Most heterosexual men like women's bodies. But what exactly do they like?
And what do they think of the range of women's bodies they see all year long? Talk about a gender gap: What men like about female flesh appears to be dramatically different from what most women think men like.
Of course, there is no single physical quality in women that all men like. You have your butt-man, your leg-man, your breast-man, your elbow-man, name any part of a woman (yes, any), and there are men who love it.
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But you can't predict what a particular man will like. In fact, a man's taste often changes over time. If you're with someone long-term, it's wise to ask him every year or two what parts of your body he likes best.
The closest thing to a universal rule is that most men like a woman who's comfortable with her body, whatever her body happens to look like. Similarly, most men are pretty frustrated about women who reject their bodies. Given a choice between a supermodel who always feels fat and the chubby lady who feels sexy, most men will take the chubbette in real life, where it counts.
It's true that most men are more visual than most women, but keep in mind that men aren't only visual. Different men are tuned into different senses: for some, how you smell is most important of all, while for others, the sound of your voice or the texture of your skin will be most important.
And remember, men's feelings about women's bodies are shaped by far more than just pornography. Experiences with mothers, sisters, playmates and family stories shape men's preferences before they ever see an X-rated magazine.
Most women underestimate men's ideals for female weight and shape: Most men enjoy rounded hips, prominent butts or full cheeks more than most women realize. Whether the fashion is Twiggy or Kate Moss, most men don't want skinny women. Those skinny models are found in women's magazines, never men's.
Marty Klein, Ph.D., has spent his 24-year career as a Marriage Counselor and Sex Therapist helping people understand and accept their sexuality. You can read more about his books, tapes and appearances on his Web site, SexEd.org