“I am writing again to the S Spot with a question that has bugged me for years. Often when you encounter hentai/manga/anime, the cheeks of different characters are colored bright red. I understand that it is usually used to convey embarrassment. However, I also noticed that many hentais feature women with the same red colored cheeks. Assuming of course that they are aroused, why exactly do they seem embarrassed? Put another way, why depict a character in a sexual situation to be embarrassed? Is it some kind of repressed embarrassment about sex within modern Japanese culture? Your help is always appreciated.“
It’s funny to me when people ask about “repressed Japanese culture”. Yes there are complicated rules about politeness and honour in many aspects of social interaction in Japan, but, as far as I know, the Japanese, historically and currently, are less repressed about sex and sexuality than North Americans (as a group). Where else could you walk into a restaurant that has mirrors on the floor and pantiless waitresses? It’s the land of tentacle sex and cat girls, and clubs that look like subway cars, where you can grope away to your heart’s content!
In any case, whatever the social background, I would say that there are two possible reasons for red/pink cheeks on hentai characters in sexual situations:
1. Exertion. Sex can be a lot of hard work and many real women become flushed (esp after orgasm); the pink cheeks in some hentai may be replicating this.
2. Yes, embarrassment/shyness. Many hentai fans (and artists) have a thing for characters who may be a tad reluctant/shy at first, but who later give in to their carnal urges with gusto. So, the embarrassed pink cheeks can be hot because one would imagine that the character is surprised by her own previously undiscovered (or merely undisclosed) sexual appetite – which can be considered kawaii (cute) and thus a huge turn on.
Need an example? I thought you might. Here’s an except from a Co-ed Sextacy adventure (to give you a little back story, Nagi and Akira go to the same university and are dating, they also enjoy a little bondage play):