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As human beings, we're the rational animal, we survive and thrive primarily by using our big brains, not our big muscles.

These are not at odds. People with big muscles can still use their brains to determine when to put those big muscles to best use. In fact, in certain contexts big muscles can give a rational animal more options than a rational animal with small muscles. I can't tell you how many times I did not have a forklift immediately available to me or when larger muscles would have served a purpose that a forklift does not. Many of those times I do actually have a gun with me, but it is not an appropriate time to employ that tool either.

For some people their body is a temple. For other folks, their body is a gym. Different strokes and such...

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These are not at odds. People with big muscles can still use their brains to determine when to put those big muscles to best use.

I don't think it's so much of an issue "can there be value in it", but why would any (rational) person devote time to physical ability rather than intellectual ability? It is a good thing to be fit, sure, humans are alive after all. Your heart needs to function. But why put a particular strong emphasis on physical ability? Fashion style, hair style and maybe body art (in addition to intellect) are what makes a person attractive to me. Physical condition does not matter to me.

I'm not sexually attracted to men, but I'd say a guy in good clothes and other artificial alterations is a whole lot more attractive than any muscular guy. I'm not speaking "ripped", I mean muscular in a traditional sense (like Daniel Craig on the first page). The more I think about it, the less reason I have to consider Craig an attractive man; nothing special about his appearance. Add in some clothes though, and I think he is particularly good looking. Style requires the mind for it to come across as aesthetically pleasing. You can't pick a random set of colors and material and still look good. It requires calculated mental effort on an artistic sort of level. Working out does require mental effort, but I'd argue it does not require as much thought as deciding what to add to your wardrobe.

Edited by Eiuol
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I don't think it's so much of an issue "can there be value in it", but why would any (rational) person devote time to physical ability rather than intellectual ability?

Because there can be a value in it... that's a good reason to pursue a goal.

Again, I don't see these being at odds, necessarily. Objectivism has no mandate about the amount of time one must use to pursue intellectual goals. Depending on a given person's particular context (the circumstances under which THEY choose to live THEIR life), one could have time to work out, improve their mind and do the rest of the stuff they do, all while maintaining appropriate rationality.

I am at a loss to understand why some folks don't get that not everybody leads the same life they do, and that others lives can still be rational with an interest in different values and different activities. Personally, I have little to no interest in learning Japanese, it would server virtually no usefulness in my life, yet I have no issue with someone else deciding that it would be of value for them to learn. Same thing with boating... I could care less for going out on the water. What a waste of time in my book. However, others like to fish, they like to dive, heck, they just like boating. More power to them.

Fashion style, hair style and maybe body art (in addition to intellect) are what makes a person attractive to me. Physical condition does not matter to me.

Okay. Does that mean everybody should pursue values that you find attractive?\

(Edit - changed how I address first sentence slightly - RB)

Edited by RationalBiker
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I don't think it's so much of an issue "can there be value in it", but why would any (rational) person devote time to physical ability rather than intellectual ability? It is a good thing to be fit, sure, humans are alive after all. Your heart needs to function. But why put a particular strong emphasis on physical ability? Fashion style, hair style and maybe body art (in addition to intellect) are what makes a person attractive to me. Physical condition does not matter to me.

Aside from what RationalBiker said(which was a very good answer btw) I see a mind/body-dichotomy here. The body is not just some vessel for carrying around the brain. When you work the body you also work the mind. Sure, sometimes the task is very simple and demands little effort, but other times it's very challenging and demands both high physical and mental effort. Physical and mental well-being also go together.

Some form of physical "fitness" is also a necessity for life. If you just sit all day long and eat you're soon going to be sick and eventually die. So every person who want's some quality of life has to atleast do SOMETHING. It can be everything from the simplest things like having a little control over what you eat and going for an occasional walk, or you can decide to put in more effort and be really serious about it. As already pointed out, it's up to your personal values and context.

"Fitness" in itself is a very real value. How big of a value is personal and contextual. How to pursue and keep that value is also personal and contextual. There's no general rule that states that a solitary walk twice a week is perfectly rational, while busting your ass off in the gym three times a week is not.

The "strong emphasis on physical ability" has, btw, been with us since the ancient greeks. As the old saying goes, "sit mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body)". Why? Because people have found tremendous value in it, and still do, be it for purely aesthetic purposes or exercising the abilities for sports.

