Male nudity: Sexy or funny?

OPINION

  • Matthew McConaughey in "Magic Mike"
Matthew McConaughey in "Magic Mike"
July 01, 2012|RedEye

The setup:"Magic Mike" was released Friday, and the movie—which is about male strippers ... not that we need to remind you—is full of sexy scenes and ridiculous laughs, but it doesn't include any true frontal male nudity. It got us wondering ... is male nudity sexy or funny?

SEXY

Let's be clear about something: Yes, male nudity, as it is currently portrayed in mainstream film, is totally giggle-worthy. Jason Segel didn't flap his junk from side to side in"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" for the added drama—he did it for the nervous laughter.

So why is the male member always played for a laugh? Think back to when you were 8 or 9: Everything about naked bodies of the opposite sex was funny. Why? Because it was new. It was something we hadn't seen before. And with men, we still don't. We haven't seen nearly enough male nudity on-screen, let alone in a dramatic setting in a great film, to recognize it for what it is—totally equal to female nudity.

A lot of us got a big surprise—ahem, very big—when we ran to the theater to catch Michael Fassbender's business in"Shame" and ended up crying and feeling dead inside afterward. We're so desperate for some on-screen male genitalia in a not-funny context that we're willing to subject ourselves to a completely torturous (but powerful) film in public to get it. Yikes.

If there's nothing sexy about a nude male body, then why do we bother having sex with men? So, yes, male nudity absolutely is sexy to women. Some of us just don't have the balls to admit it.

JESSICA GALLIART IS REDEYE'S SOCIAL MEDIA LADY. JGALLIART@TRIBUNE.COM | @JESSICAGALLIART

FUNNY

We've all SEEN a real live penis before, right? If not, take one of these steps before reading any further: Do some light Googling or, if you're a dude, look down the front of your pants.

Now that we're on the same page, you have to admit penises look absolutely hysterical. And sure, they can be totally titillating. Who wasn't excited to get a glimpse of Michael Fassbender's in "Shame" (even if that flick was totally depressing)? But they may be best used in the movies for comic relief—think Jason Segel in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," undercutting a totally serious scene with a totally not-serious wang slip.

A boob is a boob—some are big, some are small, and some SEEM big but turn out to be small once the highly deceptive push-up bra is out of the way. But penises are like the inside of a pinata—you never know what they're going to look like until you get past the pants/colorful outer shell. The visual cues are nearly nonexistent until you remove the wrapping.

One thing's for sure though—they're pretty likely to look like an old man in a turtleneck, at least in the movies. Because here's the thing—non-porns almost never feature erect penises. Soft penises are just not a turn-on, they're either a) inopportune or b) hilarious. We might as well have b) in the movies and save a) for your friends' ridiculous brunch-time stories.

DANA MORAN IS A REDEYE COPY EDITOR. DAMORAN@TRIBUNE.COM | @REDEYEDANA

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