Can pyjamas ever be sexy on a man?


However gorgeous a man may be, put him into a pair of pyjamas and his oomph factor plummets to below zero.

Just picture the scene. He's gorgeous, you're mad for him and it's time to slip into something more comfortable. He disappears to the bathroom and re-emerges... wearing a pair of roomy, stripy winceyette pyjamas. Still in the mood? Thought not.

It's not quite so bad if he's just wearing the trousers, but the whole ensemble is probably a more effective contraceptive than anything science has yet come up with.

But why? Most women would think nothing of donning a pretty nightie to get into bed. Even girlie pyjamas, we hope, look cute and even sexy in a demure, Doris Day kind of way: a hint, rather than a proclamation, of what's underneath.

We'd be incredulous, not to mention offended, if our man

(a) laughed his head off

(b) took one look at us and turned away, claiming a headache or

(c) squealed: 'You cannot be serious!'

Yet isn't that precisely what we'd do if our partner decided to wear PJ's to bed?

Funny, not sexy

Part of the reason has to be that men's pyjamas signify sexlessness. There are only two phases in the male lifetime when they're acceptable: under 10, they look cute, and over 60 they say 'homely', or 'comforting'.

At any age in between, cute or homely just don't fit. And the resulting image is hilarious rather than horny.

It doesn't matter how cold the weather, the man in his prime who insists on donning pyjamas is likely to be rewarded with a sex life as arid as the Arizona desert.

Yet it wasn't always this way. Heart-throbs like Cary Grant suffered not an iota of damage to their desirability status by appearing resplendent in pyjamas in love scenes. So if then, why not now?

Pyjamas were sexy - once

Writer and counsellor Corinne Sweet says it's precisely because we're so bombarded with sexual imagery these days that covered-up men just don't do it for us.

'In the 40's and 50's, seeing someone in pyjamas was a very intimate, risque image because of what it hinted at,' she says. 'Remember, this was the era when real kissing was forbidden, and actors had to keep one foot on the floor when doing a bed scene.

Anything slightly suggestive was sexy enough. So, seeing Cary in his pyjamas made you think of sex and nudity and what lay beneath.'

Naked is normal

Nowadays, male nudity is so normal and everyday that it's not unusual to see a naked male bottom in a prime-time TV drama.

It is so much the norm that we've come to expect men to wear nothing in bed. Which is what makes a pair of pyjamas on a nubile chap so incongruous.

Psychologist Jane Prince, of the University of Glamorgan, agrees. 'Traditionally, women have been seen at their most sexy when partly clothed, but that tradition doesn't apply to men, for whom being naked is far more comfortable and normal,' she says. 'That's why men's pyjamas look so unacceptable.'

Women to blame

Ask around, and few men admit to wearing pyjamas. But they're out there. And quite frankly, it seems that women are to blame. A spokeswoman for Marks & Spencer told us: 'Our research shows that between 65 and 75% of pyjamas are bought by women for their partners, most of them as gifts.'

What exactly are we thinking of? Unless it's a sign that all the tried-and-trusted excuses for avoiding sex are wearing thin.

Instead of 'No thanks, I've got a headache', perhaps we find it more effective to push him away with: 'Ugh, not tonight - you've got those pyjamas on again...'

But all is not lost

There is one way to make pyjamas sexy: share them. If you wear his pyjama top you'll look sweet, vulnerable, accessible.

He will (hopefully) show off his manly torso to its best effect. And, who knows? Passion could be dramatically rekindled...

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