Thursday, February 28, 2008

I Like To Look At the Pictures.

Please note that some of the contents of today’s blog are not intended for those under 18. In fact, now that we mention it, the contents of this blog are never intended for someone under 18. If you’re under 18, why are you on this blog on a school night? Go study something.

Today’s blog was inspired by three events that involved the sharing of inspirational pictures among very serious professionals. Okay, even I can’t say that with a straight face. First a friend of mine slipped a pic into an email as part of a joke I'll explain later. Secondly, a bit back, an author I know shared with some of us that a fan had sent her pictures of rather sexy men as inspiration. This author refused to share. Hmmphf.

Today another author shared a picture of a rather delightfully formed male. It wasn’t nudity, exactly. A nice bare chest, an open pair of jeans and a strategically placed hand and you have a nice pic. I’m a firm believer in the tease. Show me a bit and my imagination will do the rest. And do it better. It won’t matter if you’re too ripped, and yes, in my humble opinion a man can be too ripped. If he looks like he spends every waking moment at the gym he’s going to be too tired to do anything else. Not to mention the over stuffed, can’t put his arms down, can touch his knees together look is not one that appeals to me. Flawed can be very good.

Back to my original intent. I seem to receive a lot of emails like the one today. For some reason people seem to think it’s a good idea to send me pictures of attractive men. I don’t know why, but they do. And no, I’m not complaining. I was asked, when I was doing my profiles on my male characters, how I came by all these pictures. That’s one way, diligent searches of Google images is another. Today, I’d like to join the ranks of the unselfish and share the pictures that I’ve received in the past. Some famous men, some not. But all very pretty so I’ll intersperse them through out this post.

I have, however noticed in these pictures, which I would assume are designed to appeal to either straight/bisexual women or gay/bisexual men, that the poses are often not quite erotic if you think about them too much. They often fall into one of three categories:

1. That can’t be comfortable
2. What exactly is he surprised at?
3. Is he afraid it’s going to fall off?

That can’t be comfortable relates to photos where the location of the shot just doesn’t look like someplace I’d find erotic. Say…oh, I don’t know…a pile of straw or hay. Straw and hay that have been baled are not soft and sweet smelling like grass. They are itchy and can smell damp and moldy if not stored correctly. So I look at those pictures and think to myself…ouch! Also, sex on a beach looks good on celluloid, but let's face it, there are too many damp crevices involved for that to be a good idea.

What exactly is he surprised at, refers to pictures where the man seems to be examining his manly parts with surprise or amusement. Exactly what is funny down there? Care to share with the class? And while we’re on the topic I have been told unequivocally by my brothers and male friends that it is never ever a good thing to laugh at the manly parts. So what is it? Someone drop a feather down your pants? You’ve been swimming in cold water and are astonished that it really does shrink? It looks different than it did yesterday? What? Share.

Often men in such “sexy” pictures are seen holding their manly parts. Now perhaps this is because he has just looked and been surprised and needs a tactile confirmation of what he saw, or perhaps it is because he’s afraid it’s going to fall off. I can’t think of a single occasion when I’ve seen a man in real life grab the merchandize that it wasn’t an insult, crude or an expression of fear. Of course if he has delayed reactions it could be a sign of pain because he didn’t grab fast enough.

I do appreciate, however, the photographers and models willingness to accept that contrary to popular belief women do like to look at pictures of male beauty. Not only do we enjoy it aesthetically, but we also enjoy it on an erotic scale. Granted we are not the visual creatures men are, but we still like an illustrated classic as much as the guys.

I was working on an article a couple of years ago on writing slash. Slash is a term used in fanfiction to refer to a same sex relationship. The purpose of the article was to help those who were writing same sex relationships without a base of personal knowledge to understand there were basic differences in arousal and reactions based on gender. It truly was fascinating.

Researchers tested the arousal of straight men and women and gay men and women using self-reported arousal as well as measuring physiological changes. Arousal does not mean reactions to actual sexual interaction and activity, but the body's “interest signals”. The beginnings of erection, the dilation of the pupils, the start of lubrication, increase in rate and shallowness of breathing, and increase in skin surface temperatures were the arousal indicators tested.

The first result was one that might be surprising. Men have long been labeled with the stereotype of being easily aroused. The truth is that men, gay and straight, had a more defined parameter of what they found arousing than women. For example, most women showed some evidence of arousal outside their sexual orientation while men didn’t. Women who had reported no interest in alternative lifestyles showed higher rates of arousal when exposed to images of said lifestyles than did men.

The thing I found most interesting in the studies I looked at for the article was how polar opposite males and females were in what senses or avenues of arousal most affected them in all but one area. Males showed significant arousal to visual and tactile stimulation (viewing erotic images and casual touch). Women, not as much. Women were significantly aroused by auditory stimulus (voices, sounds of lovemaking) and by cognitive stimulation (stories, appeals to imagination and that lovely running commentary in our heads). Men, not as much.

What did we have in common? Olfactory responses. Both sexes showed significant reactions and arousal rates to trigger scents. Not the same ones, but reactions to scents were equal.

Just a bit of useless information.

And now to the pic that a friend sent me today. It's a bit of a running joke among us. I save pics of Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale that I'll slip into emails, she slips in pics of Gerard Butler. The joke has spilled over onto one of the forums I belong to and even one of the guys teasingly works in references. I'm a moderate fan of this guy and think he's adorable and a better actor than he often gets credit for. (We won't discuss Dracula 2000, everyone's got one they need to bury.) So, for my final offering I thought I'd share the picture that Anna sent me today.


Kelly Kirch said...

He's much better than the one I sent the loop yesterday. That guy had nothing to be proud of is one palm covered his what-nots. Sad.

But this Gerard guy, yeah, he's worth several more looks. Excellent blog and very informative.

Bronwyn's Blog said...

I appreciate you're giving, sharing nature - this is just what I needed today!

Bronwyn's Blog said...

Oh dear...your...not you're. Duh!

Amarinda Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amarinda Jones said...

I got sent some eye popping pictures this morning that I am not sure fit into any of those categories. They are apparently 'inspirational'

Amarinda Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amarinda Jones said...

oh dear...blogger went mad and put 3 commnents on instead of one...

Anny Cook said...

The blogger dit it, eh? I would be very interested to read that study if you have a notion of where I can find it! Excellent blog!

Jacquéline_Roth said...

I think she just got distracted by the pretties.

Anny, I don't have the links to all the studies any longer, it was a couple of years ago. I went looking for the actual article and the webpage is acting up. I'm letting Britannia know. Ifyou'd like to see the article, I can email it to you.