Why are straight men turned on by Lesbians?

In one of our more intelligent and intellectual threads regarding breeding patterns on Gilligan’s Island, Internetslacker, a very affable newbie, agreed with my suggestion about the sexual leanings of two female characters by saying “Ginger and Mary-Ann were Lesbians. At least, in my world.”

Now maybe I should go back and check if Internetslacker is a guy before I shoot my big mouth off, but I am assuming assuming he is a straight male, and it got me to wondering.

  1. Why are straight men so turned on by lesbian sex? Conversely, why are straight women apparently NOT much turned on by gay male sex?

  2. A corollary question, (or perhaps only a slightly related question) would be “Why has lesbian sex been so little condemned or persecuted historically compared to male homosexuality?”

I have no actual studies to cite in support of the presumption that underlies question 1). Maybe someone out there has. But let’s look at common knowledge and anecdotal information.

a) Magazines like Hustler and Playboy regularly run lesbian sex pictorials (whether the models in the pics actually are gay is irrelevant) and they seem to turn on their straight, male readers.

b) A common joke among straight males dicussing homosexuality is that “two men can do anything they want in private, and two women can do anything they want as long as I get to watch.”

c) Remember the “catfight” episode in Seinfeld? Every time Elaine reported she was being threatened by a psycho female, male cops would get all excited and say “ooooh, catfight!”. Someone, I believe George, finally explained that the very possibility of some “girl-on-girl” action, even violent, turned men on.

d) Here in good ol’ liberal Canada, atttractive lesbian couples often refrain from holding hands in public NOT because of public disapproval but because they keep getting accosted by straight men who pleadingly offer them large sums of money if they will only “do it” in front of them and let them watch. And they usually add “Neither of you have to touch me, just let me be in the same room.”

e) I have never heard a straight woman say she was turned on by the gay male sex scenes in TV shows like “Queer as Folk” or movies like “Brokeback Mountain.” They might express sympathy for the tragic characters in that movie, but no turn-on.

In support of Question 2) we have only to note that the book of Leviticus in the Bible has no prohibitions against Lesbian sex. And many states of the modern world that continue to criminalize gay male sex have NO laws against lesbian sex.

I have my own theories, but I would like to hear from the other Dopers. Especially straight males and females. Comments?

Well, you get to see a girl having sex, which is nice, without having to see some naked guy, which isn’t that great.

Plus it’s kind of like…what’s better than a cool refreshing beer? Two beers.

Just to build on that: when your view of a hot naked chick gets blocked, would you rather have it be by (a) some guy’s hairy ass, or by (b) the other hot naked chick?

I’m a straight male and lesbian porn bores me to death.

Hmm. Out of (an admittedly small sample size) of five or six female friends I’ve talked to, all but one said that they found gay sex, uh…sexy.

I don’t know, but you and I must spend time with entirely different women. In my experience women are, on average, just as turned on by two guys as men are by two girls. In fact, in my female friends circle “Brokeback Mountain” was almost considered tragic erotica. When the DVD came out the only people I know who actually bought it were women who bought it for the content - nobody actually considered it a masterpiece.

Which, while crudely phrased, explains in converse the attraction of some straight women to gay male porn. Women who like looking at naked male bodies get to look at lots of naked male bodies, frequently in much better shape than the male bodies on display in hetero-porn.

I also refer the OP to the phenomenon of slash, which originated (and AFAIK is still dominated) by straight women writing gay male sex scenes.

Yeah, didn’t we just do a thread about woman and (male) gay sex? The overwhelming majority of female Dopers (who responded) were turned on by reading about or watching gay sex. See also: slash fic.

There’s also the dog-in-the-manger aspect: if a guy watches straight sex, that means there’s some other guy who’s having sex, which sucks. If he’s watching lesbians go at it, then, even though he’s not getting any, no other guy is either.

I think that the assumption that only men can be turned on by the opposite sex going double is a product of time, not psychology. Until recently men were allowed to have all the sexual desires they want, cheat, beat their wives, and keep wifey locked at home. Women weren’t allowed nor really encouraged to have any sort of sexual thoughts outside of what their husband asked for.

And simply, that all takes time to change–and quite apparently the female members of this board are in the lead for the way things are going to get. Within the next generation or so, most women are going to think of opposite sex doubled porn in much the same way as men do.

As Paul Resier once said about the girls on Mad About You, “I agree with both of them! They’re both right!”

