Open Question: Defining the Racial Fetish

white-black-racial-fetishFetish — the term is used to describe many a situation or intimate relationship. There are various ideas on what a fetish is and who is likely to have one. Some fetishes are more controversial — or more common — than others, such as the racial fetish. But what is a racial fetish, exactly?

Narrowing it Down

A fetish is usually defined as an undue fixation or obsession with an object, person or situation.This could be anything — whatever you could think of, there is someone who has a fetish for it.

In regards to relationships, the racial fetishist makes a partner’s racial and ethnic make-up is of the utmost importance — often, the fetishist has a strong preference for people of a certain background to the exclusion of all others. The fetishist tends to have firm beliefs about a certain culture, appearance or background which places it above others in areas that are important to the person holding the fetish.

Who Has a Fetish?

While it is simple to define a racial fetish in theory, deciding how it plays out in reality and who actually has a fetish is much harder. Does having a preference for partners of a certain race make you a fetishist? Does placing any significance on your partner or potential partner’s race make you a fetishist?

In my view, a person could only be considered to have a racial fetish if the race of their partner is more important than the partner themselves. That is, if their partner could be replaced by another of the same or similar background or appearance, the partner holds biased thoughts which make them partial to their partner’s racial background, or the partner’s background becomes the main focus of the relationship so the person in most situations will refer to or include their partner’s race, whether it is significant to the matter or not.

Thus one  who prefers partners of a certain race or ethnicity is not necessarily a fetishist, any more than someone who prefers blondes or tall men. It is the importance of or motivation for the preference that makes a racial fetishist.

How do you personally identify a racial fetish and do you have experience with racial fetishes?

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47 thoughts on “Open Question: Defining the Racial Fetish

  1. Racial fetish isn’t a good term that I will use. Its all based on a person decision on what they want to do. Everybody have their own choices regardless of what the society says.

  2. I don’t have any experience with this and I don’t know anyone who has it, but apparently, it is a real thing. (I mean, why wouldn’t it be. There are worse fetishes out there, trust me. *cough* twogirlsonecup *cough* ). I have no idea how to draw a line between a preference and fetish. One would think that even if you have a fetish towards a race and this is how you choose your partners, once you get to know them and fall in love with them, it is honest, right?

    So as long as your partner doesn’t try to force you into a racial stereotype (whatever that may be) I think this can end up being honest. God knows I am able to see a person even behind my fetish.

    The trouble with race as a fetish are potential social consequences. As far as I know, foot fetish doesn’t have a long history of oppression and power imbalance so you can separate the two. But what if you have a racial fetish? Does that mean that you are racist? Even more, does racial fetish means that you’re displaying your racial privilege and/or your own internalized racism?

    In short, can racial fetishes be “pure” and honest without the racism involved?

    (I have no idea).

  3. Hi cece, you’re right; it isn’t the most positive term, but hey, it’s only describing a real situation.

  4. Mira,

    “I have no idea how to draw a line between a preference and fetish.”

    In simple terms, I’d say a racial preference is an inclination towards a race or races. A fetish is much stronger and comes with other things like bias, glorification, fixation, etc.

    “One would think that even if you have a fetish towards a race and this is how you choose your partners, once you get to know them and fall in love with them, it is honest, right?”

    No. 🙂

    The attraction and what holds you to a person could still be primarily rooted in fetishism. I’ve seen couples like this… Like all obsessions, fetishes are pervasive and die hard…

    “But what if you have a racial fetish? Does that mean that you are racist? Even more, does racial fetish means that you’re displaying your racial privilege and/or your own internalized racism?”

    I don’t think it means you are racist, but your preferences can be influenced by racism. Preferences don’t have to be inherently bad and/or mean anything groundbreaking, but they aren’t formed in a vacuum.

  5. When people are describing something as a racial fetish, I think what they’re referring to one of two things.

    The first is the fact that, for many people, there is a little extra charge of sexual attraction towards someone whose appearance differs from their own or from what they’re used to. People use words like “exotic” to describe their reaction to those physical differences. (Probably for historical reasons, this gets discussed like somehow it’s exclusively white males who experience it. But I don’t think this experience is at all specific to one race or gender.) I think this is a pretty normal reaction and not a problem at all — unless one is *only* seeking that sensation out and isn’t interested in the real person(s) attached to it. An example of problematic behavior would be if, say, an individual is into Asians, and any Asian will do, because they’re all interchangeable from his/her point of view. That’s beyond shallow and doesn’t sound like the foundation for any real relationship.

    The second category has to do with stereotypes. Let’s say that one has bought into a stereotype about an ethnic group and is essentially choosing people from that group based on the stereotype alone, regardless of whether those chosen even really FIT the stereotype. I’m talking about stereotypes that are considered positive (at least in some ways): mandingo black studs, passionate firecracker latinas, bashful Asians, etc. I don’t know if there’s a term for this. “Positive racism”? I dunno. But again, this is not going to make for a healthy relationship. Eventually, disappointment is likely to set in when the real-life, three-dimensional person can’t live up to whatever the fanciful ethnic stereotype requires.

    As far as I’m concerned, if you’re attempting to form a connection with someone by getting to know them as a person, rather than solely focusing on physical difference or trying to shoehorn them into a predetermined stereotype, then you’re good. No worries.

  6. I do have one other comment on this subject, which is that I hate the terminology. Sloppy language kind of bugs me, and referring to the mindset or behavior described in this post as a “racial fetish” seems kind of confusing and inaccurate to me. I guess we’re stuck with it, though.

    Here’s the thing: When most people use the word “fetish,” I think they generally mean something close to “paraphilia.” (And in layman’s terms, as I understand it, a paraphilia is a tendency to become sexually aroused by something that most folks don’t see as sexual — a body type, or body part, or a behavior that most people would not find appealing or might even find downright upsetting.) Fetishes might include being sexually aroused by balloons, or elbows, or amputees. Or vomit, humiliation, and pain. But it’s not like there’s anything weird or unusual about being attracted to any ethnic group, so I don’t really see how simply being especially attracted to a particular race fits the definition of a fetish.

    However, there are some sexual proclivities involving race that I would definitely agree should be called fetishes. I saw this documentary on sexual fetishes, in which there were a few people who enjoyed being humiliated in ways that involved racism. There was a Jewish man who paid women to dress up as Nazis and berate him as a member of an inferior race. There was a black man who wanted a white women to chain him up and act out plantation scenarios.

    I also personally once ran into an Internet dating profile from a black woman who described having an interest in having a white man hurl racial slurs at her during sex.

    Being turned on by being the object of racial abuse — that’s a fetish, no question. The majority of people would find this infuriating, NOT exciting.

