In middle school, my brothers always talked about “NARBS.” At first I couldn’t figure out WTF they were talking about. Was this some new trend? A game? Something sports-related? Well, it turned out that all of the above were incorrect. “NARB” stood for “no-apparent-reason boner.” They were all going through puberty and suffering the humiliation that is having an erection for no reason in incredibly nonsexual situations. Like in the middle of math class. Or on the bus. Or at family dinner. I mean … Yeah, you get the idea.
So that’s a puberty problem. But it turns out that getting turned on by random stuff and popping inopportune boners is a problem that dudes suffer into adulthood. As a person who doesn’t have a penis — and therefore straight-up can’t imagine what it’s like to have my genitalia hanging outside my body and, like, disrupting things in a visible way — I can’t fully understand how frustrating this phenomenon must be. For example, apparently a lot of guys get hard-ons when planes are taking off and landing? WTF are they supposed to do with that? Yeah, think about that the next time you’re headed on vacation.
I also totally recognize that while my initial reaction to the idea of dudes getting random boners is on the WTF side of things, it’s really not strange that people get turned on by random things, because human sexuality is random and varied. And it’s not like women don’t get turned on by random stuff too, right? Our bodies just don’t make it super obvious and visible to everyone around us. (Thank god.) So I guess I have to amend my initial reaction; it was a little pearl-clutchy. I can't 100 percent relate, but I get it, guys.
I reached out to men I know to see what other random things turn them on. Some of them are sweet, some of them are silly, and some of them will really get you thinking about how random human sexuality is. Enjoy.
1. VSL, 30
2. Jack, 17
Really good music. When people run their hands through my hair. The word “axiom.”
3. Adam, 26
Men in white socks.
4. Jason, 34
Often, nothing at all. No dirty thoughts, no stimuli, sometimes while working or relaxing. It’s unpredictable and confusing.
5. Alex, 26
Striped thigh-highs. Never fails.
6. John, 30
Hands. I have no idea why.
7. Sam, 25
Girls who wrestle! And wrestling with them. It's sort of brutal, and I lose oxygen getting smothered or trapped in her legs or whatever, and it's amazing for some reason.
8. Earl, 31
The way my girlfriend’s boobs bounce when she admires herself in the mirror.
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