Tag Archives: turn on

The Pencil in a Smart Man’s Pocket, Part I

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When New Yorker staff writer Michael Specter dubbed Tina Fey “the sex symbol for every man who reads without moving his lips”, he not only described the Sarah Palin-killing 39-year-old comic genius behind 30 Rock, but an entire feminine ideal for some men.  You know what I mean:  hotness defined by both brains and beauty, the late-blooming nerd wearing a “The Show’s Upstairs” T-shirt.  The antithesis of the FHM pinup.  The witty girl with the quirky smile and cute butt.

“…conventional pin-ups have it easy,” says Rohan Joshi on mid-day.com, “the more your neckline plunges, the higher your stock and search results rise, fueled by the fevered keystrokes of a million hormonal teenagers…. Every single beautiful woman I’ve ever seen interviewed in a magazine says they like guys who can make them laugh. The thinking man’s pin-up goes one step further. She makes him laugh. Which explains why my closest friends would take a bullet for me on a normal day, but would gladly put six in me if doing so earned them a date with Tina Fey. She’s gorgeous, she writes for (and presents) Saturday Night Live, she’s got her own uber-funny sitcom (30 Rock), and she found time in the middle of all that to go off and have a baby, and take on Sarah Palin.”

So, is the intellectual’s pinup an even more impossible ideal than a Playboy centerfold?  As Tina Fey is very much taken, what lies on the horizon for men that like their women both cute and brainy?  There is a really fine balance here, because the answer certainly isn’t for women to take on a Clintonesque gravity about them or to adopt what the thedailybeast calls “a castrating nature.”

Touré of the Daily Beast elaborates: “Can a woman be independent, creative, sharp, witty, strong, and self-empowering without making me feel like she wants to be a man? Ann Coulter and Judith Regan could never make the list—they’re sexy, brainy, powerful, but I feel like they secretly want to steal my manhood.”

It would seem that a lot of the qualities that women find sexy in men, are equally on target for what men find sexy in women.  Take Salon’s Sexiest Man Living 2008 for example.  “There’s more to life than pretty boys… Salon picks the men who really drive us mad,” reads the tag.  Included in those that make the listing are Obama – “Calm is sexy… Command is sexy…” and Indian-American Kal Penn of Harold & Kumar go to White Castle – “it’s not just Penn’s soulful good looks that make our knees go weak, it’s his erudition and political awareness.”

These traits, complementing an already attractive man or woman, are a definite turn on and are likely to be around far longer than perfect legs and a healthy bust.  Take it from Joshi:  “The fact that she’s gorgeous is just a lucky roll of the genetic dice. And that right there is the biggest epiphany of them all when it comes to the thinking man’s pin-up. When time cruelly, and inevitably, takes those pin-up-looks away, you’ll realise that it was really never about them at all.”


Bjorn Karlman

Is professional success in a female emasculating?  This and more in Part II….

Global Blue Balls, Mapping Sexual Frustration

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It’s official: the most sexually frustrated people on earth are the Japanese.  In a global survey on sexual well-being by condom maker, Durex, only 15% of the Japanese reported feeling sexually satisfied in life. Nigeria led the way for highest sex life satisfaction with 67% of respondents reporting positively and Mexico came second with 63%.

A little bit of healthy skepticism about these results would not be out of place. Chinadaily.com.cn, takes on the Durex research in an article titled “LET’S (NOT) TALK ABOUT SEX, BABY.”  In the article a Chinese sexologist disputes Durex findings in China saying that they mainly surveyed people in economically developed, coastal areas that could afford internet access.  He argues that because of this, Durex’s survey is not representational of the overall Chinese population. Despite this caveat however, the article seems to think there is truth to the survey: “..the Chinese have sex much more often than the global average but are still too shy to talk about it with their partners… That may explain why only about 24 percent said they often experience orgasm, half the global level.”

Is this Chinese reserve reflected by other Asian countries?  In a study headed by University of Chicago academic, Edward O. Laumann, the idea of sexual dissatisfaction in Asia is reinforced, again with Japanese sexual dissatisfaction leading the pack.

An NPR article commenting on Laumann’s findings summarized them by stating that “couples in Western countries are the most sexually satisfied, while countries in the East appear to be less satisfied.”  Also: “Asian countries all reported low levels of sexual satisfaction and moderate to low levels of satisfaction with their relationships and the importance of sex.”

Sound like Western libido imperialism?  Maybe I’m just being defensive because I grew up in Asia but I really feel uncomfortable with these findings.  What do you conclude from them?  It’s easy to pontificate on possible reasons for low Asian libido.  Some would go the route of Chinadaily.com.cn and say that cultural reserve in communication is responsible.  Cultural taboos about discussing sex and individual needs and preferences may be blamed.  Others may claim that the sex score cards are lowered by lopsided gender relations in these countries, that male dominance negatively affects sexual satisfaction.

It looks like nothing conclusive can be said right now.  Laumann’s original article states “Given the substantial, and observed differences in sexual attitudes, practices, and sexual well-being between “East” and “West”, we suggest that future research could fruitfully investigate cultural and structural causes of this variation.” Until then, an extended Nigerian trip and a stint in Mexico may be advisable.

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