It’s the most scantily clad time of the year. We’ve got highs of 100 degrees all weekend in the sweltering L.A. suburb I call home. And as the heat increases, people traditionally beat it by opting to wear as little clothing as possible. In my case, that means ditching pants for skirts, proper shoes for flip flops and actual blouses for skimpy bathing suits that I feel comfortable enough wearing into the coffee shop for an (iced) coffee.
What, though, of my male brethren? What are they stripping off to cool down? And when they strip it off, what exposed flesh drives everyone around them wild? Because while summer is typically a straight man’s wet dream because of all the bare skin that surrounds them, people who lust after men are treated to a visual feast of our own this time of year (even if we’re less likely to make a scene about it).
As such, I asked a bunch of people about what parts of the male physique they find the sexiest to see uncovered. Here’s what they told me, ranked by how frequently the area was mentioned…
Midriff and ‘Hip Cleavage’
This completely surprised me, as I certainly didn’t expect midriff and “hip cleavage” to be the top response, or beat out the more stereotypical “ripped abs.” But: “Hands down the lower abs and stomach zone,” Alex swears. “Like, the FUPA area — below the belly button, happy-trail territory. Boys in crop tops make me weak.” (Another first: Hearing FUPA defined as “Fat Upper Penis Area.”)
“Cropped tops, yum. Show me your pancita,” Maggie adds.
“I love hip cleavage,” explains Christine. “I really enjoy when a shirt or sweatshirt rides up, and you can see it peak out.” Similarly, Murphy stresses, “No matter what a guy’s body type is, I love seeing stomach peeking out when he lifts up to do something. Anytime we’re doing an outdoor activity and a guy’s shirt raises up, it’s a big thrill for me. It can be a belly or a six-pack as long as it’s midriff.”
“What comes to mind for me are the hip bones, because when I was growing up, men’s clothing companies always featured scantily-clad male models with their hip bones out,” says Tasha. “So now I have a thing for it.”
It’s a bit of a toss-up as to why — whether it’s a symbol of your rugged masculinity or a portal into your heart — but the chest came in second. That said, some mystery was still important here. “Chest, but not shirtless,” Cory says. “Like a half-buttoned-up shirt. It’s the tease I guess…”
Megyn agrees: “When a shirt is unbuttoned just low enough for the teeniest tiniest bit of chest hair to poke out.”
Chest hair generally earned high praise. “They look like retro masculinity,” Peach explains. “It feels so strong and comforting.” Adds Ella, “I love an exposed hairy chest.”
More largely, Charlize says, “I feel like I’m constantly touching a lover’s chest while being intimate. So seeing it invites me to think about touching it. There’s a lot of energy there!”
Back and Shoulders
“A man’s back and shoulder blades, tanned and dappled with sweat, are my summer ideal,” Lara says. “Alternatively, watching the muscles of a man’s back as he lifts himself out of a pool is just as glorious.”
Jasmine adds, “I hate to be basic, but very sculptural muscles show in these parts. Also, backs aren’t as thick as traps, necks or abs, or the parts men work so hard on. Instead, these muscles are more hidden, and their musculature feels like a consequence of other work.”
The neck, which I consider as part of the same general area, also scored a vote. “I’ve always been drawn to a man’s upper back and neck. When he’s shirtless, that’s where my eyes go. It’s strange, but it’s always been that way,” Charles says.
Again, some modesty in this regard seems to only heighten the excitement. Or as Lauren explains, “The bicep area peeking out of his T-shirt. I live for that little glimpse of the muscle tone combined with his T-shirt tan line.” Kathryn (“For me, it’s arms, especially if there’s a rolled-up sleeve situation”) and Jessica (“Forearms, especially if seen in a work shirt with the sleeves folded up”) concur.
As MEL Magazine reported a couple years ago, forearms have long been an eye-candy staple. “Forearms, when they’re all tan and sinewy, maybe tattooed, a sleeve casually rolled up… Yes!” exclaims Lyz. Emily adds, “Mostly forearms, especially if they do a physical line of work. Toned forearms are hot.”
There’s good reason for all this arm talk too, per Morgan: “Nice arms mean they’re strong and hint that other parts of their bod are probably fit as well.”
“Thick thighs, especially when their shorts are riding up. They’re the best,” Pat says.
Julie adds, “This is oddly specific, but my husband walks around in the mornings in his boxer briefs, a work shirt and his black work socks. It’s very Risky Business, and it’s so very hot to me. Apparently legs and thighs get me going.”
“Calves are the gay boobs,” explains Robert. Adds Jessica, “I never thought I liked guys in shorts, but there’s something about my boyfriend’s calves. He washed my car the other day, and I was just watching them like, ‘That’s hot!’”
How else could it end, but with the, um, rear end? “It’s a 1980s answer to a timeless question, but I think more guys these days are obsessed with their glutes and it shows,” Heather says. “A male with a bubble butt is an almost comically sexy surprise. I could look at male butts bounding down the beach all day, much like women gawking at baseball players’ glorious ‘buns’ of yesteryear.”