I'm not sexually attracted to men, but I'd say a guy in good clothes and other artificial alterations is a whole lot more attractive than any muscular guy. I'm not speaking "ripped", I mean muscular in a traditional sense (like Daniel Craig on the first page). The more I think about it, the less reason I have to consider Craig an attractive man; nothing special about his appearance. Add in some clothes though, and I think he is particularly good looking. Style requires the mind for it to come across as aesthetically pleasing. You can't pick a random set of colors and material and still look good. It requires calculated mental effort on an artistic sort of level. Working out does require mental effort, but I'd argue it does not require as much thought as deciding what to add to your wardrobe.

It depends entierly on how serious you are about it. Buying clothes and getting dressed does not reguire much effort at all if you don't care about it. You can walk into any store and ask a sales person to pick something out for you, buy it and then wear it. Of course, you can also buy a gym membership, go there, lift some weights and then put them down again. I think almost any subject can be approached that way, and what you get in return will reflect what you put into it. For exercise you can learn training principles, different programs, physiology, anatomy, nutrition, how to perform different exercises etc. All of this can help you work more intelligently, efficiently and give you better results. Just as you can learn to match different colors, patterns, fabrics, learn construction of clothes, chose different shapes and forms etc. and become a real sartorialist.

However, the value of something is not measured by how intellectually complicated it is.

Edited by Alfa
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These are not at odds. People with big muscles can still use their brains to determine when to put those big muscles to best use. In fact, in certain contexts big muscles can give a rational animal more options than a rational animal with small muscles. I can't tell you how many times I did not have a forklift immediately available to me or when larger muscles would have served a purpose that a forklift does not. Many of those times I do actually have a gun with me, but it is not an appropriate time to employ that tool either.

For some people their body is a temple. For other folks, their body is a gym. Different strokes and such...

But it takes lots of sustained efforts over long times to achieve this thing which has a very limited use. Unless you are going to be a professional offering usage of muscles to people in the area for a fee whenever it would be more useful than something like a fork lift or other machine to help lift and transport heavy objects, the amount of time and energy cost required is vastly greater than what use you'll get paid back for it. And please do remember two other points of the question - one, this is not about having any muscle development, but going after having a lot of it (since it's already been said that a little for health reasons is not a hard value to understand here), and two, the question is also about why this is such a widely held and promoted value, like people SHOULD want it, to be it or to have it in their romantic partners. I highly doubt that many people are deeply interested in being or dating professional lifters-of-heavy-objects-in-tight-spaces.

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The "strong emphasis on physical ability" has, btw, been with us since the ancient greeks. As the old saying goes, "sit mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body)". Why? Because people have found tremendous value in it, and still do, be it for purely aesthetic purposes or exercising the abilities for sports.

I question the value it ought to be in comparison to other intellectual pursuits. I don't mean it is worthless to be in shape, but why does that have to be related to be *attraction* to a person? All people do value different things, but that doesn't mean all people value things rationally. I'm not questioning "Why would being muscular be of value" so much, but "why is being muscular attractive?" I don't see why going beyond being healthy enhances your attractiveness at all.

It depends entierly on how serious you are about it. Buying clothes and getting dressed does not reguire much effort at all if you don't care about it.

Well yes, if you don't put much effort in it, you wouldn't be attractive in at least how you physically look. But that look is entirely dependent on the person's values. You can't help your metabolism (sometimes), you can't help if your hair is naturally wavy or straight. But you can entirely control your clothes. The whole point of clothes is to look good and demonstrate artistic expression (maybe art isn't the right word, but expression still fits). The point of working out is to maintain your health (if it's to look attractive, I'm already questioning the premise of physical condition being attractive).

However, the value of something is not measured by how intellectually complicated it is.

It does matter though, the intellectual effort of building a skyscraper is different than stacking wooden blocks on top of each other. I would say a skyscraper is of higher value because of the intellectual requirements of making a skyscraper.

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But it takes lots of sustained efforts over long times to achieve this thing which has a very limited use.

That's not a problem as long as you don't sacrifice more important values to do that.

Unless you are going to be a professional offering usage of muscles to people in the area for a fee whenever it would be more useful than something like a fork lift or other machine to help lift and transport heavy objects, the amount of time and energy cost required is vastly greater than what use you'll get paid back for it.

Use for whom and by what standard?

What about people who drive cars around racetracks? Surely there's no use to that either as you're not allowed to drive like that on public roads anyway. What's the point in that, and what's up with those sportscars like Ferrari's? What about playing football, baseball or martial arts? Pretty useless too. And chess. I've never understood chess. Sure, it's intellectually demanding, but why not put that effort into something more usefull - like reading a book?