  7. As far as I know, a fetish doesn’t have to be about anything “strange” or something that many people consider offensive/disgusting. But yes, it is about something that most people don’t find sexually arousing. Someone’s skin shade, or eye shape or hair texture are usually not things that arouse most people per se, and they can be part of racial fetish. However, I do think that racial fetish might be, in large part, about the idea of having sex with a member of X race. So it’s not that you are sexually attracted to this person but their race. Or the idea of having sex with someone of that race. So race as a factor is what makes sexual arousal and not the person.

  8. @Mira

    Yes, I wasn’t trying to say that only things that most people find offensive qualify as fetishes. Things that are usually seen as “neutral” also fit into this definition. Z-grade movie director Ed Wood was famous for having a fetish for angora sweaters. That’s not offensive to anyone, but probably no one but Ed Wood really found them sexually arousing.

    I don’t agree with you, though, that things like skin tone or eye shape aren’t sexually appealing. I think those types of things are appealing to everyone. On some level, there’s no such thing as a “racial feature.” There are only collections of features that happen to typically occur together and those collections are what we’ve arbitrarily defined as a race.

    Let’s say there’s a black woman who has two guys attracted to her. One is a so-called “racial fetishist” and the other is not. I’m willing to bet that if you asked the two guys to describe what they find attractive about her, they’re going to name a similar list of physical features. And that’s what I’m getting at. I don’t think that the difference between these two guys comes down to their attraction at all, which is why I see “fetish” as a bad way to describe this phenomenon. The real distinction is that one guy is interested in her as a whole person, and the other one is only interested in the physical package she somes in. Viewed that way, it seems like just a particular flavor of shallowness.

    Of course, the second category that I named IS about race as a construct: the person is attracted to a stereotype, rather than a person. But I don’t see that so much as a fetish, either. Many stereotypes have some things about them that definitely have wide sexual appeal. Perhaps the qualities are not universally appealing, but they are quite appealing to many people. Take the stereotype that Asian women are “submissive.” I don’t believe this is a quality that is universally appealing to guys, but I won’t dispute that *some significant number* of guys do find this appealing. Or take the stereotype that Latinas are passionate and have a high sex-drive. This is obviously going to be appealing to a LOT of guys. And so, again, I have trouble describing that as a fetish, since the qualities in question are seen as sexually desirable by most people, or at least a lot of people. There’s nothing unusual about being attracted to these qualities; there is something illogical about assuming an individual HAS these qualities, purely based on his or her ethnicity.

    My point of view is that I don’t think it is possible to be attracted to a race, exactly, since race is just a label. If one looks deeper, then attraction to a race really means either a) attraction to a physical phenotype, or b) attraction to personality/abilities attributed to that race. The first one is only harmful if the attraction cannot be extended beyond the physical. The second one is always harmful (and stupid) because it involves projecting characteristics onto another person based on that person’s race, but which he/she might not actually possess or even want to possess.

  9. I have somewhat of a hair (as in, on a guy’s head) fetish, and believe me, it is a fetish.

    If only telling honest people from fetishist was easy! But it isn’t. On the other hand, I do think there is a difference in a way a fetishist might describe the girl in question and a way a non-fetishist might describe her. A racial-fetishist would talk about a way black women are hot, and he loves black women because X,Y,Z and whatever (throw in both physical and other stereotypes). A non-fetishist would talk about how hot she is because look at her smile, her boobs, the way she moves, her legs, etc. Not classy, perhaps, but the point is that this guy is interested in HER, even if the interest is shallow and based only on physical attraction. A racial fetishist wouldn’t mind if there is another black woman instead of her, provided she is black (ok, and I suppose of the similar age).

  10. Oh hi, smartacus 🙂

    “When people are describing something as a racial fetish, I think what they’re referring to one of two things.”

    Yes. I think people also use it is an insult, to describe any interracial union or situation where someone is interested in a person of another race, which is why I decided to see what people thought of the term.

    “The first is the fact that, for many people, there is a little extra charge of sexual attraction towards someone whose appearance differs from their own or from what they’re used to.”

    Really? You wouldn’t have thought so, based on the lack of interracial unions in the US. You’d think people more like those who look like them. 🙂

    To the rest of your comment, to play devil’s advocate, do you think a fetish could be less extreme? The Jew/Nazi scenario would definitely qualify as a fetish but do you think, for example, if someone like white guys with green eyes and only dated and solely focused on white guys with green eyes, that would be a fetish?

  11. Mira,

    “If only telling honest people from fetishist was easy! But it isn’t. On the other hand, I do think there is a difference in a way a fetishist might describe the girl in question and a way a non-fetishist might describe her.”

    I think another difference might be in the way they describe the features they are attracted to. Fetishist many times focus on qualities that can be found particularly in an ethnic group of people, i.e. there is nothing “special” about that quality in the person being described and they don’t describe it as unique to them.

  12. I am attracted to white men and I don’t think it is a fetish.

    Now just because I am attracted to white men that does not mean that I find every single white man attractive. And it definitely does not mean that I would have a relationship with a man ONLY because he is white. He has to have certain qualities not related to his race or ethnicity, like kindness, intelligence, etc. And we certainly have to be compatible .

    However, I would not want a romantic relationship with someone who is not white because I simply have no sexual attraction to non-white men. And for me, physical attraction is an important part of a romantic relationship. I know that some people think that women should not care about sexual attraction, but I disagree.

    What is wrong with being turned on by someones’ eyes, hair or skin color? I don’t understand why women (in general) seem to have a problem with people liking certain physical attributes or even preferring certain physical traits. It is perfectly okay to eliminate “nice” people from consideration for a relationship because of race, color etc. The whole notion that every single person should be given consideration irrespective of their physical desirability just does not make sense. At least not in our Western culture where women have a right to make their own choices.

    I believe that many BW (not you Alee) are afraid of IR relationships because they are overly concerned about fetishes. If a white man says that he likes our brown skin or full lips or curvy behinds or natural hair, many BW see that as a fetish and they are turned off to him. But those same BW would have no problems with black men liking our “black” features. Why is it wrong for white men to like our unique features? If a white woman says that she likes white men only, no one would call that a fetish, because she is white. I think I have just as much a right to like “white features” as a white woman and not have my preference labeled fetish or racist.

  13. Personally, if a white woman said she liked white men only, I’d call that racist, but maybe it’s just me.

    Being attracted to someone physically is not the same thing as fetish. Nobody said here that women don’t have right to choose. I am first one to say I couldn’t date a guy I’m not physically attracted to and I wouldn’t expect anything less from him (I date a guy once who wasn’t physically attracted to me. It wasn’t the best situation to be in).

    But racial fetish is not really about someone’s features. It’s being turned on by someone’s race alone, like the thought of being with a white/black/etc. man is sexually arousing on itself.

