I Like Big Butts: Why Men Find Big Butts Sexy
A day ago, one my internet friends on Facebook who is known for her uncompromising sarcasm, asked the question:
“Why do men find women with big butts sexy? I don’t get it”
It was a funny post with many responses, but after my laughter, I seriously considered it for a second. It was a legit question given that just thirty years ago it was the least loved body part by women and for many it still is. Yet more and more women now consider it their greatest asset (yes, pun intended). So this article is my thoughts and experiences with this phenomenon.
The Reign of the Barbie Dolls
My junior and senior high years were spent in a mostly white, suburban neighborhood. The student hierarchy was fairly typical of that world. Popular, pretty kids at the top of the pyramid, jocks after that, then metal heads with their long hair and Metallica, the artsy kids who were just weird, then at the bottom were the nerds and geeks (yes there is a difference).
Trying to get a girlfriend generally consisted of finding an attractive, developing White girl and convincing her that you were cool enough and worth their time. There was only one other one other girl of color in the school at that time. Their main concern was their looks, and the ideal look for a girl during the eighties was nice boobs, long hair (preferably blonde apparently), and skinny waist with a small butt. However that all changed when an urban program started shuttling in city kids from Rochester.
The suburban, social pyramid was shaken up and one of the ways was in what was considered attractive. There was a distinct, attitude difference between the ‘burb’ and city girls. While the former thought that the skinnier the better, the latter was opposite. Big butts were more common with city girls and more important, they generally didn’t give a fuck if you thought they were fat or not. It was a confidence and self-appreciation not typically seen there. This was then encapsulated in the 1992 rap classic, Baby Got Back.
Big Ass Revolution
I still hear this song in clubs and on the radio and it is one of the few classics that transcend its era. It unabashedly embraced the larger and fuller figure that Black women had, rather than telling them to duplicate the Barbie dolls that White women were was sexy. And since 1992, while there was still the pressure to conform to the stereotype, more women were slowly beginning to embrace the idea that larger asses were not a bad thing.
By the turn of the century, pop star, Jennifer Lopez had become a sex symbol to millions of men everywhere primarily for her ass. Women with skinny asses started becoming less appealing somehow because it just seemed boring. There was nothing there. Today, big butts are considered just as sexy, if not sexier than skinner ones. Chris Rock referred to this effect as men preferring a ‘buffet table’. But the history here still doesn’t answer my friend’s question of why we men find big asses sexy?
I find it has more to do with Black culture and how that has continued to graft itself onto and influence mainstream culture. This idea in general is nothing new and has been ongoing since the 1920’s. The culture’s evolving definition and contribution to larger American society is seen in everything from Rock music, to slang and jargon. With regards to women and sex though, larger butts were more common in Black women and than skinny ones. It was great for grabbing onto and heightened the experience overall with different options for sex positions. A man was more prone to do doggy-style with a body that highlighted that position than one that didn’t.
Also, when you’re dancing at the club, the main body part you’re swing around is your ass and during the nineties it became something of an art form. Larger butts only accentuated this. Women who knew how to work it were going to get more male attention. There was also the increasing sexual openness and exploration that was going on at the time as well.
As young people become bolder about their hormones, it increased our curiosity to see what else we could do with it to make sex even better. Basically, a big ass met great sex, subliminally.
The argument has also been made by some sociologists that our fascination with butts was a biological imperative to find the optional mate for reproduction. That it was just nature dressing itself up as a social trend to get what needs to be done. Well, I don’t think anyone truly understands nature and the mysterious ways of which it works, so maybe that’s true. However I can say for certain that, ‘where can I find the best mate to bear my children’ was the last thing on our minds when watching Jennifer Lopez or Kim Kardashian.
Sex Education or Sex Shaming?
Now it is worth mentioning here the social training that women undergo from birth in relation to asses and sex, because it does play a major role. Boys and girls in general have two different experiences when they are born that foretells their social roles and expectations. Boys are usually given toys that emphasize bold, direct action: footballs, guns, camping, etc…All these activities are what most consider masculine, even today. We are taught through these actions to be aggressive, assertive, and/or protective: to be world shapers. Even the colors we are given for clothes imply this like red, black, and blue. I have rarely seen a football or basketball player wearing pink during a game by choice. Just saying.
Girls are taught to be the opposite of world shapers. Though not out of malice I believe, the first thing a girl is taught about what is important to her is her looks and what people think of her. “Am I pretty”, is a common question I hear out of young girls. If they are found not appealing or become tomboys and rebel against that, then they can experience a type of social exile. They are shunned, called ugly and not associated with. If their boyfriend or husband cheats on them, then they are the ones who did something wrong, like they weren’t sexy enough. Boys maybe the world shapers, but women are the world pleasers, and this influence even continues today despite a more pronounced feminism voice in our society.
Big butts use to be considered one of these alienating factors. I’ve read about how some successful cosplayers with fuller figures had struggled with their body image when they started because the characters they were dressing up as had skinnier waists. When other fans, usually men but sometimes women too, would see their hard work, they saw a fat woman disrespecting their hobbies, instead of someone who loved the franchise just as much.
Even average women who are confident are still sensitive about their looks if someone criticizes their weight, or feel still feel the need to workout for fear of the dreaded weight gain in their butts. One woman I dated was very insecure about her looks, but especially her butt, even though I saw many other men checking her out because of those very features. I would tell her this, but in her mind, she still felt…not good enough.
Continued Struggle and Growing Confidence
2017 and our sense of what is sexy is better than what it was pre-1992. A compromise seems to have been reached where the skinny ass and the fuller ass woman can co-exist. Both can get a man’s attention and women are becoming more assertive in that even if they didn’t get our attention, they are not solely defined by it or any other body part.
At the same time, there is still the struggle as well. The expanding universe that is the internet has made harassing other people easier and harder to escape, leading many to commit suicide. Body image is one of the weapons used against people here, as well as orientation and social awkwardness. All women still struggle with sexual objectification in general and there is continuing work on finding the balance between feeling sexy and not being defined by it.
In the end, there is no replacing the human need to feel accepted. Even the most hardened man or woman at one time felt the desire to want to be accepted by someone or some group at some point in their lives. And there is still the ever present possibility that the new sex appeal of a woman’s ass can become yet another tool of objectification. Even Baby Got Back has gotten flak for this, though the song was created to combat that very stigma.
However, with the increasing appeal of fuller women, comes a progressive acceptance of people who are different. A girl can be taught that she can be confidant regardless of how she looks, and that there are people who will still accept her, even if others don’t. What is pretty becomes more diverse and no longer bound to one stereotype.
So to answer my friend’s question: what do men find sexy about big asses? More options, more confidence leading to better sex from the woman who has that ass.