This was the question posed on a blog site (The Dooce) that I frequent. One of the members was wanting to know why men watch porn. Is her partner comparing her to the artificially enhanced, waxed and tanned female bodies that populate that medium?
Now, first, as everyone knows I am a card carrying feminist and have been since I first read the word in Ms. Magazine when I was 11. I believe that the genders should have equal opportunity to experience the world and make choices within it.
Regardless of equality of opportunity, there are some things about men and women that are hard-wired. By virtue of the design of the human body and brain, there are differences that just are. Kind of like the reality that men do not give birth.
Another difference between the male and female brain has to do with how they process visual stimuli. Yup, there it is guys brains respond to visual stimuli faster and in a different way than women's brains.
I am not saying that cultural factors are not also at play here. Boys stealing their dad's Playboy magazines is a tradition as old as . . . well as old as Playboy itself.
But while boys were stealing dad's magazines, girls were helping themselves to their mothers' copies of Valley of the Dolls, Fanny Hill and the Story of "O".
The biological drive for sexual expression is hardwired into both genders. It is the reason our species continues. Go back far enough in history and I strongly suspect that women were just as likely as men to stray from (or replace) a partner. Genetically it makes sense to have different fathers just in case one has a genetic defect.
Now that monogamy is the norm (more or less), fantasy takes the place of changing partners. Male fantasies are more visual and less textually complex than those of women. Women's fantasies . . . well, we like a back story, a plot. If you think I've got it wrong, I can only give you one last thing to consider: Fifty Shade of Grey. I rest my case.