  14. Ann,

    “I am attracted to white men and I don’t think it is a fetish.

    Now just because I am attracted to white men that does not mean that I find every single white man attractive.”

    Same. But I’ll say that I’m also attracted to other men. There are just certain features I like (tall, thin, long facial features) and they could be found on anyone, but they’re more common with certain groups.

    But it’s interesting that some jump to see that as a fetish. If you only or primarily date men who are not of your racial group, it can be branded as a fetish. I guess due to the single-mindness of it. And people being uncomfortable with certain racial pairings.

    “However, I would not want a romantic relationship with someone who is not white because I simply have no sexual attraction to non-white men.”

    So you’ve never been attracted to ANY man who is not white? That’s pretty intense…I wonder how such a preference forms.

    “I believe that many BW (not you Alee) are afraid of IR relationships because they are overly concerned about fetishes.”

    I’d agree they are. While I think they should be on the look-out, I don’t think the fetish thing is nearly as prevalent as some believe. But when you’ve had that drummed into your head and you don’t have any experience to the contrary, you’re going to be weary.

    “If a white woman says that she likes white men only, no one would call that a fetish, because she is white.”

    The interesting thing is that so many white women do only like white men! It’s kept very quiet, and no one really discusses it but I know scores of white women who only date white men and never show the slightest bit of interest in anyone else. And studies have shown this as well.

    People talk about black women only liking black men, but it’s the same with white women and white men, IME. You can even see it in the media, the white women will date tons of men and they’ll all be white. People point to a few exceptions like Heidi Klum or Kim Kardashian, but I noticed in H-wood it’s usually the non-American ones or second generation Americans that date out.

    But yes, no one says anything or even notices because they’re white (or in the case of black women, black). So it’s “natural”.

  15. “So you’ve never been attracted to ANY man who is not white? That’s pretty intense…I wonder how such a preference forms.”

    I am not sure how the preference formed. But I don’t know why purple is my favorite color, either. It just is. I don’t see my attraction to white men as any different from my attraction to the color purple.

    From the time I was a girl, I had a very strong attraction to white boys and Hispanic boys who looked white. The facial features are definitely a major part of it, but so is the skin color, eye color and hair texture. But I also get along well with white men and in general, feel more comfortable with them than men of other races. So I guess it started with a very strong attraction to them and later, feeling most comfortable with them just kind of removed other men from consideration.

    I have experienced attraction to East Indian men, but it is not as strong as my attraction to white men. They tend to be short (I am tall) and there are many cultural differences and prejudices against black women that I don’t want to be bothered with. So I have eliminated them totally from my dating pool.

    I did date a few BM when I was in college, but it just didn’t work out. I am not attracted to West African features and I did not like their body type. I allowed BM to pursue me because I felt that’s what I was supposed to do, because I am black. I felt guilty for not preferring them and really tried to prefer them. Eventually I decided that I was going to live my own life and date men that I am attracted to. But it does not mean that I consider black men ugly. They just don’t turn me on.The only BM I have ever been attracted to were mixed-race and did not have black features, so they don’t count.

  16. “‘Personally, if a white woman said she liked white men only, I’d call that racist, but maybe it’s just me.”

    You trivialize racism when you claim that a strong physical attraction or preference is racist.

    Here are three definitions of racism from dictionary.com. I don’t see how a person’s physical attraction or choice of whom they want to have sex with constitutes racism.

    racism:
    1.a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
    2.a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
    3.hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

    I can like a man and not be physically attracted to him, just as I can dislike a man and be attracted to him. Preference for one thing does not equal hatred for something similar.

    To me, white men are more attractive than men of other races. That does not mean I don’t LIKE men of other races. I don’t believe that white men are superior to other men or that white men have a right to dominate or oppress other men.

    Does the fact that I am only attracted to men mean that I don’t like women and I am a misogynist?.

    Why is it not possible that an individual’s preference for certain physical features is as natural as their sexual orientation?

  17. If racism was only about believing in a race’s superiority and systems of discrimination, it would be much easier, I think.

    But it’s not how it works.

    Attraction, in particular, is not only biological. There is a strong cultural component. Heck, there are indications that sexual orientation is not strictly biological (that we’re all, more or less bisexual but cultural and other factors make most of us to be exclusively heterosexual). So obviously racial preferences are also at least partially constructed. I mean, the race itself is a cultural construct.

    I do think people – especially whites – who claim not to be attracted to people outside their race do it because they were raised in a racist society so their preferences are rooted in this system. I mean, the mere idea that it’s “natural” for you to be attracted to people of your race is WTF.

    Again, not all people of one race are the same. Whatever person likes physically can be found in at least one member of the each race. I mean, if someone is not attracted to pale skin, blue eyes and blonde hair can find many darker skinned, dark haired and dark eyed white people. Unless they are so focused on skin shade or hair texture on itself.

    Basically, when someone says they’re not attracted to X race translates to “all X look the same”, and that’s why it’s rooted in racism.

    However, it’s not the same when whites and non-whites have this assumption because, frankly, whites are the guiltiest party here when it comes to “all X look the same”.

  18. Ann, oh okay, so it’s not just white men, but the features that are more common on white men. I thought it was just white men only, the end. 🙂

    I guess I would not assume you’re preference is rooted in fetishism or racism because I have my own strong preferences; features that I find far and away more attractive than others. And I’ve always had these preferences, since I can remember, they have no influence from the outside world.

    But with racial preferences you kind of always have to dig deep so see where they are coming from. In a society like ours, they are much more likely to have outside origins.

  19. Mira,

    “Again, not all people of one race are the same. Whatever person likes physically can be found in at least one member of the each race…Basically, when someone says they’re not attracted to X race translates to “all X look the same”, and that’s why it’s rooted in racism.”

    I think Ann might be overstating her preference, actually. If she been attracted to mixed black men who have features more common to white men, then she’s still been attracted to black men. Just not the typical.

    What she really means (correct me if I’m wrong, Ann), is that she is not attracted to black men with full lips and nose, dark skin, and/or kinky hair. Which is the vast majority of black men, but not all. 🙂

  20. Oh no, I didn’t want to insult Ann or call her racist! I’m just trying to explain why I don’t buy (let’s face it, usually a white people’s) excuse of “I am not attracted to X race”.

    I mean, we all have preferences. I’m not particularly attracted to very pale blonde, blue eyed men or very dark skinned with full nose. But it’s not like I can’t be a) attracted to white and black men despite this because they are many who fit my preference and b) find an individual pale, blonde man/dark skinned with a full nose man attractive.

    On the other hand, I do have a fetish and as much as I’m not proud to admit it it would be more difficult for me to be attracted to a bald man (but not impossible!)

