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Spoon

Lusting at the movies

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Sex and nudity in the movies. This isn't meant to discuss whether its appropriate or not. I have no problem with it in films as long as it isn't gratuitous.

This is more about how do we individual handle seeing a sex scene are a nude scene given our tendancy to lust.

This is assuming that most of us struggle in the area of lust. If you don't, let me know how you beat it. If you do, how do you handle certain films with such content?

For me personally, watching a flick like "Breaking the Waves" with lots of sex and nudity doesn't effect me like a film like "Old School" would. I guess because with breaking the waves, the scenes arent neccesarily meant to give a guy a woody where as with something like "American Pie", part of the goal of the nude scenes is to get guys excited.

George

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For me personally, watching a flick like "Breaking the Waves" with lots of sex and nudity doesn't effect me like a film like "Old School" would.
I suppose there is a sense in which one identifies with what is going on onscreen that comes into play. E.g., you aren't affected by Breaking the Waves, but the semi-phone sex scene with Emily Watson surely makes my mouth water, but the prostitution scenes don't.

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I agree. It really depends on the person. Something like "Old School" has me sitting there sick to my stomach at A) the way the women are being treated and objectified... and then cool.gif the fact that the women are foolish enough to willingly participate in the further disintegration of the mens' ability to recognize what a woman really is.

I think it has a lot to do with relationships you have with women in your own life. As I grew up, the more I got to know women and developed strong friendships with them, the more offensive, shallow, and eventually just plain ridiculous pornography and sexually suggestive imagery in film came to seem.

HOWEVER, there is something to be said for appreciating beauty. I was mesmerized by Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation, the same way I am mesmerized by Irene Jacob in Red or The Double Life of Veronique, or Juliette Binoche in Blue. Recognizing beauty and appreciating it is very differet from allowing feelings of "I must possess that" or "It shall be mine" to intervene.

As in most things, many Christians take healthy cautions from Scripture and run with them to equally unhealthy extremes. Just as fear of the damage that alcohol can do has driven most churches to frown on alcohol altogether... and to eliminate even small sips of it from communion... so many have lost the ability to distinguish between the way a camera can capture the sexual beauty of a woman, and the way a camera can exploit a woman and use her in an objectifying and sexual-agenda-driven way.

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This is assuming that most of us struggle in the area of lust. If you don't, let me know how you beat it.

:::snicker:::

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Dan, that's the lowest snicker I've ever heard on this board.

Congratulations!

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One of the first films my girlfriend and I saw after we became an "official" couple (i.e. after we started doing things that we don't do with our regular friends, like holding hands) was The Matrix Reloaded, and it was kinda funny, cuz we tend to do the mutual-hand-massage thing whenever we see films together, and we were especially into that back then when we were so new to the whole thing ... but our hands got very still during the sex scene between Neo and Trinity. It was like we didn't think we should be PARTICIPATING in the onscreen action in any way, shape or form.

The scene near the end of Nights of Cabiria where the woman is about to be betrayed by her lover was especially poignant for me because they are walking through a forest at the time, and my girlfriend happens to be a big fan of trees and we've gone on some lovely walks through Stanley Park. I guess that's not really a "lust" thing, but the way I watch films HAS changed noticeably since D and I became an item. Kisses used to be something that characters just did, but now, whenever I see a kiss onscreen, I think, "Man, I know what that's LIKE now." I can no longer watch that stuff with the same detachment with which I still watch, I dunno, people committing murders or bank robberies.

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8O Thanks, Dan, for your erudite contribution to our discussion.

In all seriousness, I'm glad you mentioned this, Spoon. Maybe I'm the resident prude of the board, but I really question the value or necessity of nudity in film, given the ready tendency of the human heart (or at least, the male human heart) towards lust. More than that, though, I feel that expressions of sexuality should be reserved for the marriage relationship, and that there's something inherently voyeuristic in viewing them on the movie screen.

(I know there's hypocrisy in my opinion, since I don't have the same strong feelings about the nude in painted art. I'm not sure why this is -- perhaps because the static nude is less obviously arousing than the filmed nude? I dunno...)

Anyway, for this reason, I try and limit my viewing of films that contain graphic sexuality. I make exceptions here, if I feel the film is especially worthy of viewing nonetheless, but I keep the remote handy for fast-forwarding in those cases. Having my wife as fellow movie-viewer with me also helps ensure that my viewing is conducted with pure intentions.

I agree with you also, Jeffrey, that much of the battle is won by viewing women as respect-worthy fellow creations of God, instead of mere sexual objects. But, I see the merit in fleeing temptation, too.

That's my take on the issue, for what it's worth.

[prepares himself for the slings and arrows of his board comrades]

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But, I see the merit in fleeing temptation, too.

Actually, Andrew, I'm right there with you, and I think that's what Overstreet meant when he said it's different for different people. I've avoided many more graphic films because I just didn't think I could handle them at the time. Others at this board might be able to watch those films with no problems, but not me. And that's fine.

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gregory wrote:

: This reminds me of John Paul II's ( what some have called a 'reminder' )

: comment that the words from the gospel warning that to look lustfully at

: a woman is to commit adultery in your heart applies to one's wife, too.

Maybe I'm missing some nuance or other, but I don't buy that at all. In the broadest sense, lust is just desire -- in the gospels, Jesus even says that he has, in effect, "lusted" to have the Last Supper with his disciples -- and I can't imagine why it would be wrong to desire my own wife, assuming that I had a wife.

