Sexual Scanning of People & Body Parts
When he or she looks at others as if you aren’t even present.
Having compassion for men who sexually scan may seem to be incompatible with our cultural shaming of men who do this. But it isn’t just an eye candy thing where they lift their energy a little for a brief period. It’s a search for something that will fill in the emptiness. It is a practice of avoidant attachers who haven’t been able to create a securely attached, ideal relationship, and so continue to feel a need they can’t meet.
This doesn’t make it a healthy use of sexual energy. It is still a violation of women who don’t want that attention. And it is also a distorted interaction with women who invite it with their clothing and flirtatious attitude. But compassion can help to understand the reasons behind it. It isn’t just “a guy thing.”
Yearning or longing can be the fuel. Each man just needs to find the right stimulus in order to believe he is meeting his need. When asked, they can usually name very specifically what it takes.
All of us have been conditioned by our society to notice women blasting out sexual energy with clothing and attitude. Our heads will turn. But most of us won’t find the view sexually stimulating, or providing a sexual hit. My own reaction is surprise and a kind of mouth-falling-open reaction when a woman is strongly asking for sexual attention.
Some men can yearn for particular women, someone they want to make love with and/or be in relationship with. Others can only yearn for those unknown women walking down the street. Still others define their desire as women on the internet or in magazines. THEY ARE ALL DEPRIVED. They need love and connection, but their avoidant style of relating prevents them from entering a relationship in a manner that will allow them to drink in love and sexuality only with their mate. They may say that their mate doesn’t want enough sex, and this is why they go elsewhere, but this isn’t actually very often true.
Shaming of Male Sexuality
And then they are shamed. They can join other men and share the shame by sharing the objectification. But they also know that they are criticized by all women. They are considered disgusting and perverted – unless they look right and make the woman feel that it is really something about her that they are drawn to.
Many men will pursue a woman until she finally agrees to have sex with him, and then he leaves. This can be seen as control and conquest and power, but it can just as likely be yearning and need. Then once she agrees to have sex, she assumes that there is a relationship. But his avoidant stance doesn’t want a relationship, at least not with her. He was just responding to the yearning. So he moves on.
She is devastated because she believed him. She thinks he lied to her, but most of the time, he didn’t. He truly yearned and longed for love. But once she stopped looking like the pull-away person, and came forward into the relationship, he was triggered back into the safety of avoidance. This is tragic for him as well as for her.
A woman in my meetup conversation group who has very large natural breasts told us about how many men she met on dating sites immediately complimented her on her breasts. This resulted in her immediately becoming uninterested in the man.
Yet the culture set men up to respond this way. Look how many women increase their breast size to get just that reaction. Yet even these women feel discomfort when this is the main focus of a man’s attention.
Deprivation of Love
How does a man who searches for the right body or body parts feel after he has a glimpse of a woman who qualifies? Has it enhanced his day? Does it allow him to go about his business feeling better about himself? His life? Or does it leave him feeling deprived of the love and connection that he yearns for? How does he feel about the fact that he doesn’t get to do any more than look? Resentful? Angry? Deprived?
Many men are angry that they are the shamed gender, and also that they haven’t felt well treated by women. “Sexy” women are considered the best, which they are continually deprived of. This can bring anger for the deprivation – that deprivation that began with their mothers at a very young age. Not sexual deprivation, of course, but deprivation of love and attention. This now becomes transmitted to women who want attention from men, women who want to be seen as valuable.
People deprived of loving attention and having their real needs met in childhood can become anxious attachers or avoidant attachers. The avoidants will focus on something that will seem to fill in the void.
I want to invite you to have compassion for yourself if you lust after unavailable strangers. And invite you to take a look at what you are trying to accomplish – explore what is missing.
If you are in relationship with a man who scans and lusts, I am not suggesting that you just accept it. It is harmful to you. But you can let him know without shaming him if you understand that he is trying to meet a need that isn’t meetable. And that you cannot meet either. Please tell him that it is hurtful to you when he does it. Ask him to work on stopping. Ask him to look at what he is trying to accomplish. You can even be angry if he doesn’t pay attention to your need. And – you can have understanding and compassion for why he does it.