    I apologize to Ann if I seemed harsh. I didn’t mean anything against her or her preferences. White guys can be hot, after all. 😉

  21. Alee: “What she really means (correct me if I’m wrong, Ann), is that she is not attracted to black men with full lips and nose, dark skin, and/or kinky hair. Which is the vast majority of black men, but not all”

    Yes! That is exactly what I mean.

    And the skin color is the least important, although I do like the look of white men the most. The East Indian men and mixed race black guys that I have been attracted to were not pale skinned and some of them were darker than I. In fact, I would be more attracted to a dark skinned man with “Caucasian” features over a light skinned one with “black” features.

    For example, if I had to choose between Koby Bryant and Michael Jordan, I would choose Koby because his facial features are closer to what I like. Both of those men are darker than I and both of them look like black men. But just because I think Koby is more attractive than Michael that does not mean I think Michael is ugly. It just means that in a society where I have a choice, I will choose the man who is MOST appealing to me. And I am not going to feel guilty about it because some people think it is racist or a fetish.

    For every one black man that attracts me, there are at least 10 white men who do. That being the case, why should I waste my time with black men knowing that 99% of them don’t have the look that I like? Why should I try to mentally manipulate myself into desiring a black man when my attraction to white man is so easy?

    Because we live in a world that is mostly dominated by whites, it is very easy to assume that every preference for white skin or features is due to racism, brainwashing or “self-hatred”. Some people just have a hard time accepting that people can have strong preferences. Women seem to have a bigger problem than men.

  22. Mira: “I apologize to Ann if I seemed harsh. I didn’t mean anything against her or her preferences. White guys can be hot, after all. ”

    I know that you are not trying to be mean.

    You say that it is always possible to find some people of a particular race attractive.

    What if a person likes pale skin, blond hair and blue eyes, for example.
    Where would said person find black people with those features? Of course there are people who look white but self-identify as black, but for the purposes of this discussion, I would consider them white.

    Or what if a person has a preference for broad noses, thick lips and “nappy” hair. What percentage of white people have those features?

  23. lol, in that case it would be difficult to find someone outside that race. But preferences are rarely that strict. I mean, even if someone has specific preferences they can often be attracted to people who are not strictly their type.

    It’s not gender-specific, BTW. At least I don’t think it is. I know many men who have a specific type and yet they are attracted to women who don’t fit this. I don’t think it’s gender-specific. What is different is that women are discouraged from having (or even voicing) physical preferences. Like, you can be attracted to a guy’s sense of humor but not his butt. 😛

  24. “However, I would not want a romantic relationship with someone who is not white because I simply have no sexual attraction to non-white men.”

    So you’ve never been attracted to ANY man who is not white? That’s pretty intense…I wonder how such a preference forms.

    I’m exactly the same as Ann. Never had a relationship with a non-white male. My attraction formed from my exhusband whom I met with almost 18yrs. He has influenced so greatly my taste in men, not only the outward, but inner characteristics, that I unconsciously blank out many other guys, even if white, because, if they don’t have blonde/red hair, pale with freckles(like my ex), I probably won’t even be aware they exist. People here tease me about it, but no one judges me, perhaps guys do who think I should give them a chance, but like Ann wrote, if the attraction isn’t there, then you’re relegated to the friendship drawer, with nary the hope of more.

  25. @ Alee

    Just getting back to you now.

    Yeah, Alee, I see what you mean. From observing dating behavior, one could come to the conclusion that most people just have a physical attraction for people of their own race. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a correct conclusion to draw, because people don’t make dating decisions solely based on attraction. All sorts of other factors play a part, too. People who are separted by geography or economic class won’t have the opportunity to date. Racial prejudice can cause people to believe that a union with someone from another ethnic group wouldn’t work out. An individual can conclude that he/she will experience rejection or abuse from friends and family due to an interracial relationship, and therefore decide it’s not going to be worth the hassle. And so on.

    Also, it seems to me that *some* exposure to people of another ethnic background has a way of piquing interest and curiousity in those other people’s physical characteristics. I would expect that a white person who has only lived in a monoracial white area would be somewhat more likely to have a physical preference for their own race than someone who has lived in a more diverse community. The same is probably true for a black person who’s only lived in majority-black neighborhoods. People have often remarked on the fact that white guys somewhat frequently pair up with Asian women. Again, there are probably many reasons for this, but one historic factor that might have gotten the ball rolling is that the U.S. fought two lengthy, major wars in Korea and Vietnam (plus the Pacific campaign of WWII), during which lots of white men were dating local women or visiting local prostitutes in those countries. One could consider those wars to be unintentional “exposure programs” of a sort.

    As to your other question, I wouldn’t personally consider an attraction to white guys with green eyes to be a fetish, really. I think that’s just preference. If a woman carried this to an extreme degree, to the point she only cared about this set of physical characteristics and absolutely nothing else, well, I’d say that was very shallow and sort of foolish … but still just a preference. To me, it’s really not the intensity of one’s attraction that makes something a fetish. It’s the unusualness of what one is attracted to that makes it a fetish. I’m sure there are lots of women (and men, for that matter) who find white guys with green eyes to be attractive.

    By my definition, it’s only a fetish when someone has an attraction to an attribute or activity that’s not typically considered sexual. So if a women told me that she preferred white guys with a particular type of earlobe, or a particular type of armpit hair — at that point, I’d probably call it a fetish. Because who cares about earlobes or armpits?

    Think about the way people talk. Nobody ever says a woman has a “tall fetish” if she likes tall guys, or a “fitness fetish” if she likes guys who are muscular and fit. Because those attractions are so commonplace. And a heterosexual guy won’t be described as having a boob fetish or a butt fetish, except when his tastes fall way outside the normal range of dimensions for those body parts.

  26. Mira: ” But preferences are rarely that strict.”

    Who says that preferences are rarely that strict?
    I think you just don’t want to accept that people can be very inflexible in their preferences.

    I am very strict in my preferences. As long as I can get a white guy, i will not even consider a man of another race. A handsome white man is a thousand times more appealing to me than a handsome black or Asian man.

    Also, there is a difference between preference and choice.

    Many people ignore their preferences for one reason or another. For example, I know a white guy who prefers black women but has stopped dating them because his family disapproves of interracial relationships. He now dates only white women, but he still prefers BW. His preference has not changed even though he now chooses to be with white women.

  27. Ok, among the people I know, preferences are rarely that strict. Someone might like blue eyes a lot but is still able to be attracted to a brown eyed person.

    I don’t know about ignoring racial preferences (I live in a pretty monoracial country) but I do know that people sometimes don’t want to admit their preferences if they are not “cool” or socially acceptable. For example, a man who prefers chubby women will be ridiculed (at least in my culture) so he’ll date either thin girls or those that he likes but he’ll pretends he’s doing that only because of sex (a real life example). Some people are able to resist societal pressure and be open with their preferences while others are not.

