Outer Beauty: Do You Like To Look At Naked Men?

Anna North has a thoughtful post up over at Jezebel today titled “What’s So Funny About Dudes’ Bodies?” In it, she discusses the fact that the nude male body is often played for laughs in popular culture, while the female body is the sole recipient of the lustful, sincerely sexual gaze. She argues that this reinforces stereotypes of women as delicate creatures who want men only for their non-sexual qualities: money, babies, putting a ring on it, etc. It also deprives men of the pleasure of being admired for their physical beauty, which is a bummer for some.

I can find many counterexamples of this in movies and television (what about all the dissecting of the male form that went on in Sex and the City?) but I think she does have a point. For every woman I talk to who loves to gaze upon a hot naked man in all his glory, I find two who are like “ew, gross. Why would I want to look at that? There’s a reason I turn the lights out when I have sex.” Even a liberated sexual gazer such as myself has certain limits; as much as I like having them inside of me, I find penises to be inherently amusing. It’s like this weirdly tall mushroom growing out of someone’s crotch, which sometimes moves all by itself. I’m sorry, but that’s fucking funny. Am I just talking this way because I’m oppressed by society?

Not necessarily. I think sex can be both funny and hot. Or, as Callie Watts of Candy Rain Magazine [link NSFW] once said to me, “you can make fun of the dick and still wanna stick it in your mouth.” (More on Candy Rain soon!) In fact, some of my favorite sexytimes have involved a lot of laughing and joking around in between all the insane, screaming orgasms. I think the key is to keep a broad view. Men’s bodies can be many different things, and I don’t think it’s helpful to view them only in grotesque, comical caricature. Likewise, female bodies can be funny. Try jiggling your boob meat a little bit or making your vagina talk, and you will see. (Not that I’ve ever done either of these things, ahem.)

I think it also helps to photograph men in ways that reflect who they are; if a straight man tries to pose just like Bettie Page, it’s probably going to look ridiculous, but if he’s photographed closer to his natural state, his sexiness shines through. Check out East Village Boys for some examples of well photographed men. (It’s a gay site, but by no means stereotypical, and enjoyable for people of all genders IMO.) Also: the aforementioned Candy Rain. Though these two publications are quite different, I think they both do a good job of showcasing male beauty in a unique and stylish way that treats men like objects of desire without objectifying them.

But enough about what I think of naked men. What do you think?

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

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    • M

      I do not know anyone who is attracted to men and but doesn’t see the fun in drooling over partially- or un-clothed ones. In fact, at school today I was discussing with two friends [one mostly straight girl and one entirely gay guy] about how getting stuck waiting for a chef for my delivery job yesterday would have sucked a lot more had her hot stepson [? I think that's what he is] not been assisting her. Shirtless. And then with some shirt, but there definitely still wasn’t a whole lot of shirt. It was good.

    • Eileen

      I once hooked up with a man who confessed to “admiring” pictures of me in low-cut tops but who was completely amazed when I said I liked looking at pictures of him with his shirt off. Like…wait. I know how you feel about me without a shirt and fully accept it, but you find it strange and exciting that I like you without a shirt?

      The penis is weird, though. I don’t necessarily want to look at it if I can’t touch it.

      Also, on a related note, I’m really sad that my state’s senators are not as attractive as Massachusetts’.

    • Lo

      Stating the obvious, perhaps, but there’s a overwhelming straight-male influence in popular culture. If it’s mostly straight guys writing the jokes, then men are going to be unattractive and comical, but women doing the same are just ew no they’re supposed to be hot – and then it seeps into our way of thinking. The whole thing is more balanced than it used to be, but more hot men and hilarious women please.

    • Steph

      I have noticed for some time that I have a problem looking at male genitalia. I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t stand to look at it for more than a minute without having to look elsewhere. I have no problem going down on someone, and I love sex, but I just can’t look at it.

      I do admire male bodies, except for that one little bit. I don’t feel as if anything is wrong with me, but it’s just something different.

    • Freddy

      How can someone say something like that. How can you dismiss the physical attributes of all men with a few words? Are women really that terrible to see men in such a horrible way?

      This may surprise you but there are men who also want to be valued for their bodies, because it’s the most natural, god-given and basic thing a man offers a women before you even know who he is. I think women say these negative things and don’t appreciate the physical side of the male due to the fact that we all grew up in a society that is mostly viewed through the eyes of men and so we adopt those ideals and viewpoints regardless of who we are.

      But sometimes I think that maybe it’s just not in a women’s nature to appreciate a man’s beauty the way a man appreciates a women. Still, surely you’re intelligent enough to have more of an open mind about the world and the entire male gender than to reduce it to something so simple. I mean, picture the man of your dreams (physically) when you’re thinking about a man, what makes him so physically attractive to you? If you were truly attracted to a man, every part of his body would be awesome to you, and you’d love looking at it.

      It breaks my heart, actually. How could I ever be with a woman who sees me the way some of these women have confessed to seeing men, in such an ugly, distorted, ignorant way?

      Can you imagine if the tables had turned? If men tended to be more attracted to themselves and the male body than women, saying how the female body is hilarious and ridiculous and only good for carrying their children. How would that make you feel?

    • Freddy

      And it’s no wonder lots of women think that way when it comes to male nudity, just look at the examples you look to, i.e. CandyRain. That CandyRain site is gross and a bad, perverse, distorted example of men.

      Why not look to classical art and sculpture for examples of male beauty, or photography of artists who seek to portray men in like a beautiful, natural way. Then maybe some women would see it differently.

      The negative viewpoints are all a result of being raised in modern society that chooses to celebrate only women for their sexuality. Just look at how in ancient times men were deemed more beautiful than women. They way we see things all depends on the society we grow up in and the social trends we are inundated with.