You're a man. Your sexual buttons are pushed easily, as marketing experts, pornography producers as well as Hollywood moviemakers will prove daily. Almost anything - that is advertized with the man in mind - has a hidden sexual motive. Nearly any movie has hidden persuaders deliberately incorporated and pornography of course is obvious. While the objective usually is to make you buy someting - a car, a movie ticket, a soft drink or whatever - the side-effect is that you get turned on subconciously frequently during the day.
Within a BDSM context the daily “turn ons” are even bigger, since you will - conciously or subconciously - be attracted to many more fetishes, such as leather, high heels or even a dog collar.
Fetishism is perfectly normal
The social conditioning, that we talked about earlier, brought about something else: stygmatizing “fetishism” as abnormal. Of course, if sex is a reward for good social behavior, you (the government or the religion or whatever other regulator) don't want other incentives that produce a similar effect to what you want to achieve, so you condemn everything else as “wrong”.
The current double social standard is that fetishism and non-mainstream sex are still largely condemned by such powerful and influential social entities as governments, religions, feminist action groups and others, while society at the same time will praise Steven Spielberg (ever wondered why “Jaws” is so appealing?) as a contribution to society, Hollywood still is the major source of visual entertainment (which includes movies such as “Basic Instincts”) and girl-popstars like Britney Spears try to convince the world that their “ooohs” and “aahs” have no sexual connotation whatsoever and they're NOT a sex symbol.
What is fetishism?
A fetish is a sexual turn on and it can be anything: the sight of a girl on the beach in a bikini, the thrill of a well-turned leg, the sight of a smoothly rounded bottom in a tight pair of jeans, the tempting crevice of a cleavage disappearing into a blouse, you name it. Quite often a fetish doesn't have to be such an explicit image as the above. Leather upholstery in luxurious sport cars for example has everything to do with the fact that the scent and feel of leather - even outside the BDSM-realm - to many is a (hidden) sexual turn on.
Several years ago a Japanese camera producer - Asahi Pentax - had difficulty selling telelenses. A marketing-psychologist was brought in to try and dertemine what the problem was. His first conclusion, after research, was that the vast majority of men - interested in buying long range telelenses, did NOT by these because they wanted to make pictures of birds and other animals, or wanted to do sports photography. Their hidden motive appeared to be that almost every men - potentially interested in buying a telelens - wanted to do so because he hoped to make a snapshot of his neighbors' wife or daughter in bath or otherwise naked. As a result: the psychologist advised to advertize the lenses in UPRIGHT positions only (i.e. as a phallus symbol). As a result the salesfigures of telelenses suddenly skyrocketed!
You might be saying - what is there that doesn't turn men on? And you'd be right - somewhere, someone is being turned on right now by things you never even thought of. It is the peculiarity of the male sexual being that so many things, so little understood, can be sexual stimuli. Your girlfriend may have long flowing locks and long hair may become a compelling stimulus. Other men report similar effects of their first sexual experience - as if, in some way, the various sights and sounds present at that first crucial moment become an imprint for later turn-ons. (Better tell your son to be careful where he first makes out - best if he does it at home in a safe, loving environment with contraception at hand)
Then there is the stimulus of naughty talk - a reaction, perhaps, by the child inside us to being prim and proper, so that simply using naughty words is exciting and stimulating: the same logic might apply to making love in forbidden or risky situations where there is the risk of discovery - the additional adrenaline may simply heighten the excitement and make all the stimuli more intense. This isn't really high science, though, it's more like common-sense. What is more difficult to explain are the - what psycholigists, psychiatrists, legislators and doctors will still quickly label - “paraphilias” - in their (outdated) opinion “the bizarre or outlandish sexual stimulii” such as cross-dressing, exhibitionism, voyeurism, high heels, red lingerie, BDSM and so on.
Various ideas have been put forward to explain all this: for example, that men feel guilty about sex and seek somehow to transfer their sexual feelings to objects like underwear, or high heels, which may or may not have an obvious sexual connotation. ALL THIS IS UTTER NONSENS!!! and you shouldn't worry about it. What de facto is the matter is that from an evolutionary/genetic point of view reproduction (which requires sex) is the number one obligation for any species and that hidden or less hidden persuaders are as normal to birds or elephants as they should be to us. Birds are often multi-colored for that purpose. Squids even produce bio-energetic light to attract the other species. Frogs wake entire towns literally “yelling” out their hornyness and so do crickets.
SEXUAL SIGNALS ARE AS NORMAL AS TRAFFIC LIGHTS. Their main function is to make a man (elephant, shark or mosquito alike) horny so they will feel the urge to reproduce. True, we're humans and not animals but that doesn't mean the signals and effects aren't there.
Of course, it's great to feel the rising tide of sexual excitement that results from being near a loved one, or a sexual partner, or even a friend with whom a comfortable sexual relationship but little emotional commitment exists (the nice idea of the gay “fuck buddy” comes in this category: a relationship based on sexual pleasure alone - a relationship which many straight men would accept instantly if it were on offer to them: think of it - sex with no commitment. Wow! Now - is that stereotypical male thinking, and if it is, does it come from our genetic make-up or our learned experiences and attitudes? ). The subtlety of male arousal is such that even a glance, the touch of a lover's hand, the smell of a lover's hair, the sight or scent of their clothes (especially fresh off their body), can stir a man's sexual interest.
