During class we were involved in an exercise entitled “Brainstorming: What turns on men and women?” I was surprised at the results showing responses of men and women in our class. The preconceptions that I had regarding sexual preferences of men versus women were not completely accurate. It turns out that men and women may be more similar when it comes to turn-ons than I used to think.
My group in class for this exercise consisted of exactly fifty percent men and women. The men in our group answered questions about what types of things turn them on sexually, based on their five senses. Every group performed this exercise for either the men’s turn-ons or the women’s turn-ons. The shocking part of the exercise was that the men in my group answered the questions almost identically as the women from the other groups. Their turn-ons included spooning, caressing, smile, clothing, and accessories, which, to me, seem to be turn-ons for women and not men. I was pleasantly surprised by these results because it goes to show that men may not be as emotionally challenged as many seem to think.
I have always thought that men and women were very different when it came to sexual turn-ons. Most Americans still believe that men are more physical than women and women are more emotional than men. This is probably due to the societal influences that have been directed at me, as well as the rest of the general American public. It is almost impossible for us to turn on a television without seeing ads for products and services in which women are objectified with provocative clothing and the purpose of enticing men to buy products or services. This is the type of advertising that we see through all media sources, and it tells us that these are the things men like. Therefore, I always assumed that men are turned on by more sexual and physical attributes than women because we do not often see men objectified in these provocative scenarios.
Additionally, we are told throughout our lives that men and women are designed differently. We are told by our peers and even parents and mentors that men have an instinctive drive to procreate. That is why they are very physical and care more about sex than intimacy. Women, on the other hand, are said to be very intimate because their instinctive drive is to be nurturing and good mothers. It is these stereotypes and misconceptions about men and women that fuel the misunderstandings about what turns on men and women.
Perhaps we are all on the same level when it comes to turn ons. Just because an individual is a man or a woman, this might not infer anything about what arouses them. It may be perfectly natural for a man to be turned on by sensual and emotional things, and conversely it may be natural for a woman to be turned on by physical and sexual things.
Overall, this was an interesting exercise for me. It was very insightful regarding the fundamental differences between men and women. It is difficult to challenge such an idea that is believed by so many people, and something that I have believed throughout most of my life. It is our society that continues to propagate these stereotypes and its influences. As long as these types of misleading facts continue to be spread, we continue to misunderstand each other on a personal and intimate level. This also causes men to attempt to live up to these standards of intimacy. We should not be compared to others based on our gender, and maybe we should not be compared to others at all.