Tag Archives: forbidden fruit

Why Women Find Ted Bundy Attractive

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Why do women find certain men attractive? Why does anyone find someone attractive? Those are not easy questions to answer and the answers vary from person to person. There are all sorts of complexities, quirks, and kinks that influence someone’s idea of what is attractive. Whether you’re gay, straight, or bisexual, it’s a complicated and often irrational process.

With that in mind, why would anyone in their right mind find Ted Bundy attractive? This isn’t a man with a few minor character flaws. This is a brutal, sadomasochistic murderer who confessed to killing 30 women and may have killed many more. Beyond his horrific crimes, Bundy was a narcissistic psychopath who seemed incapable of empathy and showed no remorse for his crimes.

Despite all this, and maybe even because of it, some women have expressed a genuine attraction to Ted Bundy. It’s not just that he managed to marry his girlfriend, Carole Ann Boone, while he was in prison on death row. He actually fathered a child with her during that time. Even after his confession and subsequent execution, there were still women who fawned over his charm and good looks.

This isn’t just from a few women with exceedingly poor tastes in men. In wake of a recent Netflix documentary on Bundy, Netflix had to issue a statement discouraging women from commenting on his looks. The implies that this isn’t just a product of trolling or off-hand comments. There are other forces at work here that reflect the eccentricities of sex appeal.

Those forces aren’t new. Women have been attracted to “bad boys” since the caveman days and there’s considerable research into why it evolved. Bad boys often provide something novel and different, which can be attractive in and of itself. Human beings are novelty-seeking creatures to begin with. Hooking up with a bad boy certainly qualifies as something different.

However, there’s quite a gap between a man who just thumbs his nose at parking tickets and a man who brutally butchers women. To call Ted Bundy a “bad boy” is to insult bad boys who attract women for the right reasons. However, the same forces are at work here and Bundy is hardly the first murderer to attract a following.

Like Bundy, Richard “The Nightstalker” Ramirez was a vicious killer who had his own legion of groupies for a time. Unlike Bundy, Ramirez didn’t even try to play innocent. He embraced his monstrous persona and that only seemed to attract women even more. Despite not having Bundy’s natural good looks, he had female fans who wrote him letters while he was on death row.

That level of attraction goes far beyond the typical appeal of a bad boy. Men like Bundy aren’t just bad. They’re genuinely scary to be around. The details of his crimes were on display for the public. Just reading over the descriptions should be enough to evoke fear and terror in any rational person with even a modicum of decency.

This is where some of the flawed wiring of the human brain kick in, at least with respect to sexual attraction. The misattribution of arousal in the human psyche is a well-documented phenomenon. When our brains get input about something dangerous, it evokes an arousal response. Sometimes, that arousal goes beyond fear.

There are times when our brains cannot discern between the arousal generated by danger and the arousal generated by something sexually appealing. The human brain, as an instrument, is hardly precise. Sometimes, it’s easy to associate something sexy with something dangerous. From our brain’s perspective, arousal from one isn’t that different from arousal by the other.

It’s part of what gives appeal to extreme thrill-seeking behaviors like skydiving, contact sports, and drug use. It’s not in spite of the danger that people seek those thrills. It’s because of it. The line between danger and aroused is so blurred that there’s no real difference. For women, a murderer like Ted Bundy is like skydiving with a faulty parachute.

In terms of danger/arousal, you can’t get much riskier than that. On top of that, men like Bundy are the kind of men that society tells women not to get with. They’re encouraged to find a man who is stable, gentle, compassionate, and sane. Those men may make great spouses, but they’re hardly dangerous. Being with them is never going to be as dangerous/excited as being with Ted Bundy.

This puts a forbidden fruit factor on top of the thrill-seeking factor. In terms of attraction, it’s a double dose of sex appeal that resonated with some women. Please note, however, that this appeal is not indicative of how women, in general, determine someone’s sex appeal. The chances are that most woman don’t find Ted Bundy attractive in the slightest because of his horrific crimes.

This issue isn’t going away and not just because there’s upcoming movie about Ted Bundy starring Zac Efron. If anything, it may become more pronounced as gender politics demonize men and masculinity, as a whole. When men have to be so careful in conducting themselves to avoid accusations of misogyny, they’ll have a hard time being dangerous. That’ll only make men like Ted Bundy stand out even more.