    Still, I am not sure that so strict eye color- hair color – skin shade – lip shape – breast size -legs length preferences are so prevalent even when people have their ideal type. By this I mean to be completely impossible for them to be attracted to anyone who doesn’t fit all of these requirements.

  28. Mira: ” Some people are able to resist societal pressure and be open with their preferences while others are not.”

    Very true.

    Mira: “Still, I am not sure that so strict eye color- hair color – skin shade – lip shape – breast size -legs length preferences are so prevalent even when people have their ideal type. By this I mean to be completely impossible for them to be attracted to anyone who doesn’t fit all of these requirements. ”

    You are still missing my point. I never said that it was COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE tor someone to be attracted to a person who does not fit ALL their requirements. You are dealing with possibilities which don’t mean much in real life. People do have preferences, like it or not. And preferences are usually ranked. As long as people can get what they prefer the most, there is NO NEED to consider anything else. Why would anyone WANT to go looking for a needle in a haystack, so to speak? Why waste time and energy chasing what you don’t want when you can get what you want?

    I am attracted to white men and I live in a country with millions of them. There are more white men in America than black men. Given that situation, why should I go looking for a rare black man to whom I can be MILDY attracted when there is an overabundance of white men to whom I am STRONGLY attracted? I have never in my life been STRONGLY attracted to a black man and that will never change.

    Of course we can’t always get what we want. So most people are flexible and will make choices that don’t reflect their preferences. But that does not mean their preferences disappeared. Take for example a working-class man whose preference is tall, beautiful, blue-eyed blondes who look like supermodels. Well, we know that men prize beauty and a beautiful woman can easily attract the wealthiest/best men. So it is unlikely (but POSSIBLE) that a man of average income will end up with such a beautiful creature because he can’t compete against all the upper-class/wealthy men who also want her. In the end, he will likely end up with a woman who is not EXACTLY what he prefers. But he will certainly try to find a woman who has the qualities he likes, based on his ranked preferences.

    It is easier to be flexible when our preferences are in short supply or difficult to acquire. Exquisitely beautiful women are relatively rare, so most men have no choice but to be flexible. But make no mistake about it: if most men could have a beautiful woman, they would not pass her up for someone whom they consider less attractive.

    By the way, it is possible to have a romantic relationship with no physical attraction. Many women do not care about physical attraction. Some women will take any man as long as he is a good provider.

  29. But preferences are what we can basically call a type. Not that someone is unable to be attracted to someone else. And frankly, if I am attracted to someone who doesn’t fit my preference (as in, physically, sexually attracted – I don’t buy that crap that women don’t care about physical attraction), if I am attracted to someone who doesn’t fit my preference, I sure won’t ignore him just because he doesn’t have all the attributes of my idealized type. Why wouldn’t I be with a man I’m attracted to?

    In my experience, many people are attracted “against their type” and why would they ignore people they’re attracted to just because they, I don’t know, don’t have blue eyes or something? Why would that be “settling for less”?

    By the way, it is possible to have a romantic relationship with no physical attraction.

    I guess it is, but not me, so I don’t know what is like.

  30. Mira,

    “I mean, we all have preferences. I’m not particularly attracted to very pale blonde, blue eyed men or very dark skinned with full nose.”

    Really? I knew about the former, but not the latter.

    foosrock,

    “I’m exactly the same as Ann. Never had a relationship with a non-white male. My attraction formed from my exhusband whom I met with almost 18yrs.”

    Interesting story. How cute that he’s influenced your preferences so strongly. 🙂

    I think redheads are interesting also. The hair just stands out in a way that no other color does. It’s paired best with pale skin, IMO.

  31. smartacus,

    I was just joking about the attraction re: differences. I know American society has many ways of suppressing that attraction.

    “People have often remarked on the fact that white guys somewhat frequently pair up with Asian women. Again, there are probably many reasons for this, but one historic factor that might have gotten the ball rolling is that the U.S. fought two lengthy, major wars in Korea and Vietnam (plus the Pacific campaign of WWII), during which lots of white men were dating local women or visiting local prostitutes in those countries.”

    How would that influence modern dating though? Most daters are teens – 30s and they wouldn’t have been around, at least not in any real sense, for those wars.

    I think that time might have made the pairing more acceptable. I think how common a pairing is, is directly related to how acceptable it is seen to be in a society.

    “To me, it’s really not the intensity of one’s attraction that makes something a fetish. It’s the unusualness of what one is attracted to that makes it a fetish. By my definition, it’s only a fetish when someone has an attraction to an attribute or activity that’s not typically considered sexual.

    Hmmm, interesting perspective. Well, in that case racial fetishes would be sort of non-existent then, wouldn’t they? There are plenty of people who have a strong attraction to white men or whatever group — it’s not unusual.

    “Nobody ever says a woman has a “tall fetish” if she likes tall guys, or a “fitness fetish” if she likes guys who are muscular and fit. Because those attractions are so commonplace. And a heterosexual guy won’t be described as having a boob fetish or a butt fetish”

    I’ve been told I have a tall fetish, actually… 🙂 It’s always been said as a joke, but still. I think it is because it is extreme. Like, even if I didn’t like a guy’s face as long as he is very tall, I’ll consider him attractive.

    And I’ve heard about boob and butt fetishes, too. Again, I think it’s about the intensity and extremity. I know a blogger who would often write about women with big butts and thought they were so much better than flatter women, and he’s been said to have a butt fetish.

  32. Mira: “But preferences are what we can basically call a type. Not that someone is unable to be attracted to someone else. And frankly, if I am attracted to someone who doesn’t fit my preference (as in, physically, sexually attracted – I don’t buy that crap that women don’t care about physical attraction), if I am attracted to someone who doesn’t fit my preference, I sure won’t ignore him just because he doesn’t have all the attributes of my idealized type. Why wouldn’t I be with a man I’m attracted to?”

    In my experience, many people are attracted “against their type” and why would they ignore people they’re attracted to just because they, I don’t know, don’t have blue eyes or something? Why would that be “settling for less”? ”

    Preferences don’t have to be a “type”.

    I like chocolate ice cream much more than I like vanilla. It is that simple. Vanilla ice cream will NEVER be as delicious to me as chocolate ice cream. As long as I can get chocolate ice cream, I will not eat vanilla. However, I don’t think vanilla ice cream is disgusting. So, if I go to a friend’s house for dinner, for example, and she has only vanilla ice cream for dessert, I will eat it. But I myself will never purchase vanilla ice cream as long as I can get chocolate.

