Last year I began a collection of female body parts. Don't worry — I haven't gone all Edward Gein on you guys; this is a hypothetical collection. So let me explain: When this all began, I was re-reading one of my favorite books, The Naked Woman by Desmond Morris — an almost zoological study of the female form. Morris breaks his book into chapters according to female body parts and sets out to dissect and analyze each of these parts according to their biology and the cultural and historical influence they play (and have played) across the globe. I've always been fascinated by what it means to be female, both physically and emotionally, and how that positions one in the wider world.
I've also always hung out with guys, and from a pretty young age been curious about what makes them tick. As I've said before, I feel like the notion of the "male gaze" gets a bad rep, or is, at the very least, misunderstood. It's not like I am a strident defender of the patriarchy, but I do feel that the stereotyping occasionally placed upon dudes is something that needs to be reviewed.
Yes: Female sexuality is presented predominantly in the media as pandering to a typically hetero-male audience. And yes: This is something that messes with our self perception and confidence in our authenticity by creating horribly crippling anxiety. However, men are more complex than some of the over-sexed, mindless, goony images put out there.
I remember having a conversation with an ex boyfriend about his sexual awakening. He said his first carnal feelings arose when watching Christina Aguilera (or some other blonde, hip-jerking lady in the early 2000s). He also said that, in retrospect, he thinks this reaction came because that was what was available for his eyes, at a point where he was becoming interested in sexuality. If the woman was a less conventional representation of beauty, in a more authentic and realistic sexual situation, he would have had the same new feeling of desire. Personally, I think this is quite a telling story. Granted, most men would feel a little flustered by a cute blonde with big boobs, shaking what mamma gave her; but it doesn't mean that is the sole base of their desires.
Surely (or so I've always thought) all hetero boys must have deeper, more exciting fantasies about women's bodies. I have the pleasure of knowing some seriously intelligent and beautiful male minds, so I thought I would pick them for my curious enjoyment. Don't ask and you won't get, right?(Especially with men, who I find are more likely to keep their personal thoughts to themselves — quite an entrancing mystery, don't you think?)
And so I began "my collection," gathering anonymous but genuine quotes from real, living, breathing men on their favorite female body part. From the poetic to the uber blunt, all you need to do to find out more is scroll down.
- "I like women's eyelashes because of the uncanny dedication that's put into making them beautiful — in most cases, much more detailed than any another body part. Eyelashes are also just kind of entertaining — how they can be used as an emotive tool; girls fluttering their eyelashes or just setting a permanent emotion with makeup or the like. I usually just feel entranced when looking at them or sometimes just amused!"
- "There's something incredibly eerie about staring into somebody else's eyes knowing that they're looking right back at you — that what you're seeing is completely constructed by the mechanism of this natural beauty. I love how you can tell a lot by somebody's eyes. You can almost see honesty and passion. You can watch how stimulated somebody is by the current topic of talk and how the answers to their questions are greeted with acceptance or disapproval, all in a single look."
- "They give away so much about someone; so much more than words do. The first time you make eye contact with a woman you're attracted to and the feeling it gives you in your stomouch is infinitely more intense than any physical intimacy with a new person. A look can tell you to shut up, can reassure, can turn you on (or off) and make you laugh or cry. There's a kind of intimacy in looking into someone's eyes that you don't get from a drunken fumble."
- "The eyes are her best kept secret — the strongest weapon in her armory. I remember the first time, they were charged with intensity like a blinding light, revealing her inhibitions and darkly clawing desires. As we lay tangled up in breath, skin on skin, those two orbs were shining softly in the morning sun. A woman's window. They speak truth without words, endlessly watching the world fall under their spell."
- "I do believe they are the windows to the soul. When Irish eyes are smiling (haha) they make me cry with happiness. When they are sad it makes me want to comfort her and absorb as much of her pain as possible. When they are glassy or dull I want to do everything I can to make them brighten."
- "My favorite part of a woman is her lips — there's something very sensual and sexy about them."
Behind The Ear
- "The space between the back of the ear and where the hairline starts is a place on a girl I have often found myself trying to get a glimpse of in those heady early days of an infatuation. It is not at all a sexual desire such as is the case with all the obvious nice parts; thighs and breast for example; but it is, however, extremely intimate. Most men fantasize about having sex for a large portion of the day, and any new person they might meet will probably stimulate that question in their minds: 'How might that person behave in bed,' or, 'what would I do to her?' All quite misogynistic and domineering. But to fantasize about being pressed against a girl so close that you can see behind her ear maybe even with your nose pressed into it is perhaps stimulated by other designs on a woman. It is more, perhaps, a desire for a relationship or love, because the kind of sexual position involved in that is totally submissive."
- "All it took was a quick glance for me to think how attractive this very pretty girl was and not for the normal parts you would find appealing on a woman. I mean, the female neck line has always been perceived as an alluring thing, and even more so with hair tied up and clothing to accentuate its beguiling qualities. It's something that's captivated men and women; it's sensitive and has a certain vulnerability that can heighten arousal more than overtly sexual things do. The neck line is a delicate and an intimate area and has the power to enchant and charm maybe more than the most blatantly obvious sexual qualities of a woman."
- "For me, the strongest part of a woman is both shoulders and collarbone. From a design point of view, I find it incredibly important as it's where it all begins for me. It's the area where I begin constructing thoughts, it's where ultimately you carry your garments from — the hinge of the body. I find arms and hands particularly beautiful; the fact they stem from the shoulders is, I find, particularly poetic."
Back Of Ribs
- "Okay, not only am I absolutely awful at expressing myself generally (my way with words is far from Shakespearean) but my favorite part of a woman is hard for me to describe, so you'll just have to stick with me. It must have a name, but I don't know it. So I'll just have to describe where it is: Draw a line with your right hand straight up from the left hand side of your waist, toward your underarm. When you hit your 'true ribs' (the first seven, starting from the top) stop and rest your hand so that your thumb is pointed up and your fingers follow the natural curve of your ribs, under your arm and round to your back. That's it. It's so damn soft. My fingers find solace in the groves of the ribs. It's so delicate. I feel so empowered, like I could lift her up so effortlessly. It feels so f*cking exclusive to access an area that is covered by often two to three layers of clothing (including a restrictive bra) as well as the upper arm. I can feel when I may cause her to take a deeper breath or when her heart beat begins to quicken. Everything just seems right. Everything fits. Genuinely can't explain it any better, sorry."
- "When I watch a woman dance, I'm watching her ass. That is where she is dancing from. When we're in bed, I don't need to stop kissing her — a smack on the bum communicates my affections better then the words ever could do. At any size, a woman's ass is aesthetically blessed and the variety provides an infinite multitude of beauty. A bum feels perfect in my hand or resting against me as we sleep spooned up. I'll watch you run the world and you know I'll always support you. I'm behind you every step of the way, and I'm looking at your butt!"
- "I'm totally an ass man. Nothing turns me on more than a round behind and thick thighs. It can increase the attractiveness of a woman more than anything else."
- "There is something visually elegant about nice legs. Personally, as a photographer, a woman sticking out her butt to the lens isn't sexy or leaning over to view her breasts. It's kind of contrived. But a nicely extended leg with strong definition is something worth capturing."
- "My favorite is the thigh. Francis Bacon said, 'Never forget that flesh is meat,' and the thigh is the most flesh anyone has. Something that you can grip hard without damaging because it's strong."
Images: Fotolia; Giphy