Are Twitter, Pornhub and OnlyFans desensitizing us to the thrill of nudity?
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was about 13 years old and had accidentally walked in on my dad’s best friend and his wife as they were getting ready to come out to the pool for a swim. She pulled her bathing suit down and squeezed her breasts together, looking at him seductively. He was taking a picture of her.
What?!?! Aside from a very tiny number of glimpses I’d had of ‘adult’ magazines, I had never seen a bare boob in my life. This little flash was a thrill — one I would recall in fantasy so many times over those sex-obsessed teenage years.
Of a similar ilk, a close friend tells the story of her first job — in the pharmacy’s photo processing lab in the southern US. She and her colleague would excitedly flip through all the rolls of film that came in for processing, anxiously searching for those rare gems of nudity and sexual suggestiveness. And, every once in a rare while, they would hit pay dirt. A photo of a nude or lingerie-clad wife, or even the very occasional explicit sexual shot — it was enough to keep them going for weeks.
How times have changed.
We have indeed entered a golden age of amateur nudity. Between Twitter, Instagram, and innumerable online adult video sites, the amateur, MILF, DILF, and GILF parade is enough to keep any perv satisfied for eons.
On the one hand, this degree of autonomy and empowerment people are taking over their own sexuality is fantastic. Seeing all possible ages and body types leaning into their sexual expression is pretty cool. We’ve always been taught to be a little ashamed of our bodies and sexuality. It’s nice to see that changing. I’ve read countless testimonies of the therapeutic effect that posing and posting naked has had on people; it’s heartening.
On the other hand — and you may have seen this coming — I also kind of miss the days when getting a peek at nudity was a rare and cherished event. I’m not saying that seeing a naked body is not still exciting; it still is. But it’s not as exciting as it used to be.
It’s like when we used to get so excited when July came around, and we could go and pick strawberries. We hadn’t had strawberries in 11 months, so we would be so happy to sweat under the hot sun, kneel in the narrow rows of strawberry fields, stain our jeans red, and get yelled at by the supervisor, who told us only to pick the ripe ones. We endured all of this because we’d anticipated those long-denied strawberries for so long.
Now, I can get a strawberry year round, and while I still look forward to our annual trip to the U-pick, it’s not the same.
Would I go back to a time when it was hard, neigh near-impossible, to see an exposed boob? I don’t think so. But it doesn’t mean I cannot feel a little nostalgia for those times.