A quick take in Slate’s Human Nature column provides an apt demonstration of how sexuality is constructed.
Provocatively titled “Hunk Like a Horse: Why women prefer men with muscles,” the brief paragraph summarizes the results of a new study conducted among 240 college students (of course, the most reliable group, uninfluenced by culture in any way). According to the study, women prefer muscular men; they report that their most recent “short-term” partners were muscular men; muscular men claim to have more lifetime sex partners and affairs with mated women. So far so good.
Now the theory kicks in: Muscles “are cues of genes that increase offspring viability or reproductive success.”
How did we get from short-term partners, sexual satisfaction, indeed, promiscuity on the part of men, to “offspring viability and reproductive success?” Why should sexual pleasure be wedded to an “instinct” that must be normative, or at least framed through normativity?
Is it so impossible to believe we might live at a time when “reproductive instincts” vie with what Foucault termed “bodies and pleasures?” Or must hetero-attraction always be framed in terms of “reproductive success?”