Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why is it that if one happens to be watching a movie with a sex scene they'll graphically show the full naked body of a woman, but almost never of the man?

Asked by Dutchess_III (45372points) November 19th, 2013
68 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

It’s like showing boobs and pubic hair and everything else on is woman are OK, but showing a penis is not. We accidentally landed on a stupid show once, lots of sex. The women were prancing about the room, fully naked, while the men were talking while demurely tucked under the bed sheets.

Part of this question was prompted by the ball bells ad question. It’s OK to show bouncing boobs, but it’s not OK to show bouncing balls?

What is up with that?

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glacial's avatar

Because women aren’t entitled to dignity. Duh!

ucme's avatar

Erect nipples are fucking gorgeous fine, erect penises are, well…not, on the screen at least.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Hadn’t thought much about it but did you look to see if a male or female directed the movie. I’d be curious if there’s a correlation.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe, I always wonder about that myself. What is the correlation there? But it’s always been that way, even back in the 70’s when you didn’t have women directors.

glacial's avatar

@Dutchess_III I realize that you probably mean that there weren’t many women directors, but of course there were some.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I meant in the 70’s. And somehow, I’d be willing to be that graphic sex scenes wouldn’t appeal to them.

MadMadMax's avatar

It’s more HBO and Showtime than movies and then they back off as the new seasons start.

Also I haven’t seen any pubic hair. I’ve seen a lot of nudity on Game of Thrones and sometimes on Boardwalk Empire but no pubic hair – it’s kind of a classical tradition back to fine art paintings to paint an figure with no pubic hair.

As for men. I have seen penises but never erect penises unless I guess one watches specifically identified pornography.

elbanditoroso's avatar


Women tend to like plot, men tend to like visuals. So they show naked women to arouse the men.

(I had this conversation once with an ex-girlfriend. She said that seeing an actor’s throbbing penis did absolutely nothing for her—it was more about setting the scene and watching the caresses (both sexes) that turned her on.)

zenvelo's avatar

I don’t disagree that there is a double standard. That said, women showing pubic hair generally hides their lady bits, but with men the penis is out and swinging, so that is one difference. And boobs seem to be in a separate category, with no male equivalent.

So yes, it is a sexist double standard.

MadMadMax's avatar

I have no problem with nudity based on context. The human body is fine with me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Me too @MadMadMax. Showing it just to get some unknown men aroused is brainless, IMO.

@elbanditoroso That’s true. I really have no interest in seeing a male penis. I have no interest in seeing boobs and female pubic hair either. However, it really stands out the way they display one and hide the other.

I have always wondered at the discrepancy. I’ve always assumed male directors….and was it self modesty, self embarrassment that caused them to forgo what should be a natural outcome of certain scenes? And is it personal desire and self interest that cause them to swing ha ha! so far the other way?

Sometimes it’s like it’s ok to sacrifice the woman while we hide under the blankets.

drhat77's avatar

like the salt question, female nudity is a excellent way to get most, if not all the men watching to pay attention. I think male nudity will not do the same for women. Women are target with romance and intrigues and blah blah.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Because a woman’s genitals are hidden; she needs to lie down, and spread her legs apart, to give someone a view. A man’s genitals, however, are upfront and very visible.

Showing genitalia crosses the line between nudity/erotica and pornography.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I disagree @SadieMartinPaul. It’s just a freakin’ penis. A penis by itself is not pornographic.

@drhat77 I buy that argument. However, why then, do they often completely forgo any kind of romantic plot and jump straight to the sex? Do they not really care if the story doesn’t appeal to women?

drhat77's avatar

@Dutchess_III mindless action movie? Yeah, probably not appealing to women. T&A though helps.

MadMadMax's avatar

All I can say is that I despise artistic censorship and I prefer honesty. If a woman is waking up after a night of lovemaking, she doesn’t hold a sheet up to her neck. I enjoy honest sexual interaction as part of a plot and I hate baloney sex. Sex in your clothes is a big one. Sex under sheets. Yes I like Game of Thrones – it talks of sexual love and the integral role of prostitution in the plot and prostitutes are not shown with chins emerging from sheets.

Then again, I value nudity in high art. As Michelangelo said:

“What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed? ”

glacial's avatar

@MadMadMax “All I can say is that I despise artistic censorship and I prefer honesty.”

Then I would expect you to be as disappointed as we are by the disparity between male nudity and female nudity. No one is complaining about the nudity per se, only about the fact that women’s bodies are put on display far more than men’s.