Despite all these factors, it’s still worth belaboring that Ted Bundy was a monster. Even though I tend to believe people are inherently good, Bundy is an example of just how evil a person can be. He deserves nothing but condemnation. The fact that there are women attracted to him is a symptom of how erratic our ideas about sex appeal are. Until danger loses its appeal, there will always be women who find Ted Bundy attractive.

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The Forbidden Fruit Factor: How Taboo Skews Our Sexuality

If I were to walk up to you and say, “Don’t kick elephants!” what would be the first thing that pops into your mind? For one, you’d probably be wondering what sort of head trauma I had suffered as a child to issue such a warning. Then, you’d probably think about kicking elephants.

This isn’t just the musings of someone who may have gotten hit in the head with one too many baseballs as a kid because he sucked at little league. This is a mental exercise that author/reporter/TV personality John Stossel uses in his book, “Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.” It’s as colorful a read as it sounds.

The reason I cite this tactic is because it perfectly demonstrates something that I often see in romance/erotica, be it novels, movies, TV shows, or hardcore porn. Some call it taboos. Some call it tradition. I think it’s best described as the “Forbidden Fruit Effect.” Whatever you call it, it affects our culture, our minds, and our sex lives. Being an erotica/romance writer, it affects my career path as well so I feel I should talk about it.

Most of us in Western traditions know what we’re referring to when we talk about “forbidden fruit.” It comes right out of the bible, symbolizing something tempting that some higher authority have told us to avoid. In the bible, it’s an apple. In real life, it can be damn near anything.

For some people, that fruit is chocolate. For others, it’s alcohol, heroin, or cocaine. It doesn’t even have to be drugs. There have been higher authorities warning people about dungeons and dragons, comic books, and  Pokémon. Some of these fruits are legitimate health concerns, especially with drugs. Others, such as those who whine about Pokémon, are just plain stupid.

For the purposes of this discussion, though, the forbidden fruit effect is applied to something that impacts everybody. Yes, I’m talking about sex. Let’s face it, none of us would be alive if it weren’t for sex. That makes it a slightly more important fruit than Pokémon.

There are a lot of forbidden fruit aspects surrounding sex, erotica, and romance. There are so many, in fact, that I’ll probably have to do multiple posts about it to really explore the breadth of this issue. For now, I’d like to keep things general because this is something that I’m exploring for a reason. I am actively developing a new novel that uses the forbidden fruit effect in an extreme (hopefully sexy) way. Consider this a prelude of sorts.

With respect to erotic issues, there is no one forbidden fruit that applies to every culture or every society in every time period. Human beings are just too damn complex/diverse/eccentric. There is one relatively common fruit that is fairly pervasive in Western traditions, particularly those with roots in the three Abrahamic faiths, namely Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

That fruit pertains to female sexuality. It’s not sex in general. It’s specifically female sexuality that takes on the aura of forbidden fruit. For proof of just how much it affects us, look no further than Carl’s Jr. ads like this.

Show an ad like this to an audience where female sexuality is taboo and it’s easy to imagine the reactions. Such an audience sees this and thinks, “Oh my God! Look! It’s a sexy female! A beautiful sexy female! It’s so wrong! So immoral/sinful! It’s making me think impure thoughts! Help me!”

I admit, that’s an exaggeration. It still illustrates the impact that forbidden fruit has on our minds. It doesn’t even always come from a strictly moral stand either. There are people on the other side of the socio-political spectrum that see that ad and think, “Oh my heavens! There’s a sexy female! It’s so wrong! It’s so blatantly sexist/misogynistic! This is an affront to women everywhere and it must be destroyed!”

Yes, that’s another exaggerated reaction. It illustrates the same effect. If a man were in that ad, it may raise a few eyebrows, but it won’t generate full-blown distress. It highlights just how much that we, as a civilization, have skewed female sexuality.

So how did this happen? Why did this happen? When did we, as a society, decide that female sexuality was this succulent, delicious treat that we dare not seek, touch, or even think about?

Well, the Richard Dawkins’ of the world would love to blame religion entirely and granted, religion does play a huge part in fetishizing this basic component of human sexuality. The bible spends a great deal of time and effort making women and the desire to be with them taboo. The Quran continues this tradition and even takes it to greater extremes. However, it is not the sole culprit.