It's a ridiculous argument. People do all kinds of stuff for highly personal reasons. Sometimes it's just because it's fun.

And please do remember two other points of the question - one, this is not about having any muscle development, but going after having a lot of it (since it's already been said that a little for health reasons is not a hard value to understand here), and two, the question is also about why this is such a widely held and promoted value, like people SHOULD want it, to be it or to have it in their romantic partners.

So when does the muscular development become "a lot", do you have any objective measure, and why is that irrational as opposed to having "a little"? Who says people SHOULD have it?

I highly doubt that many people are deeply interested in being or dating professional lifters-of-heavy-objects-in-tight-spaces.

Yeah, well... that's not very surprising. Depends on what you mean by professional lifters of course, but to give a few examples:

Professional bodybuilder:

http://images.hugi.is/heilsa/148518.jpg

Professional powerlifter:

http://www.criticalbench.com/images/Chuck-Vogelpohl.jpg

Professional strongmen:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_mmBw3uzPnJI/Ryn2...ongman_007.jpg8

Point is that professionals compete to be the best in within their field. That's no longer about getting a little stronger, leaner, more muscular or whatever; it's not about looking good on the beach, for your girlfriend or in a movie. I don't think professional standards is what this thread is about. :)

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I understand what you're saying Alfa, and I don't disagree with you. I agree now that it's really just a matter of personal preference.

But my original question was not about the usefulness or value of bodybuilding or just plain working out in general, my question was mainly about why having a ridiculously muscled body is so widely considered the ideal, why girlfriends expect boyfriends to look that way, why Hollywood stars have to look that way. And there are many men who workout at the gym just so that they can "look good for their girlfriends." I can't see how that relationship is going to last if the only thing either person cares about is appearance. Maybe shallow people need shallow people?

My question was about sexual attraction and musculature and their interaction. In all these workout ads, you see these men with impossible physiques that only male models can achieve, and you're expected to look like that, and your wife is supposed to like it? Obviously, a minimum level of muscle tone is good for you - you need your muscles to be in good enough shape to keep you standing and moving around and capable of ordinary tasks. And I can see how that should and could be considered normal and sexually attractive.

The other, deeper question I have is: why is sexual attraction so often seen as purely physical? Yes, sex is obviously *part* physical, but at least for a rational person, there has to be a intellectual and emotional component. I.e. you have to love this person. And sexual attraction and arousal can even occur without visual stimuli; sometimes all it takes is a word or a certain emotion or mood. It just seems to me that people neglect this side of sexual attraction and focus solely on the physical aspects.

And I still don't understand how something like six pack abs could ever be sexually attractive. Again, maybe it's just personal preference, but I as a man think they're grotesque looking and I know plenty of women who think the same way. I just don't understand it...that's all. Let me put it bluntly, but seriously: does an image of a muscled man sexually arouse women? Is this on the same level of the female breast to a man? (Although even the breast is not necessarily attractive to all men, especially not large ones).

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I question the value it ought to be in comparison to other intellectual pursuits.

But that is personal. And since we both seem to agree that it's good to be healthy and in shape this is not even an issue. For those who prefer a more muscular physique it's simply about choosing the form of exercise that will develop that. What I mean is that it's more about the choice of physical activity than anything else, and since some physical activity is necessary for health...

I don't mean it is worthless to be in shape, but why does that have to be related to be *attraction* to a person? All people do value different things, but that doesn't mean all people value things rationally. I'm not questioning "Why would being muscular be of value" so much, but "why is being muscular attractive?" I don't see why going beyond being healthy enhances your attractiveness at all.

First, I think "going beyond healthy" is a very vague standard. Exercise, in various forms, has alot of health benefits. However, I don't think there's any clear cut line where you no longer see any returns. Going to the extremes, wether it be cardiovascular conditioning or muscular development, can have it's negative effects. I can't say if the good outweighs the bad, but there certainly are some drawbacks. On the other hand, I don't think we're talking extremes here.

Regarding why it's considered attractive it's about a concrete physical manifestation of some peoples values. I say some, because obviously not everyone finds it attractive. Personally i'm not sexually attracted to other men but I think a more muscular physique is aestetically pleasing because I love well developed anatomy and it looks strong and masculine. Others may of course find it attractive for other reasons.

