Culture

Women are Wrong About Sex

Sophie Marceau
Sophie Marceau
Sophie Marceau, born 17 November 1966) is a French actress, director, screenwriter, and author. She has appeared in 38 films. As a teenager, Marceau achieved popularity with her debut films La boum (1980) and La boum 2 (1982), receiving a C├ęsar Award for Most Promising Actress. | Photo: Aaron Stipkovich, StipkoPhoto.com | Sophie Marceau, Actress, France, French, Sexy,

What really turns a man on

Her lips wrapped around a thin plastic straw. She put on a practiced expression meant to incite one of the deepest animal instincts. It failed to land, but she shrugged it off and went on talking. She was in the middle of explaining to me why we would never sleep together. I hadn't mentioned the subject, but I'll cede the point that the spectre of that question had hovered over the previous 10 minutes of conversation. She told me that she was waiting for a blind date to arrive, but that she didn't mind the practice. I told her it was for the best, since I was just killing time in the bar until my bus arrived. "Parking in the city is a bitch," she said, then sipped her martini, cutting her eyes towards the door. In that moment, I envied her date. She seemed relaxed, confident, perhaps victorious, and the conversation wasn't a chore. Did I want to sleep with her? Sure. But that's never the question.

For most men, if the time were right they would go for just about anyone. With respect to sex, it's very simple for us. We want it, with little to no preconditions. This is not to suggest that we don't invest feelings in even brief encounters, but that we see no reason to bring them up until later (if at all). The question is why do we want to have sex with this woman'a woman who is self-assured, sexually assertive?

There has been a recent transition in the roles of masculinity and femininity, as well as the male-female courtship. In the '90s, a new breed of masculinity'one that favored openness, sensitivity, and more than a little crying'was adopted by many of those that came of age during that time. But while women do not want emotionally dead robots, this type of '90s man seems far too much like a little boy for most tastes. At the same time, women had just experienced a few decades of sexual liberation, becoming less reserved in and taking control of their sexuality.

The conversation of sex had become more honest and candid as well. In the 1970s it was headline news when Mary Tyler Moore's sitcom character was on birth control, whereas pretty much every sitcom today focuses on the sexual hijinks of the characters, men and women alike.

However the ideal formula of the male-female relationship still remains the same. A respectable man would invest time (and usually money) on a respectable lady. Whereupon they felt an almost mystical (or chemical) connection he is rewarded with her virtuous flower. The difference is that now the sexually-assertive women I know often complain that a random hook-up has fallen in love with her. After sex, the men would develop a rush of intense feeling satiated only by her particular starry eyes and tinkling laughter.

Isn't that ironic, don't you think?
Sexually-assertive women don't attract clingers simply because they enjoy sex. To be fair, their assertiveness, or assurance, is often dominant in other areas of their personalities as well. The men who fall for them do so because they realize that these are dynamic and challenging women who they respect as a person, not just an object.

The myth that sexual freedom somehow leads to the objectification of women is a particularly damaging one. Partly because that myth is true, but poorly phrased. A woman isn't sexy to men because of her clothes (or lack thereof) or how her hair and makeup look, but heaving cleavage in a Motley Crue jean-vest or a sheer cashmere dress both call to our attention that women are, in fact, also sex objects. This is not a bad thing. It becomes a problem when women are thought of as only that.

Personally, I would love to be a sex object'perhaps I would get thrown out of less bars. The objectification, in the proper context, is neither perversion nor compliment, but simply nature. From the male perspective, the sexually assertive woman understands this. Once the question of objectification is off the table, the pressure is taken off of the potential partner.

I wish I could write that, to be sexy, all a woman needs to do is be confident in herself and patient with her partner. It's a good idea, like renewable energy, the flying car, and The American Dream. Only it's not the truth. Sex is complicated and fraught with generations of hang-ups, judgments and STDs. The internet has exposed millions of people to eccentricities and fetishes that somehow simultaneously intrigue and horrify. Hell, it's been a decade since that movie where that kid porked a pie and even that seems quaint. For some, sexy is an angry loudmouth, willing to fight or fuck anything in the room. For others, sexy is someone quiet, shy, and awkward, pleased merely by the attention. Instead, be comfortable with who you are, because sexy is a perception and if you're okay with that someone will notice.

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Updated May 6, 2017 6:00 AM EDT | More details

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