An Open Letter to All the Unattractive Men I’ve Slept With

Let me first give a heartfelt thank you to all of you men who have shared (or have offered to share) your bodies with me, in any capacity. That’s a gift that I do not take lightly. What puzzles me, though, is why you can’t recognize your own appeal.

Some of you see yourselves as ogre-like. One fellow even recently described himself as the slender, pale, white boy version of a manatee. You men are not as unappealing as you think you are; not even close — at least not to me. I’m highly selective about who I bed, and if I’ve suggested that we take each other’s clothes off, it means I think you look great and will feel wonderful.

Some of you have preemptively asked me to try to not look too disappointed when you first show your naked selves to me. Others have let your silent, trembling facial expressions speak for themselves.

I love that you’re terrified to take your shirts off. I can hardly express the thrill I feel from the pronounced fear I see in your dilated, fidgety eyes the first time you show me your bare chests and bellies. This fear lessens over time, but I’ve found that it’s initially prevalent throughout most of our subsequent intimate encounters, as though you are convinced that I will find something new and horrible this time when we peel away your shirt.

Most of you have thought your bellies, thighs, and chests were too fat, but a few of you have resented your thinness, too, and you have all wanted more muscle. I have no clue what losing five pounds, twenty pounds, or sixty pounds of fat would look like, nor do I know how adding ten pounds of muscle would look.

I loathe how men say the word, “flabby,” with such self-hatred. We needn’t continue to demonize fat. Besides, I enjoy softer men. They feel more relatable to me, like everyday visual-comfort food, and they’re wonderfully cuddleable. Not all of us who seek male partners are seeking men with statuesque profiles.

And what’s with penis hatred? Numerous male lovers and friends have told me that women, in general, think penises are ugly. One man recently confessed to me that he has had significant difficulty in the past orgasming with female partners because his partners are scared of how large his penis is, think it is ugly, and think semen is a gross inconvenience that they’d rather avoid altogether. It’s not surprising to me that anyone would have a difficult time achieving sexual satisfaction with that shame looming over their head.

I admit that some of my female friends tend to find penises to be homely, but I would not generalize their opinions to all women. Besides, each of those women included a caveat for their own lovers’ penises (i.e. penises are gross except for his).

I have never met a penis I didn’t like.

I think penises are incredible, both in terms of function and entertainment potential. First and foremost, your penis is another awesome part of you, my awesome partner, so that alone makes it fantastical. Second, I’m a detail-oriented control freak, and I love to study the ins and outs of my partners’ brains and bodies, including what Nabokov termed scepters of passion. I love the varying angles of your erections; where your penises naturally wrinkle and fold; your circumcision scar rings; your urethral opening shapes (Some look like miniature labias!); how your veins weave around each other and circle your shaft; the multiple coloration and texture patterns of your penis’s head, shaft, and base; your shaft-versus-tip circumference and length; the curvature of the lip of your penis’s head… everything. And third, THEY MOVE ON THEIR OWN; so cool!

So, relax. I’m well-accustomed to the typical cis-male form, in all its often-hairy, usually-lumpy glory. If there are any bonus features you would like to disclose, feel free, but shy of STDs or illnesses, advanced notice is not necessary.

I don’t pay attention to your bodies in the same ways you do because I’m not hunting for perceived flaws.

I like you. I have no intention to ever become sexually intimate with anyone who I don’t respect and whose company I don’t value. I’m going to enjoy whatever I find under your clothes because it’s off-limits to most other people, because you shield it so fiercely, and — most importantly — because it’s yours.

Please stop apologizing for your body being anything shy of perfect. We’re going to have a lot of fun with you exactly as you are, I promise.


13 thoughts on “An Open Letter to All the Unattractive Men I’ve Slept With

  1. I’m a 59 year old man with mixed feelings about my body and appearance. The feelings that are more positive are now qualified by “for my age”. That’s just a bit of context for my comment, which is really a thank you. That’s a really warm and thoughtful approach to a topic that’s sensitive for many people and not often addressed as it relates to men. So thanks again.


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad to know that you related to what I wrote and that it was meaningful for you. I also agree that male body image is seldom addressed, particularly not in a sympathetic fashion (as opposed to humorously), yet is a pervasive social issue that hits close to home for many men.


