Women project their charisma-induced arousal onto men. Men project their visually-induced arousal onto women. And where the streams of these two projections meet, confusion and frustration with the seemingly strange behavior of the opposite sex emerge.
Commenter AErickson perceptively observes,
I have a little under 9% body fat, a good amount of lean muscle fiber, visible abdominal muscles, etc., and can generally concur that it really is not that useful in attracting women. Further, in line with your argument that women are generally pretty solipsistic when it comes to bodies, when first seeing me shirtless, women are more likely to comment “Wow, how much do you workout/I wish I had your flat stomach!” then they are to comment “So sexy/I want your body/etc.” I workout because I enjoy it and because I care about my health; for attracting women it is more important to focus on other things, like charisma and outside passions.
This rings true, because I’ve heard (in context) the same lines from women, almost verbatim.
In relation to the functioning of the sexual market and how women perceive men’s bodies, it’s useful to think of male looks and physique as an inspiring aesthetic rather than a perspiring analeptic. Men hunger at the sight of women’s sexy bodies; women appreciate the sight of men’s masculine bodies (and then wonder if the man behind the body is interesting). As Elaine said, men’s bodies are utilitarian, like Jeeps, built to get things done.
While this formulation is by no means exclusive of overlap or exceptions, as a general rule it works well. A man with a good body is like a fine sculpture, or a technological wonder; enjoyable for women to admire and to uncover the artist’s or engineer’s intent, perhaps even going so far as to use the work of art for a solipsistic moment of self-reflection.
A woman with a good body is art, but she is also a drug, stimulating instant desire in men that is like the human aesthetic sense distilled in raw form to its ancestral animal essence, whereby the object is not to admire, but to consume.
Women can be stimulated to instant, wall-climbing desire as well, but it usually requires more… much more… than a muscular body. If you want to know what instant, insistent, existential female horniness looks like, go to high society parties and watch how they behave in the company of a famous or powerful man.