Well yes, if you don't put much effort in it, you wouldn't be attractive in at least how you physically look. But that look is entirely dependent on the person's values. You can't help your metabolism (sometimes), you can't help if your hair is naturally wavy or straight. But you can entirely control your clothes. The whole point of clothes is to look good and demonstrate artistic expression (maybe art isn't the right word, but expression still fits). The point of working out is to maintain your health (if it's to look attractive, I'm already questioning the premise of physical condition being attractive).

Are you questioning wether or not anything outside our volitional control could or should be considered attractive? If so, yes(because of what I wrote above, regarding why it's attractive). If not, I don't see your point here.

It does matter though, the intellectual effort of building a skyscraper is different than stacking wooden blocks on top of each other. I would say a skyscraper is of higher value because of the intellectual requirements of making a skyscraper.

A skyscraper is a greater achievement but value is contextual.

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Are you questioning wether or not anything outside our volitional control could or should be considered attractive? If so, yes(because of what I wrote above, regarding why it's attractive). If not, I don't see your point here.

I think I am actually. I hadn't realized it, but since you pointed it out, I think that is an underlying premise I have. I have more to say, but I'd want to know if you have anything to say about my answer here.

A skyscraper is a greater achievement but value is contextual.

You're right, all value depends on the context. I'm only suggesting that the achievement of either is primarily about intellectual achievement is an important part about how valuable something is, probably the most important thing for any rational person, particularly for attraction. Since reason is something *all* people need to survive, I would find a demonstration of intellect to be the most attractive, or at least it ought to be. If only your head grew bigger as you learned more!

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LOL, well I do have the biggest hat size in my family ahaha

Just kidding...I can understand the argument that a physique can reflect your values, but I think I need to repost something:

And I still don't understand how something like six pack abs could ever be sexually attractive. Again, maybe it's just personal preference, but I as a man think they're grotesque looking and I know plenty of women who think the same way. I just don't understand it...that's all. Let me put it bluntly, but seriously: does an image of a muscled man sexually arouse women? Is this on the same level of the female breast to a man? (Although even the breast is not necessarily attractive to all men, especially not large ones).

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But it takes lots of sustained efforts over long times to achieve this thing which has a very limited use.

Maybe yes, but I personally don't think it is up to you (or anyway else) to necessarily conclude that the use of that time is irrational. In my job, I very rarely have to fight with people, but it would behoove me to put a significant amount of time into training (which actually I don't put enough by far) for that very limited usage because it only takes one fight for me not to come home that night.

one, this is not about having any muscle development, but going after having a lot of it

I understand that. My point is that people are making judgments that appear not to acknowledge the different contexts and values of people's lives. I am not say that it is, but the appearance is that they cannot see beyond their own lives and think "why don't people act and value just like me?"

the question is also about why this is such a widely held and promoted value, like people SHOULD want it, to be it or to have it in their romantic partners.

I question whether or not that is a valid premise, and I've not seen anything presented to demonstrate that it is so widespread as to be problematic for the individual or the culture.

I highly doubt that many people are deeply interested in being or dating professional lifters-of-heavy-objects-in-tight-spaces.

Which suggests you doubt the second premise as well.

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That's not a problem as long as you don't sacrifice more important values to do that.

Use for whom and by what standard?

What about people who drive cars around racetracks? Surely there's no use to that either as you're not allowed to drive like that on public roads anyway. What's the point in that, and what's up with those sportscars like Ferrari's? What about playing football, baseball or martial arts? Pretty useless too. And chess. I've never understood chess. Sure, it's intellectually demanding, but why not put that effort into something more usefull - like reading a book?

It's a ridiculous argument. People do all kinds of stuff for highly personal reasons. Sometimes it's just because it's fun.

So when does the muscular development become "a lot", do you have any objective measure, and why is that irrational as opposed to having "a little"? Who says people SHOULD have it?

