Men's Lust For Legs

In a large variety of ways, contemporary culture, as well as mass media, have served to further intensify men’s fascination with women’s legs. And much historical evidence suggests that female limbs have always "exhibited" the ability to incite men’s carnal desires—at times, to the point of infatuation or fetishism. Especially on TV and in ads, legs today are presented in a manner that can be seen not simply as provocative but as, at times, almost salacious. Shows like “Dancing with the Stars,” or Olympic events like ice skating and women’s (girls’?!) gymnastics, can have the mixed, “non-athletic” consequence of leaving some men salivating.

Images of curvaceous female gams often seem deliberately calculated to encourage such prurient interests. Which may be why bare legs are so frequently “on parade” in commercials for men’s toiletries, sports cars, and alcoholic beverages. If many male turn-ons don’t extend that far beyond their adolescent visual preoccupations, Madison Avenue is only too happy to cater to these earlier fixations. And the least flagrant way they can do so is through focusing a male’s attention on a beautifully curved pair of well-toned legs (though, hopefully, just short of the point that the product being marketed is forgotten altogether!).

Moreover, in diverse ways our highly materialistic culture seems almost to demand that women “heighten” their natural femininity to make it more enticing. To conform to societal standards, women are pretty much expected to shave their legs, which unquestionably increases their smoothness and erotic appeal. On top of this, skin softeners are promoted widely to further embellish such kinesthetic allure. And giving giving oneself a tan, or donning nylons or pantyhose, or wearing high heels, can enhance this effect still further.

Such glamorous coverings give women’s legs “an even smoother, sheerer texture and conceal minor blemishes, suggesting physical perfection.” And high-heeled shoes “flex the muscles of the legs with each step, emphasizing shapeliness and fitness.” Additionally, “short skirts or slit dresses . . . draw the eyes to the legs and emphasize them.” And addressing fellow males generally, this same contributor opines: “If you come to associate women’s legs with sex during puberty, that will probably stick with you for your whole life.” And, even more empathically, “A male who grows up surrounded by all this can be forgiven for developing an obsession with women’s legs”

In brief, a woman’s legs can at once please . . . and tease. And while the partial display, or exposure, of a woman’s breasts or butt “function” more obviously in this seductive manner, it’s undeniable that for many men a pair of shapely legs alone have the power to effect this enthralled response.