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The geometry of sex - click opera — LiveJournal
February 2010
 
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Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 07:49 am
The geometry of sex

There's a mathematics of desire, and both men and women are intuitively aware of the numbers. Take the so-called "hourglass figure", for instance. The formula is that you divide waist circumference by hip circumference. The "hourglass" ratio is around 0.7, which means that the waist is about 70% of the girth of the hips below it. To make a perfect "hourglass", the breasts should then match the hip width. That shape is "curvy" and "feminine", but only 8% of women actually have it.



Research into the hourglass figure has thrown some curveballs: women with large breasts and narrow waists have higher hormone levels, the BBC reported in 2004, and are more likely to get pregnant. Then some research in 2007 seemed to find that curvier women are smarter and live longer than other women.

Scientists also looked at when and where the preference for the hourglass figure emerges, and found that it's not shared outside Western cultures (developing cultures prefer fatter women, a sign of nutritional health) or amongst pre-pubescents. Whereas 10 and 11 year-olds of both sexes express a preference for hourglass-shaped women, 5 or 6 year-olds prefer thin figures "which probably closely mirror their own shape", according to one Queensland University study.

If you have an hour or so to waste (I almost wrote "waist"), Long Dong's collection of Akira Gomi's taxonomic photos of naked women, Chinese and American, makes for fascinating viewing. We instantly know how we feel about each image, and the cues are geometric and mathematical ones, a matter of shapes, dimensions and ratios.



Those pictures are still and inexpressive, though -- a whole different set of "semantic angles" emerge when a body goes into motion. The pictures above are from a yoga video by eccentric Japanese vlogger Naganonoteiou. What interests me here is how some of the poses she strikes -- specifically the angles her legs are held in -- are "normal", others become "lightly erotic", others again way too blatant and over-the-top (reading a book with her feet, bent over backwards) and blow the appeal. This suggests that my brain assigns specific sexual semantics to small differences of posture; that there's a "geometry of sex".

I reject the cultural determinism of the Queensland study, though; I don't think the age you are or the culture you come from determines how you respond to this sexual geometry. Despite being a Western male, for instance, I find little appeal in the classic Sophia Loren hourglass figure -- this may be because of some innate horror of reproduction, or it may be because of strong positive associations with less curvy Asian women. Osyama from the Tokyo Bopper store (whose staff members are celebrated daily on the Merry Daily blog) represents my current ideal figure; the particular geometric relationship that concerns me, when I see pictures of her, isn't her waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), but speculation on whether her super-thin legs really do stay parallel all the way up to the top.

Then again, tastes change; I used to prefer Yama-Sama.

56CommentReply

cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 07:18 am (UTC)

I wonder if there are fewer men who really knows what kind of "sexometrics" they prefer rather than they think they prefer. I suspect that most men just think they want women with large breasts because they saw it in some porno movie.

Oh, and is there some taxonomic photocollection of balding women?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 09:45 am (UTC)

is there some taxonomic photocollection of balding women

It would be a better world if there were, Cap!


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 07:29 am (UTC)
geo-rotic

well, kudos again for you have succeeded in tapping into yet another of the obsesions of my generation.

I find big boned girl sooooo sexually atractive!Dutch chicks or catalan chicks.I don't really know what they do with them (swimming I suppose) but broad shoulders long legs and a pretty face , strike me down.
On the other hand, I find women who fall into the hourglass figure to be so insipidly vulgar.Even if they'r active in maintaing the shape.It's just such a 00's shape.
What i admired about my ex-girlf is how contention emanates from every poise in a japanese body.
A warm feeling that they aren't actually TRYING in winning you over.
And it's probably because of this contention that relates to the innocence of the body that u find so fucking afrodisiac.

Alex P.


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crashing_jets
crashing_jets
crashing_jets
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
Re: geo-rotic

'insipidly vulgar'??

Perhaps you don't find 'hourglass' women attractive. Whatever. Different strokes, different folks, etc. But dismissing a person's natural body shape as 'vulgar'? That's really quite insulting, not to mention oddly immature and puzzling.


