaps Sade would have been disappointed to learn this,but otherwise the lack of commentary on all this is sort of amazing. I've sure learned a lot that Kinsey and others told us about and I'm not the only one to notice that in straight porn there is an awful lot of dick on view, so why not take a look from time to time at the full male celebration of maleness. Same for looking at lesbian porn and all other combinations. From the aesthetic and cultural/anthropological points of view, looking at beautiful people doing what they do is a pleasure. If it is erotic and/or pornographic as well, so be it. I always find all of these categories and considerations merging together anyway, including the spiritual, so enjoy whatever you enjoy. Plenty of our ancestors would love the online accessibility of this stuff---Blake, Sappho, Byron, etc etc, build your own endless list.

So far as the extent of our gayness as straight guys goes---tales of the opposite topic are telling too. I talked with a gay friend the other day about two new gay friends he had met and he told me they moved to our rural area to get away from the gay scene in the city---so
presumably gays find them saying each day as well, "gee, how straight am I for x, y, z etc."
And gay guys must look at straight college coed porn from time to time too---? if only to check out what's new in make-up and hairstyles?

Posted by: Greg on September 22, 2005 03:05 PM



"Male/Male action breaks down every barrier for hets who watch it -- masculine-looking men are suddenly vulnerable receivers -- in more ways than one. And yes, I think women can appreciate what that feels like."

I think this is also the real reason more straight women don't watch gay porn. In terms of social role as well as what is probably the product of evolution, on probably a genetic level, many women don't want their men to be "vulnerable receivers".

Posted by: lindenen on September 22, 2005 03:16 PM



Does anyone else find the pics Michael linked to a total turn-off? Something about seeing young, drunk coeds kissing and fondling each other in front a mob of frat guys with cameras seemed more pathetic than empowering. It didn't look like it had anything to do with two women pleasing each other, now did it?

Posted by: C.S. Froning on September 22, 2005 05:48 PM



"It didn't look like it had anything to do with two women pleasing each other, now did it?"

C.S. ... totally. Those pics have more to do with two women pleasing a crowd of drunken thugs, who are obviously going to post the pictures on the internet approximately three seconds later.

On a related note, my biggest beef with most average pornography is that the orgasms are often so obviously fake, and it often doesn't even look like the guy is enjoying himself, despite, ahem, DNA evidence to the contrary.

Now, I like sex as much (or a whole lot more) than the next person, but I find nothing erotic about watching two people rub themselves all over each other in a well-lubricated display of extravagant boredom.

Just ... ick.

Posted by: Peggy Nature on September 22, 2005 06:29 PM



"... my biggest beef with most average pornography is that the orgasms are often so obviously fake, and it often doesn't even look like the guy is enjoying himself, despite, ahem, DNA evidence to the contrary."

The "DNA evidence" is often Ivory dishwashing liquid, delivered through a flesh-colored tube. It also may consist of the water left over from boiling pasta, thickened with corn starch.

Posted by: Peter on September 22, 2005 07:01 PM



"Does anyone else find the pics Michael linked to a total turn-off? Something about seeing young, drunk coeds kissing and fondling each other in front a mob of frat guys with cameras seemed more pathetic than empowering. It didn't look like it had anything to do with two women pleasing each other, now did it?"

Yeah, they certainly have a creepy vibe to them, but also a sort of sexual energy, the sort you get when you have a hundred horny guys in a room and two women displaying how sexually available they are. I think it probably has more to do with coercion than anything else. Here are the guys, requesting something of these girls that they probably wouldn't do of their own accord. It's a show of dominance, amongst other things.

I'm also quite skeptical about the claims that heterosexual men like looking at gay porn. My anecdotal evidence completely contradicts that.

I'm also unconvinced that "10 years" of freely and readily available porn haven't had an affect on society or individuals. I've read a few articles about it in the New York Times how there's a creeping suspicion that pornography is having an adverse affect on younger generations', who grew up with the stuff, expectations in, and ability to maintain, relationships. Unfortunately it's one of those things that can't really be tested, and so we just have to sit and wait and see how it turns out.

Posted by: . on September 22, 2005 09:58 PM



Coconut, sorry, Cocos Sasha: I disagree.
Will and Grace are still (if less frequently) funny. Like that line of total no-no of dating White after the Labor Day...

