A survey of 119 American heterosexual men discovered that men who objectify their partners’ bodies typically sexually pressure their partners. This is primarily because partner-surveillance is related to feelings of shame regarding one’s partner’s body. This feeling, in turn, causes increased sexual pressure and coercion.
Having someone objectify your body will lead you to feel shame, which is, according to this study, linked to sexual coercion. Coercion is not a strong foundation for a healthy relationship. Also, if someone genuinely loves you, they will not use coercion to get their way.
If you feel shamed into sexual activity, that is a serious red flag in a relationship. It doesn’t matter if it’s a long-term relationship like a marriage, or a short-term one like a hookup — anyway you look at it, it’s abuse.
How do you tell the difference between healthy attraction and the objectification of women, though? Here are some basic signs of objectification and some personality tendencies that you can be aware of:
1. A healthy attraction does not overwhelmingly focus on a body part or a specific look.
A healthy attraction can take genuine pleasure or appreciation in a trait or look, but clearly views it as a part of a whole personality.
2. A mature individual will find even the subtle or abstract details of your whole personality attractive — not just one aspect.
When your partner focuses on concrete details that can be experienced as separate from the whole personality, this is a huge red flag. If someone seems particularly focused on the way you look in a certain type of shoe, this is separate from you as a person — anyone can wear this shoe. If, on the other hand, they compliment your legs look in a new pair of heels you just bought, they are appreciating you as a person.
3. A mature individual will also talk about other people as whole individuals.
They will not tend to see the world in black or white — they will be able to talk about their boss, family, or friends as having good and bad traits.
A person who objectifies will tend to see some people as all good and others as all bad, and will talk about other people in their lives in fairly shallow terms.
4. Someone who objectifies women will tend to have a lesser capacity for true empathy.
This is because when we see others as whole people, we also can see through their eyes, appreciate how they are different from us, and recognize their likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses.
These capacities are associated with empathy with another person’s point of view. If you are dating someone who does not seem to be able to empathize with you or with others, you may want to pay closer attention to their relationship to your body as well.
They may show other signs of objectifying you.
5. Someone who objectifies women will take short-lived, if intense, pleasure in a look, body part, or sexual experience.
Objectified pleasure does not extend into true appreciation that can lead to appreciation and pleasure in the subtler dimensions of your body or an intimate experience.
Again, this goes back to the way that objectification is about fulfilling an immediate need. Once that need is satiated, the subject’s attention tends to move on to something else — the next need on the horizon.
Remember, most people do not fit into extremes — either all objectification or none.
Instead, pay attention to what occurs in your relationship. And most importantly, pay attention to how you feel!
When someone is objectifying you, you feel less appreciated. Your own pleasure may feel shallow or short lived. You’ll notice your attention drifting, your mind wandering, and wondering what your partner is feeling. You will feel less genuinely connected if objectification is present. Also, the attraction will soon fade.
Pay attention to these signs, as they can be red flags to more serious issues down the road.
Originally Published on YourTango
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