The Psychology of Sexual Arousal

by | Dec 18, 2003 | Psychology & Living

Q: Why do men seem to enjoy viewing women naked (e.g., in photos, real life, etc.) much more than women seem to enjoy looking at naked men? It seems men are much more “turned on” romantically/sexually by the visual aspects of the opposite sex, than the other way around. Do you agree? And what accounts […]

Q: Why do men seem to enjoy viewing women naked (e.g., in photos, real life, etc.) much more than women seem to enjoy looking at naked men? It seems men are much more “turned on” romantically/sexually by the visual aspects of the opposite sex, than the other way around. Do you agree? And what accounts for this?

A: I have not done and do not intend to do a scientific study on the subject. However, I can share with you my fifteen years of experience talking to people about all kinds of personal matters, including sex. It is my experience that a general trend exists in which men are much more likely to be aroused by the visual and the physical than are women. However, I also see loads of evidence that men are just as capable of responding to values as well–intelligence, shared interests, sense of humor, sense of life, etc.–as opposed to the exclusively physical.

It appears that the most fulfilling sexual response, for both men and women, is inevitably a merging of the two: values and physical attributes. For whatever reason, many men get more caught up in repressing the one while many women become more preoccupied with repressing the other. It’s interesting to note that any attempt to shut out either one–physical or values–whether by a man or a woman, results in some degree of romantic unhappiness. For both men and women, sex without love is as meaningless as love without sex is phony.

Although physiological factors can be involved, since there are obvious differences between men and women physically, I don’t assume it’s the primary explanation for this observed difference. I don’t vote either “nature” or “nurture” as an explanation. Instead, I’m interested in why certain individuals end up choosing to value some attributes over others, and what the consequences of those value choices are.

My experience teaches that both men and women can make errors (most certainly do in romance); and both men and women can make choices that serve their interests and bring sustained happiness. In the area of romance, both men and women have a lot to learn when it comes to integrating their sexuality.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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