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Dressing Room General What is it that attracts us to skin?
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What is it that attracts us to skin?
What is it that attracts us to skin?
I think it is accepted that we are attracted to nudity, and supposedly because we are not used to it. Accepted that we are attracted to the sexual organs - Breasts, ass, penis, vagina - and perhaps specific other parts (legs, ears, to each his own). It is also accepted that sexiness comes from concealing just as much as revealing, and a play of what you conceal and what you reveal (as was discussed in walking in underwear). Yet why are we attracted to any showing of skin?

I was wondering which kind of photo I can show which won't reveal any kind of nudity, so here is one:

We are attracted to the face, to the hand, maybe to the legs which we can almost see through the stockings, and to the body in general. But I want to focus on the face, and on the hand. We notice the skin and there is something attractive in it.

Many other images could be open-back dresses, or ones with parts cut out from them. Or ones which show shoulders.
So to summarize, why are we attracted to skin? any skin we see?

This is also connected to the discussion on Burkas
Dear John,

For one thing, context is crucial. We live in a world of steel, glass and car exhaust, and so it is surprising and pleasing to encounter the reality of bodies -- the smell of sunlight on someone's skin, or the moment in school when the girl several rows front of you lets down her hair several hours into the morning, still slightly damp, and a very light scent of her shampoo wafts back -- even for us other girls this is just purely pleasant (provided she's not one of the annoying girls who lets down her hair while wet and makes a mess -- but I digress).
Sometimes the smell of a man's sweat, if it's fresh with the pulse of life and work (rather than tired, stale) has this same effect.
So part of the answer to your question, I think, is that skin is something we smell (not to mention touch), and this can be strong for us.
I wonder, if we lived in a world with little clothing, if it would have the same effect? I've certainly been in crowds where I was not excited about the surrounding press of bodies. I wouldn't say "any skin we see" for that reason.
Skin is a witness to our animal part, and you can see how "culture" tried to hide it. For example the powder people used to put on their face, the wigs, gloves, many elements which are supposed to distance ourselves from the "animal within." When we see skin it's a witness to an uncultural part.
In fact, piercing and tattoos, (ironically?), plays today for many the same role of distancing oneself from the animal and connecting to a specific culture.

This is also why nudity and skin in general seems so dangerous and subversive to people, as somehow acting against our culture.
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Latest Post: March 24, 2011 at 3:07 AM
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