HomeSexual responseSimilaritiesThe mind responds to erotic stimuli: concepts or objects

The mind responds to erotic stimuli: concepts or objects

The mind responds to erotic stimuli: concepts or objects

No boy reaches puberty and consciously decides to be aroused by girls. It just happens. If it doesn’t, he may have a very low sex drive. If a boy is aroused by boys, he is probably homosexual. If a boy is aroused by both sexes, he may be bisexual. No one consciously chooses what concepts, body parts or objects cause their arousal. Mental arousal occurs subconsciously or not at all. This aspect of sexual response is poorly understood.

When I ask men to name female erotic turn-ons, they cannot. But they do not think that their ignorance is significant. They suggest that only a woman can explain her turn-ons. Yet women know (as everyone does) what turns men on. Women are not geniuses of deduction. Male turn-ons are obvious because men refer to them every day. We see movies where men talk about the female sexual anatomy that arouses them. We see men in movies surreptitiously trying to observe women bending over or undressing. We hear references to men (but never women) who are voyeurs.

Being attractive is advantageous for anyone. But female beauty has a special significance because of men’s sexual appreciation of the female form. A man may view a woman as a sexual asset (trophy). Women do not objectify people as men do. So women are not aroused by real-world erotic triggers (such as anatomy) as men are. For example, men can urinate by the side of the road and women show no interest in observing a man’s genitals. We assume that women respond with a lover just as men do. But men are usually mentally aroused well before they take their clothes off. [i]

Women have no idea how men experience erotic arousal. Women describe emotional and sensual feelings but refer to them as arousing or erotic. Women mistakenly assume that emotional stimuli (such as the sound of a lover’s voice, kissing or caressing) cause arousal. But mental arousal depends on explicitly erotic stimuli (relating to genitals and penetration). Men are aroused by anatomy or by objects associated with sexual activity.

I noticed that I never fantasise about men I know in real life. The men in my fantasies are concepts, the idea of a man, or at least the imagined sexual thoughts in a man’s head (as I assume them to be). I concluded that this form of fantasy, using conceptual men, effectively makes men into objects. A responsive woman can imagine herself being the receiver of intercourse and simultaneously imagine herself to be the penetrating male. I can be the person driving the activity and doing something sexual to another person. I focus on the act of entering a person’s body with an aroused penis. Realising this, helped me see the possible parallels with the male experience.

[i] For most males, whether single or married, there are ever-present erotic stimuli, and sexual response is regular and high. (Alfred Kinsey)

Excerpt from Understanding Sexual Response (ISBN 978-0956-894762)