Yeah, well... that's not very surprising. Depends on what you mean by professional lifters of course, but to give a few examples:

Professional bodybuilder:

http://images.hugi.is/heilsa/148518.jpg

Professional powerlifter:

http://www.criticalbench.com/images/Chuck-Vogelpohl.jpg

Professional strongmen:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_mmBw3uzPnJI/Ryn2...ongman_007.jpg8

Point is that professionals compete to be the best in within their field. That's no longer about getting a little stronger, leaner, more muscular or whatever; it's not about looking good on the beach, for your girlfriend or in a movie. I don't think professional standards is what this thread is about. :)

I know you could always try to pull out the argument that some person's personal value hierarchy puts their having what I would consider to be ridiculously oversized muscles higher up over just about any other thing I could say they could be doing with their time and effort and perhaps even money instead. I'm going to answer that argument now before waiting for it to be brought up more explicitly. People can have different personal value hierarchies, sure, but in this case the only underlying reasons to value the thing in the first case I've already explained I see other better ways to get the job done than by relying on utilizing your own particularly large muscles in just about every case. So why then would somebody put the value of those large muscles up so much higher on their list than anything else they could do with their time, effort, and money? To me it sounds like putting a higher priority on the usage of an outdated slower old medical procedure that costs more and has more unpleasant side effects than whatever else you could do with that time and money and so on if you were to use the newer medical procedure. Even if you want to argue somebody just prefers the aesthetic of the look, I'd ask why that aesthetic is quite so appealing to them as to be worth it. A lot of the aesthetics about what looks good in a human body (aside from the things that aren't about more . . . Ah, I can't come up with a good word for it, but I was thinking about stuff like hair and make up) are based around what looks to be healthy and the kind of thing I'm talking about now is an amount of muscles that goes well beyond what would be done for simple health reasons. So there would have to be some other unusual reason for why this look would be found appealing to so many people aside from the normal reason a lot of people find certain things appealing in a human form. What would that reason be then? I don't know.

Racing: largely that's about testing the technical achievements in cars, it's something I could understand some people enjoying for seeing what feats the human mind has accomplished being tested out and compared against each other. For the driver, it's probably a neat feeling to be going that fast and to test your skills against other drivers. I wonder if race car drivers are also better at avoiding accidents on normal roads than other drivers too due to being used to having to make much quicker decisions and reactions while driving?

Sports cars: More awesome achievements of human ingenuity, and they typically come with lots of nice features. They also typically are bought by people with a whole lot of money that they can afford to spend on whatever they feel like whereas time is another matter, people have fairly limited amounts of time unless some really huge medical breakthrough comes along soon and also I think a lot of people who are spending the time and effort and money on getting such large muscles are not people who also just have lots of money to spare.

Football and baseball: These involve a fair deal of tactics and strategies too played out against many other skilled people you test yourself against.

Martial arts: similar to football and baseball, but also comes with some extra skill in defending yourself and your values in case of emergency and for some reason having to be without a weapon at the time, a skill I think would do better than just having muscles.

Chess: see football and baseball.

Also, when is it a lot? I'd say when it stops being about health and you aren't working in some job or have some other substantial hobby (aside from lifting weights itself) where you get a pretty good advantage by being more muscular.

And you know I hyphenated that term on purpose, to distinguish people lifting objects because the objects need to be lifted for some other purpose from people lifting the objects just for the sake of showing they can lift the objects or to further develop their muscles. :P

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Maybe yes, but I personally don't think it is up to you (or anyway else) to necessarily conclude that the use of that time is irrational. In my job, I very rarely have to fight with people, but it would behoove me to put a significant amount of time into training (which actually I don't put enough by far) for that very limited usage because it only takes one fight for me not to come home that night.

I understand that. My point is that people are making judgments that appear not to acknowledge the different contexts and values of people's lives. I am not say that it is, but the appearance is that they cannot see beyond their own lives and think "why don't people act and value just like me?"

I question whether or not that is a valid premise, and I've not seen anything presented to demonstrate that it is so widespread as to be problematic for the individual or the culture.

Which suggests you doubt the second premise as well.

I most certainly do not object at all to being well prepared for a possible rare occurrence fight in a line of work prone to high risk situations like that, but I would think even when it comes to being prepared in case you are somehow disarmed there would be more advantage to be gained from training in things like martial arts then spending that same time on just trying to gain more and more muscle mass. Also, while I could understand as a possible aid to the martial arts type fighting skills being more muscular than just what would probably result from pursuing muscle development for the health benefits, the vast majority of people are not in lines of work or other positions where they can expect that they likely will every so often need to be prepared to fight and in enough cases that they may get disarmed at some point. Their expectable but rare usages they may find for their muscle development are something like moving a big, bulky piece of furniture out of the hallway in the middle of the second floor of the house, which sounds like much less payoff when used in those rare cases than every so often maybe finding you've saved your life or avoided getting maimed because you were more developed than average.