  2. This post hit me like a ton of bricks.
    I don’t see anything appealing in the mirror. Just a disgusting fat thing, a hideous, hairy troll that belongs in its cave.
    It starts early, when your fatness marks you as different, sets you apart from your peers. Even before puberty hits, you’re aware that your body is ugly. Everyone tells you so, and it only gets worse as you get older.
    You try and wear a shirt to the pool, but you may as well have painted a target on your back. So you simply never go swimming, ever again.
    Gym happens, the changing room happens, puberty happens.
    “Oh my god look at those jugs.”
    “He’s bigger than my mom.”
    “-beachball with fingers-”
    “Don’t mock him, he’ll sit on us and crush us!”

    People joke about being picked last for teams. It isn’t funny. You’re not just picked last once, you’re picked last every day, year after year. Sometimes the teachers make them pick you, but that’s even worse. Now you’re the burden the teacher forced on them.

    I put my shirt on and I didn’t take it off for years. Then, I had to have an ultrasound done, so I had to take it off. Nightmare scenarios ran through my head. I even asked if I could have the ultrasound done fully clothed.
    I endured commentary about how hard my fat made her job, as she pressed the ultrasound equipment into me hard enough to literally cause bruises. It hurt a bit, so I asked if there was supposed to be pain (you know, out of medical concern), and she rather scornfully told me it only hurt because of how fat I was.
    That was eight years ago and I will wear my shirt to my grave. I skip meals all the time, I’ve literally halved my body weight since then.
    And I’m still so! Fucking! Fat!
    I’m nearly thirty, I’m never going to escape this. People call me things like “big guy” now, almost like it somehow doesn’t matter that I’m fat, but I know that’s a lie.
    I’m still set apart. I’m still different, abnormal. Ironic nicknames like “slim”, or faux-affectionate terms like “big guy” are just accepted white lies. When people say “if she really likes you it won’t matter” or “personality matters, not looks”, they’re only being polite. Come on. We both know how repulsive I am. I can try to be the most authentic, confident version of myself I want, I can adopt an abundance mentality, I can spend all the money I like on clothes that fit, and my body will still be a hideous tumor.
    I am trying to be healthier. I drink almost exclusively water, I eat fruit, I meet or exceed my ten thousand steps a day.
    I just can’t imagine taking my shirt off and receiving a reaction other than horror.

    Ugh, and then the penis. The only part of me even uglier than my torso. A woman’s genitalia is self-contained, flush and smooth and integrated with the natural shapes and curves of her body. A man’s genitalia is an alien appendage, tacked on like an afterthought. It juts out, an awkward and shamefully huge thumb, one I can’t even control.
    The skin is discolored. There’s a wrinkly sack, and the entire works becomes this gross swollen thing thanks to arousal. Veins stick out like parasites or worms. Hair grows in the weirdest places, there are disgusting fluids like semen, and I don’t even want to imagine how awful the smell is.
    How could something so gross, so ugly, ever bring pleasure to someone?

    I wish I could believe you, and women like you, when you use words like “cuddleable” and describe us softer men as something desirable. I really wish I could. I want to believe I’m not too big to love, I want to finally kiss someone and maybe hold hands, I want to someday take my shirt off and be greeted with something other than derisive laughter or horrified silence.
    But deep down I know that’s just not going to happen. I’ve asked dozens and dozens of women out in meatspace, and heard every soft no in the books. I’ve tried online dating, on three different sites, and the silence was deafening. Apparently I don’t even rate a “no thanks”.
    So… message received, you know? The only common factor, in all of those rejections, is me. My body. A clumsy, lumbering thing, stinky and smelly and hairy and fat.


    1. Thank you for sharing with me a glimpse of your pain. I’m terribly sorry to hear that you have had to endure such cruel input from others and that you learned to internalize that hatred toward your body. I send my deepest sympathies and wish you better fortune with finding company who appreciates you as you are. I’d send a hug, if I could.


  3. Being a man of 63 and a nudist I love how my naked body looks and feels in the warmth of the sun and breeze. I do love letting the lady’s play and experiment with my shaft. I’ve a few comment of how ugly or unattractive it looks but that never seemed to stop them from sitting on that ugly bone.


        1. Naked yoga is on my to-do list, but I’d prefer a group setting. I like my yoga best served shared, and I prefer the luxury of having an instructor lead the session rather than memorizing my own sequences.


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