When we say that a couple ‘slept together’ we mean that they had intercourse. We assume that if a man and a woman share a bed overnight it is very likely that they had intercourse. We know that most men would be aroused just from the thought of a woman (possibly semi-naked) lying in close proximity to them. There is absolutely nothing a woman can do to make intercourse happen. It all depends on a man having an erection. This is also a clear indication that women do not have a sex drive. Women cannot initiate intercourse because intercourse relies on male responses.
So a woman’s sexual role focuses on what happens before intercourse. Her job is to attract a man and to arouse him sufficiently that he wants to have intercourse with her. Once she has got him interested in having sex with her, it’s over to him. What happens after that is totally up to him.
Once women have caught their man they still continue to wear makeup so it’s not just about attracting attention. Women wear makeup to feel better about themselves. Women’s use of makeup has increased since cosmetics have become more obtainable. Women feel pressured or motivated to compete with the images of women in the media. Unfortunately, media images are often enhanced and portray the most attractive women so the standard is high. Sexual women in the media can be intimidating. Their confidence comes from the knowledge that their emphasised figures and made-up faces appeal to men. Women also admire other women’s bodies and the methods used to display.
Not all women want to display their bodies. Some women do not bother with make-up and dresses. Other women engage in the behaviour to varying degrees. Some women like to display their breasts, others their feet or legs, and others their skin: shoulders, arms and back.
Women look at other women for a number of reasons. Firstly, they look out of curiosity. For example, it is interesting to see the different shapes and sizes of women’s breasts and nipples. These vary considerably more than the male equivalents. Secondly women compete with each other. Women want to learn from other women’s successful strategies. Lastly women want reassurance that they are more attractive than some other women so that they can feel better about themselves.
The internet is full of images that reflect the male interest in women’s bodies. Even the smallest hint of a sexual attribute, such as cleavage and camel toe, is cause for speculation. Women do not show the same interest in men’s bodies. They do not ogle men or exchange images of penises, testicles or even hairy butt-cracks (as fashion encourages men to expose the crack between their buttocks).
The Barbie doll has been hugely successful despite some women feeling that the obvious sexualisation of the doll is inappropriate for little girls. The curves, the large breasts and tiny waist, that differentiate the female from the male are exaggerated. The eyes and lips are enlarged. The legs are unrealistically long and slim and, of course, she had long flowing hair. Barbie is delicate and pretty. Boys do not play with male dolls to admire their physical attributes but usually to role play masculine action plots.
Women wear push-up bras to make their breasts seem bigger so that they are more attractive to men. But men don’t wear a jock-strap to make their genitals appear bigger under clothes. There was the famous exception of David Beckham and the underwear ad. But that was thought necessary for male ego rather than because women were likely to be impressed.
Invariably, the message for a woman is that if she is to succeed, she must use her body. That is how she is admired, receives attention, moves ahead with her friends, and gets ahead in the world of work. Women still comment today that they got to the top of their careers by having sex with men more senior to them. Like nepotism, a woman’s ability to use sex for career advancement is alive and well.
We talk about a girl who has been ‘sexualised’. This means that she is presented in ways that accentuate her sexual attractiveness to men. The same term is not used for men or boys. Men are inherently sexual whatever they wear or however they dress because they are responsive. Women’s interest in fashion and make-up are indications of how driven women are to please men.
Some women suggest that it is impossible for a woman to be taken seriously in business today unless she wears make-up and dresses in feminine apparel. Young career women, who often have nothing else to spend their money on, set the standard. Men have different measures of success that do not relate to personal attractiveness. Men are more concerned with status, money and power. But a woman can get all those things (if she wants them) by attracting the right man.
Rather than having sex, many women simply want to LOOK like they are having sex. (Bella Ellwood-Clayton 2013)