There has been a lot of talk recently about whether or not Asian men are sexy. Whether or not people find Asian men sexy. Some comments made publicly by a famous comedian prompted a backlash online. Photos of steamy Asian men with smoking hot bodies began popping up on social media sites, with captions like this one:
I won’t deny that I’ve been guilty of a certain level of racism when it comes to this. It’s not entirely racist to say that I don’t find Asian men attractive, sexually. Not entirely, but it is still to some degree, racist. It’s not the same thing as posting ALL LIVES MATTER, just like that, in all caps, on your twitter page, but it is kind of racist.
It is about the same as saying that I do not find painfully blond guys attractive. Which I do not. A pal of mine is from Norway. He has blond eye lashes. His eye lashes, not just his eye brows, are blond. There’s not a hair on his arms or legs. Pink complexion. Actually pink. Even though he’s a perfectly decent looking guy, I am not attracted to him in any way. That doesn’t mean I have anything against blond Norwegian people. I’m just not usually attracted to the men.
In the past, I have felt the same thing about Asian men. Whenever I have tried online dating, it seemed most of the interest my profile received would be from young Asian men. Some of them were pretty, but I never found any of them sexually attractive.
My roommate is Chinese. He’s got a super hot gym body. When I see him working out, covered in sweat and little else, I can recognize that he is incredibly desirable. Even so, I am not attracted to him. This may not make sense at all, not unless I am willing to consider that I have racial prejudices against Asian men. So, naturally, that is what I do consider.
Am I racist? Sure, but it’s a level of racism that I can recognize and be totally okay with.
What exactly makes a person attracted to one type over another? A certain build. A particular facial structure. Eye color. Hair color. The things we find ourselves drawn to, person after person, may very well have something to do with racial preferences.
This may not be an easy thing to sit with, and I can totally understand gay men who are Asian feeling frustrated by the common perception of them, but it is only fair to say that the things we do not prefer are no more racist than the things we do.
Now, that is just on an individual level. As a society, it gets even more complex. Why do we tend to think of latin men as especially romantic? The entire culture is considered sexy. The music. The food. The language. Just picture a Mediterranean stud in an expensive suit, holding a glass of wine, gazing at you with his smoldering dark eyes, and whispering to you in his thick seductive accent. That’s a real turn on, right? For most people, it probably is.
Does that mean we have a cultural racism that prefers a certain type of man? Yeah, I would have to say yes. If we are honest about it.
The same goes for the perceptions of black men. Both the ones that benefit them, as well as the ones that hurt them. So it is up to each person to choose for themselves which racially driven perceptions to accept, and which to discard. It’s not always easy, nor is the choice made only once.
A few nights ago, I was talking to a guy I thought I had just been introduced to. In fact, we had worked together one day last year. He recognized me, but didn’t say anything until we were already in a conversation.
Now, I normally remember people I’ve met before. Right away. They are usually impressed when I provide the details. This guy? I did not recall our meeting until after he pointed it out, and then I was embarrassed. Especially when I realized the reason I did not remember him at first was because I had not noticed him when we met. He is Asian. So a part of my brain filed him away as not necessary information. No need to attach a name to his face for future reference.
That shocked me. That I had done that to him. That he could tell I hadn’t bothered to pay attention to him enough to recall his face. Yikes.
So now I made a point of noticing him. He was cute. His features didn’t suggest any specific nationality, he just appeared Asian in a vague, general way. His ears were adorable. He had a nice smile. His voice was gentle, as was his manner.
It was when I saw him in his underwear that I began to find him attractive. He was a dancer, and had that certain build you find among dancers. Muscular, but not bulky. Nice shoulders, trim torso, great lower body. Strong legs, super cute butt. We were in the changing room, and I watched him slip into a pair of those high tech thermal Long Johns. Bright blue. They looked very sexy on him.
He was sexy. I found him sexy. Over the course of the next couple of days, while we were working together, I paid attention to the way he would place a hand on my shoulder, or on my waist, while leaning in to tell me something. In a low voice. His head next to mine. Speaking in my ear. He was turning me on.
I watched the way he moved. The way he sat on a chair. The way he arranged his things on the floor at his feet. How he dressed. Very cool Pea coat. Cut only to the waist. Pork pie hat. Black drop crotch pants with elastic around the ankles. Joggers, they call them. He had a nice sense of style. He really was adorable.
He was also straight, and yes, I know that is another way in which I carry certain prejudices. Even so, if a straight Asian man can turn me on, then it is entirely possible that a gay one can as well. It’s a question of noticing him, and paying attention to him, and choosing which prejudices to accept and which to discard.