For me going shirtless has always had very strong erotic undertones. Growing up it seemed like most guys could just whip off their shirts without giving it a second thought, like it was no big deal. It's just what guys do, right? But for me it was filled with all this sexual tension. When younger, I could get aroused just by taking off my shirt, and this was certainly the case if I was getting shirtless with a buddy or a group of guys. In P.E. a friendly basketball game of Shirts vs. Skins always caused me great anxiety. I remember taking a road trip in college with three other guys. The car was warm and they all took their shirts off, but I just couldn't do it. I know part of it had to do with my poor body image, but there was also this whole thing of being aroused by it. For me taking off my shirt evokes all these thoughts and feelings of masculinity and virility and muscular strength and manliness and male sexuality and macho posturing... Taking off my shirt wasn't just some neutral activity but very sensual and stimulating. I so envied those guys who could just strip down, totally uninhibited, like it was the most natural thing in the world (which it is), but I was never able to do that. Too inhibited, I guess? Insecure? Unsure of my sexuality? Can anyone else relate to this? Is this something only a gay man feels? Do straight men have these same feelings about shirtless, but they just hide it better? When a crew of sweaty guys are out working on a construction site with their shirts off, do you think there's any underlying sexual energy there at all? Is it just about staying cool, period? Is it all a matter of sexual orientation or do you think all men share some similar feelings about shirtlessness to some degree? I worked on a paint crew one summer. Some of the crew worked shirtless the majority of the time and some of the crew never worked shirtless. (Can you guess which group I was in?) Why the difference? Is it all about being confident and comfortable with one's body? There was certainly a variety of fitness levels in the shirtless group. For some of the guys, whipping off their shirts had an element of showing off to it, but for others, it just seemed like no big deal. I honestly can't remember if I ever joined the shirtless group that summer, but I know I thought about it the whole time. I'm intrigued by the psychology of this. Why is shirtlessness so sexually charged for me? And am I alone in these feelings? Do you guys feel sexually empowered when you go shirtless, more potent? Is going shirtless a totally nonsexual thing for you, or is there a sexual element to it also? Do you thinks that's true for all men? In our society, for the most part, going shirtless is a privilege relegated to men only. Being able to proudly take off one's shirt seems to be part of being a man. I just find it hard to view this shirtlessness as totally nonsexual. It seems charged with male sexuality to me. I'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts and experiences. R.D.