Friday, Jan 13, 2012 1:29 AM UTC

I like to watch women watch men fight

During bloody boxing or UFC matches, he seeks out delighted female faces in the audience. What's that about?

Am I Normal

 (Credit: Valua Vitaly via Shutterstock)

I’m a white, mostly straight male attracted to women who like to watch fighting — not fighting themselves, but watching a fight between two men. This could be a bar fight, or UFC, or boxing, or a fight in hockey. Porn for me is boxing videos, trying to spot out ladies in the audience watching and enjoying the fight. It is very gender-specific: It must be a fight between two men — the more brutal, the better.

I have no idea why I feel this way. When I see their hands come together in applause, a smile on their faces and one or two bloodied, fallen men, I feel like I am speaking to God. I am filled with wild emotions of shame. My body shakes, and I feel a very deep burning in my stomach. This burning can be debilitating, almost like it consumes me, but it feels so good. Sometimes I can’t control myself. I don’t understand any of this. The burning feelings, the fetish itself, it’s all a mystery to me.

I’ve known about this since I was 8 years old. I know I’m not alone with this, I know there are other people with the same feelings, but never anyone I’ve encountered personally. Thanks and much love/respect.

What a hall of erotic mirrors your subconscious has built! Only you can successfully feel your way through this complex maze — but, with the help of some experts, I might be able to start you down the right path.

From the outside, your fantasy harkens to a primal scene of sexual competition. It calls to mind grunting cavemen clubbing each other over the head as a babe in a leopard-print bikini looks on; great works of literature built around a woman’s power to compel men into war; and any number of contemporary romantic comedies where protago-dude dukes it out to win the girl.

In that sense, your fantasy could not be more normal.

The specificity of your interest, on the other hand, is more unique — but it’s hardly unheard of. I managed to find a blog called — drum roll — “Giggling Girls and Bloody Violence!!” dedicated to similar imagery. It’s filled with raunchy photos of women paired with captions along the lines of, “He beat up my boyfriend to within an inch of his life? Well, sounds like I have a new boyfriend!” I also came across an online message board where women who are turned on by watching men fight, and men who are turned on by watching women get turned on by watching men fight, get together to swap erotic tales — yet more proof that there is someone out there for everyone.

What immediately sticks out about such desires is the symbolic worship of masculinity, which can be interpreted any number of ways. Eric Anderson, a sociologist specializing in research on masculinity, sports and sexuality, detects potentially repressed desires for other men. He suggests that maybe wrestling or fighting were ways you were allowed to watch men be physical with each other at a time when you were “sexually attaching emotions onto men.” Perhaps instead of identifying with the male fighters as a male yourself, the female audience members are an access point for you to vicariously enjoy male bodies in action.

On the other hand, Joe Kort, a therapist and sexologist, says your fantasy doesn’t necessarily suggest desire for men. He compares your chosen scenario to that of cuckolding, which is typically where a husband watches his wife with another man: “When the woman leaves the fantasy the two men are left cold, and maybe that’s the same thing here.”

Kort says the symbolism in such fantasies is often more complicated than it at first seems. ”I look at the man and the woman in the fantasy as stand-in characters, say from his childhood. Was his father weak? Did he want to fight his dad, and have his mom watch, and win? Was there violence in his childhood?” He adds, ”It may have to do with his masculinity, maybe he didn’t feel honored about his masculinity. Maybe he was shamed by some girls in school or a female teacher. Maybe he’s trying to turn [some trauma] into a victory.”

These are just questions, things to mull — like I said earlier, you’re the one who gets to do the work of figuring this stuff out, should you even want to. Ian Kerner, a sex and relationships counselor, tells me, “When I’ve worked with clients with specific issues like this, it takes a while to fully unpack what’s going on,” he says. “As long as it’s not causing him distress, let the game continue — of course if he’s seeking out bar fights to witness that’s another story.”

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