Well, seeing as advertisements generally can't sell stuff to people that people aren't predisposed to being in favor of, I'd say all the gym and weight lifting equipment commercials are one sign and also has been stated what the normal look is of Hollywood actors, the ones who are supposed to play good looking people, not the ones who are supposed to plat not very attractive people. I've heard it spoken of by a lot of average people too. It sure does seem like a rather prevalent view from what I've encountered.

And that last line, I meant I doubted a lot of those people who wanted that physique in themselves or their partners wanted it because they wanted or wanted to be somebody who did a job that really required it for some other end. :)

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I understand what you're saying Alfa, and I don't disagree with you. I agree now that it's really just a matter of personal preference.

Ok then, let's see if I can give good answers to the other questions before I have little nap. :)

But my original question was not about the usefulness or value of bodybuilding or just plain working out in general, my question was mainly about why having a ridiculously muscled body is so widely considered the ideal, why girlfriends expect boyfriends to look that way, why Hollywood stars have to look that way. And there are many men who workout at the gym just so that they can "look good for their girlfriends." I can't see how that relationship is going to last if the only thing either person cares about is appearance. Maybe shallow people need shallow people?

I don't think girlfriends expect their boyfriends to look that way. A lot of men seem to think that though. From my time spent in gyms and exercise related forums i've seen that alot. Young guys who think another inch on their upper arms and more well defined abs will help them get women. It doesn't work that way. Never has and never will. Neither do men expect women to look like playboy-models, even though men tend to go a lot more by looks than women do. I'm not saying women are not attracted by looks, but that's not what will catch them. Character is.

Maybe that percieved exeption comes from media and it's the picture you get from watching TV, but in reality it doesn't work that way. At most some women would expect you to look healthy, clean, well groomed and decently dressed. More than that could perhaps make things a little easier, but that's it.

As far as Hollywood is concerned people like to see good looking people. Movies often show an ideal and romanticized picture. Actors can also have a more wide range of roles if they take good care of their looks. And in movies their looks are further enhanced by professional stylists(alot of the actors probably look pretty normal a sunday afternoon without all the make-up).

My question was about sexual attraction and musculature and their interaction. In all these workout ads, you see these men with impossible physiques that only male models can achieve, and you're expected to look like that, and your wife is supposed to like it? Obviously, a minimum level of muscle tone is good for you - you need your muscles to be in good enough shape to keep you standing and moving around and capable of ordinary tasks. And I can see how that should and could be considered normal and sexually attractive.

I don't want to sound cynical here but alot of those ads make money by making you feel inadequate and buying their "fix". I mean, they are practically no better than ads about penis enlargement pills that would make you wish you had 30 inch dick. And the exercise equipment and dietary suplements they sell usually work about as well as those pills. Most of what you'll ever see or hear in those ads is ouright fraud.

It's not necessarily impossible to achieve such physiques. It depends more specifically of what sort of ads we're talking about. But there's years of work behind it, and it's certainly not achieved by what they're selling. You'll also need to be born with a good shape on your muscles, to create pleasing lines and symetry, thus a big part of it is genetic. Quite often those who pose for such ads have used steroids and before the ads are shot they have been spray-painted.

It's not rational to hold anyone to such standards, and thankfully people don't.

The other, deeper question I have is: why is sexual attraction so often seen as purely physical? Yes, sex is obviously *part* physical, but at least for a rational person, there has to be a intellectual and emotional component. I.e. you have to love this person. And sexual attraction and arousal can even occur without visual stimuli; sometimes all it takes is a word or a certain emotion or mood. It just seems to me that people neglect this side of sexual attraction and focus solely on the physical aspects.

Because people rarely understand sexual attraction. But I don't think people neglect other aspects. It's usually more a matter of saying one thing, while it works out very differently in reality.

And I still don't understand how something like six pack abs could ever be sexually attractive. Again, maybe it's just personal preference, but I as a man think they're grotesque looking and I know plenty of women who think the same way. I just don't understand it...that's all. Let me put it bluntly, but seriously: does an image of a muscled man sexually arouse women? Is this on the same level of the female breast to a man? (Although even the breast is not necessarily attractive to all men, especially not large ones).

It probably arouses some women. I've met women who like skinny, fat, muscular, tall and short guys. Men with long hair, short hair, no hair... There's only one thing that can be said for sure; most women like men. And for most of those most women, men are not defined by how they look. :P

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... the vast majority of people are not in lines of work or other positions where they can expect that they likely will every so often need to be prepared to fight

Which really goes in tune with the fact that the vast majority of people are not hugely muscular. So this doesn't seem to be at odds with reality or my position.

