Nudity and the Gay Christian
A desire to see and show
A significant number of Christian men — straight and gay alike — like to view nudity (via pornography, sexting, Korean spas). Additionally, gay Christian men show their nudity (via sexting and Koran spas). Explanations for such behavior include the man’s response to body shame and a desire for intimacy. Let’s explore the world of nudity for gay Christians!
My first time viewing my peer adolescent males’ nudity was riveting and life-changing. It occurred in 1965 (my age 12) in an open shower at my junior high school’s male locker room. I will forever remember the erotic sensations going through my body as I stared at athletic peers’ genitals and nude body form. I created a controlling life habit of leering at nude men in open showers — the habit extending for 40 years.
I also well remember the first time I saw gay pornography (1971, age 17). It, too, was fully arousing and indelibly imprinted. Likewise, for decades I pursued finding magazines that contained such male nudity. Later, my experience shifted to the internet — a “gateway drug” of simplicity, affordability, and anonymity.
And, I was mesmerized the first time someone sexted me a picture of his erection. I was also appalled, as it was unsolicited and unexpected. The event triggered me back to my “bad old days” of viewing nakedness in open showers and via porn pictures — habits which I had purposefully ceased for 16 years.
I also remember my first (and only) time at a Korean spa very recently. It was much like the old days of an open shower, as nude men enjoyed the showers, hot tub, sauna, steam room, and some of us enjoyed the “ice bath.” However, rather than being in a constant state of erotic arousal (as when I was in the open showers), I found the Korean spa experience to be one of the most relaxing experiences of my life. Studies have indicated that spas reduce arterial stiffness, provide a sense of calm, and potentially help the heart. My gay Christian friends who enjoy Korean spas have told me that they experienced a developmental breakthrough. They learn to respect their own body (and thus overcome body shame).
Now stay with me — there is a purpose behind all of this self-disclosing background. I enjoy looking at nude men — especially those to whom I am attracted. However, I have come to learn that straight men equally enjoy looking at naked attractive women. The only obvious difference is our sexual identity: gay versus straight. I have also known that many men (straight and gay alike) expose their nakedness (via sexting images) as a form of enjoying intimacy.
During the past three years, I have served as a mentor to hundreds of gay Christian men. Many of these men were part of online support groups for gay Christians (and there are numerous such meritorious groups). I noticed that gay Brothers in the support groups, of course, love viewing nude men. Such gay Christians confide in me of their use of viewing pornography, receiving or sending sexting nude self-images, or attending a Korean spa. Thus, I wanted to learn more about the gay Christian’s need to view or show nudity.
Disappointedly, I have not discovered published data regarding the frequency of use of pornography, receiving or sending text images, and the use of Korean spas by gay Christians. However, I discovered research on pornography use by Christian men (the data could not separate the straights from the gays). I also found survey data on the frequency of sexting by men (not necessarily Christian men). So, here are what I discovered.
To no one’s surprise, a LOT of men in America regularly use pornography. In a published article, it is reported that 43% of men (as a whole) watched pornography in the past week! Furthermore, only 34% of all men never watched pornography in the past year (if at all). Such prevailing use of pornography (i.e., two out of every three men) appears to be consistently true regardless of one’s sexual identity, race, age, or religion. That said, you may be surprised by the scientific data on the frequency in which Christian men use pornography.
Data compared Christian men from different faiths (i.e., Catholic, Latter-Day Saints, and Protestants) and different worldviews (i.e., progressive versus traditional). The data concerned the percentage of active Christian men (i.e., attending church 3+ times a month) who had viewed pornography within the past week. The frequency of pornography viewing among Christian faiths ranged from 36% of Protestants to 14% of Latter-Day Saints (with Catholics at 27%). One’s worldview impacts behavior. Classically, progressives are more willing to engage in eroticism than traditionalists. Such was true in this data (42% of progressives viewed pornography within the past week, compared to 29% of traditionalists).
So what is the bottom line for Christian men’s use of pornography? Many Christian men (somewhere ~30% to 40%) view pornography regularly (i.e., at least once during the past week). One’s specific faith identity (e.g., LDS compared to mainline Protestant) and worldview (i.e., traditionalist versus progressive) influence the gay Christian’s use of pornography. And finally, we have no published research that indicates that gay Christian’s use of pornography is any different than that of the straight Christian.
“Sexting” is the sending or receiving of nude self-images via one’s cell phone. While pornography allows the Christian to view nudity, sexting allows both viewing and exposing a man’s private parts. I could not obtain data on the amount of sexting conducted by Christian men — let alone gay Christian men. But I was able to discover sexting data regarding men in general.
Studies indicate that men are more likely to receive a sexted nude image (42%) than send one (32%). Two out of every three men who send a dick pic are sending it to “flirt with their significant other.”
In other words, the majority of men who send self-pictures of their organs do so because of an existing, strong relationship. Conversely, one-third of those who brazenly expose themselves via sexting provides the image to someone to whom they are not deeply connected.
What are the reasons a gay Christian man chooses to seek out male nudity — or conversely — show his nudity to other gay Christians? I offer two presumptions: 1) due to body shame; and 2) due to emotional intimacy.
Body Shame. I have yet to counsel or mentor even one gay Christian man who did not have personal body shame (of some form). It seems automatic that men admire certain body features in other men. And since gay men are more likely to notice and dwell upon the sight of other men, the gay Christian is exceptionally prone to feeling inadequate in some way about his own body. Such envy-inadequacy features include height, weight, muscle, body hair, penis size (bulge or erect), and many more.
And even the most “Adonis” of men still possess body shame.
Christian men sometimes stare longingly at another man (and yearn to see what the man explicitly looks like when fully nude). Pornography, receiving sext pics, and Korean spas all permit a gay man to gaze upon the full nudity of another man. Being naturally attracted to one’s “type” of man plays a big role in the leering. And it is my theory that one’s body shame also contributes to the desire to see another man’s nudity.
Intimacy. Join me in an exercise. Why do you think a gay Christian man would sext a full-frontal picture of himself to another gay Christian? Well, we already know that people are most likely to sext pics of their penises to have fun with their significant partner. The very act is intimate: exposing one’s most private parts in hopes of being affirmed. Furthermore, the exposing gay Brother no doubt expects his beloved partner to return the favor. This relationship behavior resembles Adam and Eve in the garden — as they were “naked and unashamed.”
In closing, I have far more unanswered questions than certainties. But here is what we do know. Men (straights and gays alike) are attracted to particular people. Much of the initial attraction is due to one’s bodily appearance. Men long to view the nakedness of the person to whom he is attracted. Thus, straights and gays are identical in their desire to view nakedness.
Furthermore, all men desire to have their nakedness affirmed, especially from those in whom they find great delight. Body shame and the need for intimacy may be plausible reasons why a man risks exposing his most private parts to another person. Thus, straights and gays are alike in their desire to show their nakedness.
Knowing that, perhaps people who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others.
GAYoda is a publication to uniquely and specifically support gay Christian men. Click here to learn more.
1. Mike Rosebush is the founder and author of GAYoda. He has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, is a retired Licensed Professional Counselor with 45+ years of mentoring thousands of gay Christian men. Read a short synopsis of his story here.
Read Dr. Rosebush’s complete set of articles here.
1. Rosebush provides friendship support to gay Christian men across the U.S. and can be contacted via Facebook or email@example.com.