Thursday, January 11, 2018

Gymnophilia (Revisited)

I have a fascination for the human body. Not all human bodies, necessarily - but attractive ones. In a sense, I guess you could say I have a fascination for the idea of the human body - its potential as both a beautiful object and a finely tuned machine. I enjoy watching beautiful bodies perform all kinds of various tasks - from the mundane to the spectacular. So it's rather disappointing to me that our society goes to such great lengths to cover our bodies up.

I mean, sure, we're inundated with pornography. But when was the last time you saw an uncensored, naked body doing anything other than having sex, masturbating, or intentionally posing seductively? (Leave it to the Japanese to have identified this as a "fetish"). Take the sex away and what do you have? Nudism? But the fact that I still prefer the aesthetic delights of an attractive body over an "average" one seems to fly in the face of nudism's commitment to body acceptance.

Question why athletes don't perform in the nude (as the ancient Greeks did), and you're shouted down as a pervert. But the question of whether or not I'm a pervert is less interesting to me than the issue of why this kind of not-strictly-sexual (though-maybe-a-little-bit-erotic-but-so-what-if-it-is?) admiration of the human body isn't more widespread, or at least better understood and tolerated. I blame our loss of innocence. Every artist is perceived to be a philanderer.

In fact, everything is interpreted in a sexual light these days, and the moral battlefield has become polarized. For every manner in which the progressives embrace sexual liberty, the conservatives find a new reason to suspect people's motives. The conjunction of these two perspectives is devastating - anything can be erotic, but eroticism is evil. So, everything that's not unwaveringly pure is evil. There's no middle ground.

Which is concerning to me, because I live on that middle ground.

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