I'm satisfied with what I've presented so far, so I think I'll only add one more thing; I'm not going to presume for someone else whether or not their pursuit of a muscular body is irrational without knowing a fuller context of their life and what greater value, if any, they are sacrificing in pursuit of sculpting the body they desire. I think doing so is unjust as I would not being making such judgment with sufficient data. I don't think I have anything to add to this line anymore.

Well, seeing as advertisements generally can't sell stuff to people that people aren't predisposed to being in favor of, I'd say all the gym and weight lifting equipment commercials are one sign and also has been stated what the normal look is of Hollywood actors, the ones who are supposed to play good looking people, not the ones who are supposed to plat not very attractive people. I've heard it spoken of by a lot of average people too. It sure does seem like a rather prevalent view from what I've encountered.

I'm sorry, but I see this as woefully short of establishing that premise. As far as selling equipment, it makes sense to have a person who is muscular as your representative as it suggests that your equipment or method is successful, not necessarily that the people who use the equipment or method will achieve the same level of success. Secondly, I can rattle of quite a few hollywood stars that are far from muscular, let alone shapely. However, even if I gave you both of these points in the fullest, it will still fall well short of establishing that a very muscular build is some kind of predominate cultural expectation.

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There seem to be a large number of people though who are not in those kinds of jobs or hobbies yet who still pursue this. I also specified that it was not all Hollywood actors, but specifically most of the ones who play parts of characters who are supposed to be good looking. Additionally, I've said I've heard from numerous average people, not famous ones or advertisements, that they hold this shape as the standard ideal for what men should look like. I do not at all mean to say I think this ideal is universal, just that it is rather prevalent.

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There seem to be a large number of people though who are not in those kinds of jobs or hobbies yet who still pursue this. I also specified that it was not all Hollywood actors, but specifically most of the ones who play parts of characters who are supposed to be good looking. Additionally, I've said I've heard from numerous average people, not famous ones or advertisements, that they hold this shape as the standard ideal for what men should look like. I do not at all mean to say I think this ideal is universal, just that it is rather prevalent.

None of which I see to be indicative of a problem BYMMV.

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I know you could always try to pull out the argument that some person's personal value hierarchy puts their having what I would consider to be ridiculously oversized muscles higher up over just about any other thing I could say they could be doing with their time and effort and perhaps even money instead. I'm going to answer that argument now before waiting for it to be brought up more explicitly. People can have different personal value hierarchies, sure, but in this case the only underlying reasons to value the thing in the first case I've already explained I see other better ways to get the job done than by relying on utilizing your own particularly large muscles in just about every case. So why then would somebody put the value of those large muscles up so much higher on their list than anything else they could do with their time, effort, and money? To me it sounds like putting a higher priority on the usage of an outdated slower old medical procedure that costs more and has more unpleasant side effects than whatever else you could do with that time and money and so on if you were to use the newer medical procedure. Even if you want to argue somebody just prefers the aesthetic of the look, I'd ask why that aesthetic is quite so appealing to them as to be worth it. A lot of the aesthetics about what looks good in a human body (aside from the things that aren't about more . . . Ah, I can't come up with a good word for it, but I was thinking about stuff like hair and make up) are based around what looks to be healthy and the kind of thing I'm talking about now is an amount of muscles that goes well beyond what would be done for simple health reasons. So there would have to be some other unusual reason for why this look would be found appealing to so many people aside from the normal reason a lot of people find certain things appealing in a human form. What would that reason be then? I don't know.

You seem to be assuming that there's a huge cost to it, which is not necessary. You don't have to live in a gym to develop a muscular physique. It doesn't even have to take up more time than what would normaly be just a healthy amount of exercise. The biggest difference lies in effiency and a form of exercise that induces muscular hypertrophy. And that efficiency also goes for health benefits. To name a few; stronger heart, stronger bones, joints, connective tissue, improved insuline sensitivity, better hormonal profile and better levels of blood fats.

Several reasons have already been given as to why some find it looks appealing.

Racing: largely that's about testing the technical achievements in cars, it's something I could understand some people enjoying for seeing what feats the human mind has accomplished being tested out and compared against each other. For the driver, it's probably a neat feeling to be going that fast and to test your skills against other drivers. I wonder if race car drivers are also better at avoiding accidents on normal roads than other drivers too due to being used to having to make much quicker decisions and reactions while driving?

