Wise Guys: Why Do Straight Men Have Such a Problem with Male Nudity?

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Advice from three of EMandLO.com’s guy friends. This week they answer the following: Women put up with female nudity in movies all the time, but guys freak if there’s the occasional male butt – what gives? To ask the guys your own question, click here.

Married Straight Guy (Fred): Do men freak? Maybe the ones who do are afraid of their own inner latent homosexuality? More likely, they make displays of disapproval to prove to the world that they’re not gay — which just makes them seem gay, in a repressed way. Homophobia has that effect. The men who quietly freak on the inside when confronted with attractive male nudity do so for the same reasons women quietly freak on the inside when they’re bombarded by attractive female nudity: it makes you feel insecure and inadequate, and makes you worry that the significant other watching the movie/show/art with you would prefer that naked ideal over you. Women just have more practice at dealing with these negative feelings because female nudity is so much more prevalent. Which begs the question: why is female nudity so much more prevalent? My main theory is that guys are much more visually sexually driven than women (women usually close their eyes when they masturbate, men usually want to look at something) and so injecting female nudity in entertainment, even when it’s not necessary to the story, makes the whole thing more enjoyable for guys, it amps them up, so it can turn, say, a good movie into a really good if not great movie for them (like someone was occasionally tickling their balls while they watched). I’m not sure the same would be true for women. And certainly men outnumber women when it comes to the people making the big decisions in the entertainment industry.

Single Straight Guy (
Megan): There is a lot that goes on in the man cave that women aren’t privy to.  Just like men aren’t allowed into the quilting circle and don’t see how women relate to other women when men aren’t around, women don’t see how men relate to other men when women aren’t around.  Men judge each other, but they do it discreetly and viciously.  There are old standards and expectations that we’ve inherited and that we were born into without our consent.  Men expect other men to be the bread winners, to be the head of household, to be athletic, to be manly and on and on.  You know the image.  What you don’t know is that men who don’t stand up to the image are passive-aggressively ridiculed by other men and cast out of the man cave.  They aren’t invited to office lunches anymore.  They aren’t invited to private parties.  They aren’t called to have beers with the guys unless there is some woman friend of yours they want to hit on.  It’s archetypal.  Part of that archetype is for “proper” straight men to be anti-gay.  It’s not necessarily a conscious, deliberate thing, but there is an unconscious pressure from the man cave that creates anxiety when men, for example, see other men naked.  I can appreciate a good, firm ass.  It gives me something to strive for.  I mean, have you ever seen Baryshnikov in his prime? His butt is like a cantaloupe that was sliced in half.  For this appreciation, however, I don’t really get asked out with guys very often.

Committed Gay Guy (Dwayne): I love to see a guy’s naked butt 10 feet tall on a movie screen and would love to see more.  I think the issue goes back to Pope Paul IV turning the church away from its more sinful past by adding marble and plaster fig leaves to groins of all the nude male statues in the Vatican.  Blame religion.


Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Committed Gay Guy is Dwayne Resnick, a mid-20th-century decorative arts dealer in NY’s Hudson Valley; our Single Straight Guy is The Meeglet blogger Megan, a former librarian whose Men of the Stacks calendar benefits the It Gets Better Project. To ask the guys your own question, click here.


  1. I just had the most harrowing male nudity experience of my life. It made me think of this post.

    I am on vacation in Japan, and I just went a traditional bath house. It was filled to capacity by a bunch of young guys who all seemed to be pals. I was the only nude gaijin in there. Oh, the gaffes of etiqutte I surely committed… the racial penis stereotypes… the odd-man-out feeling… Some day I’ll tell the story, but right now I’m so stressed out I think I have diarrhea and I’d rather not re-live it.

  2. I think the metrosexual male is increasingly comfortable with his nudity. More men are getting nude in the home and are coming to grips with their human quality. A refreshing change from the macho male. I see more men getting pedicures. It is all ok.

  3. Homophobia is way out of hand. Guys are afraid that even admitting another guy is handsome will be interpreted as some kind of homosexual inclination. So they go way overboard reacting against everything that isn’t so stereotypically macho that they end up cutting out half of the world.

    I don’t seek out male nudity, because that just isn’t my bag. But I don’t freak out or avoid it, either.

  4. I’m a straight man and I don’t have a problem with male nudity. Provided the context is right, but that applies to female nudity as well.

    “Women put up with female nudity in movies all the time, but guys freak if there’s the occasional male butt”

    Really? I find that hard to believe. Of course I served in the military where we had communal showers. If the sight of a naked butt on screen could freak me out, the sight of naked men in real life would have given me a nervous breakdown.

    These guys sound like sissies, assuming they actually exist.

  5. I only have a problem with earnest male nudity. Like, if a roommate thought it was cool to strut around nude, I’d be majorly creeped. But if that same room mate tricked me into looking at his dick as a joke, I’d be like, “aw, damn, you got me.”

    Locker room nudity also doesn’t bother me.

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