I was once teaching a year 9 (about 14 – 15-year-old) Religion Class. It may surprise you to know I am actually fully qualified to teach this subject which, at our school, is an academically oriented subject. So, I was teaching this class, we were doing a unit about the Reformation which involved a look at how art was largely controlled by the Church until the Renaissance which in some ways triggered the Reformation. I showed this painting as an example of Church influenced art to which a girl called out “You can’t show that it is pornography!” Her reason for thinking it was pornographic; Adam’s penis is visible.
It triggered an interesting discussion, punctuated by the ridiculous behaviour of a bunch of 14 – 15-year-olds who can’t really cope with an open and frank discussion about sex in any setting, let alone a classroom. I was intrigued by the attitude of my student that nudity = porn. The discussion focussed on the idea that nudity is not always sexual in nature. This painting is an example of this. Man is in fact created naked, clothing is a human contrivance with multiple purposes ranging from, comfort to control.
I can understand why these teenagers think nudity is purely sexual. Many of them grow up being told to cover up so that their nudity is not displayed. The reason for not displaying nudity is purely sexual and related to the ridiculous idea of keeping girls virginal. As teenagers girls display their bodies in suggestive ways to entice boys. This display is often a rebellion against their parents urging them to cover up as younger children.
It was difficult for me to make my point in this class. I was not prepared for this discussion and I was painfully aware of my situation. I teach in a Catholic school; I was in a religion classroom. The topics on my syllabus didn’t even remotely link to explanations about the difference between displaying the human form as art and using nudity for sexual arousal and gratification. And here I was trying to explain this idea using language that was unemotional and formal. In addition, as I was navigating this incredibly awkward situation in a way that would not result in me getting grilled by my principal, I found myself asking the question. Where does art end and porn start?
Dictionary.com defines porn as “sexually explicit videos, photographs, writings or the like, produced to elicit sexual arousal.”
I have read enough to know that many things can elicit sexual arousal in one person while seeming to be completely unsexual to another. In our modern age something like “The Creation of Adam” seems very tame when compared to some of the advertising we see, or the attire that the characters of the latest superhero movie parade around in. But at the time it was painted? Who knows? Perhaps there are some weirdo priests who sit in the Sistine Chapel after hours and gaze upwards with a massive erection.
I have stated before that porn is not really something I peruse. I like reality. Watching people in the flesh have sex is arousing to me. Much more than contrived encounters depicted in standard porno movies. Watching a woman with ridiculous fake nails pretend to enjoy sex with a well-endowed man doesn’t cut it for me. Real people with real flaws pushing past their boundaries and living in the moment are incredibly stimulating. Men that I find attractive masturbating is also stimulating for me. I love the sound of a man cumming. I had a video I took of a friend while I was sucking his cock that I listened to on repeat for months. The sound of his orgasm never failed to cause a throb in my groin. I had, in the spur of the moment, created my own personal porno that was tailored entirely to me and my likings.
I have a friend who likes to see little videos of me when I am playing. He particularly likes to watch my boobs jiggle but any kind of action is welcomed. This man is a FIFO meaning he spends a lot of time in his tiny room alone with his hand. My images have accompanied many a session I am sure. I guess in a way I am his personal porn star. Which is flattering. He is the only man I share this kind of thing with. He is my own personal porn fan. We have only ever met in real life once and never had sex. But you never know what the future holds. For us the line between porn and reality is very blurred.
Where does art end and porn start? I don’t think there is a definitive point. Where does nudity become porn and not art? I don’t think there is a definitive point for that spectrum either. My take home from that situation was that conversations about sex need to become more normal. We need to be more open about sex with teenagers and children. Nudity needs to be debunked. Being nude because it feels good to walk around as we were created is not dirty or illicit. It is natural and normal and it does not always have to be about sex.
This post is part of 4 Thoughts or Fiction prompt #168. Click on the image below to see who else is turned on by Porn