I beleive there was another Seinfeld episode where they discussed this. I may be wrong, but I think I remember Elaine saying lesbian sex is more appealing since the female body is better to ogle at. Smooth curves and shapeliness and so on. And, that the thought of two guys going at it was disgusting, like two hairy apes or something along those lines. I’m in agreement that lesbian sex is more appealing than some guys hairy ass. If there is going to be a guy in the picture I think one is enough. Besides, the type of lesbian sex we see through adult entertainment isn’t what you find out there in the real world, at least not in my neck of the woods. I’m reminded of the movie Chasing Amy where Holden is talking with his gay friend Hooper. Hooper discusses the male fantasy of “lipstick lesbians,” while in real life a lot of them (lesbians) look scarier than men. Yet, we still hold on to the fantasy.

I’ve tried to get an answer to this for years now. The reasons always given, while plausible, still really don’t make any sense to me. Maybe it’ll be clearer to you.

Then explain why gay men like watching gay porn. Two (or more) other men are having sex and we’re not, yet we still like it.

I’ve read long, convoluted arguments that the liking of lesbian sex represents the infantilism of the modern heterosexual male, who is less threatened than he would be by seeing another male performing the sexual sex. And on and on.

But sometimes the simple explanation is the correct one. And ululate nailed it. Er, so to speak.

And there’s also the factor that pornography is projection: the viewer likes to imagine himself entering into the scene. And sharing two woman is a greater fantasy for most men than sharing a woman with another man. This isn’t exclusive, of course: men can have lots of varied fantasies, and power issues come into, er, enter, er, are a part of the equation, as in gang bang fantasies.

Fantasies about lesbian sex appear in pornography since Victorian times, the beginning of what we would now call modern pornography. Earlier writings also included them - deSade did - but it’s hard, er, difficult to trace continuity to the earlier works. deSade is encyclopedic in his perversions, but not very erotic, whereas the purpose of Victorian porn is immediately recognizable. This may have been built on Parisian prostitution which started featuring explicitly lesbian showpieces to titillate visitors around that time.

There’s an urban legend that lesbian sex was not included in the British anti-homosexual legislation (the law that Oscar Wilde was convicted under) because Victoria couldn’t believe that such behavior existed. Not true, but the story does accurately reflect the public stance on the subject. Lesbians were invisible compared to male homosexuals. It was much easier for two women to live together and grow old together than for two men to do so.

There’s definitely a split between the lack of public notice of lesbians and the ever-present fantasies of lesbian sex. It’s not just a matter of more "sophisticated’ audiences either: the Tijuana Bibles - short sexual comics of the 30s and 40s - were aimed at the lowest class audience, but many of them started with two bored women having sex together before finally snagging a man to join in. Why that split existed, and still does, requires an explanation that I’ve never read.

Speaking as a straight female, I find Queer as Folk very arousing. But I like the boy/boy and the girl/girl scenes. Hmm, I guess I just like it all.


Yes, I’m a straight male possessing the usual male-fascination with Lesbians. And I’m not quite sure where the fascination stems from… but I’ve never, ever been crude enough to ask Lesbians couples if “I could watch”. I did ask one Lesbian couple if I could be their subserviant houseboy/organic sexual device, but they just laughed and laughed and laughed at me.

But I got the last laugh. They don’t realize I can clean a mean set of dishes, do windows, and look pretty okay in a french maid’s outfit. Ha! Ha! Okay, I’m lying, I don’t do windows.

From the Denis Leary show The Job:

Jan Fendrich: So what is it about the idea of two women having sex that’s such a turn on for guys?
Mike McNeill: Well, it’s like the idea of one woman having sex, only… it’s two.
Jan Fendrich: Oh, well, thanks for clearing that up.

A while ago my boss was talking to me about one of his friends and said, “We were talking about lesbian porn and he said he wasn’t interested in it. That is when I realised he was gay.” He told me this before going to Melbourne for his mate’s wedding to another guy.

Cleland had lesbian sex scenes in his Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure in 1749. He also included a single seen in which two boys engage in sex–a scene for which he does not provide a description, but for which he does provide a fair amount of “moralizing” and demonizing by his narrator.

I’m kinda with you here, at least as far as the conventional girly-girl “lesbian” shoots featuring lots of makeup and clothing. I also find the slender metal objects they often feature make the action feel kind of cold.

OTOH, the few depictions I’ve found of realistic lesbians going at it have been pretty hot if the women are at all good looking.