It sure is a neat feeling of going fast and testing the limits of your own and the cars ability. The same reason can be applied as to why some people like to work out. It's a "neat" feeling of pushing yourself to the limits of your ability.

Sports cars: More awesome achievements of human ingenuity, and they typically come with lots of nice features. They also typically are bought by people with a whole lot of money that they can afford to spend on whatever they feel like whereas time is another matter, people have fairly limited amounts of time unless some really huge medical breakthrough comes along soon and also I think a lot of people who are spending the time and effort and money on getting such large muscles are not people who also just have lots of money to spare.

Some people have more time than others to spend working out. Exercise is also a necessity for well being, and while i'd love to argue that the existence of Ferrari's are a necessity for my well being I cannot say it's something unviversal for all people.

Football and baseball: These involve a fair deal of tactics and strategies too played out against many other skilled people you test yourself against.

If I set up a goal of deadlifting 500lbs reaching that would also involve a fair deal of tactics and strategies. I could also compete against other skilled people if I like.

Martial arts: similar to football and baseball, but also comes with some extra skill in defending yourself and your values in case of emergency and for some reason having to be without a weapon at the time, a skill I think would do better than just having muscles.

That depends. If you're wide as a barn door and have neck the size of a tree trunk noone would mess with you anyway. Personally though I believe more in staying out of trouble and verbal aikido for self-defence, unless you're in the buisness of fighting bad guys.

Also, when is it a lot? I'd say when it stops being about health and you aren't working in some job or have some other substantial hobby (aside from lifting weights itself) where you get a pretty good advantage by being more muscular.

When does it stop being about health? And why can't lifting weights itself be a substantial hobby?

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Women like muscles. I like women. I also like lifting weights. It is as simple as that. I would not say that our culture is obsessed with muscle - though I will say that all the skinny guys claim not to be obsessed, a quarter of which are closet bisexuals, and their wives are all secretly obsessed. Every girl wants an alpha male - and muscular men wreak alpha. Law of nature bro...

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That depends. If you're wide as a barn door and have neck the size of a tree trunk noone would mess with you anyway. Personally though I believe more in staying out of trouble and verbal aikido for self-defence, unless you're in the buisness of fighting bad guys.

And the interesting thing about quite a few of the bad guys is that they spend an inordinate amount of time in jail or prison working out. For some bad guys, it would seem to offer them character improvement and self-esteem. In other cases, it just means cops and correctional officers have to deal with larger, stronger angry men.

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Women like muscles. I like women. I also like lifting weights. It is as simple as that. I would not say that our culture is obsessed with muscle - though I will say that all the skinny guys claim not to be obsessed, a quarter of which are closet bisexuals, and their wives are all secretly obsessed. Every girl wants an alpha male - and muscular men wreak alpha. Law of nature bro...

This post actually seems to reinforce Krattle's and bluecherry's points more than anything. And since when are skinny guys closet bisexuals? That makes no sense.

For the record, I'm a woman, and yes, I do like muscles. On me. Do I appreciate a muscular guy? Sure, within limits (I don't like ridiculous amounts of definition). Is my guy a beanpole? Quite the contrary. But don't forget that a woman may be just as interested as a man in BEING strong rather than having to find that strength in someone else. The converse seems a bit secondhanded to me, but then again the usual conception of female sexuality in Oist circles comes off as secondhanded to me anyhow so maybe that is why.

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Law of nature? Bro? Alpha male?

I'm a closet bisexual?

I'm sorry, but WTF are you talking about?

This is exactly the kind of attitude I was asking about in my original question. This is exactly the kind of attitude I fail to understand...

Edited by Krattle
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Women like muscles. I like women. I also like lifting weights. It is as simple as that. I would not say that our culture is obsessed with muscle ..... Every girl wants an alpha male - and muscular men wreak alpha. Law of nature bro...

Actually, it's as simple as that for wolves (sort of, I'm not even sure about that). But if let's say it is, that's because they are simple creatures. Since men aren't wolves, taking the analogy to a wolf pack the phrase "alpha male" implies literally is a mistake. There's no such thing as an actual human alpha male, that expression is just a very imprecise description of men who have or appear to have good leadership skills and confidence. And even that very sketchy distinction has nothing to do with muscles: there are plenty of "alpha males" who never worked out in their lives.

So let's consider reading some of the fine points the bros and (I guess) sis's made in this pretty long thread, before we decide that the human condition can be reduced to the mechanics of a wolf pack.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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