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Re: geo-rotic - (Anonymous) Expand

(Anonymous)
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 07:49 am (UTC)

what's going on with the American womens' clothes in long dong's photos? one after another, their choices of outfit dates them at least ten years, if not twenty...As i scrolled through the pics to find out whether my body was 'normal' or 'overweight' (turns out the more nude women you look at, the more we all look the same), i anticipated almost in horror the new fashion travesty that awaited me with each one. I expected to get freaked out by a plethora of nudity but that was easy to be whatever about; it was the clothes that were too much to handle.

is this study from ten/fifteen years ago or did the photographer just pick the most in-bad-taste retro town in America?


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akabe
akabe
alin huma
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
is this study from ten/fifteen years ago

it is


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foggy_eyes
foggy_eyes
oh, um.
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 07:54 am (UTC)

On "Long Dong"s website, the photos of Chinese women are all titled "Yellows". Gag. Who is this jerk and how did he get all these women naked?


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 08:01 am (UTC)

Yeah, i just saw that too (I just wrote above, about the mid-90's timewarp of the American women's fashion)

The rest of the website seems to be crude and joyless soft porn. so i echo the question above...


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tickets_to_gogo
tickets_to_gogo
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 08:57 am (UTC)

I find this all very sexist and depressing. The way this topic was handled was very disappointing. And the reader responses are just disgusting.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 09:01 am (UTC)

Which do you think is worse, though, taxonomic posing (front, sides, neutral face and body positions) or come-hitherish porno poses, pole dancing and the like? I don't think you can say Akira Gomi's posing style is inherently sexist. It just shows naked people in a standardized pose.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand









(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand






(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand



Ok fair point - (Anonymous) Expand

(no subject) - (Anonymous)
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC)

We were talking about this last night: recent research has mapped gay men's brains to women's brains, but I don't see many women hanging out with "bears"!


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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
robinsonner
robinsonner
the maven
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)

Honestly, is there something wrong with that aspect ratio!


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand

(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand

(Anonymous)
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 12:41 pm (UTC)

American Woman: Oh, look, this ad in the newspaper says that I can get $20 for posing naked. Apparently the guy's name is "Long Dong." Sounds legitimate to me!


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viceanglais
viceanglais
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 12:45 pm (UTC)

Was it Nick Cave who said that when he is most creative he gets interested in buxom women, and when he finds himself interested in meagre forms, his creativity is meagre too?


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mcgazz
mcgazz
McGazz
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)

If Cave's observation was universal, Russ might have made more films.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
cryptic~morpho

Enkianthus (http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/potd/2005/05/enkianthus_camp.php)

stick thin, or
callipygian,

that is
the question?

these are
the options?

I want
a girl

built like a
brick shit-house

just like mama
used to be.

plume of blood,
inkstain plum.

pattern
of tree.


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booniebot
booniebot
booniebot
Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)

green trekking shoes
after a long time!


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Jul. 21st, 2008 08:51 am (UTC)

One thing I left out of this account, which it may have been interesting to inject, is paranoia. I was listening to a Radio 4 programme about a paranoid schizophrenic who's written a book called "Eyebrows and other Fish". He said his first symptoms were thinking car number plates could tell him more information than they could: whether the car was rented, leased or bought, the driver's occupation, and so on.

I think the concept of "sexual geometry", and specifically the meanings men are inclined to read into women's leg positions and so on, contains a similar element of paranoia, because these meanings often aren't there. Though of course over time women have come to understand this male paranoia, anticipate it and use it.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jul. 25th, 2008 10:49 am (UTC)

Still waiting for the definitive scientific guide to men's measurements... somebody get Dong a copy of razzle


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jul. 22nd, 2008 01:10 am (UTC)
Re: geo-rotic

You really have one of the most severe cases of women-objectifying I have ever encountered. I sort of feel sorry for you, because it pretty much consigns you to never having any kind of real interaction with females that isn't primarily based on pretty basic urges.

Maybe try giving the porn a break?


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bonsai_human
Bonsai Human
Tue, Jul. 22nd, 2008 01:26 am (UTC)
Re: geo-rotic

That was me, logged out.


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lxvxjxnkie
lxvxjxnkie
Sat, Jul. 26th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
ugh.

it isn't culturally deterministic to describe differences in body shape preference occurring between people of different cultures, especially if they asked what local meaning they ascribe to the different body shapes involved. and a sample size of one (yourself and your own preferences) cannot be used to rebut a much larger study.


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