Posted by: Tatyana on September 22, 2005 10:03 PM



One thing about the new availability of porn...I'll bet in previous periods use of prostitutes was much more widespread than it is now. One may have substituted for the other, less of a change than it looks. There are many old anecdotal accounts of fathers bringing their teenage sons to a brothel to lose their virginity. Who would dream of such a thing now?

Posted by: MQ on September 22, 2005 11:19 PM



When I write my autobiography, I think I might call it "A Well-Lubricated Display of Extravagant Boredom".

Take that, Dave Eggers!

Posted by: Brian on September 22, 2005 11:44 PM



"Yeah, they certainly have a creepy vibe to them, but also a sort of sexual energy, the sort you get when you have a hundred horny guys in a room and two women displaying how sexually available they are. I think it probably has more to do with coercion than anything else. Here are the guys, requesting something of these girls that they probably wouldn't do of their own accord. It's a show of dominance, amongst other things."

This kind of thing is actually a topic of some debate right now. Here's an article about some books that have recently come out. And an actual conversation in slate.com about said books.

Posted by: lindenen on September 23, 2005 12:25 AM



"One thing about the new availability of porn...I'll bet in previous periods use of prostitutes was much more widespread than it is now. One may have substituted for the other, less of a change than it looks. There are many old anecdotal accounts of fathers bringing their teenage sons to a brothel to lose their virginity."

Absolutely. I was going to mention something along these lines, but not everything can be said. The issue is complex as well, from more widespread use of prostitutes to the greater social acceptance of mistresses... To now the expectation of premarital sex, casual/recreational sex...
I give up, blame it on Feminism.

Posted by: . on September 23, 2005 05:49 AM



One counterpart of guys looking at girl-on-girl porn might be the interesting phenomenon of slash fiction, written almost entirely by women and almost entirely about guy-on-guy action.

Posted by: H. on September 23, 2005 08:09 AM



"One counterpart of guys looking at girl-on-girl porn might be the interesting phenomenon of slash fiction, written almost entirely by women and almost entirely about guy-on-guy action."

Since I'm on a blatent stereotyping kick, I'll add my opinion about women writing slash about their favorite male characters (Obi-Wan, Aragorn, Harry Potter): some slash writers claim that they like the energy of male/male sex, but I'm guessing that they're uncomfortable with their own sexuality and prefer scenarios where a woman has no part to play.

Probably a gross mischaracterization, but since I've worked with one woman who writes slash (of the Obi-Wan/Qi-Gon variety) and outwardly confirms my picture, I can clearly claim that "anecdotal evidence suggests..."

Posted by: C.S. Froning on September 23, 2005 09:27 AM



My two cents:

Leaving aside the issue of porn, the pictures Michael showed us demonstrated to me (30 something straight guy) that what guys like, at least at all the "coeds kissing" sites, are the power trip: coercing these girls to do somethng that while perhaps not particularly problematic in itself, is in the context of display and perhaps bowing to others' wishes. This is of a piece with hazing rituals, where presumably straight frat boys cause other presumably straight boys' sexual and other humiliation. Given the few outlets for ambition, striving, etc. that colleges provide, since they are mostly just way stations for drinking and debauchgery, I am not suprrised that groups of guys think it is fun to persuade girls to kiss one another. It avoids issues of real intimacy, and being part of a pack is always exciting.

Posted by: Gerald on September 23, 2005 01:08 PM



"The issue is complex as well, from more widespread use of prostitutes to the greater social acceptance of mistresses... To now the expectation of premarital sex, casual/recreational sex..."

yes, mistresses were also more accepted, what we would now call sexual harassment was more accepted as well.

When early marriage between quite young people was more common, cheating probably was too...imagine all those people in their early 20s married to other kids. Read Updike's "Couples" for a picture of that in the late 50s/early 60s.

The form changes, but my guess is that there has never been a historical period where people were not having a lot of sex that they were not "supposed" to have.

Posted by: MQ on September 23, 2005 01:50 PM



Long time reader who has to throw out yet another side. I am a long-time slash reader who likes gay male porn. I am also a lesbian who has never had any strong desire to sleep with a man and feel very comfortable with my sexuality. I don't have any good theory why I would prefer gay male erotica to girl-on-girl but I know that there others.

Posted by: tttree on September 23, 2005 09:36 PM



I'm only dimly aware of the slash-fiction phenom, so am appreciating all the info about it. And many thanks to all for volunteering info about their habits and prefs where erotically stimulating material is concerned. Always a great topic, and seldom so frankly discussed!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 27, 2005 11:34 AM






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