(Actually, this is one of the things I like about D, is that she regards whatever desire I have for her as a "healthy" thing. I'm the kind of guy who has to talk about things, and I remember, during one of our first conversations as an "official" couple, how I was afraid that I might offend her and how I danced around this subject for a few minutes before I finally just told D that I wanted to sleep with her -- definitely not now, but, you know, some day, in wedlock, etc. It was one of those things that was on my mind, and I didn't want to pretend it was not there. And she said, "So, what you're saying is, you find me sexually attractive? That could come in handy.")

Our sexual relationships, like all things in life, are affected by sin, but I wonder if there is something in the Pope's statement that reflects an Augustinian distrust of sex that might not be quite so characteristic of, say, the eastern church.

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I think J.O. said things wisely, especially about the importance of appreciating beauty. I am convinced that two of the directors to turn to for an understanding ( intuitive and deep, spiritual ) of this issue are von Trier, as has been mentioned, and Lynch. I believe that these two lead us to a 'resensitization', a renewal of our childlike freedom in this area of our lives. I believe we truly DO know pornography when we see it. Any attempt to rationally explore it is to fall for it. Lynch somehow shows us 'to ourselves'; shows us loving an 'ugly' thing while we may be in the very act of doing so.

So, I would be interested to explore the idea that judging whether something is pornography or not is not subjective, but objective. Perhaps even as objective a judgement as it's possible for a judgement to be? In other words, there is a very clear dividing line between lust and true love in images that are presented to us. But that there is also something within us that, Like Jeffrey said, wants to 'have' and 'consume'. This reminds me of John Paul II's ( what some have called a 'reminder' ) comment that the words from the gospel warning that to look lustfully at a woman is to commit adultery in your heart applies to one's wife, too. Beautiful!

Some questions I would ask:

Is God a pornographer, the worlds worst and first?

What would we rate the 'movie' that is the history of the world? R? NC-17? XXX?

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I am a bit all over the map on this issue. I remember thinking that I would get cheap sexual thrills out of Chinatown when I first went to see it. There were none, but I was mesmerised by the film itself and Nicholson's performance (still his best I says). I have had a lifelong struggle with porn that leaves Old School/American Pie type nudity (both have very little, it is the winking leer of the whole story that sets this sort of film apart) as nothing at all for me. I have trouble with the more artful depictions that give me the impression of witnessing something real and felt. For example, one of the most erotic scenes I have witnessed is the bathtub scene between Maria Conchita Alonzo and Robin Williams in Paul Mazursky's Moscow On The Hudson. Forgive the over the top confession here, but after the fashion of Peter's contributions above, specifics really help drive the discussion. It is different for each individual.

I have not been too sympathetic to the seemingly prudish arguments that claim that good directors can finesse nudity partly because a good director is thinking about more than just "to show, or not to show" for a given scene or story. Recently, I have noticed such finesse artfully done in some unlikely films! Kissing Jessica Stein never plays it for the voyeur at all, for example. It is just about the most chaste film I have seen relative to such subject matter. I'd say it is a prime example of what seems to be desired by the no nudity crowd. OTOH, I cannot come up with a hard and fast rule about the handling of thequestion of nudity. I am comfortable with judging the finished product, having seen it, rather than setting a dictate before the fact.

Some advice to the real newbies: think through your choice of phrasing if you don't want to become an unintentional, ehem, straight man for the legendary Dan Buck. :wink:

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What would we rate the 'movie' that is the history of the world? R? NC-17? XXX?

Well, gee. A truly artfull and creative G/ NO WAIT A MINUTE! Let's just say that it's all in how you tell the story.... :twisted:

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Therein probably lies the answer...uh, somewhere. Could God the censor have edited out the bad parts? Maybe he does, for everybody but the person or persons that those 'bad parts' would help ( i.e. deter from self destruction )?

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Oh, He does and has done so. Consider the conclusion of the Gospel of John. There is hardly a narrative in scripture that, taken as a story could not make one beg for more details. Still, in some cases, what is stated is rather bracing.

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Peter,

Perhaps the question still goes deeper, as in: Why do you desire to desire your wife? Or, why do you desire to sleep with her?

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"There is hardly a narrative in scripture that...could not make one beg for more details."

Lusting after the gospel? Lusting after the gospel in one's wife??

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"There is hardly a narrative in scripture that...could not make one beg for more details."

Lusting after the gospel? Lusting after the gospel in one's wife??

I don't understand the connection between your quote of me and your question. Also, your elipsis cuts out a key phrase in the quote. Said another way: taken as merely stories, most narratives in scripture lead one to beg for more details. The point being that, given the classical dff of inspiration, God DOES edit.

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I was just asking some rhetorical questions, for the whole group of us here, tying in yours and Peter's conversations.

But, also, when I mentioned 'rating' the world, I was thinking mainly of day to day history. For instance God will allow a viscious rape to occur to a woman to shock her out of the direction she was heading. He could have prevented this, and she would have been 'lost'. Now, God will try to keep this whole episode in this woman's life limited to as few witnesses as possible, of course - that is the law of charity that he commands. There is another force, it seems, that only wants to reveal such things.

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I appreciate your candor, Rich. And I certainly respect and agree with what you're saying about each individual having a different 'lust threshold,' with regards to onscreen nudity and sexual depictions.

However, I'm still left feeling that explicit sex scenes place one in the position of voyeur, on acts that rightly have only an audience of three.

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: Is God a pornographer, the worlds worst and first?

If so then he is certainly the best.

I don't think its wrong to "lust" after your wife - although I suppose it depends on what you mean by the word. But wanting to have sex with your wife is not only OK, I believe it is Godly. To not want to might be closer to sin IMHO.

Matt

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