Anna North has a thoughtful post up over at Jezebel today titled “What’s So Funny About Dudes’ Bodies?” In it, she discusses the fact that the nude male body is often played for laughs in popular culture, while the female body is the sole recipient of the lustful, sincerely sexual gaze. She argues that this reinforces stereotypes of women as delicate creatures who want men only for their non-sexual qualities: money, babies, putting a ring on it, etc. It also deprives men of the pleasure of being admired for their physical beauty, which is a bummer for some.

I can find many counterexamples of this in movies and television (what about all the dissecting of the male form that went on in Sex and the City?) but I think she does have a point. For every woman I talk to who loves to gaze upon a hot naked man in all his glory, I find two who are like “ew, gross. Why would I want to look at that? There’s a reason I turn the lights out when I have sex.” Even a liberated sexual gazer such as myself has certain limits; as much as I like having them inside of me, I find penises to be inherently amusing. It’s like this weirdly tall mushroom growing out of someone’s crotch, which sometimes moves all by itself. I’m sorry, but that’s fucking funny. Am I just talking this way because I’m oppressed by society?

Not necessarily. I think sex can be both funny and hot. Or, as Callie Watts of Candy Rain Magazine [link NSFW] once said to me, “you can make fun of the dick and still wanna stick it in your mouth.” (More on Candy Rain soon!) In fact, some of my favorite sexytimes have involved a lot of laughing and joking around in between all the insane, screaming orgasms. I think the key is to keep a broad view. Men’s bodies can be many different things, and I don’t think it’s helpful to view them only in grotesque, comical caricature. Likewise, female bodies can be funny. Try jiggling your boob meat a little bit or making your vagina talk, and you will see. (Not that I’ve ever done either of these things, ahem.)

I think it also helps to photograph men in ways that reflect who they are; if a straight man tries to pose just like Bettie Page, it’s probably going to look ridiculous, but if he’s photographed closer to his natural state, his sexiness shines through. Check out East Village Boys for some examples of well photographed men. (It’s a gay site, but by no means stereotypical, and enjoyable for people of all genders IMO.) Also: the aforementioned Candy Rain. Though these two publications are quite different, I think they both do a good job of showcasing male beauty in a unique and stylish way that treats men like objects of desire without objectifying them.

But enough about what I think of naked men. What do you think?

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