    It is the same with white men and men of other races. As long as I can get a white man, a non-white man has absolutely no chance of having a romantic relationship with me. That’s how strongly I am attracted to white men. Now, if all white men disappeared from the earth tomorrow, then I would turn my attention to men of other races and focus on the ones that are attractive to me. And the ones who look more Caucasian would be the ones that I find most attractive.

    I have no idea what it means to be attracted “against my type”. I have never experienced a STRONG attraction to a black or Asian man so there is nothing to fight. Actually, I would be fighting against myself if I tried to be with a black man because any attraction would be so weak, if it existed at all.

    You are free to waste your time looking for needles in a haystack. My time is too precious for that. I am very comfortable with my attraction to white men so I will not go out of my way to find black men who look like white men. I like white men’s features, skin color, hair and body type. In addition, I get along quite well with them. There is nothing that you can say to convince me that this is wrong. You seem to be trying to convince me that there is a black man out there somewhere who will make me stop preferring white men.

    I have nothing more to say with regard to this topic. I have explained my position as well as I can, but you still don’t understand it. I don’t expect you to agree with my preferences, but I really can’t understand why you are splitting hairs and fighting me.

  33. I like your comments/arguments to this discussion, Ann. Straight to the point and unapologetic. No chasers. Who needs them anyway?.

  34. Foosrock: “I like your comments/arguments to this discussion, Ann. Straight to the point and unapologetic. No chasers. Who needs them anyway?.”

    Thanks Foosrock.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with my preference for white men so I will never apologize for it.

  35. Ann,

    No need to be so defensive. It almost seems like you expect people to be shocked? at your attraction to white men so you have to defend it. Perhaps that was your experience but I couldn’t care less if we’re talking about white men, black men, etc. or another type of preference. I wasn’t fighting with you and I sure don’t want you to apologize for your preferences (was that even a subject?) I only argued that I don’t know how to tell a racial preference apart from a fetish (or what would a racial fetish even mean) and also that – in my experience with people – preferences are usually not so strong that people can’t be attracted to those who don’t fit it.

    Again, I’m sorry if there were people out there who tried to tell you that there’s a black man for you or that you should like black men or that there’s something wrong about you preferring white men – but this isn’t what I was saying so stop putting words in my mouth. I don’t even know what your race is so if you are white yes, I already apologized for all those “white women are racist if they want white men only”. If you are not white, everybody here can tell you I am supportive of IR relationships (especially black women/white men) so I’d sure never tell a black woman to leave white men and seek a black one (I don’t remember that same-race unions are any more “natural” than the IR ones, remember?)

    So in short, I’m sorry if this exchange reminded you of some real life problems you’ve had with people who weren’t supportive of your choices, but if you read my messages you’ll see that I never implied there’s something wrong about you liking white men only.

    Also, please stop implying that people who don’t have a racial preference or who can be attracted against their type are somehow “settling for less”, or somehow relating my words to women who’d be with any man who can provide for them. While there are women like that out there, it has nothing to do with me. I don’t need a man to provide for me, I can provide for myself and I wasn’t raised to have a man provide for me. Also, I am someone who has strong physical preferences and I could never be with a man I’m not attracted to, and I don’t think that’s rare.

  36. Mira; “Also, please stop implying that people who don’t have a racial preference or who can be attracted against their type are somehow “settling for less”, or somehow relating my words to women who’d be with any man who can provide for them

    Please show me where I said that people who don’t have a racial preference are settling for less. I never said that ALL people have–or should have–RACIAL preferences. However, some people do; I am one of those people. I don’t think it is wrong for people to have racial preferences (in romance). You, however, feel that anyone who has an exclusive racial romantic preference is racist. Reread your own comments.

    Please tell me why it bothers you that I find ONLY white men attractive and worthy of my romantic interest. Why are you trying to convince me that it is impossible for me to have an exclusive attraction to white men and that there MUST be men of other races that I can be attracted to. If you find men of all races attractive, then good. I don’t. I am not disputing the fact that some people are very flexible in their preferences.

    Also, where did I say that people who are attracted “against their type” are settling for less? I have stated that there is no such thing as being attracted “against one’s type”. You are either attracted to a person or you are not. If there is an attraction, the attraction can vary from weak to strong. If you find yourself strongly attracted to different types of people, then you don’t really have a type. A person is not “settling for less” when she is satisfied with what she gets. So if you are happy with a man even though he is not what you consider your type, then you have not settled.

    My comments are intended to speak only for myself. I think white men are the sexiest and most beautiful men on the planet. I have never met a non-white man that made my knees weak, but I have met way too many white men who do. Since I believe that they are the best, then I personally would be settling if I had a relationship with a non-white man. What is so difficult to understand about that? YOU are the one who seems to have a problem with MY preferences. My preferences in men are rigid. It has nothing to do with you or anyone else.

    Mira:”So in short, I’m sorry if this exchange reminded you of some real life problems you’ve had with people who weren’t supportive of your choices, but if you read my messages you’ll see that I never implied there’s something wrong about you liking white men only.”

    Our exchange does not remind me of any real life problems, because I have no “problems” with my romantic choices and preferences. I don’t need anyone to be supportive of my choices. But when you keep insisting that there MUST be men of other races that I can find as attractive as white men, you are implying that there is something wrong with my preference.

    And how did I relate your words to women who are willing to be with a man only because he can provide for them? I made a factual statement that many women do not value physical attraction or physical beauty in a man to illustrate that one should not assume that a woman is attracted to a man simply because she is in a relationship with him. It is more common for men to place physical attraction and beauty at the top of the list when looking for a partner. Like it or not, most women are still raised to look for a man who can be a good provider and many women will choose an unattractive man who can provide for them over a gorgeous hunk who doesn’t have two nickels to rub together. Men on the other hand, will often choose the penniless but beautiful woman over the less attractive one with a high income. I am not judging anyone choices. I personally need to be attracted to my mate.

  37. @ Alee

    Well, I said “started the ball rolling” because I think people are influenced by what other people do. If one generation of people starts dating another race of people, that does makes it easier/more acceptable for the next generation, as you said. So I absolutely think guys bringing back war brides from the Phillipines or Korea or Vietnam made it easier for the next generation of white guys to see this an acceptable behavior, to see Asian women as potentially good mates, and so on. In other words, being stationed in a war zone “exposed” white soldiers to Asian women, and they, in turn, exposed the next generation to the wives they brought home.

    And yes, indeed, I do think racial fetishes ARE non-existent, at least as defined by most people. I just don’t think “fetish” is a good word for the phenomena that people are usually describing. I don’t dispute that the behavior they’re complaining about (or more likely, worried about) does sometimes occur. I just don’t like the terminology.

