I came across this intriguing post written by a Christian girl/woman, whom I gather is fairly young (probably in her teens or early twenties at the most) and, apparently, very sexually inexperienced:
Over the last couple months, my best friend and I have been planning to see that play Equus, with Daniel Radcliffe. For those who don’t know, the show is infamous not only because of his talent, but because of his big naked scene. I knew this, but didn’t realize how uncomfortable I was about it until now. And I can’t take back the tickets since they are pretty expensive, and our parents practically bent over backwards to get them. And the scene is apparently short anyway.
My friends who know about my issue with this have been telling me to “get over it”. My best friend said “You’re going to have to get over the male anatomy”, telling me he’s not that bad. I even had another friend’s mom tell me to “Sneak a peek while you can!” But it’s a fact that he will be full on naked, and it’s also a fact that if I did “sneak a peek”, my mind would be haunted for more than just that day. Why is there something wrong with not wanting to see a naked male body? Once I do, I won’t just think of him, but all other guys because I know what’s under their clothes. Why is there something wrong with trying to keep the innocence of not knowing?!
It is not my intention to sneer at this particular young lady’s innocence and inexperience. I just want to point out that her distress over the mere possibility of seeing a nude male body in a non-sexual context indicates what I believe is a serious discomfort with certain natural facets of human life, a discomfort that is frequently fostered by conservative, often religious, ideologies.
First, the human race is comprised of male and female members. We all come with different anatomical equipment, all of which has distinct and necessary purposes. There is nothing distasteful about this. The friends who advised her to “get over it,” pretty much got it right. All they were saying, basically, is that a nude human body should not embarrass anybody. Now, if she doesn’t want to see a nude man at this point in her life, that’s her business. And, frankly, given what she’s written, she’s probably not ready for the experience and should, therefore, sell or give away her ticket.
But, I can’t help wondering why she thinks she would be “haunted” for days by the image of a naked man? And why is she so concerned about “keeping the innocence” of not knowing “what’s under their clothes?” Am I supposed to infer that she honestly has no idea what men look like under their blue jeans? Has she seriously never changed a baby boy’s diaper, inadvertently seen a guy pissing by the roadside, glimpsed Michael Phelps in his speedo swimsuit, or even seen a line diagram in a biology textbook? I find all of that hard to believe. If it’s true, then this girl’s education has been grossly neglected and her upbringing has been far too sheltered. Moreover, I can’t help wondering if her extreme discomfort about “losing her innocence” simply by briefly seeing a nude man from afar indicates a deep level of unawareness of, and discomfort with, her own body and her own sexuality.
Second, the mother who advised the girl to “sneak a peek” trivialized the girl’s distress and emphasized a sexual overtone in a situation in which sex is not relevant. The girl was already in unnecessary despair because she imagined that seeing a nude man in a play would ipso facto be a sexual experience; the mother’s flippant advice only enhanced that impression. This Western (and conservative religious) tendency to equate nudity with sex is unhealthy, and, frankly, perverted. It renders people unable to handle either routine physical experiences (such as a pelvic exam) or explicitly sexual situations in mature manners. It’s the sort of attitude that leads people to believe that Michelangelo’s David is pornographic and other similar tommyrot. It’s warped thinking and it’s got to stop. We, as a society, simply must grow up.
Sadly, I must report that this girl is not alone in her discomfort with the human anatomy. Some of the comments at her site, including those written by married women, are equally pathetic:
I wouldn’t feel comfortable with it. And I’ve been married for more than 10 years! No thanks.
Don’t look! In a way, it’s like porn. Once that image is in your mind, you will never, never, never get it out of your head. No matter how badly you wish you could erase it. And of course there’s nothing wrong with the male anatomy. Our bodies are wonderful things. But we shouldn’t go around displaying it for the world. I’ve been married for 11 years and even though I’m very familiar with what male anatomy looks like, I still wouldn’t want another man’s naked image burned into my mind.
Your unease is a normal, natural reaction. What is not normal or natural is removing one’s clothing before hundreds of people. Don’t let anyone make you feel as though your response is the odd one. There is a reason we wear clothing, and it’s a very good one!
While I do believe that we can pray to be cleansed or to forget those pornographic images, it’s still very, very hard to get those images out of your mind. Certainly you can visualize other things and try your best to clear you mind of those images. But it will take a lot of work and effort. It is best that those types of images are never put in your mind in the first place. Avoid all pornographic content like the plague that it is.
1 Corinthians 10:13
When we are tempted, God will help. He will provide a way out, not to avoid temptation, but to meet it successfully and to stand firm under it. This is testing as permitted and controlled by God to produce sterling character that is a reflection of His own.
God is faithful and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear and successfully conquer. He challenges us to meet the temptations that spring up before us on the road of life, beat them down, learn the lessons, and move on to receive the crown of life. He promises to be with us every step of the way. We can be
… confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ… (Philippians 1:6),
I understand the frustration of you already having the tickets- but stand up for your heart. Protect your heart and your eyes for your HUSBAND.
If there is anything virtuous, praiseworthy, lovely, or of good report, we seek after these things. Pornography is pornography whether it’s called art or not. Just say no to nudity. Who cares if you lose a little cash or even a lot of cash. Don’t compromise your values.
I can speak from experience when I say that the image WILL haunt you. You won’t easily forget your first “peek.” And it really can tempt you to dwell on what’s under other guys’ clothes. I’ve always regreted my frist “peek.”
Yes, God has brought me healing, but He hasn’t erased my memory. I’ve got to deal with what I’ve seen for the rest of my life.
Keep your innocence. Sell your tickets.
Puh-leaz! Since when does nudity equal pornography? I’m not advocating that people should roam naked in the streets, but, really, our society has got to get over its infantile views of the human body and sexuality. When we grow more comfortable with human bodies in non-sexual contexts, then we will be much better equipped to handle them in sexual situations. Surely, that would be a good thing for all of us.
– the chaplain