Recently I've seen a lot of women talking about fantasies involving objectification (esp. dollification), and read this post involving it: Sexual Harassment and Men. A particularly relevant paragraph, quoted in turn from Shakesville, is
It is a conversation I've had before with trans women, with fat cis women, women with noticeable physical disabilities, and with a women who has severe craniofacial deformities-the "I don't want to be treated like a piece of meat or an object or a possession, but because Visible Women are treated like pieces of meat and objects and possessions, the fact that I'm not makes me feel like I'm not even a woman" conversation...Now, I've always considered myself extraordinarily good at not objectifying women. My recurring fantasies all focus on volition, which kind of rules out objectification. I'm also better than most at not staring, etc. But I'm just now realizing that this was probably one of the major sources of problems between my ex and I.
She used to say to me, "Do you mind if I look at you like a piece of meat?" I always said sure, while trying to hide the fact that the phrase made me kind of uncomfortable. I don't like the idea of being objectified. I think it would be flattering if someone wanted to dollify me, except that it would be insulting to my mind and will that the situation would be improved if they were left out. But the fact she was using that phrase indicates it wasn't an objectionable idea to her.
She told me once that she didn't feel attractive to me. This made no sense to me at the time, because I complimented her all the time. My pet names for her were things like Pretty, Beautiful, Gorgeous. There was the way I'd always run to her when she'd mention she was going to be naked, and tell her how gorgeous she was. And, of course, there was how much I always wanted sex with her.
But, I insisted on her mind and will being involved. Earlier, when I was less desperate, if she wasn't particularly into it, I'd suggest we save it up for later. I was always wanting her to do things involving her mind, like dressing up, playacting, telling me her ideas and fantasies. And it was to the almost total exclusion of wanting to use her body. And I think now that that was a constant insult to her looks. Men are expected to objectify, and lots of (most? nearly all?) women want it under the right circumstances, and I'm pretty sure she was one of them. So, I think always asking for her mind, and never just for her body, made her feel that her body was unattractive, which was of course one of the best possible ways to make sure she didn't want to have sex with me.
I think I'll probably write this up for her in an email and ask her about it; since she felt unattractive, maybe explaining it will help her now. That kind of thing doesn't go away with time all that quickly.