The Secret,Taboo Aspects of Male Sexual Desire
The authors go on to offer additional biological and anthropological explanations as to why erect penises — particular large ones — would so beguile a great number of heterosexual men (not to mention gays and bisexuals). But it’s probably sufficient to say here, as do Ogas and Gaddam, that there’s abundant evidence pointing to “the penis['s] special power to activate the male sexual brain” (p. 218). And, ironically, there’s just as much evidence to conclude that, for women, this particular part of a male’s anatomydoesn’t rank very high as a sexual cue for them.
In Kenya, for example, young people are enjoined to take up sexual matters with their grandparents. So these much older confidantes can become to their grandchildren diffusely associated with erotic arousal. In the United Kingdom, the inferred dynamic would work rather differently. Here we’re confronted with a connection between a boy’s developing sexuality and corporally punishing elderly matrons at boarding schools, widespread in the culture. Ogas and Gaddam quote a veteran of the adult industry, who suggests: “‘When a lot of [these men] were schoolboys, they were spanked or slapped or pinched by a schoolmarm. It might have been their first intimate contact with a woman’” (p. 31). And going beyond this reasonable speculation, I might add that the buttocks are full of nerve endings, such that in being spanked the adolescent’s ripening eroticism may well have been sparked. (And in fact, this sort of “imprinting” is how many kinks and fetishes get started — say, getting turned on by being paddled.)
An ingenious experiment by two Canadian psychologists (too involved to provide details of) tested the hypothesis that it’s this part of the nervous system that affects our being sexually turned on: that is, through engaging in (or imaginatively identifying ourselves with) precarious acts — whether they’re illegal, immoral, taboo, or simply dangerous. And the study’s results support the notion that the same part of our nervous system that’s sensitive to threats is also able to engender a sexual reaction. If that’s the case, then actually, or vicariously, taking part in acts of transgression represent yet another source of arousal — and in both sexes. As Ogas and Gaddam put it: “Transgression ... could be a counterintuitive enhancement of erotic feeling due to our quirky brain wiring—an evolutionary by-product, rather than an adaptation” (p. 179). As in so much I’ve described, what seems peculiar or perverted might well be ingrained (or “inbrained”) in us.
One act of transgression that deserves special attention is sexual betrayal. But oddly enough, in these scenarios it’s not the husband but the wife who’s the transgressor. Ogas and Gaddam single out the subject of cuckold porn as immensely popular on the Web. And the question naturally arises as to why such a genre would so appeal to men—why it would be the second most popular interest (following Youth) for straight males on English-speaking search engines. How is it that just the thought of their wives cheating on them could lead men to experience intense arousal?