Culture, primarily those built around economic models that require large farms where large families are needed to grow crops, are also major culprits. I’ve discussed it before. When there’s an economic incentive to make sure women have a lot of babies and men have incentive to make sure those babies are his, then society will find every possible excuse, crazy or otherwise, to manage female sexuality accordingly.

As a result of these forces, female sexuality isn’t just a forbidden fruit. It’s basically the ultimate prize for men, a Super Bowl trophy on top of a pile of gold-plated elephant’s tusks. For women, it’s this inherent shame that they must carry and be anxious of every moment of every day. For both genders, it’s pretty damn stressful.

Naturally, it’s going to screw with our minds. Sex isn’t like chocolate, video games, or Pokémon. It’s a hard-wired basic drive. Nature programs every living thing to survive and reproduce. It doesn’t program us to survive, reproduce, and level up our Pokémon. It’s one thing to stop playing Pokémon. It’s quite another to subvert basic human drives.

This is born out in research. Some call it, “The Paradox of Temptation.” When you establish that something is just another option, then your brain tends to assess them on equal footing, which is what it’s supposed to do. That’s a survival mechanism. We need that.

However, when you establish that something is a forbidden option, then the wiring of your brain gets a little clunky. That caveman logic in our brains comes back to haunt us again. It follows the skewed logic that if this is forbidden, then it must be valuable and if it’s valuable, then it must be sought.

These results have even been born out by studies about cigarette smoking by the National Institute of Drug Abuse in 2010. When you loudly proclaim that something is forbidden and wrong, it gets peoples attention and sparks curiosity, which is basically the goal of every annoying advertisement ever made.

It also plays out in our interest and desire towards sex. Utah is famous for being a religiously conservative state run by Mormon, another religious sect that places a high emphasis on sexual morality. By sexual morality, they mean women should not have sex for any other reason than to make more Mormon babies that will grow into more Mormons who will give the Mormon church more money.

Despite Utah’s conservatism, it still leads the United States in terms of porn subscriptions. The same situation plays out in Pakistan, which expressly forbids homosexual relationships, but leads the world in internet searches for gay porn. Making something forbidden just makes people more aware of it.

Why does awareness matter? Well, remember this famous speech by Alec Baldwin?

Ignore the premium-level assholery for a moment and look at the sale strategy called AIDA (Attention, Interest, Decision, Action). What’s the first part of that strategy? It’s simply getting the customers attention. You could argue it’s the most important step because the other three steps can’t happen without the first.

Attention is the first step towards making a sale. It’s also the first step towards making connections, forming relationships, and finding the love of your life. It doesn’t matter if your one true love walks right up to you. If you don’t get his or her attention, it doesn’t amount to jack squat.

By making something taboo and forbidden, you immediately give it some extra attention. Just like when John Stossel says, “Don’t kick elephants!” you end up drawing more attention to it than it would if it were just another mundane choice.

Apply that to sex and we’re bound to skew, disrupt, or undermine our attitudes towards sex in a multitude of ways. We’ve created a set of assumptions and morals in our culture that say female sexuality is forbidden and should not be expressed in ways that a Mormon priest wouldn’t approve of. As a result, we give a lot of attention to female sexuality because we’ve convinced our caveman brains it’s somehow more precious than other forms of sexuality.

When you take into account the gold rushes, tulip manias, and black Friday sales after Thanksgiving, it’s easy to see how excessive attention and skewed value can mess with our heads. It affects how we structure our relationships, how we seek love, and how we deal with our lovers.

It’s one thing to forbid something that’s genuinely harmful, like heroin and meth. It’s quite another to forbid basic sexual expressions that are an intrinsic part of our nature. It’s a concept I’m exploring for a future novel.

I don’t want to reveal too much at the moment because my plans for this book are tentative, but expect it to be a story that confronts forbidden sexual expressions in the most direct way possible. It’ll be direct, but it’ll also be sexy as hell and just as entertaining. I’ll post more details as the story develops.

Until then, think about all the sexual taboos in our world. Look at them closely. Try to filter out the flaws in our caveman logic. Should these forbidden fruits really be so forbidden? It’s a question worth asking.

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