MadMadMax's avatar

Honestly? I think it was Masters and Johnson’s study a long time ago that reported that heterosexual women are aroused by male magazines showing pictures of nude women – more so than any pictures nude males. shrug.

I personally think we (females) imagine and identify with the woman so we are perceiving the imagery differently. We picture ourselves in the females role in a film.

By the way, the eternally erect nipples we see on HBO or in most but not all films are actually prosthetics or sfx special effects. If you stop action and really examine the image in front of you it sometimes looks like a lump of clay – seriously.

P.S. A tidbit from my husband. Sometimes filmmakers don’t know where to stop with the special effects, and they put erect nipples on a female corpse. Dead naked woman with erect nipples is impossible. I can usually leave reality aside and just enjoy a film but that’s downright ridiculous.

glacial's avatar

@MadMadMax I don’t understand your “Honestly?” question. Honestly what?

MadMadMax's avatar

@glacial Few hetero women admit that pictures of nude women are a turn on. “Honestly” speaking they are.

poisonedantidote's avatar

You can look at it two ways in my opinion.

From one angle, women are objects, from the other angle, the male body is obscene. Neither of these are good things.

MadMadMax's avatar

Or a third angle: The Human body is beautiful and can inspire great art, and it is sexy to women and men, and arousing which is pleasurable and healthy.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Because the women that usually get shown naked look good naked, men don’t look good naked even if they hare chisled like a body builder, too which very, very few men could reach that bar, so keep them off the screen please!

ibstubro's avatar

I think the degree of obvious arousal get the the meat of the question. You can get erect nipples with cold. Getting an erect penis is a little trickier, and not as easily…ah…put away.

Women are more able to admire another woman’s body as a beautiful object. You show an erect penis and the guys are gonna either guffaw (too small) or groan (too big). Most male actors are not prepared for the world to know the size of their erect penises. I mean, the guys with really big schlongs seem to find a way to make it known.

But really, I think it comes down to the fact that most men surf porn with frequency. Women, not so much. It’s statistically proven.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I could go with a Fluther answer, that is the way the industry does it, so why care, just enjoy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Nothing about the movie we watched a bit of could be construed as art. Not even one tiny bit. It was just showing the naked women from as many different angles as possible in a 4 minute time span, which the men huddled under the sheets.

glacial's avatar

@MadMadMax “Few hetero women admit that pictures of nude women are a turn on. “Honestly” speaking they are.”

I think you may have misread my posts. I didn’t say that pictures of nude women are not a turn on. I don’t even think that.

Lorna's avatar

Sex scenes are to keep men interested in the film.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, guess who gave orders to change it because it was boring and mindless.

MadMadMax's avatar

@glacial You asked me why I used the word “Honestly” and I told you in what context I meant it. I wasn’t suggesting anything about anything you posted.

ibstubro's avatar

Ummm…hmmm…Was it Duke lll, @Dutchess_III?

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, it was the female who was bored. Not sure how the Duke felt about it, but we did change it.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I honestly don’t understand the disgust directed at the male body. Even women have that, “ew! I don’t want to see a penis on TV!” attitude. Really?

First of all, it’s the human body. If we can’t look at the human body, regardless of gender, without being grossed out, we have bigger problems than I thought.

Secondly, what exactly makes the female body less “gross” than the female body? Is it the penis itself, or the entire shape of the body? If women are so turned off by the image of men’s bodies, I wonder how you get turned on by your partners. Do they know you’re repulsed by the sight of their genitalia? Talk about ruining the mood.

The male form is beautiful and horribly underrated. I have a hard time seeing what’s so ugly about it.

Sorry about going on a tangent there, but that really bugs me. As for the actual question, I’d assume the reason is a combination of what was already mentioned (mostly male directors, men are more visual, etc). Personally, I find it refreshing when men’s bodies are shown on the big screen and the media in general. That may partly explain my love of Queer as Folk. Way more male pubes, butts, and penises than female boobs and bush.

ibstubro's avatar

@Dutchess_III You’re a brave woman to tell a man that watching scantily clad women was too boring for you. I’m amazed that he didn’t try to liven things up for you!

glacial's avatar

@MadMadMax Ah. I didn’t realize that you were posting to no one in particular.

@livelaugh I totally agree.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I do too, @livelaughlove21. So why don’t they show all as a natural extension of the scene? Why do they take as many shots, from as many angles as possible of the naked women, but keep the men covered up?