That is one of most exciting aspects of being a man - that sudden sexual excitement, the spontaneous erection, the surge of desire that takes one by surprise, the sheer urgent, sexiness of it all. While in the end emotional connection is more satisfying, and, with the right partner, can reinforce one's sense of self and one's sense of masculinity, the “instant pleasure buttons” any man has shouldn't be ignored or denied. Yes they can be - and should be - fun and there is no reason why you shouldn't just enjoy this innocent sexual pleasure.
Listen to your body
There is nothing wrong with listening to your body. Your physical sexual respons to your environment is a very complex process of hormonal reactions, most of which is yet to be mapped and understood by science - the process as well as the complex set of triggers, reactions and mental and physical responses.
As a result, the most important as well as sensible thing to do is - within the context of your personal situation - to listen to your body, get the monkeys off your back and open yourself up to your sexual needs, desires and reactions.
And, talk about them! Tell your partner when you feel aroused and - if you know - why. Not only does that bring about a better understanding of what you are and what turns you on, it also makes it clear to her when your aroused (horny) and why and very likely BOTH of you will enjoy the moment. While that doesn't HAVE to result in actual, instant intercourse, there is nothing wrong with a quicky on the kitchen table either and that can and will sometimes greatly improve your relationship.
Your partner is probably a fetish
It is very likely that your partner, as a person or (parts of) her body are a fetish to you. This might be anything, but very likely it will be her hair, mouth, neck, breasts, butt, legs or something and usually more than one thing. While we are (social conventions again) NOT to like and desire women for their body, that is exactly one of the things that you should learn to communicate about.
We need to explain yet another double social standard. We - men - are indeed taught not to like women for their body. While at the same time we're bombarded with conflicting signals: from sexy dresses, to perfume - from hairdo to just about any commercial. Of course all of that is NOT an open invitation to rape and sexual harrassement! But is IS a signal that you will respond to and are supposed to respond to (albeit in a civilized way). The opinion - spread by feminist groups and others - that women are allowed to dress the way they want to and that men are not supposed to interpret that as a sexual signal is far to easy and actually both pretty cheap as well as untrue. Of course is short skirt is a sexual signal - so is a bikini, so is lipstick, so is perfume. It may very well not be JUST and ONLY a sexual signal, but it is a pretty naive idea that you can put on a perfume that has all the hidden aromatic persuaders in it and expect men NOT to respond to it.
So, do respond to it (towards your partner that is, not the female sitting next to you in the bus!). If you like her legs - tell her!
On top of that - most men fantasize about “different ways of having sex” - different as in having oral sex, anal sex or cumming between her breasts, all over her face or in her hair. The fact of the matter is that most women fantasize about exactly that (fantasies about being raped, abducted or being used as a sexual object or being a whore or a slut are the most common ones among women). So don't be afraid you'll shock her if you tell her about your fetish, because it is very likely she'll have the same one or at least a similar one of her own.
And here is another helpful hint: the vast majority of women fantasize about what they will describe as “male men” (truckdrivers, man smelling of diesel, freshly cut wood and - VERY IMPORTANT - fresh sweat as well as men in business attire). So, be male - down to earth feet in the clay male - chances are she'll love you for it.
Physical and mental attraction
Many people try to make a difference between physical and mental attraction. In fact: women (while communicating they want to be valued for their mental attraction) put a lot of emphasys on their physical ability to attract men (and in the process sexually compete with other women). That can often be very confusing. The important part is in “attraction”, regardless where it comes from. Attraction is the bridgehead - for sex, for communication, actually for the entire relationship. Attraction is what started it between the two (or three of four) of you.
Fact of the matter is that there is actual very little difference between phsyical or mental attraction and that every sexual/emotional interaction between men and women is a combination of both. Picture this: this gorgious blond suddenly walks into your life and while she's physically everything you ever desired, she has this horrible accent and can only talk about her mother and TV-soaps. Will she still attract you once she opens her mouth? Probably not. And that is what it is all about.
What scientists will tell you (man) is that you are easily aroused and aroused by many different things, either solo or in combination. And that it happens hundreds of times a day. Scientists believe the male mind is drawn to some sort sort of sexual stimulation as often as 700 times a day. In very simple, very unscientific terms: you are pretty trigger happy bastard, to put it mildly. And we started this chapter with telling you that you're probably aroused more times through reading Life Magazine or looking at the billboards or watching a movie.
What is important first of all is to understand that this happens and that - the two of - you might as well use it to your advantage, for starters by telling each other about it. That is you telling her. By doing so, even if at first she may feel threatened by it, you're telling her a lot about how that happy trigger works. Information she can next use to pump up the volume, so to speak. Women are not exactly stupid and there is nothing wrong with telling them what turns you on. The idea of course is SHE turns you on. Because that is what brings things back to basics and allows you to follow what your genes are basically programmed for. This is not the same as having her belly-dance every night of course - the idea is to share and use useful information that BOTH of your can use to your mutual benefit.
Once you've gotten there, actually the only other thing you need to master is to ASK her, about what turns her on. Do both - tell and ask - and you're very likely on the road to a very happy sexlife.
©2007 Hans Meijer
Hans Meijer is 54, a Dutch former journalist and government spokesmen, webmaster and filmmaker, active in the sexual and erotic information realm.He the chairman for the www.powerotics.com Foundation. This organization is dedicated to provide quality information about alternative lifestyles. His 5 e-book series “Shibari Fumo Ryu” about the Japanese erotic Shibari technique and art is considered groundbreaking. Reproduced with permission.