    As for you, I wouldn’t characterize you as having a height fetish or whatever, unless the guys that interest you are way outside human norms. I mean, will you only date guys that are 7 feet tall? (This would probably limit you to professional basketball players and guys with glandular disorders.)

    In the same way, I wouldn’t automatically characterize your friend as having a butt fetish, since pretty much all straight guys appreciate a nice derriere, to be honest. But if the only women he like are ones with hindquarters so huge you can use them as a cocktail table? Yeah, I think that guy has a fetish.

  38. Ann,

    I started this discussion (I won’t call it an argument or even less a fight) by pointing out that I do think racial preferences are real as well as fetishes – I just wouldn’t know how to tell a difference between them.

    I also know that attraction is not just natural, since we’re humans and nurture plays a significant role here. When it comes to race, it’s even more complicated because it’s a cultural concept that’s not based on biology. I mean, honestly, Javier Bardem and Dolph Lundgren are nothing alike and they are of the same race.

    I just don’t believe in “people of the same race has to date each other” concept, nor do I think it’s more natural than IR dating. So no, I don’t think white women are naturally attracted to white men only. Why would they be?

    Please show me where I said that people who don’t have a racial preference are settling for less. I never said that ALL people have–or should have–RACIAL preferences. However, some people do; I am one of those people. I don’t think it is wrong for people to have racial preferences (in romance). You, however, feel that anyone who has an exclusive racial romantic preference is racist. Reread your own comments.

    Your comments seemed to imply that women often don’t go by what they like but based on societal expectations. While I can agree with that, this wasn’t what we’re talking about.

    I don’t think anyone who has an exclusive racial preference is racist (though yes, the whole idea of whites being only interested in other whites does not sit well with me). I don’t even think it’s wrong nor did I try to shame you for liking men only. I was just trying to say that since race is not a biological concept there can’t be a 100% natural attraction towards one race. it doesn’t mean that a person can change their preference, nor that they should. And it especially doesn’t mean that I think there’s something wrong about other people’s preferences (heck, I can get why somebody would be attracted to white men; I like them too).

    Please tell me why it bothers you that I find ONLY white men attractive and worthy of my romantic interest. Why are you trying to convince me that it is impossible for me to have an exclusive attraction to white men and that there MUST be men of other races that I can be attracted to. If you find men of all races attractive, then good. I don’t. I am not disputing the fact that some people are very flexible in their preferences.

    It doesn’t bother me at all. Honest. I was just arguing, see above, that racial preferences are never created in a vacuum, mainly because it’s not a natural concept. i never said that there must be men of other races you are attracted to, but we started talking about features, and if we stick to that, unless a person has an exclusive list of features that a partner must have by any means then it can’t be called a racial preference because what we call races is pretty diverse physically. Heck, Wentworth Miller isn’t white.

    Also, where did I say that people who are attracted “against their type” are settling for less? I have stated that there is no such thing as being attracted “against one’s type”. You are either attracted to a person or you are not.

    Yes, but you (ok, maybe not you personally, but many people) can have a type, I don’t know, tall, broad shoulders, deep voice, dark hair, blue eyes, etc… And then find themselves incredibly attracted to a short ginger guy with a tenor voice. You still know you are attracted to the above type but for some reason you find this particular person attractive. This is what I was talking about.

    A person is not “settling for less” when she is satisfied with what she gets. So if you are happy with a man even though he is not what you consider your type, then you have not settled.

    But see your choice of words: “if she’s happy with what she gets”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like you don’t see this as an ideal situation. (?) It’s not about what you can get; it’s about being attracted to a person for some reason even though he doesn’t look like the usual guys you’re attracted to. But you are attracted to him so others who do fit your type suddenly become unimportant because you want THIS man. It’s not about being happy – heck, you can be attracted to a man very much and he turns out to be a jerk. I was talking about physical attraction alone.

    Our exchange does not remind me of any real life problems, because I have no “problems” with my romantic choices and preferences. I don’t need anyone to be supportive of my choices. But when you keep insisting that there MUST be men of other races that I can find as attractive as white men, you are implying that there is something wrong with my preference.

    You seem defensive about it, as if there is something special about you having a preference for one race only. In my experience, many people do prefer one race or date people from only one race. Nothing wrong about that. All I wanted to argue – and I’m sorry that it got personal, because this is supposed to be a discussion of a broad phenomenon, and not someone’s individual dating choices – that racial preferences are not about mere physical features and that are never created in a vaccuum.

    And how did I relate your words to women who are willing to be with a man only because he can provide for them?

    I don’t know. I guess I didn’t understand why you mentioned it in the first place. Ok, maybe it’s because I’m raised in a place where women are not expecting men to provide for them but men still do choose pretty women and women often end up with less attractive men. (But in my opinion, it’s not about providing but because men are socialized to value a woman’s beauty above everything else and women are encouraged to value character, such as intelligence, sense of humor, etc. above someone’s looks, to the point that it’s often considered “bad” or “shallow” for a woman to admit she needs to be physically attracted to a man for a relationship to work. I don’t know, I never paid much attention to this “rule”. I know I can’t be with a man I’m not physically attracted to even if he’s the sweetest guy around).

  39. Alee,

    “I mean, we all have preferences. I’m not particularly attracted to very pale blonde, blue eyed men or very dark skinned with full nose.”

    Really? I knew about the former, but not the latter.

    I guess it never came up in the conversation? I don’t know, I know white men better so I can discuss this in more details. Also, I’ve noticed that I’m often attracted to white celebs who are not my type at all (more than RL guys of this type) so maybe it’s the same way with black guys?

    When it comes to the male blogger who likes butts (are we talking about the same guy?) some female body parts are so normalized as a fetish (or should that be “fetish”?) that nobody think that as strange. In fact, it’s seen as natural.

  40. @ Mira

    You’re right to an extent that it can be hard to separate out cultural conditioning from biology. There’s no way to absolutely prove whether a certain attraction is natural or culturally influenced.

    I will say that I do assume that attraction to whatever makes men and women different heavily defines what is “normal” for anyone who is heterosexual. Things that are unique to male anatomy will be found attractive by hetero women. Things that are unique to female anatomy will be found attractive by hetero men. I that’s a pretty reasonable assumption, even if it’s not absolutely provable. One has to assume this, otherwise any idea of biologically determined sexual orientation becomes meaningless as well.

    I think one big distinction between fetishes and preferences comes down to other people’s reaction to your sexual predilection.

    If you tell someone about a true sexual fetish, their reaction will likely be: “Huh? What? How can you be attracted to [weird thing you like]? There’s nothing at all sexy about [weird thing you like]?” Or else: “Ew, gross! You’re a disgusting freak! Never come within a 100-foot radius of me again!” (An unfair reaction, but that’s how people are, sometimes.)

