As a teenager, I felt natural hooking up with guys–a seatbelt in my back, a heel popping out the car cigarette lighter. And yet I felt confused. I was unsure how to treat the male body, what to do with it, exactly. When I lost my virginity, my partner proudly showed me the six pack abs he’d been working on, I think I was supposed to swoon or feel something but I just stared. Neutral.
“Penises are ugly. It’s like God went to tie a bow, and just kinda forgot what he was doing in the middle.” This is one of my best friends, joking, over coffee. I had asked her about this cultural idea–the female body as a work of art (who doesn’t like naked women!) and the male body as, well, gross.
And it’s not just penis that gets painted with “ew”–it’s the whole of male bodies: hairy, sweaty, narrow or bulky. (And of course not all male bodies have penises or extra hair.) My female friends had been raised to think: the dick is just lucky to be here.
How much do girls spouting this sound like homophobic straight guys? You know, guys who rant, wide-eyed, about how they could never. EVER. get with a guy. Are women unconsciously aligning their beliefs with those of the great white bro-dudes? Not to sound like your-mom’s-feminism, but oh, hai patriarchy. Yet, I do think it cuts deeper.
When I was learning the ropes of hooking up, I felt unsure what to do with the male body, how to kiss it or treat it. I’m not sure there was any lust when that aforementioned partner lifted his shirt ala The Situation, but I do know I felt confused about expressing my lust. And I’m still learning what owning my desire looks like. Women are culturally taught to repress desire. This is what Lady Porn Day was about–it’s become okay, post Sex and The City, for women to use vibrators–but jacking it to hot dude porn? “Ew.” That gives masturbation a desire.