They weren’t scantly clad @ibstubro. They were fully naked and the TV cameras made sure everyone knew it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Women are objectified & some thrive on it not to mention the dollar bills. I don’t mind any part of the body being show

Dutchess_III's avatar

Neither do I. So why do the men stay hidden?

MadMadMax's avatar

Full frontal male nudity, shows:

Also the European version “Borgia”

glacial's avatar

@MadMadMax Yes, it’s a pretty short list!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess hmmm stuffed socks? MAYBE the average size freaks their self_image out? Liberate the men!

MadMadMax's avatar

I’ve seen bits here and there – major films that are not porn but a google search brought me there and I don’t wanna go to far on the subject using my computer.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@MadMadMax Nice list.

Nothing like some beautiful male nudity (NSFW, not a cock shot).

ibstubro's avatar

@Dutchess_III Did you see my first, most thoughtful response to this thread? I was quite proud of it.

Seek's avatar

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m pretty much attracted to humans in general from the waist up. I may or may not have been a mermaid in a past life.

Genitals in general do nothing for me on an erotic level. I’m not opposed to them, or disgusted by them, I pretty much take them as the necessary body parts they are, and appreciate them for their function if not their aesthetic appeal.

The grasping to find any way to hide the male body on film is borderline hilarious. Oh, in this scene they’re covered with sheets while they make mad, passionate love, next scene he rolls out of bed in a fresh pair of Hanes boxer-briefs. It’s magic!

I appreciated the sauna scene in Eastern Promises (link SFW, just IMDB). People don’t generally wear clothes in a sauna, so the sauna knife scene was done with naked characters. I had not planned on seeing one of my favourite actor’s family jewels, but there they were! Apart from a few “Aragorn’s Sword” jokes from my husband, there were no lasting emotional scars.

I won’t say I’m necessarily petitioning for more nudity, but I will say I’m not opposed to it.

That said, nudity in film and on screen is a hotly-negotiated topic between filmmakers and actors. “I’ll do the movie, but you get 8 seconds of nipple time, four seconds of rear nudity, and one second of frontal. For this I get X extra dollars.”

I can’t imagine a lot of networks want to pay enough to the male actor to get him to put it all out there.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree with your response Seek, but still the double standard in regular old, non-porn nudity doesn’t make sense. Nudity by itself doesn’t = porn, but hiding one sex’s body while fully exposing the other…..just ridiculous. Since when have men been shy and retiring over bragging and willing to show all? I wonder if many male actors doth protest over not getting equal exposure? You’d think they’d do it for free, or even pay the filmmakers for the chance to show off.

Seek's avatar

^ I imagine many women in showbiz are comfortable with having their bodies on camera – enough that they don’t require the ridiculous sums the men might. Supply and demand and all. If an director demands a chick willing to show a bit of pubis, the chick who wants the part needs to be willing to put it out for a fee that the director is comfortable with.

(edit: used “actor” when I meant “director.” Fixed.

Seek's avatar

Also, @Dutchess_III

Somebody has to be on the lower end of “average” for the “average” to exist. Say you’re a dude known for being a hunky love interest. Do you really want your tiny tallywhacker on film for all to see?

ibstubro's avatar

What’s ‘titillating’ about naked women around men with soft penises?

There are very distinct and determinable limitations to producing and showing the male reproductive organ in an aroused state.

It’s much like orgasm…much easier for a woman to fake.

What if the actor in the movie was gay? If he can’t produce wood, he can’t have the job?

Smitha's avatar

It is mainly because a naked woman is more natural or visually appealing than a naked man and another notable thing is almost all the Directors are men. So naturally they focus more on women than men.

Haleth's avatar

It’s the male gaze.

From the article: “The Male Gaze is a term from Gaze theory that describes the tendency of works to assume a (straight) male viewpoint even when they do not have a specific narrative Point of View, and in particular the tendency of works to present female characters as subjects of implicitly male visual appreciation.”

Most of the people involved in making TV and movies are men, and most protagonists are male. As a result, most of our media is written and filmed from a male perspective. (Sometimes you get weird hybrids like Resident Evil or Tomb Raider, where the female protagonist is there for eye candy and the narrative is about her, but you never really see things from her perspective.)

Dutchess_III's avatar

They need to screen their actors to be sure they have the qualifications they need for those scenes @Seek_Kolinahr. :) If they don’t have it, they don’t get the job.

