Rather than refer to explicit anatomy, most women prefer to use vague references to ‘down there’. Given women’s aversion to genitals, many of the terms for female genitals come from men’s vocabulary and are considered obscene by women. The word ‘pussy’ is perhaps the equivalent of ‘willie’ for boys. A woman’s clitoris is much less apparent than a man’s penis. Men are, in any event, more intent on penetrating a woman’s vagina.
A girl has a vulva, including clitoral glans, labia and vaginal opening. The mound at the front covered in pubic hair is the vulva. From front to back there is first the urethra (opening for urinating), next the clitoris, then the vaginal opening, the perineum (bridge of skin) and the anus at the back.
Women buy magazines that display women’s bodies. Women compete with each other to attract male attention. Women are not interested in male nudity. What have they to gain? A man needs to be erect (which is totally up to how attractive he finds a partner) before anything can happen. When he is erect, it makes no difference whether a partner is aroused or not. He just needs a woman who is amenable to him demonstrating his masculinity.
Humans get competitive when comparing themselves with others. In general, we conclude that more is better than less and that big is better than small. A man is not sexier because he is more responsive than average. Nor does having a bigger penis than average make him a better lover. Similarly, a woman is not sexier because she is more attractive than average. Women compete with other women over looks. So a woman is just as likely to judge other women foremost by their looks rather than their achievements. If women didn’t care what men thought, the effect would be much less.
A woman who is flat-chested may feel just as insecure as a man who has a small penis. We are attractive to someone not just because of how we look but also because of who we are. It’s about appreciating what we value in another person and about valuing the love that another person feels for us. We cannot all be blessed with amazing looks but, hopefully, we have other qualities that compensate. There is someone out there for each of us.
Attractiveness is defined primarily in terms of the fashion of the age and is not absolute. Finding a partner has much more to do with matching personalities than being stunningly attractive. The emphasis on young women is not down entirely to men. Indirectly women reinforce this prejudice because of the drive young women have to impress men with their looks and hopefully obtain a mate who will support their family goals.
With the advent of high budget movies, digital photography and the internet, images of attractive women are displayed everywhere. Many of these images are enhanced so as to maximise apparent attractiveness. Women feel under increasing pressure when they compare themselves with these unrealistic images. We cannot all look the same. We are meant to be unique. But Brazilian women have surgery to have their breasts enlarged. Japanese women have surgery to increase the size of their eyes. Women in rich countries around the world diet and have face lifts and liposuction.
Women assume that men are looking for all the glitz and glamour that women appreciate. Most men simply want a woman who is willing to offer them intercourse. Male sexual performance is crucial to intercourse. A woman’s performance relies on providing male turn-ons such as faking her arousal and orgasm. Some men expect this as a matter of course. A woman’s use of sexual behaviours also contributes to her attractiveness.
In societies where women routinely show their breasts, men are not aroused by them. It is only when men associate nudity (including breasts) with sexual activity that they are aroused on seeing them.
The way our bodies are viewed depends on our reproductive capacity. A woman has a limited period when she can reproduce. After that, she can no longer bear children. She may be less desirable to men. A man does not have the same limitation until much later. As long as a man can achieve an erection and ejaculate, he has a reproductive capability. Even an old man may be able to provide for a woman and support her family goals.
Some women take much more care of themselves than others. For an attractive woman, to whom looks are important, she may also hope that her partner makes effort to keep in shape, wear fashionable clothes and maintain an attractive image. Many heterosexual men underestimate the importance of respecting a woman’s efforts to keep herself attractive.
Some women claim to orgasm from nipple stimulation, which makes them appear more sexual and hence more attractive to men. But the female nipple, like the male nipple, cannot provide an orgasm when stimulated. Women routinely touch their breasts with no sexual response. Women do not have orgasms from breast feeding. Men enjoy nipple stimulation because they experience whole body tumescence when sexually aroused.
According to some estimates, over 40 million women have some problem with sexual desire and excitement. But if there are tens of millions of women complaining that their libidos aren’t up to snuff, who are the normal ones? (Joan Sewell 2010)