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Showing posts from September, 2014

“But Professional Actors Aren’t Sexually Affected”

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* CONTENT ADVISORY: The specificity this topic requires may be inappropriate for some readers. I will quote from (and cite) a couple articles that, due to their explicit nature, I would not recommend visiting.*

While on the set of an independent film, I overheard one of the actresses talk about a sex scene she had done in a theatrical production. Based on her limited understanding of male anatomy, it was obvious she wasn’t a girl given to immorality in her everyday life. In fact, she might have even considered herself a Christian (I saw her reading a copy of Left Behind during a lunch break). Whatever the case, the way she described the sex scene made it obvious that her male co-star was sexually aroused by the experience—something he apologized to her for.
Now, I’ve heard it argued that simulated sex scenes in works of art (as opposed to real sex scenes in porn) are devoid of any sense of eros. They’re all business and no pleasure, so to speak. So was the story I heard just an isolated…

If the Sex is “Fake,” Is it Still Sexual?

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We’ve gotten it into our heads that the sexuality on display in sex scenes isn’t “real.” Since intercourse (usually) doesn’t take place1; and since the costars are (sometimes) not in an off-screen relationship, and therefore wouldn’t participate in such actions otherwise; and because film sets are (occasionally) sparsely populated during intimate scenes in an attempt to maintain professionalism, such actions shouldn’t be labeled as sexual.

Let me share a simple illustration that helps us clear away the fog. In a recent Facebook discussion, I saw one lady make an astute observation (which I have only slightly edited):
If you come upon your wife and she’s covered in “blood” and writhing on the ground while someone stands over her with a bloody sword, and then she sees you and says, “Oh, we’re just cosplaying and this is raspberry syrup,” you’d laugh and say, “Wow, that was realistic.” Whereas if she were naked with some guy and they were swapping spit and rubbing up on each other, and s…

When Art Imitates Pornography

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I wish a blog series like this wasn’t necessary. I wish the sexualization and objectification of human beings hadn’t become so pervasive that they often go unnoticed and unchallenged—even in the church. Unfortunately, many of us have become inoculated to it. Where we once might have blushed we now fail to even bat an eye. In the words of author Shellie R. Warren,

With music videos like “Anaconda” and television shows like Dating Naked around for our perusing “pleasure”, a lot of us don’t even have to download porn. It’s all over pop culture. And so, since we’re used to seeing a lot of what used to be only reserved for HBO’s Real Sex, we don’t even catch that a lot of what’s on television is pornographic.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, I believe this is an area where our hearts have grown numb. We’ve become callous to various forms of porn in our entertainment. As I have argued in the past, one “acceptable” version of porn is sex scenes (and many forms of nudity) in major motion pictur…

The Real Problem with Nude Celebrity Photos

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It was bad enough when privately stored nude photos of several celebrities were recently stolen and released online. Now, to add insult to injury, a so-called artist is planning on including some of these nude photos—in particular, those of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton—in an upcoming art show. He doesn’t consider it stealing, and he doesn’t consider it exploitative. In his mind, it is art.

Now, I think most of us agree that his defense is laughable. It is a perpetuation of the invasion of privacy. It is indecent and tawdry, as was the original theft and publication of the photos. But I’d like to ask a simple question: why?
Imagine a slightly different scenario: several celebrities decide to release nude photos of themselves because they want to communicate that they are not ashamed of their bodies. What would be the response from the media and the culture at large? My guess is that it would be largely positive. The actors would be praised for their bravery and transparency. Some wo…

Does a Story Ever Really *Require* A Sex Scene?

I am honored to have the folks at Speculative Faith post an article of mine: Actually, Fantastic Films Don’t Require Sex and Nudity. In this piece, I examine two potential problems with the argument that nudity and/or sex scenes are necessary to any film.

Special thanks to E. Stephen Burnett for his encouragement and editing prowess, and for coming up with a great tagline for the article: “Might we end up justifying idolatry or sexual sins by believing ‘the story made me do it’?”