    When you tell someone about your attraction to another race, maybe some people have some similar thoughts, but it’s more likely any negative reaction will NOT really be about sex appeal. Instead, the negative reactions are more like: “Don’t you know black women are bitchy?” or “Don’t you know black men are shiftless criminals?” or “Don’t you know that, deep down, all white people are arrogant racists, you foolish sellout?” or simply, “That can’t work out — there will be too many cultural differences.”

    They may not come out and SAY those things, because they sound bad, so they find ways to tap-dance around them and hint at them.

    I’m oversimplifying, but you get the point.

  41. One has to assume this, otherwise any idea of biologically determined sexual orientation becomes meaningless as well.

    See, that’s the thing: we’re not even sure that sexual orientation is 100% natural, either. I mean, the whole concept is another cultural concept and fairly a new one that is. The whole idea of different orientations, etc. There are strong indicators that sexual orientation is actually a spectrum. And it’s sure influenced by nurture.

    And since we’re at linguistics, the trouble with the word “fetish” is that it does carry negative connotations. To say to like women with big breasts might seem shallow, but it’s seen as a normal thing. On the other hand, to say you have a “big boob fetish”, it’s seen as a kind of sick.

    Not to mention that stuff that was perfectly normalized only a few years back (such as pubic hair on women) is today seen as fetish (and, interestingly enough, of the same type with those semi-gross fetishes).

    Like I said at the beginning, in case of race, I can’t say what would be a preference and a fetish.

  42. @Mira

    No, we’re not 100% certain that sexual orientation is all biology. But it’s a good working assumption that biology is a very significant factor, based on the fact that surveys have found similar percentages of gay people in countries around the world; based on heightened probability of being gay between siblings not raised together; based on the fact that the psychiatric community avidly studied homosexuality for many years (back when they considered it a disease) and didn’t find any environmental circumstances in common among gay people that might have caused their homosexuality; based on the virtually total failure of all attempts to alter sexual orientation and thus “cure” gayness, and so on.

    It also stands to reason that since gender is critical to reproduction, nature wouldn’t have left to chance the question of whom to try and make a baby with.

    We don’t have all the answers on sexual orientation, but I don’t think at the moment it’s a bad idea to treat it as mostly biologically determined.

    You’ve got a point there that since culture clearly does influence fetishes, the definition is somewhat subjective. Which is why I’d say using a “numbers” criteria is the way to go. (And it looks to me like that’s the criteria society already mostly uses.) If most people like something, it’s not a fetish. If only 8 guys on an Internet chat / support site like it, it’s a fetish.

    Maybe that’s arbitrary, but I don’t see a better definition out there.

  43. Well, we all know mating requires two difference sexes so there’s no question about it. It’s not surprising that most people do have a certain attraction towards the opposite sex. However, I am not sure that attraction is such a simple thing – what I’m trying to argue that I’m not convinced that it’s so rare to be attracted outside of your sexual orientation. After all, there are many people who claim their sexual orientation is X, but they still get attracted to people who don’t fit it. And I’m not talking about gays in the past who tried to like sleeping with the girls because they didn’t want to face stigma. I think sexual orientation is more fluid than we thought.

    But yes, it does seem that fetishes are somewhat arbitrary defined.

  44. Mira,

    “It almost seems like you expect people to be shocked? at your attraction to white men so you have to defend it.”

    I don’t think anyone who has spent any time at all on this site would be shocked at an attraction to white men. 😛

    “When it comes to the male blogger who likes butts (are we talking about the same guy?) some female body parts are so normalized as a fetish (or should that be “fetish”?) that nobody think that as strange.”

    Yes, we’re talking about the same guy, and I agree: it’s normalized. But even his is a little out there, if you know what I mean…

    Ann,

    “I think white men are the sexiest and most beautiful men on the planet. I have never met a non-white man that made my knees weak, but I have met way too many white men who do.”

    Lol. If I were a white guy, I’d be just oh so flattered by all of your text here. 😀

    Anyway, I think this was a good discussion, but I don’t want anyone feeling defensive or irritated. I think it’s just a misunderstanding, and Mira was just “thinking aloud”, rather than berating you personally, Ann.

    smartacus,

    “I mean, will you only date guys that are 7 feet tall? (This would probably limit you to professional basketball players and guys with glandular disorders.)”

    Lol, actually 7 ft is the minimum!

    Kidding, but my ideal guy would be at least around 6’4″-6’5″ (6’2″ is the minimum I consider tall for a guy). Also, the guy has to be thin with long legs and arms (Some tall guys actually don’t have long limbs, it’s weird). So my ideal body type would be Kevin Durant. With maybe Noah Mills’ face. The majority of the guys I’ve dated have actually been athletes, though not professional, because of course most guys are not that tall and thin.

    “But if the only women he like are ones with hindquarters so huge you can use them as a cocktail table? Yeah, I think that guy has a fetish.”

    Well, that would be his preference yes. But since most women don’t have it, he settles for slightly smaller. 🙂

  45. I didn’t mean “special” as in “good or bad”, more, I don’t know, unusual? I understand certain pairings (IR, for example) are seen as unusual but I have no experience in this so it’s not unusual to me. I mean, for better or for worse, I don’t see same-race relationships as “default” or “more natural”.

    And yes, of course I was just thinking aloud. That’s what we do, right?

    Once again, I apologize for getting this too personal. I guess using someone’s personal examples is not the best thing to discuss issues in general terms.

    Yes, we’re talking about the same guy, and I agree: it’s normalized. But even his is a little out there, if you know what I mean…

    Eh, we don’t have many of them like that here, so it was sure unusual.

    As a woman with, well, no other way to put it, but “huge butt”, it was very conflicting to read his comments. On one hand, it’s kind of sexist – not his preference per se, but the way he voiced his opinion. On the other hand, he praised the body type I have and you can’t help feeling a little… flattered is a bad word but definitely intrigued, because you’re used to hearing people calling that body type ugly. Then you realize he’s taking objectification a bit too far.

  46. “Anyway, I think this was a good discussion, but I don’t want anyone feeling defensive or irritated. I think it’s just a misunderstanding, and Mira was just “thinking aloud”, rather than berating you personally, Ann.”

    I understand that it is difficult to communicate online. So I try not to take things personally.

    I guess Mira is just more flexible when it comes to her preferences. I tend to be rigid in my preferences, not just in men but in many things. As long as I can get what I prefer, I don’t waste my time considering alternatives. I mean why fix it if it’s not broken? If my choices make me happy, then why should I go looking for other possibilities. That is what I was trying to communicate to Mira, but I guess I was not successful.

  47. @Mira and Ann,

    It’s no problem. I just always try to clarify, if I can see where both sides are coming from. I don’t want anyone feeling like they’ve been attacked because of an opinion they have or something they said.

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