@ibstubro we aren’t talking about arousal or erections, just regular penises.

@Smitha Let’s go with that, that the directors are men, why would that stop them from filming a man’s body? Would they find it “undignified” or something? As a director they should have the ability to see things outside of their own perspective.

@Haleth That was a good post. Thanks.

ibstubro's avatar

But that’s my point, @Dutchess_III. To be realistic, the man wood have to be erect around a covey of naked women…that’s the point of showing naked women, to arouse men.

Suspension of disbelief demands that the man in the movie is hard as a rock under that sheet. If not, why bother? Give the gals some warm flannels and a cup of cocoa.

Seek's avatar

@Dutchess_III – With Brad Pitt, they make a 400 million dollar movie, and a 300 million dollar sequel. With Brad Pitt’s diminutive trouser snake, they get a few weeks of coverage on TMZ, and Pitt loses a career.

glacial's avatar

@ibstubro So, if the incidence of nudity were equal between men and women, perhaps there would be a selective force towards better-endowed actors being chosen for acting roles. Why should we consider this unthinkable, when it has been happening among actresses for decades? Fair is fair.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think there is more to it than that. In this society we are raised to be embarrassed by nudity. Girls, however, get a secondary message that says otherwise.

I think men would feel embarrassed and somewhat ashamed to see another man naked. The directors would feel uncomfortable. The camera men would be uncomfortable filming it.
They could care less, though, if women might feel uncomfortable seeing other women naked.
That utter, blindless male ego….I don’t know what else to say.

BTW, this was definitely a a guy production. We came in on it somewhere in the middle. Opening shot, lots and lots of violence.
Next scene is a bar scene. The main character walks up to two pretty girls who just light up when they see him. He chats a bit, then calls a friend over.
To his friend he says, “We’re going to finish our drinks then take these lovely women to the hotel and f___ their brains out.”

The gals’ eyes just lit up like they couldn’t believe their good luck and were SO excited! Sheeit. Woman who look like they did could walk straight into a bar, and walk back out 30 seconds later with a guy, if sex was all they wanted.

That was a really good point @glacial.

ucme's avatar

Speaking of good points, I have an erecti…actually no, no I don’t.

ibstubro's avatar

Crap, I didn’t realize your husband had popped a porno in, @Dutchess_III!

@glacial I think showing an erection on a male is akin to a twat shot of a female, i.e. takes you into the realm of porno.

Keep it up and we might soon know the obscenity guage.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The more I think about @glacial‘s comment the more I think….if actors were chosen based on their endowment, which is the reason a lot of women are chosen, how would that change society?

@ibstubro We aren’t talking about erections! We’re talking about penises. What’s wrong with showing a penis, period?

ibstubro's avatar

Sorry, @Dutchess_III, I can’t separate your question from ucme’s an erect penis. I think the point of showing naked women is to cause arousal, and in men, arousal equals erection.


Dutchess_III's avatar

So why would that preclude showing a man naked in a movie? Do they think it might distract from the men’s arousal over the naked women prancing about? Or do they think it would be demeaning toward men?

UCME, pictures or it didn’t happen!

ucme's avatar

There’s a TV rule on what angle a penis can & can’t be shown, even if it’s a-cute one, like mine.

Seek's avatar

@ibstubro Four of those were either prosthetic or computer generated.

However, I do now have a reason to re-watch Wild Things, as I do not recall seeing Kevin Bacon’s junk, and that is something that should be in my visual memory.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I shall pertect yer vurtue and not look @ucme!

I can’t believe they didn’t mention that locker room scene in ‘Any Given Sunday.’ My Mom was visiting and we decided to watch a movie on TV. In deference to my boyfriend, who was there also, we settled on what we hoped would be a decent guy flick.
Then, out of the blue, there is that full frontal shot of that football player in the locker room, with all his glory hanging down to his knees! It was a completely gratuitous scene. Pretty sure someone got word of that guy’s tremendousness and found a way to slip in it. Ha ha!
My boyfriend and I were falling all over ourselves apologizing to my 70-something year old mother. She just looked over at us with a “What?” kind of look on her face.
When we apologized again she said, ”That? Oh, once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all,” and went back to watching the movie.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh good God @ucme! That was ridonkerous!!

ucme's avatar

Now stop corrupting me @Dutchess_III, i’m such an innocent little thang.

ibstubro's avatar

Made ya look!

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