7 Weird Things That Turn Women On

What science can tell us about the many bizarre quirks of human desire


The question of what women want has been baffling people for years. Many books, papers, irate blogs, pick-up artist seminars, films, art, and music have been devoted to this pressing topic, each one seeming to contradict the last. If we are to believe men’s magazines, women want men to dip their penises into a jar of Nutella. If we are to believe women’s magazines, women want to fellate donuts. If we are to believe fan fiction (erotica involving characters from books, TV and movies), which is primarily written by women, women want to see Severus Snape from Harry Potter get it on with a Teletubby.

Predictably, science has stepped in to provide some more concrete answers than those involving pastries or fuzzy aliens. The following studies set out to discover what turns women on. The results will definitely surprise you.



#2 Everything, but a naked male.

In Meredith Chivers’ famous study on the subject of female desire, women were hooked up to a plethysmograph (which measures vaginal blood flow and lubrication) and shown a variety of porn clips, including sex between men and women, women and women, men and men, a ripped naked man walking along a beach, and a pair of bonobos mating. The women, both straight and lesbian, were turned on by just about all of it, including the copulating apes.

What didn’t turn women on was the muscled naked man.* When Chivers tried a similar experiment on men, they responded in predictable patterns: Straight men’s arousal soared when women were onscreen, and not much at all when men were onscreen. Gay men had the opposite response, and neither male group responded at all to the apes. While being turned on by apes is not exactly something women can brag about at cocktail parties, Chivers’ study shows that women respond to a much wider array of stimuli than they were aware of. It also proves that the stereotype of women needing emotional connection and established intimacy to be turned on is not the case after all.

* Naked men of the world, don’t despair! When women were shown a naked man who had an erection, they were turned on. It turns out that a flaccid penis doesn’t do much for the lady libido, regardless of how hot the rest of the man is.