Home Biological aspects of sexuality Anatomy & development Young women tend to focus on their attractiveness

Young women tend to focus on their attractiveness

A girl first becomes aware of herself as a sexual being when men start commenting on her breasts. The breasts develop from around 12.4 years. Beast development signals a woman’s reproductive maturity. A girl should wear a supportive bra to avoid getting stretch marks. It is perfectly normal for a woman’s breasts to be different sizes. The nipple stands erect when cold. Otherwise the nipple may be inverted, particularly in young women.

Most men are not aroused by pre-adolescent girls who have figures similar to boys. Breast development is a clear sign that a girl has become a woman. Women have wider hips than men and their buttocks are larger. A woman’s pelvis is wider than a man’s as it is adapted for childbirth. One consequence of a wider pelvis is that women’s hips may sway as they walk. Women wear high heels in part to accentuate this movement, which men find attractive.

Women often wear makeup because it is expected, for example, for their job or on formal occasions. But most women wear makeup to feel better about themselves. We are all guilty of judging other people. We judge men on their status and women on their looks. Women are more critical of a woman’s appearance than men are. By enhancing their attractiveness, women send out messages that they are seeking approval. This marks them out as vulnerable, which is attractive to men, especially the bullying kind. So women make themselves victims of sexual abuse simply because of their own sense of inadequacy. Any woman who doesn’t enhance her attractiveness is assumed to be a man-hater as if vanity is a compulsory aspect of heterosexual women’s sexuality. Some women don’t see the need to wear makeup. They prefer to be themselves and save the time and money of wearing makeup. A man is good enough as he is, so why can’t a woman be? So much for equality!

Men like young women for their lack of sexual experience. A man assumes that timid women will be more easily persuaded to accept his advances. A woman assumes a man is attracted to her because she is pretty and has a good figure. Women enhance their attractiveness by accentuating their vulnerability and docility (precarious shoes, long hair and big baby eyes). Women never develop coarse hair, skin and firm muscle tone as men do. Apart from having breasts and wider hips, they still look much like children.

Men sexualise women as part of their arousal process. Breasts, for example, take on a sexual significance. Girls react to male lust for their bodies with embarrassment and even shame. Women think their genitals are dirty because of the crude urges they evoke in men. Some girls develop a negative view of themselves. Anorexia and bulimia are nervous disorders that occur because a girl has a distorted view of her body. A woman’s body naturally lays down fat (for breastfeeding) so girls may be reacting to these changes.

Male puberty causes men to have a new curiosity in their own genitals and also in any opportunity to observe nudity in others. Female adolescence does not include this sudden and intense increase in responsiveness that boys experience. Adolescent girls talk of the man they might marry one day and the children they hope to have. Once she has a boyfriend, a girl may contemplate the longer term. This contrasts with boys who are much more short-term in their thinking and who often want to keep their options open.

Young women are curious in a social (rather than an erotic) sense in anticipation of their first experience of intercourse. A girl is not aroused by nudity or by anticipating sexual activity as boys are. Without romantic love, sexual activity seems crude and impersonal. Intercourse is an adult activity for a woman because she risks pregnancy. By offering sex, women obtain other rewards from men. A woman can easily offer intercourse but if she gets pregnant, it’s solely her fault (not the man’s). A woman needs the social maturity to understand men’s drive to enjoy their own physical gratification.

But as she matures, a girl comes to appreciate a more romantic view of sex. When in love, a woman responds to a man’s admiration of her attractiveness and his sexual desire to possess her. A woman wants a strong man (both in character and competence) to admire her and enjoy her company (not dominate and patronise her). Women see the world from a social, rather than erotic, perspective. Women like a man for his experience and the security he can provide. A woman wants a man who is competent enough to protect her and provide for a family. Having a lover (and children later on) increases a woman’s sense of personal confidence and emotional security.

Even a responsive woman has very similar responses to other women. She cannot fully understand men’s responses (because she does not experience them) but she can empathise with men’s enjoyment of eroticism because she uses her own form of eroticism when masturbating to orgasm. But sexual activity with a lover is primarily a male pleasure. It does absolutely nothing for a woman even if she is responsive when masturbating alone. Sex involves a woman allowing a man to touch and penetrate her most private anatomy in an act that she considers taboo. To offer sex, a woman needs to love and trust a man. Sex involves a serious emotional commitment for most women.

Some women enjoy the reassurance of being admired by men. They may interpret this emotional neediness as a sex drive. Some women use their bodies to gain favour with men) to obtain an advantage at work or elsewhere. As they age men worry about impotence. Women worry about looking old. Young women take centre stage but older women are of interest to no one.

Thus, between adolescence and fifteen years of age there were 78 per cent, and among other teenage girls there were 53 per cent who were not reaching orgasm in any type of sexual activity. (Alfred Kinsey)

Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)